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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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12 Squadron Crest
26/27.08.1944 No. 12 Squadron Lancaster I LM230 PH-A Fl/Lt. Taylor

Operation: Kiel

Date: 26/27th August 1944

Unit: No. 12 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: LM230

Code: PH-A

Base: RAF Wickenby

Location: Lost without trace - possibly Baltic Sea

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Charles Joseph Taylor NZ/41962 RNZAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Donald John Neale 1874706 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed

Nav: Fl/Lt. Bernard John (Pat) Hughes 107912 RAFVR Age 33. Missing - believed killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Dennis Anthony Webb 1324450 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Stanley Walter Greengrass 158535 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Walter William Overee 1320609 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: F/O John Bell DFC. 51820 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed


Weather: fine, becoming fair.

Operations: 28 Lancasters, of 12th and 626 Squadrons based at Wickenby were detailed against Kiel Naval Base. They were part of a total force of 372 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitoes of Nos. 1, 3 and 8 Bomber Groups dispatched to Kiel.

“The Naval base at Kiel was heavily attacked by heavy bombers. Weather conditions certainly lent themselves to the attack and the marking was punctual and ample. A really good 'prang' on the 'primary' developed and some really good explosions are reported. Flak of a desultory nature did not deter the insistence of the presence of fighters were likewise treated with impunity. 15 aircraft of 12th squadron were detailed, one effected an early return and 2 failed to return. A severe electrical storm was encountered on the homeward leg of the raid."

M. Stockdale, W/C Commanding No. 12 Squadron, Wickenby

Take off commenced at 19:52 hours with LM230 leaving at 20:09 hrs.

Bomb load: 10,480lbs. 1 x 4,000, 150 x 41lb(x), 60 x 60lb, 1,020 x 4lb. Fuel: 1,600galls.

Tactics: Fly below 2,000ft as far as 0500E to avoid Radar detection. Navigation lights may be left on to 0400E to avoid collisions.

Opposition encountered: Moderate to intense flak barrage over the target, with numerous searchlights. 7 Gruppen of fighters appeared to be active, but interceptions only occurred over the target and on the return route in the region of the Kiel Canal.

Marking: P.F.F. dropped sticks of flares at H-7. Target marked by Red and Green T.I.s (Target Indicators). Marking was punctual and ample, though spread widely within the confines of the town. One Green T.I. was some miles to the north.

Assessment of attack: Bombing followed the markers in the town, though some undershooting was observed late in the attack. Photographic Reconnaissance Unit report severe destruction to Naval Arsenal and Munitions Depot at Monkeberg was gutted. The Pathfinder marking was hampered by smoke-screens but the local report tells of a very serious raid with heavy bombing in the town centre and surrounding districts and widespread fires fanned by a strong wind. The Rathaus was completely burnt out and many other public buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Charles Joseph Taylor. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 262. Further information: Son of Charles Joseph Walter and Kathleen May (née Owens) Taylor of 18 Sulphur Beach, Northcote, Auckland. Husband of Kathleen Patricia (Pat) Humphrey of 43 Cambourne Road, Balmoral, Auckland, New Zealand. They married at the Church of the Good Shepherd,Mount Eden, on the 30th September 1941. Pat was the adopted daughter of James Alexander Humphrey and his wife Christina Munro (née Macfadgen) Humphrey. Charlie was called Stoney because he was always “stoney” broke. When asked to play cards for money he would pull out the lining of his pockets, show they were empty and say “Sorry, I can’t, I’m stoney”. Educated Northcote Primary School 1926-1930 - Northcote Junior High School 1931-1932 - Northcote High School 1933-1934. Occupation from 1935 until enlistment in Air Force - warehouseman (soft goods) - Wellington Woollen Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Auckland. Charles applied for enlistment in aircrew on the 4th April 1940.

Abbreviated Career in the Air Force:

1941 - NZ - ITW Levin Feb 9th - May 3rd - 1941 - NZ - No 4 EFTS Whenuapai - May 4th - July 4th - 1941 - NZ - No 3 IFTS Ohakea July 6th - Aug 17th Pilot Badge 16th August - 1941 - NZ - No 3 AFTS Ohakea - August 17th - Sept 27th Sergeant Pilot 27 Sept - Embarked Stirling Castle for England on 25th October 1941- 1941 Landed Liverpool November 28th 1941 - 1941/2 - Eng - No 3 PRC Bournemouth - Nov 29th 1941 January 12th 1942 - 1942 - Eng - BAT Course Upwood - Jan 12 - Jan 26th - 1942 - Eng - No 3 PRC Bournemouth - Jan 26th - Feb 25th - 1942 - Eng - No 2 AFU Brize Norton - Feb 25 - May 23 - 1942 - Eng - BAT Course Wattisham - May 23 - May 29 - 1942 - Eng - No 5 AOS Jurby Isle of Man June 1 - Oct 27

1942 - Eng - No 44 Squad Waddington Oct 27 - Nov 8 - 1942/3/4 - Eng - No 5 AOS Jurby Isle of Man Nov 10 1942 - Feb 28 1944 - 1944 - Eng - No 83 OTU Peplow Feb 28 - May 13 - 1944 - Eng - No 11 Base Boston Park May 23 - May 26 - 1944 - Eng - Attach Wescott No 1 ECDU May 26 - June 2 1944
1944 - Eng - No 1667 HCU Sandtoft June 3 - July 4 - 1944 - Eng - ILFS Hemswell July 4 - July 21 - 1944 - Eng - 12 Squad Wickenby July 21 - 1944 - Eng - Attach BDU Newmarket July 31.
21st July 1944 he was attached to 12 Squadron, Wickenby, Lincolnshire where he flew 4 ops out of a total of 6, 3rd op was as second pilot to W/O Dyer Matthews on a Lancaster to Kiel, Germany on 23rd July, 4th op was as captain with his own crew on a Lancaster to Stuttgart, Germany on 28th July, 5th op was as captain with his own crew on Lancaster ‘A’ to bomb enemy troops in the battle area of Normandy, France on 30th July, 6th op was as captain with his own crew on Lancaster ‘A’ on 26th August 1944 to Kiel, Germany

Sgt. Donald John Neale. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 235. Further information: Son of Walter Breakey and Dorothy (née Jeffery) Neale of 9 Sydney Road, Bedford, England. Donald was born on the 1st of October 1924. His older brother, Walter Albert Jeffery Neale was a motor mechanic before joining the RAF in 1940.

Donald went to primary school in Cambridge before passing his 11 plus Exams to enter the Central school in Bedford. Before joining the RAF he worked at W.H. Allen (Rolls Royce Engines) factory in Bedford where he worked as an apprentice turner. He began his apprenticeship directly from leaving school. Exempt from joining up but decided to volunteer. Enlisted on 15th March 1943 so was only in the RAF for 17 months before his death. His sister sent for his personnel records from RAF Innsworth and in them, described as being 5’ 10ins tall with fair hair and blue eyes. Donald was a fun loving, outgoing character. He liked to draw and was very good at it, forever drawing aircraft and had many books on aviation. Also loved sport and excelled at Rugby and Football.

Fl/Lt. Bernard John Hughes. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 202. Further information: Son of John and Ann Hughes and husband of Josephine Hughes of Hove, Sussex, England. Nicknamed Pat, after an American Wimbledon player, Bernard married Josephine Hearn at Battle Registry Office on the 9th September 1937.

Pat was father to a son David J. Hughes, born in Brighton on the 11th September 1940. In a letter from Josephine written in March 1945 to the Overee Family, “My little boy is now four years old, so you can imagine what a great comfort he is to me and just longs for his daddies return.” Pat often spoke of his crew and said how well they worked together and had great faith in his pilot according to the same letter written by Josephine to the family of John Overee after the aircraft went missing.

Abbreviated Career in the Air Force:

17 June 1940 enlisted in RAF - 4 Oct 1940 joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve as Aircraftsman 1253162 OC2 ACH A/Obs RAFVR - 4 Oct 1941 commissioned in Cambridge as Probationary Pilot Officer - GD Branch19 May 1942 served in Egypt with 55 Squadron, navigating a Baltimore AG 764 G (PRO), one of the "18 Imperturbables" according to German Troops. (Air 27 517 (1941 Jan - 1942 Dec) IIM/E55/3)27 Aug 1942 was in command of Road Party moving Flight B to base landing ground LG 863 Sept 1942 AG 807 P Sgt Baff (pilot) Sgt Cloden & Sgt Parson - Attack on Axis MTs Deir el Razil area1 Oct 1942 Flying Officer. Pilot was Sgt. Kelly Edwards other crew Sgt. McLoughlin and Sgt. Hewton6 Nov 1942 "Due to the swift collapse of the enemy, further operations of the squadron were curtailed"1-15 Dec 1942 "enjoyable fortnight at Lydda, Palestine" - 16 Feb 1943 F/O P.J. Hughes (sic) was transferred to 454 Squadron - 10 Mar 1943 No 75 OTU - 4 Oct 1943 Flight Lieutenant 107912 - 3 Dec 1943 22 P.T.C. - 11 Jan 1944 - I.P.D.E. - 2 Mar 1944 - 83 OTU - 23 May 1944 - No 11 Base Conversion Course - 21 July transferred to 12 Squadron as Navigator in a Lancaster (POR 27/44 – 23/7/44)

Sgt. Dennis Anthony Webb. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 206. Further information: Son of Ethel Webb of 42 Frankland Close, Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, England. Webby trained in Canada from early 1943. He was a very quiet character and kept himself very much to himself. His brother (Cpl Donald J. Webb) was also in the RAF serving with the Central Mediterranean Force.

F/O. Stanley Walter Greengrass. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 206. Husband of Audrey (née Coulson) GreEngrass of 52 Cork Lane, Blaby, Leicester, England.

Sgt. John Walter William Overee. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 235. Further information: Son of Walter Alfred and Caroline Sarah Overee of 382 Rainham Road South, Dagenham, Essex, England. John, the eldest son, was born in 1921 in the East End of London and baptised on the 19 November of that year at Upton Park. His younger brother, Reginald Alfred was born on the 19th August 1923. Both John and Reg joined the RAF and served as W/O and Rear Gunners. Reg was in the 21 Squadron of the South African Airforce and served most of the war in Italy. The first entry in John’s log book is dated the 9th December 1943 and the first reference to Charlie Taylor is on the 26th March 1944, when they had a training flight in a Wellington Bomber (JA 453). They trained together and with the rest of the crew, until June 1944 when John went to Ingham Gunnery School (RAF Ingham served as a satellite for Hemswell) for a week on a course. They were reunited at Sandtoft (CTU) before moving to Hemswell (LFS) on 15th July. John’s parents never gave up hope that he would return home again one day. Mr. and Mrs. Overee requested a list of all the crew members’ next of kin from the RAF and wrote to them all after John went missing. They received responses from everyone, bar Pat Taylor in New Zealand.

F/O John Bell DFC. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 204. Further information: Son of Stafford and Margaret Bell, husband of Cecilia Florence Bell of 2 Prospect Road, Moseley, Birmingham, England. Dinger was a real live wire, everyone knew him apparently. "Dinger was father to a daughter, Cecilia M. Bell, born in Birmingham in 1944 after her father’s death. He was quite a character, noisy and cheerful. Most Rear Gunners were NCO’s but Dinger had a Commission and had been awarded the DGC. …..more qualified and respected by all, he lived life to the full and enjoyed it. Awarded his DFC while attached to 102 Squadron on 19th October 1943. Awarded as per London Gazette dated 19 October 1943. The citation from the Air Ministry Bulletin 11721 reads as follows:

"Pilot Officer Bell, as air gunner, has completed numerous operational sorties, many of them involving attacks on distant and dangerous targets in enemy territory. This officer has invariably maintained a cool and imperturbable demeanour, whatever the nature of the emergency which may confront him. He is an outstanding air gunner who has always displayed high courage and determination.

Compiled by Linda Ibrom for Aircrew Remembered - May 2017. Photos and detailed information on Fl/Lt. Taylor, and all of his crew and other information to Christine Mills (niece). Photo and detailed information on Sgt. Overee to Sharon Overee, (Niece.)

LI - 28.05.2017

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