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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
11/12.06.1943 No. 12 Squadron Lancaster I ED357 PH-S Fl/Sgt. Thomson

Operation: Düsseldorf

Date: 11/12th June 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 12 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ED357

Code: PH-S

Base: RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire

Location: Oost-Flevorland (Ijsselmeer) Netherlands

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Daniel McNicol Thomson AUS/409256 RAAF Age 26. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Kenneth Bowes 1098656 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Nav: Sgt. James Leslie Osborne 1172557 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. William Middleton Ward 1553630 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Noel Campbell 1345600 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Thomas Pingle R/146605 RCAF PoW No: 227 Camp L6

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Clarence Wesley Albert Sparling R/51866 RCAF PoW No: 254 Camp L6


Taking off from RAF Wickenby in Lincolnshire at 22:40 hrs with 782 other aircraft from various squadrons to bomb Düsseldorf.

It is understood that they were attacked over the Ijsselmeer at 02:02 hrs (some publications list the time as 23:01 hrs - mistake we feel) by a night fighter flown by Oblt. Helmut Bergmann on detachment from Stab NJG1 flying with 8./NJG4. The interception took place at 5,000 metres.

It is believed that all the crew managed to bale out from the aircraft but sadly only two survived.The rear gunner and mid-upper gunner survived after being picked up from the water from some local Dutch people on barges and then looked after before being handed over to the Germans.

Although initial marking was spot on for the first wave a backup marker Mosquito dropped target indicators 14 miles (23 km) off target to the north-east; with the effect that part of the bombing fell there. 130 acres (0.53 km2) of Düsseldorf claimed as destroyed.

After the war, the area was drained and one of the propellers was recovered and today stands as a monument in front of the Town Hall in Dronten and a parade is held there on the anniversary of the end of the war in Holland. The Dutch named streets in honour of all the crew members: Thomsonstraat, Boweshof, Wardhof, Osbornehof, Campbellhof, Sparlinghof, Pinglestraat.

(1) This was the 13th claim for the ace Helmut Bergmann. He went on to claim a total of 34 before he was killed on the 6/7th August 1944 when he was shot down by Fl/Lt. John Surman in a Mosquito MM449 from 604 squadron.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Daniel McNicol Thomson. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 69. Row C. Collective grave 20. Born on the 21st August 1916 in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of John James Thomson and Kate Thomson, of Bentleigh, Victoria, Australia. Also listed as next of kin, Isabella Thomson. Wife?

Sgt. Kenneth Bowes. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 143. Son of John and Gertrude Bowes and husband of Joyce Bowes, of Darlington, County Durham, England.

Sgt. James Leslie Osborne. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 69. Row C. Collective grave 20. Son of Harry Leslie and Maud Osborne, of Daventry, Northamptonshire, England. (Note: he shares his grave with 23 year old F/O. John Albert Cowley DFM. 120216 RAFVR from Cam, Gloucestershire, England, Shot down on the same operation but with 156 Squadron Lancaster III ED935 - all the crew from this aircraft killed or missing)

Sgt. William Middleton Ward. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 69. Row C. Collective grave 20. Born on the 11th September 1923 in Edinburgh, the son of William and Louisa Ward, of Corstorphine, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Sgt. Douglas Noel Campbell. Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery. Plot 69. Row C. Collective grave 19. Son of Dugald and Agnes Campbell, of West Drumoyne, Glasgow, Scotland. (Note: he shares his grave with 22 year old, F/O. Robert Maxwell Bryant AUS/411748 RAAF from New South Wales, Australia. Shot down on the same operation, but with 156 Squadron Lancaster III ED935 - all the crew from this aircraft killed or missing)

Researched for and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown. Also to Fulham Rocks for grave photographs.

KTY - 14.08.2017

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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