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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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49 Squadron Crest
17/18.08.1943 No. 49 Squadron Lancaster III JA851 EA-P P/O. Tomlin

Operation: Peenemünde

Date: 17/18th August 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 49 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JA851

Code: EA-P

Base: RAF Fiskerton, Lincolnshire

Location: West of Nordborg, Denmark

Pilot: P/O. Thomas Edwin Tomlin DFC. 145156 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Kenneth Ernest Watson 1433407 RAFVR Age 33 Missing - believed killed

Nav: P/O. William James Rooke AUS/414089 RAAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. William Arthur Davies MiD. 937521 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Cecil Stancliffe 1130080 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Thomas Tonkin DFM. 156045 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. George Bernard Silvester DFM 977392 RAFVR Age 26. Missing - believed killed


Taking off from RAF Fiskerton in Lincolnshire at 21:43 hrs. on an operation to destroy the secret research centre at Peenemünde where the Germans were developing the V2 rocket.

The raid was a success and delayed production of the V2. After Lancaster JA851 had bombed the target, it was attacked by a Bf-110G night-fighter. Flown by Fw. Hans Meissner (1) of 6./NJG3 at 02:56 hrs. His 6th claim of the war. (Crew: Uffz Josef Krinner, Fritz Pieper) Lancaster JA691 from the squadron was also claimed by him this nigh, also Lancaster EE117 from 619 Squadron.

49 Squadron lost two other crews this night. The others:

Lancaster III JA961 Flown by F/O. Harry John Randall 119813 RAFVR - killed with all 6 other crew.
Lancaster III ED805 Flown by 27 year old, Sq/Ldr. Richard Nevil Todd-White 37388 RAF from Woodford Wells, Essex, England - killed with all 6 other crew.

Above L-R: The Bf-110G night-fighter crew: Fritz Pieper, Hans Meissner and Josef. (courtesy Kracker Archives on this site)

(1) Fw. Hans Meissner, then a Luftwaffe ace went on to claim a total of 20 claims of the war from which he survived.

Burial details:

P/O. Thomas Edwin Tomlin DFC. Aabenraa Cemetery. Allied Military Plot. Row 3.2. Son of Edwin and Hilda Gertrude Tomlin, of Mutley, Plymouth, England.

Sgt. Kenneth Ernest Watson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 168. Son of William Miller Watson and Helen Jane Watson.

P/O. William James Rooke. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 191. Born on the 15th June 1917 in Coraki, Queensland, the son of Franklin Richard and Vivian Grace Rooke, of Blackall, Queensland, Australia.

Fl/Sgt. William Arthur Davies MiD. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 136. Son of Charles William and Florence May Davies, of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.

Sgt. Cecil Stancliffe. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 165. Son of J. A. and Elizabeth Ann Stancliffe, of Norton, Malton, Yorkshire, England.

P/O. Thomas Tonkin DFM. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 133. Son of Thomas and Margaret Tonkin, of Rose Green, Sussex, England.

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. George Bernard Silvester DFM. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 139. Son of Alfred and Emily Silvester, of Binfield, Berkshire, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Andrea Ruddick for visiting the memorial stone for Fl/Sgt. George Bernard Silvester, Mogens Jensen for grave photo of pilot.

KTY - 11.08.2017

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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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