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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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51 Squadron Crest
17.09.1944 No. 51 Squadron Halifax III LV865 MH-Y F/O. B.M. Twilley

Operation: Boulogne

Date: 17th September 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: 51 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LV865

Code: MH-Y

Location: RAF Snaith Yorkshire. .

Pilot: F/O. Bernard Mark Twilley 151202 RAFVR Survived - Injured

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Roy Challinor Hitchen 2203456 RAFVR Age 20. Survived

Nav: Sgt. Richard Holden 1671139 RAFVR Age 27. Survived - Injured

Air/Bmr: F/O. Carl Winston Cassini 154240 RAFVR Age 22. Survived

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Roberts Hall 1457899 RAFVR Age 23. Survived

Air/Gnr: Sgt. L.G. Morris RAFVR Survived

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Henry Dunkley 1608128 RAFVR Age 20. Killed


Taking off at 07:27hrs from RAF Snaith to attack enemy strong points, however during take off the aircraft swung out of control and collided with a hut used to store bomb fuzes.

The impact was severe, the Halifax was damaged beyond any reasonable repair, sadly the rear gunner Sgt. Dunkley lost his life in the collision.

Note: Some of this crew were sadly lost on the 18th December 1944 - The start of Operation ‘Market Garden’, the allied invasion of Holland. Halifax NP934 MH-V.

Burial Details:

Sgt. Robert Henry Dunkley. Mixbury Churchyard (All Saints). Son of John Geoffrey and Alice Mary Dunkley, of Northampton, England.

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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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