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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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9 crest
23/24th September 1942 9 Squadron Lancaster I W4230 WS-P Fl/Sgt. White

Operation: Wismar

Date: 23/24th September 1942 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 9 Squadron (motto: Per noctem volamus - We fly through the night) 5 Group

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: W4230

Code: WS-P

Base: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire

Location: Baltic Sea near Langeland

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Owen Beamish White NZ/411003 Age 21. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Geoffrey William Ardern Higson 1058150 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Nav: F/O. Harry Francis Burton Smith NZ/41641 Age 25. Missing - believed killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. James Alexander Beaton 970834 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Noel Henry Crozier NZ/411742 Age 21. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Cornwall Gray NZ/405255 RNZAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Wallace Henry NZ/405266 RNZAF Age 26. Killed


Taking off with 82 others from various squadrons to bomb Wismar in Germany.

At 02:46 hrs. they were hit by flak from 3/lei Flak Abt 844 they crashed crashed in the Baltic near Langeland off the island of Vejrø at 02:52 hrs. Two of the crews bodies were later washed ashore whilst the remainder have no known graves.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Owen Beamish White. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 117. Born on the 16th January 1921 at Pakin. A student prior to enlisting one the 09th February 1941 at Levin. Son of Gerald Beamish White and Keitha Owen White (née Pikeot). Lake Okataina, Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand's North Island. Flying hours logged and completed 10 operational sorties.

Sgt. Geoffrey William Ardern Higson. The body of Sgt Higson was found drifted ashore near Holsteinsborg on 28 Sep 1942 and was laid to rest in Svinø cemetery on 9 Oct 1942. (Air War Over Denmark) Born on the 12th January 1914 at Northwich. A clerk prior to service. Son of Harold and of Frances Ellen Higson (née Ardern) and husband of Marjorie Kendal Higson (née Stubbs), of Gorton, Manchester.

F/O. Harry Francis Burton Smith. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 114. Born on the 08th January 1917 at Gisborne. A clerk for Billiards Ltd. Enlisted RNZAF on the 19th January 1941 at Levin. Son of Alfred Ezra and Helena Smith, of Wellington, New Zealand. His brother Cpl. Raymond Bernard Smith was also lost on the 30th September1940 Oxford I NZ1251 all 3 crew missing after crashing in bad weather near Tongapōrutu, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. James Alexander Beaton. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 73. No further details - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Noel Henry Crozier. Runnymede Memorial Panel 117. Born on the 25th December 1920 at Woodville. A draper for John Cobbe and Co. Enlisted at Levin on the 15th March 1941. Son of Alexander and Annie Crozier (née Cox), of Woodville, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. 136 Flying hours logged and on his 3rd operational sortie. The family lost 3 other brothers, Fl/Sgt. Alexander Crozier went missing on the 03rd March 1944. 23 Squadron Mosquito FB.V1 LR253 YP-M. Fl/Sgt. Alexander Walter Crozier 15 squadron Stirling III BK656 LS-A killed on the 23rd June 1943. P/O. Robert Crozier 500 squadron Hudson III VAM697 MK-K.

Above the Crozier brothers. L-R: Fl/Sgt. Alexander Walter Crozier, Fl/Sgt. Alexander Crozier, Sgt. Noel Henry Crozier, P/O. Robert Crozier

Sgt. James Cornwall Gray. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 117. Born on the 01st September 1917 at Christchurch. A farmer on his fathers sheep farm prior to service. Enlisted on the 22nd December 1920 at Levin. Son of James and Miriam Eleanor Gray (née Bailie)of Koromiko, Marlborough, New Zealand.

Sgt. John Wallace Henry. Born on the 12th March 1916 at Christchurch. Enlisted on the 22nd December 1940 at at Levin. Son of Samuel and Annie Maria Henry (née Grenfell) and husband of Aileen Rita Henry (née Lloyd), of New Brighton, Canterbury, New Zealand.124 Flying hours logged and on his 3rd operational sortie.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 26-01-2021

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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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