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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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75 Squadron Crest
20/21.07.1944 No. 75 Squadron Lancaster I ME691 AA-R P/O. H. Whittington

Operation: Homberg

Date: 20/21st July 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 75 (NZ) Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ME691

Code: AA-R

Base: RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire

Location: Near the Veghel - Uden road, Netherlands

Pilot: P/O. Harold Whittington NZ/42488 RNZAF Age 26. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Don W. Gore 1624691 RAFVR PoW No. 455 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankan

Nav: Fl/Lt. Joseph Stevens 125607 RAFVR Age 32. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Alfred Alexander Simpson NZ/425212 RNZAF Age 29. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Phillip Edwin Tompkins 157922 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr (mid upper): Sgt. Ronald John Morton Batty 549542 RAF Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr (rear): Fl/Sgt. Andrew Crawford Fletcher NZ/42675 RNZAF Age 24. Killed


Lancaster ME691 took off from RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire, England at 23:35 hrs on its way to bomb the Fischer Tropsch oil refinery/aviation fuel producer in Homberg, Germany. Some 147 Lancasters with 11 Mosquitoes taking part in the operation.

The Luftwaffe night ace Lt. Walter Briegleb (1) was scrambled from his base at Dusseldorf in his Ju88 D5+BV of 10./NJG3 - within an hour he had claimed two Lancasters on their homebound trip. His 2nd claim, Lancaster ME691, crashing at 01:33 hrs near the Veghel - Uden road.

Rear: Fl/Sgt. Andew Fletcher, F/O. Philip Tompkins, Sgt. Don Gore, Sgt Alfred Simpson. Front: Fl/Lt. Joseph Stevens, P/O.Harold Whittington, Sgt. Ronald Batty.

Also lost from the Squadron during this operation:

Lancaster I HK569 AA-Q Flown by 21 year old P/O.Neil Douglas Davidson NZ/422057 RNZAF of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand - killed with 5 other crew, 1 taken PoW.
Lancaster I ME752 AA-Z Flown by 21 year old, Fl/Sgt. Gerald Bria Roche NZ/413219 RNZAF from Wellington, New Zealand - killed with 4 other crew, 2 taken PoW.
Lancaster III ND752 AA-O Flown by 31 year old F/O. Henry John Burtt NZ/414560 of Wellington, New Zealand - killed with 4 other crew, 2 taken PoW.
Lancaster III ND800 AA-J Flown by 27 year old, P/O. Kenneth McIndoe Mackay NZ.421829 RNZAF - killed with all 6 other crew.
Lancaster III ND915 AA-A Flown by 24 year old, W/O. Hugh Edward Gilmour AUS/22776 RAAF from Queensland, Australia - killed with 4 other crew, 2 taken PoW.
Lancaster III PA967 AA-D Flown by 21 year old, P/O. Edward Howell NZ/428819 RNZAF from South Shields, County Durham, England - killed with all 6 other crew.

(1) Lt. Walter Briegleb born on the 30th April 1923, this was his 13th claim. He survived the war with a total of 25 claims. No further information as to his post war career.

Burial details:

P/O. Harold Whittington. Uden War Cemetery, Netherlands. Grave 3.1.2. Son of John Richard and Minnie Whittington, of Hamilton, Auckland, New Zealand. On his 11th operation, a total of 576 flying hours logged.

Fl/Lt. Joseph Stevens. Uden War Cemetery, Netherlands. Grave 5.A.8. Son of Joseph and Hilda Stevens, of Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Alfred Alexander Simpson. Uden War Cemetery, Netherlands. Grave 3.1.4. Son of Frederick John and Jessie Ann Simpson, of Gisborne, Auckland, New Zealand, husband of Gladys Simpson, of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. On his 11th operation, a total of 317 flying hours logged.

F/O. Phillip Edwin Tompkins. Uden War Cemetery, Netherlands. Grave 5.A.10. Son of Edwin George and Gladys Elizabeth Tompkins of Merton Park, Surrey, husband of Joan Grace Tompkins, of Merton Park, England.

Sgt. Ronald John Morton Batty. Uden War Cemetery, Netherlands. Grave 5.A.9. Of The Armistice, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, England. No further details - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Andrew Crawford Fletcher. Uden War Cemetery, Netherlands. Grave 5.A.11. Son of Daniel Fletcher and of Jeanie Fletcher (née McNeill), of Devonport, Auckland, husband of Dorothy May Fletcher, of Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand. Thought to be on his 11th operation.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Philip Roberts for crew photograph, Des Philippet for grave photos. Errol Martyn - For Your Tomorrow Vol’s 1-3.

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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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