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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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300 squadron badge
25/26.08.1944 300 Squadron Lancaster III JB561 BH:B Fg Off. Whyte

Operation: Rüsselsheim

Date: 25th/26th August 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 300 Squadron (Polish)

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JB561

Coded: BH:B

Base: RAF Faldingworth, Lincolnshire.

Location: Rüsselsheim, Germany.

Pilot: Fg Off. Gordon Gambley Whyte 175620 RAFVR Age? Killed

Flt Eng: Flt Sgt. Wladyslaw Jagiello 780009 PAF Age 30. Killed (1)

Nav: Sgt. Albert Clayworth 1621688 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Maurice John Robertson 1397798 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Billie Sellers 2206501 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (2)

Air Gnr: Sgt. John Herbert Moule 1853428 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Charles William Taylor 1880883 RAFVR Age 31. Killed


Took off at 20.17 hrs from Faldingworth, Lincolnshire.

JB561 was claimed by Hptm Ernst Wallner 6./NJG6 - near Russelsheim at 01:27 hrs. Claim over “Einflug” or outward bound aircraft. (Nachtjagd Combat Archives 1944 Part 4 - Theo Boiten)

Believed to be the original crew with Fg Off. Gordon Whyte. We know that Sgt. Billie Sellers is third from left rear row. Sgt. Ernest Rees, 2nd from left at rear. Are you able to ID the other members? The niece of Sgt. Moule contacted us in June 2016 and identified her uncle as rear row, extreme right. (courtesy John Sellers)

A second Lancaster I flown by Fg Off. Richard N. Hansell DFC was killed, along with all other six crew members over the target area.

A total of 412 Lancasters took part in this raid, over 17 were lost in fierce battles over the target area several German night fighters were also lost. The Pathfinder marking was accurate and the raid was successfully completed.

The crew of JB561 about to embark (courtesy Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945)

An official German report says that the forge and the gearbox assembly plant were put out of action for several weeks, but 90% of the machine tools in other departments escaped damage. The assembly line and part of the press works were able to re-commence work 2 days later and lorry assembly was not affected because of considerable stocks of ready made parts. 179 people were killed in the raid but their nationalities were not recorded

(1) Flt Sgt. Jagiello was a replacement for the usual Flight engineer Ernest Rees who was grounded for this flight by the Medical Officer. He wrote to the family of Sgt. Billie Sellers at a later date. We are pleased to write that the Grandson of Sgt. Rees contacted Aircrew Remembered in August 2014. We hope to have further information from him shortly.

Taken during training Sgt Billie Sellers on extreme right with Eric Garforth in the centre - can you place a name to the chap on the left? (courtesy John Sellers)

(2) Please note this is the correct spelling for his name - as advised by his family. Others have it as Sellars. During training Sgt. Sellers trained with his mate, a Sgt Garforth. Tragically and totally by coincidence he was killed the same night, on the same operation but with 75 Squadron.

This Lancaster was built by AV Roe from Chadderton, Lancashire in the latter part of 1941. Initially fitted with the Merlin 28 engine later fitted with the Merlin 38s.

Burial Details:

Durnbach War Cemetery (courtesy David Franklin - David has kindly provided us with permission to release high definition copies to relatives)

Fg Off. Gordon Gambley Whyte. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave. 1.H.13. Son of Mr. and Mrs. D. L. Whyte, of Liverpool, England.

Flt Sgt. Wladyslaw Jagiello. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave. 1.H. 9. Warsaw, Poland.

Flt Sgt Jagiello is also commemorate on - Polish War Memorial RAF Northolt Panel 23.

Sgt. Albert Clayworth. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 227. From Highfields, Doncaster. Next of Kin details not known as yet.

Sgt. Maurice John Robertson. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave. 1.H.10. Son of Alfred Maurice and Hilda Florence Robertson, of Welling, Kent, England.

Sgt. Billie Sellers. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave. 1.H.11. Son of Stanley and Lena Sellers of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. John Herbert Moule. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave. 1.H. 8. Son of Herbert Stanley Moule and Jessie Nora Moule, of Clevedon, Somerset, England.

Sgt. Charles William Taylor. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave. 1.H.12. Son of Charles Edward and Florence Taylor, of Battersea, London, husband of Marie Eleanor Taylor, of Battersea, London, England.

With thanks to the following: John Sellers for information on Sgt Billy Sellers (Nephew), Sgt. Simon Rees RAF (Grandson of Sgt. Ernest Rees), also contacted us in August 2014. Rita Atyeo, niece of Sgt. Moule contacted us in June 2016. David Franklin for Durnbach Cemetery photograph, Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow. Thanks to John Jones for the Night fighter claim (Sep 2021). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Sep 2021)

RS 06.09.2021 - Updated to include Night fighter claim

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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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