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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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57 Squadron
10/11.08.1943 57 Squadron Lancaster III ED992 DX:O Flt Lt. Wilson

Operation: Nürnberg

Date: 10th/11th August 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit No: 57 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ED992

Code: DX:O

Base: RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire

Location: Rummelsberg, Nr. Nürnberg, Germany

Pilot: Flt Lt. Robert Hay Wilson 120627 RAFVR Age 21. KiA

Pilot 2: Plt Off. Robert James Ratcliffe 413032 RAAF Age 29. KiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. George Pettefar 1499191 RAFVR Age 21. KiA

Nav: Plt Off. Aaron Burns 155579 RAFVR Age 21. KiA

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Raymond Kenneth Garment 1320205 RAFVR Age 20. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Alan St. John Floyd 1384586 RAFVR Age 33. KiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. Gordon Cecil Major 1336854 RAFVR Age 19. KiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. John Frank Broadbent 52829 RAF Age? KiA


Took off at 21:42 hrs from RAF Scampton Lincolnshire to bomb Nuremberg with 653 aircraft (318 Lancasters, 216 Halifaxes and 119 Stirlings)

Left: Plt Off. Robert James Ratcliffe Right: Informal group portrait of aircrew members taken at South Cerney? on the day they were posted. Identified in this group are: 414027 Arthur William Heap RAAF; 32274 Clive Alexander (Alec) Pickup RAAF; 'Knobby' Clark RAF; 412853 Jack Smithers RAAF; 413032 Robert James Ratcliffe RAAF (5th from left); 413357 Allan John Davey RAAF; 409383 Donald Frank Constable DFC, RAAF; 413049 Alfred Newton Vidler RAAF; 413452 Stanley George Townsend DFM, RAAF; and 'Darkie' Davis. Positions within the group unknown. Of the men pictured, whose full identity is known, only Plt Off. Townsend was to survive the war. (Credit: Robert Ratcliffe)

The raid was considered as a success resulting in housing and industrial property damaged with 577 people killed on the ground. The allies lost 24 aircraft during this operation with 76 aircrew killed, 42 made PoW, 2 evading capture with a further 21 being injured.

No claims have been identified for shooting down Lancaster ED992 but the aircraft was known to have come down in the village of Rummelsberg.

Burial details:

Grave photographs kindly supplied by David Franklin - sadly during his visit 3 of the crew headstones were removed for renovation. The CWGC kindly place a marker at each position in case a relative happens to be visiting during that period. As shown below.

Flt Lt. Robert Hay Wilson. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 6.K.2. Born on the 10th June 1922 in Paddington, Greater London. Son of Dr. William and Margaret Dunlop (née Hay) Wilson from Bayswater, London, England.

His father was Canadian and they came to the UK in September 1938 (when he was 16) and lived at 44 Porchester Terrace, London W2 with his mother whilst he was studying.

Plt Off. Robert James Ratcliffe. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 6.K.1. Grave inscription reads: "HIS DUTY FEARLESSLY AND NOBLY DONE EVER REMEMBERED". Born on the 12th April 1914 at Alpine, NSW, the son of Joseph Richard Leonard and Louisa Ratcliffe, of Alpine, New South Wales, Australia.

Sgt. George Pettefar. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 6.K.3. Grave inscription reads: "TREASURED MEMORIES ALWAYS". Son of William and Nora May Pettefar, of Chilwell, Nottinghamshire, England.

Plt Off. Aaron Burns. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. grave 6.K.4-8. Son of Aaron and Mary Emma Burns, of Barnsley, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Raymond Kenneth Garment. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. grave 6.K.4-8. Born in 1923 in Barnet. His Step-father was Albert Edward Tree.

Raymond was known by the family as Tom Tree. He had worked for the GPO between 1940 - 1941. It is thought that he was involved with telecommunications. His father was Albert served in the army in WW1 and WW2.

He had an older half sister and 3 younger brothers. He was engaged to be married at the time of the crash.

Sgt. Alan St. John Floyd. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. grave 6.K.4-8. Son of Algynon Leicester Floyd and of Elsie Katherine Floyd (nee Jackson), husband of Margaret Floyd (née Martin), of Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England.

Sgt. Gordon Cecil Major. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. grave 6.K.4-8. Son of Cecil H. Major and Doris Major, of Golders Green, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. John Frank Broadbent. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. grave 6.K.4-8. From Sanderstead, Croydon, Surrey, No further details currently available - await contact from relatives.

Researched for Quentin Ginever (great nephew of Sgt. George Pettefar) and for all relatives of the crew. With thanks also to Robert Ratcliffe - nephew of Plt Off. Ratcliffe. Thanks to Anthony Cox for the Next of Kin details for Flt Lt. Wilson (Apr 2021). Thanks to Sally Siseman for the information regarding Sgt. Raymond Kenneth Garment (aka Tom Tree) (Sep 2023).

Further sources as quoted below.

RS 05.09.2023 - Next of Kin details added for Sgt. Garment

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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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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