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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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234 Squadron Crest
16.04.1942 No. 234 Squadron Spitfire Vb AR374 P/O. Ralph S. Woolass

Operation: ASR Sortie

Date: 16th April 1942 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 234 Squadron

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: AR374

Code: AZ-Not known

Base: RAF Ibsley, Hampshire, England

Location: English Channel off Cherbourg

Pilot: P/O. Ralph Skelton Woolass 102073 (NCO-1064093) RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed


Understood to be on an Air Sea Rescue cover patrol when shot down by Me109 at 17:10 hrs.

Also lost this day from the Squadron:

BL889 Spitfire Vb flown by 20 year old P/O. George Roxberry Bland 101023 RAFVR from Aldbourne, England - also not recovered and remembered on the Runnymede Memorial (see below).

Burial details:

P/O. Ralph Skelton Woolass. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 72. Born on the 23rd September 1917, the son of Stanley and Jessie Gertrude Woolass (Née Skelton), of North Anston, Yorkshire, England. Brother to Peter and David. Enlisted on the 18th August 1940 at RAF Padgate. After training in Canada posted to No. 53 OTU at RAF Llandow before finally going 234 Squadron at RAF Ibsen on the 16th September 1941.

Other: George Roxberry Bland. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 68. Son of Maj. Valentine Stevens Bland, M.C, and Doris Bland, of Aldbourne, Wiltshire, England.

Researched and dedicated for the brother of this pilot, Mr. David Woolass in July 2016. With thanks to Amanda West for Runnymede Memorial Panel photographs. Other sources as quoted below:

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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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