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No. 15 Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

No. 15 Squadron Royal Air Force



 

2nd Sep 1939 Reconnaissance

10th May 1940 First bombing sortie

12th May 1940 Losses on Bombing missions

15th May 1940 Escorted attack

18th May 1940 Four aircraft destroyed

23rd May 1940 Aircraft lost

24th May 1940 Crash landing

25th May 1940 Shot down

8th June 1940 

11th June 1940 Aircraft lost

12th June 1940 Blenheim shot down

July 1940 Restored to strength

December 1940 Re-equipped

10th May 1941 Larger aircraft

July 1941 Daylight mission

Sept 1941 Raid on Italy

18th December 1941 Attack on the Scharnhorst

31st Jan 1942 First Attack on the Tirpitz

March 1942 Precision bombing trials

August 1942 On the move

April 1943 On the Move

January 1944 Lancasters

June 1944 Specialist radar

10th May 1945 Transport role

June 1945   Airfields at which No. 15 Squadron were based during WW2:
  • Abingdon Jun 1934 to Sep 1939
  • Bétheniville France. Sep 1939
  • Conde Vraux France. Sep 1939 to Dec 1939
  • Wyton. Dec 1939 to Apr 1940
  • Alconbury. Apr 1940 to May 1940
  • Wyton. May 1940 to Aug 1942
  • Lossiemouth (Detachment) Jan & Feb 1942
  • Bourn. Aug 1942 to Apr 1943
  • Mildenhall. Apr 1943 onwards



June 1945 


If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.



Those known to have served with

No. 15 Squadron Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Bate Howard Joseph. Flight Sergeant (d.16th Nov 1944)
  • Bateman Alan Birley. F/Lt.
  • Beck George Henry. Sgt. (d.31st July 1943)
  • Booth Alfred Stanley. Sgt. (d.16th Nov 1944)
  • Brophey Burt Orval. Sgt. (d.27th March 1944)
  • Bushby P.. Sgt. (d.11th Aug 1942)
  • Butterworth John Bernard. Sgt. (d.18th May 1942)
  • Campbell James Easdale. F/O (d.2nd November 1944)
  • Clayton Henry. Sgt. (d.16th Nov 1944)
  • Cobby Arthur Victor Edward. Sgt. (d.31st July 1943)
  • Dillicar John Collins. F/Lt. (d.31st July 1943)
  • Dillicar John Collins. F/Lt. (d.31st July 1943)
  • Earley Bernard. F/Lt. (d.2nd Nov 1944)
  • Eyre W. E.. WO2
  • Franklin James Joseph. Sgt. (d.16th Nov 1944)
  • Frearson Frederick John. F/O (d.2nd November 1944)
  • Gibbons Anthony James. Sgt. (d.31st July 1943)
  • Golder Reginald William. Flt Sgt. (d.7-8th April 1942)
  • Gordon-Watkins William David. Wing Cdr.
  • Hall John Charles. Sqn. Ldr. (d.18th May 1942)
  • Hammond J. B.. Sgt. (d.11th Aug 1942)
  • Hearn Douglas Charles Norman. F/S (d.16th Nov 1944)
  • Hunter William. Sgt. (d.2nd November 1944)
  • Ingle Arthur Ray. Lt. (d.31st July 1943)
  • Jackson Bernard Lionel. F/O (d.31st July 1943)
  • Jeffs Donald John. Sgt.
  • Jeffs Donald John. Sgt.
  • Jeffs John. Sgt.
  • Lilley Geoffrey William. P/O (d.2nd November 1944)
  • Markovitch Alfred Abraham. P/O (d.2nd November 1944)
  • Maycock Ronald. Sgt. (d.18th May 1942)
  • McCausland A. A. B.. F/S (d.11th Aug 1942)
  • McKenna Francis Peter. Sgt
  • Middleton Kenneth Percy. Sgt. (d.31st July 1943)
  • Mile J.. Sgt. (d.11th Aug 1942)
  • Morris George William. WO (d.2nd November 1944)
  • Nicholson Robert Nick. Sgt. (d.18th May 1942)
  • Nixon F.. Sgt. (d.11th Aug 1942)
  • Peachey C. P.. Lt. (d.23rd February 1944)
  • Penman David Glass. Sgt. (d.18th Dec 1941)
  • Ramsay Ian Grant. F/Sgt. (d.31st July 1943)
  • Reynolds George Lionel. F/Lt. (d.25th July 1944)
  • Ryan John Patrick. F/O (d.18th May 1942)
  • Sanders Frederick George. Flt Lt (d.16th Nov 1944)
  • Seaton Neville St Ledger. Lt. (d.23rd February 1944)
  • Sharp Frank Leslie. Sgt. (d.18th May 1942)
  • Slaughter James Edger. F/O.
  • Spargo O. C.. WO1 (d.23rd February 1944)
  • Spriggs Anthony. Sgt. (d.18th May 1942)
  • Stephen Raymond Thomas. Sgt. (d.29th July 1944)
  • Stevenson Charles. F/O (d.16th Nov 1944)
  • van Alphen G.. WO1 (d.23rd February 1944)
  • Woollard Peter. F/Sgt. (d.2nd November 1944)

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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Wing Cdr. William David Gordon-Watkins DSO DFC DFM 15 Sqd

Wing Cmdr Gordon-Watkins was the Commanding Officer of 15 Sqd. He was shot down on the 16th of November 1944 whilst piloting the lead bomber on a mission to Heinsburg. He was the only member of the crew to survive the incident and was captured and held as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft 1. He had completed over 50 operations and had previously served with 149 sqd.




Flt Lt Frederick George Sanders 15 Sqd (d.16th Nov 1944)

F/L Frederick George Sanders RNZAF was flying as the navigator when Lancaster LS-U of 15 sqd was shot down, although he usually flew as a pilot. He was 22 years old and was the son of Frederick Baldwin Sanders, and of Lillie Sanders (nee Eagle), of Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand. He is buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery in grave 5c19, alongside his crew mates.




F/S Douglas Charles Norman Hearn w/op 15 Sqd (d.16th Nov 1944)

I am looking for any information or anyone who may remember my Wife’s Uncle, Flight Sergeant (W.op/Air.Gnr) Douglas C N Hearn (Dougie) who was reported killed in action on 16/11/1944 in Lancaster III serial PB137 code LS-U from 15 Squadron.

The other members of the crew who were also reported killed in action were Flt Lt (Nav) F G Sanders RNZAF, F/O (Nav) C Stevenson RNZAF, Sgnt (Bmb. Aim) A S Booth, Sgnt (Flt.Eng) H J Bate, Sgnt (Air.Gnr) J J Franklin, Sgnt H Clayton

One member of the crew did manage to survive Wing Commander (Pilot) W D G Watkins DSO DFC DFM

Rick Whan



Flight Sergeant Howard Joseph Bate 15 Sqd. (d.16th Nov 1944)

Mr. Bate's widow is a friend of mine and she has told me how she never knew what has happened to him. I find that really sad and in this day and age, surely someone knows. She thinks that he was shot down over Heinzburg in Germany on 16th November 1944 and has heard nothing since apart from a letter sent on 26th September 1945 by the Ministry of Defence to tell her he was presumed dead. I have tried the British Legion . The R.A.F. etc and would really like to tell her what happened to him. She is an elderly lady now and I think that before she herself dies, she would find comfort in tracing where he lies.

update:

Howard Bate flew with the crew of Lancaster LS-U of 15 Squadron, serial number PB137. They took off as lead bomber from RAF Mildenhall at 13:35 on the 16th of November 1944 on a mission to Heinsburg. The aircraft was shot down by a German fighter and was set on fire, the aircraft broke up in mid air, only the pilot survived. The crew were:

Wing Commander William David Gordon-Watkins DSO DFC DFM was the pilot. He was the Commanding Officer of 15 Sqd. He had completed over 50 missions and had previously served with 149 sqd. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft 1. He passed away in 1965.

The rest of the crew are buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery:

  • Sgt Howard Joseph Bate
  • F/O C.Stevenson RNZAF
  • F/Lt F.G.Sanders RNZAF
  • Sgt A.S.Booth
  • Sgt J.J.Franklin
  • Sgt H.Clayton
  • F/S Douglas C.N.Hearn

Carol Ellen Harper



Sgt. Donald John "Duncan" Jeffs pilot 15 Sqd

On 18 May 1942, a young airman was thrown out of a Stirling bomber as it crashed into a Danish forest following a one-sided altercation with several anti-aircraft guns and the massive firepower of the battle cruiser Prinz Eugen. The remarkable escape of Sgt Don Jeffs from the wreckage that claimed the lives of his fellow crewmen, and his subsequent incarceration by the Germans in Stalag 8b POW camp

The evening of May 17th 1942 was clear and cloudless, but with no moon to speak of. That was why it had been chosen, less chance of being seen. The nine airmen walked over to the huge aircraft that would shortly be their only friend over enemy skies; a role it had served many times and with distinction. They had just completed their pre-flight briefing, the officers going over the mission details and maps of the target area, the enlisted men smoking and chatting about the forthcoming evening. As usual the crew were well aware of both the target and the outline flight plan before the skipper had briefed them. Such was the way in squadron's all over England in 1942.

The crew climbed aboard using their various entry doors, and quietly and efficiently moved to their assigned takeoff positions. Jokes were exchanged, the recognised method of ignoring what was shortly to come. The second pilot answered an unheard message from the control tower and a few glances were exchanged. The voice was a new one to them, and any change in routine on a mission always caused some concerns for the highly superstitious bomber crews. Flight Lieutenant Neville Booth was a friend of the skipper, and therefore made welcome by the crew, but he had been added at the last minute as an RAF observer for the mission, and no-one liked last minute changes. They often meant trouble.

The two pilots began their pre-flight instrument checks, and the wireless operator Don Jeffs contacted the tower to check his radio. The navigator John Ryan, with the new rookie Ronnie Maycock alongside him, opened his leather case and took out his maps while the gunners Butterworth, Nicholson, and Sharpe, silently prepared the massive machine guns for the evening's mission. All round the aircraft airmen were preparing for their next mission. It was 21.40 hrs as the four massive Hercules engines started up, each producing nearly 1600 horsepower. The vibrations ran the length of the Stirling, call sign LS-F (for Freddie) and through the men inside it's belly. 'Men' was perhaps too easy a term to use given the times they were in. The Skipper, John Hall, who was a veritable twenty-four would have been considered old by the standards of warfare. So many proud young sons had perished long before reaching their twenties.

Squadron Leader John Hall came over the intercom, 'crew get ready for takeoff'. Apart from the co-pilot alongside him, his friend Neville Booth, there were smiles all round from the rest of the established Reply crew. They were already veterans of many flights and had been 'ready' from well before the engines were fired up, but the skipper liked to be thorough which was why he was so liked and admired by the men who flew with him. This was a friendly crew, well used to living in close company both on and off the big bomber. All the crew had long since checked and rechecked their instruments and guns, knowing they would need the former to get where they were going, and in all probability the latter to be able to get home safely. The skipper and his co-pilot ran over the final instrument checks, while Tony Spriggs the engineer confirmed the bomber had all necessary oil and hydraulic pressures. Soon after they received their clearance from the tower, and started their slow approach to the runway.

The pilot lined the aircraft up along the designated strip, its huge engines throbbing with urgency. The two young men in the cockpit looked at each other and gave a simple nod, it was enough. They opened the throttles and W7531 began it's long deliberate lope up the runway at RAF Wyton fifty miles north of London. The huge aircraft gained speed at an impossibly slow rate and inside everything was vibrating and shrieking in protest, but as the Stirling's ground speed increased and Squadron Leader Hall pulled back on his stick, the huge beast lifted it's nose and rose slowly skywards. The fully laden takeoff weight of some 32 tons required maximum thrust from the engines, and vast plumes of black smoke accompanied the roar bellowing from the exhausts as the famous 'MacRobert's Reply' went to war.

The mission that night was to lay 6 tons of 'vegetable' mines in 'Daffodil', the code name for an area off the Norwegian coast called Ørersund. The Stirling was to fly north east to Malmo in Sweden and then reduce altitude to a few hundred feet and fly due west towards the Jutland peninsula of Denmark to commence the bombing run into the Sound. The outward leg went smoothly due to the masterly skills of the Kiwi navigator John 'Buck' Ryan who had joined MacRobert's Reply from the Canadian Royal Air Force. Buck had a trainee navigator with him on that flight, one Sgt Ronnie Maycock later to be known as the 'missing man'. The crew enjoyed the usual in-flight entertainment of local radio stations tuned into the aircraft intercom by the wireless operator Sgt Donald 'Duncan' Jeffs. As they neared the enemy coastline Sgt Jeffs cut the radio transmissions and they maintained radio silence to reduce the possibility of detection. As they flew over Malmo they received the customary burst of blank anti-aircraft fire, accompanied by the crossed searchlights indicating their target destination. For a neutral country, Sweden always made sure the allied bombers received as much assistance as possible. As they began to turn southwest, Squadron Leader Hall pushed the stick forward and reduced speed to commence the bomb run.

RAF intelligence had indicated that the only hazards were the batteries on the Danish coast, but the MacRobert's Reply and it's gallant company intended to be flying back home well before that. However, as they descended to 200 feet and prepared to open the bomb bay doors, the roar of heavy guns and the piercing crash of shrapnel exploding beside the aircraft shattered the peaceful evening. The intelligence report, while correct about the shore batteries, had omitted to include the huge cruiser 'Prince Eugen' working its way up the Great Belt in the Sound and now using its anti-aircraft guns at an impossibly large target just 200 feet off the water's surface. The plane shuddered as the port engine took a direct hit and burst into flames. 'Skipper the port engines on fire' echoed several of the crew together, but Squadron Leader Hall was having his own problems trying to gain steerage and altitude. As the aircraft somehow continued to defy the laws of gravity, it remained fixed on a westerly heading - towards the Danish islands. The crew were desperately trying to jettison the six tons of sea mines but the control mechanism for the bay doors had been damaged by the shelling and refused to play it's part as the huge bomber struggled to stay in the air. 'Skipper, were coming up to Funnen, watch out for the Little Belt bridge up ahead; we must try to go round' shouted Don Jeffs as he surveyed the coastline through the huge fire streaking past the window next to his wireless operator's chair on the port side. 'Yeah Duncan I know, but I've no controls' the skipper responded 'I'm going to try to get to the North Sea so we can ditch her if we need to'.

Immediately after the verbal exchange the anti-aircraft batteries on the bridge saw the huge target lit up by the fires and lumbering toward them. As the spotlights picked up W7531 and the crew saw the shadows reflecting from the intense glare in the windows, and unnatural silence sat heavily in the plane as their destiny began to take shape. The first barrage of 20mm shells from the guns on the bridge found it's mark and the MacRobert's Reply is hit again and again. The plane turned violently to starboard and dived earthwards, her gallant fight for survival all but over. As the huge aircraft descends it ploughs through the spruce tress of the Mathilde plantation and crashes with a colossal explosion that tears a massive rock from the ground and lays waste to over an acre of prime forest. At 02.10am on the morning of 18 May 1942, the crew of the MacRobert's Reply proudly, and with honour, fly their last mission in W7531 LS-F (for Freddie).

The German military arrived at the crash scene at 02.30hrs and quickly enlisted the 'help' of the local fire service that had already arrived at the site under the supervision of the Chief Fire Officer Jensen. C/O Jensen organised his teams into two parties. The first would fight the fire raging around the wreckage and threatening the surrounding forest. The second 'Falck' (salvage) team would find anything at the crash scene that could identify the plane and its crew, and would remove the bodies for later burial. The first fire crew fought the fire for two hours before the salvage crew were ready to move in. Immediately the local residents formed a human blockade to prevent the Germans from moving onto the crash site; a galant gesture of defiance and tribute to the fallen allies. A standoff ensued for many tense minutes. The German commanding officer ordered weapons to be readied and issued instructions for the locals to depart otherwise they would be shot. Reluctantly they were forced to retreat, but one man still refused and was taken into custody, later to spend the rest of the war in a prison camp for his defiance.

The Germans knew the plane downed was a Stirling and their salvage crew had collected a total of 7 'dog tags' from the remains of the young allied airmen. It was well known that a Stirling's usual compliment was seven, so once the tags were found it was naturally assumed all the crew had been accounted for. One of the first people at the crash site had been a local man, Willy Schmidt, with a couple of colleagues. Realising that the Germans would arrive quickly he conducted a simple search for bodies, braving the severe flames and continuing explosions of the mines. Willy spotted a crew member some distance from the main wreckage, obviously thrown just beyond the centre of the inferno, but still badly burned. As he approached he heard a cry, and at that moment the burning body opened it's mouth to try and speak. Sgt Jeffs was blind, scarred with burns, and with multiple injuries, but he was alive....

Several days after the crash, and when the Germans had left the site, the local residents returned to honour the airmen who had given their lives for the liberation of the occupied countries of Europe. Seeing the huge rock gauged out of the ground by the crashed aircraft, they banded together to roll the massive granite stone back to the place it had originated from, on the edge of the crater formed during the crash, before the Germans had moved it aside. Simple winter flowers and foliage were laid on the stone as a memorial that day. It stands in that same spot to this day, still standing guardian over the crater, and is still the focus of a memorial service in May every year. The people of Denmark will never forget the sacrifice of those brave airmen.

Back in 1942, Willy and his friends took a badly injured Don Jeffs down from the crash site to the edge of the forest, by way of a drainage ditch which runs towards what is now a popular tourist beach at Gals Klint. The ditch is still there. From there he is taken to the nearby Adler Hotel where Danish Resistance members are summoned to help. To avoid capture by the Germans, Don is kept in the loft of a large shed adjoining the Adler.

The crew were:

  • F/O Ryan
  • S/L J.C.Hall DFC MiD
  • F/L N.G.R.Booth
  • Sgt A.Spriggs
  • F/O J.P.Ryan RCAF
  • Sgt R.Maycock
  • Sgt J.B.Butterworth
  • Sgt F.L.Sharp
  • Sgt R.Nicholson
  • Sgt D.J.Jeffs, the only survivor was taken PoW and held in Stalag 8b.

Update: F/L Booth was a not a member of 15 Sqdn. It was said that he had been visiting Wyton and, on impulse, had asked to join the crew. But, Sgt Jeff's son tells us that F/Lt Booth was assigned to W7531 for that flight, not as a guest on impulse, but as an official observer of the new GEE Radar System. The rest of the crew were forbidden to talk about this late entry.

Philip Jeffs



F/O John Patrick "Buck" Ryan pilot 15 Sqd (d.18th May 1942)

John Ryan is second from Right.

After leaving Waimate College John met his future wife in Timaru and married in Melbourne after which they returned to New Zealand. John then travelled to the U.S. to study and, when he had completed the course, his wife joined him and they both worked for Bernar McFadden in Dansville, New York. While at Dansville, John Ryan learned to fly. When war broke out, they waited for their son (John Jnr) to be born (November '39) and then tried to get a booking for mother and son to return to New Zealand. Being war time, this took some time, but they finally secured a cabin on the Port Hunter. After their departure, John Ryan travelled to Canada to enlist in the RCAF, he trained with 11 OTU from 27 Jun 41, then joined 15 Sqn on the 1st of August 1941. He was promoted to Flying Officer on the 16th of March 42. He was killed along with his crewmates on Monday 18th May 1942 he was 30 years old.

The crew were:

  • F/O Ryan
  • S/L J.C.Hall DFC MiD
  • F/L N.G.R.Booth
  • Sgt A.Spriggs
  • F/O J.P.Ryan RCAF
  • Sgt R.Maycock
  • Sgt J.B.Butterworth
  • Sgt F.L.Sharp
  • Sgt R.Nicholson
  • Sgt D.J.Jeffs, the only survivor was taken PoW and held in Stalag 8b.

For the full story see Don Jeff's Story

John Ryan



Sqn. Ldr. John Charles Hall DFC MiD pilot 15 Sqd (d.18th May 1942)

Sqd Ldr Hall was killed when Stirling W7531 crashed on the 18th of May 1942, he was 24 years old.

The crew were:

  • F/O Ryan
  • S/L J.C.Hall DFC MiD
  • F/L N.G.R.Booth
  • Sgt A.Spriggs
  • F/O J.P.Ryan RCAF
  • Sgt R.Maycock
  • Sgt J.B.Butterworth
  • Sgt F.L.Sharp
  • Sgt R.Nicholson
  • Sgt D.J.Jeffs, the only survivor was taken PoW and held in Stalag 8b.

For the full story see Don Jeff's Story




Sgt. John Bernard Butterworth w/op 15 Sqd (d.18th May 1942)

Sgt Butterworth was killed when Stirling W7531 crashed on the 18th of May 1942, he was 22 years old.

The crew were:

  • F/O Ryan
  • S/L J.C.Hall DFC MiD
  • F/L N.G.R.Booth
  • Sgt A.Spriggs
  • F/O J.P.Ryan RCAF
  • Sgt R.Maycock
  • Sgt J.B.Butterworth
  • Sgt F.L.Sharp
  • Sgt R.Nicholson
  • Sgt D.J.Jeffs, the only survivor was taken PoW and held in Stalag 8b.

For the full story see Don Jeff's Story




Sgt. Robert Nick Nicholson air gunner. 15 Sqd (d.18th May 1942)

Sgt Nicholson was killed when Stirling W7531 crashed on the 18th of May 1942, he was 23 years old.

The crew were:

  • F/O Ryan
  • S/L J.C.Hall DFC MiD
  • F/L N.G.R.Booth
  • Sgt A.Spriggs
  • F/O J.P.Ryan RCAF
  • Sgt R.Maycock
  • Sgt J.B.Butterworth
  • Sgt F.L.Sharp
  • Sgt R.Nicholson
  • Sgt D.J.Jeffs, the only survivor was taken PoW and held in Stalag 8b.

For the full story see Don Jeff's Story




Sgt. Ronald Maycock observer 15 Sqd (d.18th May 1942)

Sgt Maycock was killed when Stirling W7531 crashed on the 18th of May 1942, he was 21 years old. For many years he had no known grave but was remembered on a special memorial in the cemetery at Odense in Denmark, where the rest of his crew were buried. His remains were recently recovered and interred in the cemetery, finally reunited with his crewmates.
  • F/O Ryan
  • S/L J.C.Hall DFC MiD
  • F/L N.G.R.Booth
  • Sgt A.Spriggs
  • F/O J.P.Ryan RCAF
  • Sgt R.Maycock
  • Sgt J.B.Butterworth
  • Sgt F.L.Sharp
  • Sgt R.Nicholson
  • Sgt D.J.Jeffs, the only survivor was taken PoW and held in Stalag 8b.

For the full story see Don Jeff's Story




Sgt. Frank Leslie Sharp air gunner. 15 Sqd (d.18th May 1942)

Sgt Sharp was killed when Stirling W7531 crashed on the 18th of May 1942.

The crew were:

  • F/O Ryan
  • S/L J.C.Hall DFC MiD
  • F/L N.G.R.Booth
  • Sgt A.Spriggs
  • F/O J.P.Ryan RCAF
  • Sgt R.Maycock
  • Sgt J.B.Butterworth
  • Sgt F.L.Sharp
  • Sgt R.Nicholson
  • Sgt D.J.Jeffs, the only survivor was taken PoW and held in Stalag 8b.

For the full story see Don Jeff's Story




Sgt. Anthony "Spriggy" Spriggs flight eng. 15 Sqd (d.18th May 1942)

Tony Briggs died when his Stirling crashed on the 18th of May 1942. He was 22 years old.

The crew were:

  • F/O Ryan
  • S/L J.C.Hall DFC MiD
  • F/L N.G.R.Booth
  • Sgt A.Spriggs
  • F/O J.P.Ryan RCAF
  • Sgt R.Maycock
  • Sgt J.B.Butterworth
  • Sgt F.L.Sharp
  • Sgt R.Nicholson
  • Sgt D.J.Jeffs, the only survivor was taken PoW and held in Stalag 8b.

For the full story see Don Jeff's Story




F/S A. A. B. McCausland 15 Sqd. (d.11th Aug 1942)

F/S McCausalnd lost his life when Stirling LS-C crashed into a pond at Potash Farm, Brettenham, near Ipswich, on the 11th of August 1942 at 03:37 while trying to land at RAF Wattisham. The aircraft had been badly damaged by two Ju88s, one of which was claimed damaged by return fire.




WO2 W. E. Eyre 514 Sqd.

Having been shot down on the 3rd of August 1944, WO2 Eyre was interned in Stalag Luft 7. He had previously flown with 15 Sqd. and had a narrow escape from death by burning when Stirling LS-C crashed into a pond at Potash Farm, Brettenham, near Ipswitch, on the 11th of August 1942 at 03:37 while trying to land at RAF Wattisham. The aircraft had been badly damaged by two Ju88s, one of which was claimed damaged by return fire. F/S Eyre was saved by the heroic actions of three men, Jim, John and Stan Arbons, who chopped their way into the fuselage and dragged the injured airman to safety. The rest of the crew perished. They were: F/S A.A.B.McCausland, Sgt P.Bushby, Sgt J.B.Hammond, Sgt F.Nixon, Sgt R.Tree and Sgt J.Mile.




Sgt. J. Mile 15 Sqd. (d.11th Aug 1942)

Sgt Mile lost his life when Stirling LS-C crashed into a pond at Potash Farm, Brettenham, near Ipswich, on the 11th of August 1942 at 03:37 while trying to land at RAF Wattisham. The aircraft had been badly damaged by two Ju88s, one of which was claimed damaged by return fire.




Sgt. F. Nixon 15 Sqd. (d.11th Aug 1942)

Sgt Nixon lost his life when Stirling LS-C crashed into a pond at Potash Farm, Brettenham, near Ipswich, on the 11th of August 1942 at 03:37 while trying to land at RAF Wattisham. The aircraft had been badly damaged by two Ju88s, one of which was claimed damaged by return fire.




Sgt. J. B. Hammond 15 Sqd. (d.11th Aug 1942)

Sgt Hammond lost his life when Stirling LS-C crashed into a pond at Potash Farm, Brettenham, near Ipswich, on the 11th of August 1942 at 03:37 while trying to land at RAF Wattisham. The aircraft had been badly damaged by two Ju88s, one of which was claimed damaged by return fire.




Sgt. P. Bushby 15 Sqd. (d.11th Aug 1942)

Sgt Bushby lost his life when Stirling LS-C crashed into a pond at Potash Farm, Brettenham, near Ipswich, on the 11th of August 1942 at 03:37 while trying to land at RAF Wattisham. The aircraft had been badly damaged by two Ju88s, one of which was claimed damaged by return fire.




Sgt Francis Peter McKenna OBE. 15 Squadron

My dad, Francis McKenna was a civilian detective who enlisted after police were taken off the reserved occupations list. He served as flight engineer next to his pilot and friend kiwi Bob Cameron. He flew 30 operations in Lancaster LS-O.

At the end of his tour he transferred to the SIB (Special Investigation Branch),became Squadron Leader and was awarded a military OBE for his successes in bringing to justice the SS murderers of the 50 RAF officers killed on Hitler's orders after their 'Great Escape' from Stag Luft lll. He has a diary of his operations somewhere that I am currently trying to find. He died at Lytham, Lancashire in 1995.

Ian McKenna



Flt Sgt. Reginald William Golder No 15 Squadron (d.7-8th April 1942)

My uncle Reg, whom I never met, was on Stirling 1, W7448 which took off from Alconbury on 7th April 1942 for Essen and was lost in the North Sea. He was the youngest of five children (24 when he died) and had two older brothers, both of whom returned home from New Guinea.

G R Golder



Sgt. Burt Orval Brophey 15 Squadron (d.27th March 1944)

My uncle was a rear gunner in a Lancaster MK1 Bomber with the 15 Sqaudron flying out of Mildenhall. He was believed to have been killed over Essen Germany on a night raid. He only needed 2 more sorties to finish tour and he would have come home.

If anyone has any information on how I might find out where I could collect flight logs of his missions that would helpful.

Dave Brophey



F/Lt. Alan Birley Bateman 15 Squadron

Justine Hadden



Sgt. David Glass Penman 15 Squadron (d.18th Dec 1941)

David Glass Penman was born in Jarrow in 1920 and died aged 21. He was the sSon of Ernest W and Rose B Penman (nee Glass), of Jarrow. David is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



Sgt. Donald John "Duncan" Jeffs 15th Squadron

My father was in Stalag 11B after surviving the 'Long March' from Stalag 344 Lamsdorf in Silesia. He was eventually liberated from 11B after being a POW from May 1942 when he was the only survivor of the crash of a famous Stirling bomber called the 'MacRoberts Reply'. See more on the MacRoberts Reply Website

Philip Jeffs



Sgt. Raymond Thomas Stephen 15 Squadron (d.29th July 1944)

I am not related to Raymond Stephen but came across the story when his 'caterpillar club' badge was for sale at a local Antiques Centre. On the evening of 25th April 1942, Short Stirling W7514 of 15 Squadron, took off from RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire, on a mine-laying operation. The crew were:
  • Pilot Officer Allan B. Bateman
  • Flying Officer J.E.M. Conran
  • Pilot Officer Allan H.H. Young
  • Sergeant Raymond Thomas Stephen
  • Sergeant Ronald R. Lawson
  • Sergeant Ronald A.J. Skinner
  • Sergeant David J. East
  • Sergeant Gordon H. Surridge

As the aircraft was outbound flying over Jylland, Denmark, it was attacked by a Messerchmidt BF110C-2 of 5./NGJ 3. Sergeant David East was killed during the attack and Sergeant Surridge was severely wounded in the abdomen and leg. A fire started in one wing and the order was given to abandon the aircraft. Shortly after the crew parachuted out, the aircraft exploded and crashed to the ground near Kravlund at 0115 hours.

Sergeants Stephen and Skinner stayed at large until the 28th April. They approached a farm at 0200 hours asking for food and a place to sleep. They were given food and allowed to sleep in the stable. A short while later, the police arrived and, they were taken to Tonder, where they were handed over to the German military. The injured Sergeant Surridge landed by parachute, at a farm at Pebersmark. He was taken by ambulance to hospital at Tonder, but died the following day. Both he and Sergeant East, whose body was recovered from the wreck are buried in Aabenraa cemetery. Flying Officer Conran, who had twisted his leg upon landing, and Sergeant Lawson, who was unhurt, were found by the Danish Police, near Rens. Pilot Officer Bateman, who had been hit in the toe by a bullet, was also collected by the Danish Police and taken to Tonder. Pilot Officer Young had been hit twice in his right leg, by machine gun bullets, and was taken by ambulance to Tonder hospital.

They were all sent to POW camps as follows:

  • Conran – Stalag Luft I Barth and later Stalg Luft III Sagan
  • Bateman – Stalag IXC Muhlhausen and later Stalag Luft III Sagan
  • Lason, Skinner, Young and Stephen – Stalag Luft III Sagan. Skinner and Stephen later transferred to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug.

On 29th July 1944, whilst at Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow, Sergeant Raymond Stephen was killed when he was struck by lightning.

An account of the incident and some photographs can be found at http://www.flensted.eu.com/194211.shtml

Mel Ogden



F/Lt. George Lionel Reynolds 15 Sdqn. (d.25th July 1944)

F/Lt. George Reynolds was stationed at RAF Mildenhall and on the night of 24/25th July 1944 the aircraft he was piloting, a Lancaster, failed to return from a bombing mission. He and his crew all perished.

Richard Owen



Sgt. Arthur Victor Edward Cobby 15 Sqdn. (d.31st July 1943)

Sgt Cobby served with 15 Squadron. His Stirling bomber EF428 LS-N, took off from Mildenhall at 22.46 hours for operations to Remscheid. The aircraft crashed at Kleinbroich, 9km east of Monchengladbach. All the crew except for F/Lt Dillicar, who is buried in Rheinburg War Cemetery, have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • Sgt A.V.E. Cobby
  • F/Lt J.C. Dillicar, pilot
  • F/O B.L. Jackson
  • Sgt G.H. Beck
  • F/Sgt I.G. Ramsay
  • Sgt P.K. Middleton
  • Sgt A.J. Gibbons
  • Lt A.R. Ingle

  • Aubrey Sinden



    F/Lt. John Collins Dillicar 15 Sqdn. (d.31st July 1943)

    F/Lt Dillicar served with 15 Squadron. His Stirling bomber EF428 LS-N, took off from Mildenhall at 22.46 hours for operations to Remscheid. The aircraft crashed at Kleinbroich, 9km east of Monchengladbach. All the crew except for F/Lt Dillicar, who is buried in Rheinburg War Cemetery, have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • Sgt A.V.E. Cobby
  • F/Lt J.C. Dillicar, pilot
  • F/O B.L. Jackson
  • Sgt G.H. Beck
  • F/Sgt I.G. Ramsay
  • Sgt P.K. Middleton
  • Sgt A.J. Gibbons
  • Lt A.R. Ingle




  • F/Lt. John Collins Dillicar 15 Sqdn. (d.31st July 1943)

    F/Lt Dillicar served with 15 Squadron. His Stirling bomber EF428 LS-N, took off from Mildenhall at 22.46 hours for operations to Remscheid. The aircraft crashed at Kleinbroich, 9km east of Monchengladbach. All the crew except for F/Lt Dillicar, who is buried in Rheinburg War Cemetery, have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • Sgt A.V.E. Cobby
  • F/Lt J.C. Dillicar, pilot
  • F/O B.L. Jackson
  • Sgt G.H. Beck
  • F/Sgt I.G. Ramsay
  • Sgt P.K. Middleton
  • Sgt A.J. Gibbons
  • Lt A.R. Ingle




  • F/O Bernard Lionel Jackson 15 Sqdn. (d.31st July 1943)

    F/O Jackson served with 15 Squadron. His Stirling bomber EF428 LS-N, took off from Mildenhall at 22.46 hours for operations to Remscheid. The aircraft crashed at Kleinbroich, 9km east of Monchengladbach. All the crew except for F/Lt Dillicar, who is buried in Rheinburg War Cemetery, have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • Sgt A.V.E. Cobby
  • F/Lt J.C. Dillicar, pilot
  • F/O B.L. Jackson
  • Sgt G.H. Beck
  • F/Sgt I.G. Ramsay
  • Sgt P.K. Middleton
  • Sgt A.J. Gibbons
  • Lt A.R. Ingle




  • Sgt. George Henry Beck 15 Sqdn. (d.31st July 1943)

    Sgt Beck served with 15 Squadron. His Stirling bomber EF428 LS-N, took off from Mildenhall at 22.46 hours for operations to Remscheid. The aircraft crashed at Kleinbroich, 9km east of Monchengladbach. All the crew except for F/Lt Dillicar, who is buried in Rheinburg War Cemetery, have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • Sgt A.V.E. Cobby
  • F/Lt J.C. Dillicar, pilot
  • F/O B.L. Jackson
  • Sgt G.H. Beck
  • F/Sgt I.G. Ramsay
  • Sgt P.K. Middleton
  • Sgt A.J. Gibbons
  • Lt A.R. Ingle




  • F/Sgt. Ian Grant Ramsay 15 Sqdn. (d.31st July 1943)

    F/Sgt Ramsay served with 15 Squadron. His Stirling bomber EF428 LS-N, took off from Mildenhall at 22.46 hours for operations to Remscheid. The aircraft crashed at Kleinbroich, 9km east of Monchengladbach. All the crew except for F/Lt Dillicar, who is buried in Rheinburg War Cemetery, have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • Sgt A.V.E. Cobby
  • F/Lt J.C. Dillicar, pilot
  • F/O B.L. Jackson
  • Sgt G.H. Beck
  • F/Sgt I.G. Ramsay
  • Sgt P.K. Middleton
  • Sgt A.J. Gibbons
  • Lt A.R. Ingle




  • Sgt. Kenneth Percy Middleton 15 Sqdn. (d.31st July 1943)

    Sgt Middleton served with 15 Squadron. His Stirling bomber EF428 LS-N, took off from Mildenhall at 22.46 hours for operations to Remscheid. The aircraft crashed at Kleinbroich, 9km east of Monchengladbach. All the crew except for F/Lt Dillicar, who is buried in Rheinburg War Cemetery, have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • Sgt A.V.E. Cobby
  • F/Lt J.C. Dillicar, pilot
  • F/O B.L. Jackson
  • Sgt G.H. Beck
  • F/Sgt I.G. Ramsay
  • Sgt P.K. Middleton
  • Sgt A.J. Gibbons
  • Lt A.R. Ingle




  • Sgt. Anthony James Gibbons 15 Sqdn. (d.31st July 1943)

    Sgt Gibbons served with 15 Squadron. His Stirling bomber EF428 LS-N, took off from Mildenhall at 22.46 hours for operations to Remscheid. The aircraft crashed at Kleinbroich, 9km east of Monchengladbach. All the crew except for F/Lt Dillicar, who is buried in Rheinburg War Cemetery, have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • Sgt A.V.E. Cobby
  • F/Lt J.C. Dillicar, pilot
  • F/O B.L. Jackson
  • Sgt G.H. Beck
  • F/Sgt I.G. Ramsay
  • Sgt P.K. Middleton
  • Sgt A.J. Gibbons
  • Lt A.R. Ingle




  • Lt. Arthur Ray Ingle DFC 15 Sqdn. (d.31st July 1943)

    Lt Ingle served with 15 Squadron. His Stirling bomber EF428 LS-N, took off from Mildenhall at 22.46 hours for operations to Remscheid. The aircraft crashed at Kleinbroich, 9km east of Monchengladbach. All the crew except for F/Lt Dillicar, who is buried in Rheinburg War Cemetery, have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • Sgt A.V.E. Cobby
  • F/Lt J.C. Dillicar, pilot
  • F/O B.L. Jackson
  • Sgt G.H. Beck
  • F/Sgt I.G. Ramsay
  • Sgt P.K. Middleton
  • Sgt A.J. Gibbons
  • Lt A.R. Ingle




  • F/Lt. Bernard Earley DFM MID. 15 Squadron. (d.2nd Nov 1944)

    Bernard Earley was the pilot of a Lancaster which was brought down over Erp, Holland on 2nd November 1944.

    Update: He was made a flight sergeant on 19.10.1942 and that he was awarded the DFM on 2.11.1944 while serving in 101 Squadron. Flying Officer Bernard Earley DFM, MID, was with 15 Sqdn when the Lancaster he was piloting was in collision with another 15 Sqdn aircraft on 2/11/44 whilst on operations to Homberg. Lancaster I HK612 (LS-L) took off from RAF Mildenhall at 11.30 hours on a daylight raid on Homberg oil plant. The aircraft collided with Lancaster III PB115 (LS-W). Those who died are buried in Erp Roman Catholic Cemetery. They are:

    • F/Lt B. Earley, DFM, MID (pilot)
    • F/O J.E. Campbell (navigator)
    • F/O F.J. Frearson (wop/airgunner)
    • Sgt W. Hunter (flight engineer)
    • P/O G.W. Lilley (airbomber)
    • P/O A.A. Markovitch (flight engineer)
    • W/O G.W. Morris (airgunner)
    • F/Sgt P. Woollard (airgunner)

    Jackie Wright



    F/O James Easdale Campbell DFC 15 Sqdn. (d.2nd November 1944)

    Lancaster I HK612 (LS-L) took off from RAF Mildenhall at 11.30 hours on a daylight raid on Homberg oil plant. The aircraft collided with Lancaster III PB115 (LS-W). Those who died are buried in Erp Roman Catholic Cemetery. They are: F/Lt B. Earley, DFM, MID (pilot) F/O J.E. Campbell (navigator) F/O F.J. Frearson (wop/airgunner) Sgt W. Hunter (flight engineer) P/O G.W. Lilley (airbomber) P/O A.A. Markovitch (flight engineer)




    F/O Frederick John Frearson 15 Sqdn. (d.2nd November 1944)

    Lancaster I HK612 (LS-L) took off from RAF Mildenhall at 11.30 hours on a daylight raid on Homberg oil plant. The aircraft collided with Lancaster III PB115 (LS-W). Those who died are buried in Erp Roman Catholic Cemetery. They are:
  • F/Lt B. Earley, DFM, MID (pilot)
  • F/O J.E. Campbell (navigator)
  • F/O F.J. Frearson (wop/airgunner)
  • Sgt W. Hunter (flight engineer)
  • P/O G.W. Lilley (airbomber)
  • P/O A.A. Markovitch (flight engineer)




  • Sgt. William Hunter 15 Sqdn. (d.2nd November 1944)

    Lancaster I HK612 (LS-L) took off from RAF Mildenhall at 11.30 hours on a daylight raid on Homberg oil plant. The aircraft collided with Lancaster III PB115 (LS-W). Those who died are buried in Erp Roman Catholic Cemetery. They are:
  • F/Lt B. Earley, DFM, MID (pilot)
  • F/O J.E. Campbell (navigator)
  • F/O F.J. Frearson (wop/airgunner)
  • Sgt W. Hunter (flight engineer)
  • P/O G.W. Lilley (airbomber)
  • P/O A.A. Markovitch (flight engineer)




  • P/O Geoffrey William Lilley 15 Sqdn. (d.2nd November 1944)

    Lancaster I HK612 (LS-L) took off from RAF Mildenhall at 11.30 hours on a daylight raid on Homberg oil plant. The aircraft collided with Lancaster III PB115 (LS-W). Those who died are buried in Erp Roman Catholic Cemetery. They are:
  • F/Lt B. Earley, DFM, MID (pilot)
  • F/O J.E. Campbell (navigator)
  • F/O F.J. Frearson (wop/airgunner)
  • Sgt W. Hunter (flight engineer)
  • P/O G.W. Lilley (airbomber)
  • P/O A.A. Markovitch (flight engineer)




  • P/O Alfred Abraham Markovitch 15 Sqdn. (d.2nd November 1944)

    Lancaster I HK612 (LS-L) took off from RAF Mildenhall at 11.30 hours on a daylight raid on Homberg oil plant. The aircraft collided with Lancaster III PB115 (LS-W). Those who died are buried in Erp Roman Catholic Cemetery. They are:
  • F/Lt B. Earley, DFM, MID (pilot)
  • F/O J.E. Campbell (navigator)
  • F/O F.J. Frearson (wop/airgunner)
  • Sgt W. Hunter (flight engineer)
  • P/O G.W. Lilley (airbomber)
  • P/O A.A. Markovitch (flight engineer)




  • WO George William Morris 15 Sqdn. (d.2nd November 1944)

    Lancaster I HK612 (LS-L) took off from RAF Mildenhall at 11.30 hours on a daylight raid on Homberg oil plant. The aircraft collided with Lancaster III PB115 (LS-W). Those who died are buried in Erp Roman Catholic Cemetery. They are:
  • F/Lt B. Earley, DFM, MID (pilot)
  • F/O J.E. Campbell (navigator)
  • F/O F.J. Frearson (wop/airgunner)
  • Sgt W. Hunter (flight engineer)
  • P/O G.W. Lilley (airbomber)
  • P/O A.A. Markovitch (flight engineer)




  • F/Sgt. Peter Woollard 15 Sqdn. (d.2nd November 1944)

    Lancaster I HK612 (LS-L) took off from RAF Mildenhall at 11.30 hours on a daylight raid on Homberg oil plant. The aircraft collided with Lancaster III PB115 (LS-W). Those who died are buried in Erp Roman Catholic Cemetery. They are:
  • F/Lt B. Earley, DFM, MID (pilot)
  • F/O J.E. Campbell (navigator)
  • F/O F.J. Frearson (wop/airgunner)
  • Sgt W. Hunter (flight engineer)
  • P/O G.W. Lilley (airbomber)
  • P/O A.A. Markovitch (flight engineer)




  • Lt. Neville St Ledger Seaton 15 Sqdn. (d.23rd February 1944)

    My uncle, Lt. Neville St. Ledger Seaton, 547404V was a navigator on Baltimores for 15 Squadron (235 Wing, 201 Group). While doing long-range shipping reconnaissance off Iraklion Bay in Greece they were attacked at 0812 hrs by five ME 109 fighters off Dhia Island, Crete. The aircraft failed to return to base, so it is almost certain they were shot down by these fighters. With him were:
  • Lt. C.P. Peachey, 180275V, Pilot.
  • W/O 1. O.C. Spargo, 544027V, WOp/AG.
  • W/O 1 G. van Alphen, 572187V, WOp/AG.

    All the crew were lost and are commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.

    What I am trying to find out about my uncle is when he joined the war, what planes he flew and a list of his sorties. If anyone can help me with information, it will be greatly appreciated.

  • Keith



    Lt. C. P. Peachey 15 Sqdn. (d.23rd February 1944)

    On 23rd February 1944 a Baltimore from 15 Sqdn RAF (235 Wing, 201 Group) was shot down by five ME 109 fighters off Dhia island, Crete. The aircraft was on a long-range shipping reconnaissance off Iraklion Bay, Greece and failed to return to base. The crew were:
  • Lt. C.P. Peachey, 180275V, Pilot.
  • Lt. Neville St. Ledger Seaton, 547404V
  • W/O 1. O.C. Spargo, 544027V, WOp/AG.
  • W/O 1 G. van Alphen, 572187V, WOp/AG.

    All the crew were lost and are commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.




  • WO1 O. C. Spargo 15 Sqdn. (d.23rd February 1944)

    On 23rd February 1944 a Baltimore from 15 Sqdn RAF (235 Wing, 201 Group) was shot down by five ME 109 fighters off Dhia island, Crete. The aircraft was on a long-range shipping reconnaissance off Iraklion Bay, Greece and failed to return to base. The crew were:
  • Lt. C.P. Peachey, 180275V, Pilot.
  • Lt. Neville St. Ledger Seaton, 547404V
  • W/O 1. O.C. Spargo, 544027V, WOp/AG.
  • W/O 1 G. van Alphen, 572187V, WOp/AG.

    All the crew were lost and are commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.




  • WO1 G. van Alphen 15 Sqdn. (d.23rd February 1944)

    On 23rd February 1944 a Baltimore from 15 Sqdn RAF (235 Wing, 201 Group) was shot down by five ME 109 fighters off Dhia island, Crete. The aircraft was on a long-range shipping reconnaissance off Iraklion Bay, Greece and failed to return to base. The crew were:
  • Lt. C.P. Peachey, 180275V, Pilot.
  • Lt. Neville St. Ledger Seaton, 547404V
  • W/O 1. O.C. Spargo, 544027V, WOp/AG.
  • W/O 1 G. van Alphen, 572187V, WOp/AG.

    All the crew were lost and are commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.








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