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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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139 Squadron Crest
11/12.06.1944 139 Squadron Mosquito IV DZ609 Flt.Lt. Armstrong DFM,MiD

Operation: Berlin

Date: 11/12th June 1944 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: 139 Squadron 8 PFF Group (motto: Si placet necamus - 'We destroy at will')

Type: Mosquito FB IV

Serial: DZ609

Code: XD:?

Base: RAF Upwood, Huntingdonshire

Location: East of Salzwedel, Germany

Pilot: Flt.Lt. Charles Anthony Armstrong DFM. MiD. 401368 RNZAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed

Nav: Fg.Off. George Leonard Woolvern 159688 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 23:27 hrs with 31 other Mosquitoes to attack Berlin. Two failed to return.

Flying a Heinkel He 219 from Venlo airfield in the Netherlands, Oblt. Josef Nabrich and his Bordfunker Fw. Fritz Habicht of the 3./NJG 1 attacked the Mosquito at 01:13 hrs west of Salzwedel, Germany. Firing two bursts they witnessed the aircraft go down vertically before exploding below the cloud cover. This was his 11th Abschuss.(Nachtjagd Combat Archive (12 May 1944 - 23 July 1944) Part 3 - Theo Boiten). Both he and his navigator Fw. Fritz Habicht managed to return to Perleberg after their port engine lost power. The Mosquito crashed and exploded near Salzwedel at 01:13 hrs.

The other crew lost were flying Mosquito LR505 flown by Fg.Off. James Ronald Cassell DFC 128680. Both he and his navigator Fg.Off. Alan John Alexander Woolard DFM 141157 were both interned after they crash landed in Sweden at 03:30 hrs. Both crew survived the war.

Burial details:

Flt.Lt. Charles Anthony Armstrong DFM. MiD. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 262. Born on the 15th April 1918 at Auckland, the son of Charles E. and Eunice Armstrong (née O'Callaghan), of Vauxhall Road, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand.

Prior to joining the RNZAF on the 4th June 1940 worked as a customs clerk for John Burns and Company. 1267 flying hours logged. The number of operational sorties unknown - this was his second tour. The first was with 40 Squadron, based in Malta.

DFM was awarded to Flt.Sgt. Armstrong whilst with 40 Sqn, gazetted 15th May 1942.

'This airman is an extremely skilful and courageous pilot who has completed many sorties.Throughout, he has displayed the utmost determination to press home his attacks to the full whatever the opposition. On one occasion, in November 1941, he bombed the aerodrome at Castel Benito, setting aircraft on the ground on fire. He then descended to 200 feet and machine-gunned the airfield. On another occasion, he participated in an attack on shipping at Patras in unfavourable weather. Despite the prevailing low clouds, he descended beneath them and released his bombs which burst on the quay, near which three merchant vessels were moored. In an attack on Misurata, his bombs started a large fire. Despite heavy anti-aircraft fire, he descended to 250 feet and machine-gunned transport on the road'.

He was MiD, gazetted 14th January 1944.

Fg.Off. George Leonard Woolvern. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery Grave 4.L.27. Son of William George and Beatrice Woolven and husband of Ethel Gladys Woolven, of Purley, Surrey, England. Grave inscription: 'Always Loving Memories Of You In Our Thoughts, George Dear. Ethel And Mum'.


Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand. Updated by Aircrew Remembered (Dec 2020). Other sources as quoted below:

RS 07.12.2020 - Updated narrative

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Acknowledgements
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', 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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