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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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R.C.A.F. 405 Squadron
14/15.01.1944 405 (Vancouver) Squadron (RCAF) Lancaster III ND423 KQ:K Fg Off Gordon R. Drimmie

Operation: Braunschweig (Brunswick)

Date: 14th/15th January 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 405 (Vancouver) Sqn (RCAF)

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND423

Code: LQ:K

Base: RAF Gransden Lodge, Cambridgeshire

Location: Uepsen, Diepholz, Germany

Pilot: Fg Off. Gordon Robert Drimmie DFC. J16306 RCAF Age 21. Killed (1)

Flt Eng: Sgt. Eric Arthur Lane 651329 RAF Age 22. Killed

Nav: Flt Lt Rodger Bingham Jarvie 116797 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air Bmr: Fg Off James Frank Gilbey J17444 RCAF Age 22. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. John Joseph Waddell 1077103 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air Gnr: Flt Sgt Raymond Floyd Peterson R168827 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air Gnr: Flt Sgt Dennis Frederick Smith 1576471 RAFVR Age 21. Killed


Part of a force of 496 Lancasters and two Halifaxes, ND423 took off at 16:57 hours for the first major raid on Braunschweig. Soon after take-off the German controllers locked on to the incoming aircraft and directed the defending nightfighters to intercept the bomber stream over Bremen.

It is believed that between Bremen and Hanover five of the Pathfinders, of which ND423 was one, where shot down before reaching the target. Maj Helmut Lent, the Kommodore of Stab NJG3 and his Bordfunker Ofw. Kubisch were scrambled from Stade in Bf110 G-4 D5+CA at 18.19hrs. ND423 was his 81st Abschuss and the 1st of three bombers claimed that night. The aircraft crashed at 18:45 hrs near Üpsen 6 km north of Siedenburg. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 15 March 1944) Part 1 - Theo Boiten)

The majority of the losses occurred between Hanover and in the target area itself. The raid was deemed a failure with little damage reported in Braunschweig most of the bombs having fallen in the surrounding countryside at a cost of 38 aircraft and their crews.

Above crew photographs (courtesy Phil Dent, Carole Fry)

(1)Drimmie Creek in the Kootenay land District, British Columbia, Canada is named after Fg Off Drimmie.

Burial Details:

Fg Off Gordon Robert Drimmie DFC, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 2. Born 25th April 1922 in Revelstoke, British Columbia. Son of Martin Charles and Margaret Ellen (née Ringe) Drimmie of Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada.

Further details: After enlisting in February 1941, Drimmie graduated from No. 2 ITS Regina and then from Elementary Flying Training School at Virden, Manitoba that September. By the end of December he had graduated from No.10 SFTS Dauphin, Manitoba being posted overseas in early 1942.

Piloting a Douglas Boston with 88 Squadron, Drimmie participated in his first sortie, a minor raid on the airfield at St.Omer, on 1 November 1942. His next operation would be as part of a 93 aircraft force to bomb the Phillips electrical factory at Eindhoven on 6 December. Following five more daylight raids against targets along the French coast at Cherbourg, St.Omer, St.Malo and Dunkirk in January and February 1943 he was assigned to a conversion unit for training on the Halifax and Lancaster heavy bomber. His first major raid was made on the night of 30/31 July 1943 upon the town of Remscheid. During the balance of 1943 he took part in a further 23 operations against the major German cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Hanover, Cologne and Leipzig. He also took part in the first raid upon the V2 development site at Peenemunde as well as targets in France and Italy. One month after being lost flying his 32nd sortie he was awarded his DFC. DFC promulgated in the London Gazette dated 15th February 1944.

Sgt. Eric Arthur Lane, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 6. Son of George Henry and Blanche (née Kirby) Lane of Lydbrook, Gloucestershire, England.

Flt Lt Rodger Bingham Jarvie, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 1. Son of Leslie Reid and Edith May (née Bingham) Jarvie of Sheringham, Norfolk, England. Further details: Flt Lt Jarvie was born in Australia and came to England with his mother at the age of two years in 1923.

After attending Andover Grammar School, Jarvie was employed by the Westminster Bank on Threadneedle Street in the City of London. In May of 1940 he enlisted at Uxbridge and after various stops at training bases throughout the UK he was posted to 75 Air Training School at Lyttelton near Pretoria, South Africa. Upon his return to the UK in early 1942, he was posted to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down. It was here that he was forced to bale out with five other crew members of Short Stirling R9309 after fire broke out in the starboard outer engine. The aircraft eventually crash landing at the edge of the Porton Range injuring the pilot Flt Lt Russ. Although it is unclear as to the date that Jarvie was posted to Gransden Lodge it would appear from the squadron ORB and his PFF Efficiency Exam that it was late 1943 or very early 1944. Sadly, having been approved as a PFF navigator on 9 January 1944, Flt Lt Jarvie was killed five days later on his very first operation. Flt Lt Jarvie was an avid photographer and took many photographs during his service in the RAF some of which were provided with his original notations (removed in order to make names locations searchable).

West Kirby 3 PDC May-June 1941

Note to above photo:

Sgt. Harry Kay, DFM. was killed when his Halifax DT694 NP:N of 158 Sqn. was shot down over Holland during a raid on Cologne, 14 February 1943.
Plt Off Arthur Henry Childs was killed on his first operational mission when Wellington DV775 XG:O of 16 Operational Training Unit (OTU) ditched in the sea off of Holland during a raid on Dusseldorf, 11th September 1942.

Above left: Flt Lt F. Bracey OC. X Wing West Kirby - right, relaxing at the Hoylake Swimming Pool June 1941.

Above: Navigation Course 8A No. 47 Air School, Queenstown, South Africa.

Fg Off James Frank Gilbey, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 3. Born on the 14th October 1921 in Rosemount, Montreal, Quebec. Son of John Frederick and Annie (née Walker) Gilbey of Rosemount, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Sgt. John Joseph Waddell, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 7. Son of James and Alice (née Carlin) Waddell of Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Flt Sgt Raymond Floyd Peterson, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 4. Born on the 25th June 1921 in Bentley, Lacombe, Alberta. Son of Leslie Raymond and Mildred Frances (née Carritt) Peterson from Bentley, Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. His mother remarried a W.R. Woolgar. His father predeceased him in June 1924.

Flt Sgt Dennis Frederick Smith, Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11 H 5. Son of Charles Frederick and Nellie Smith of Robin Hood, Birmingham, England.

Researched and written by Colin Bamford for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the families of the crew of Lancaster ND423.

Flt Lt Jarvie's photograph collection courtesy of his cousin, Carole Fry, with many thanks. To Phil Dent for photograph of Flt Sgt Dennis Frederick Smith (his mothers cousin). Phil has been researching this loss for a number of years. Also many thanks to Dave Lane who has also researched this loss and submitted the report from the Missing Research and Enquiry Unit dated 19th March 1948. As the report contains graphic details on the result of their fine research we prefer not to release details within this page as it may prove upsetting for surviving relatives. All the crew were killed during the crash - two were recovered from the main wreckage, one from the rear turret, with the remainder recovered in close vicinity to the crash site. Updated by Aircrew Remembered to include German night fighter claim (Mar 2021).

RS 04.03.2021 - Addition of German night-fighter claim and narrative updates

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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', 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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