15.06.1940 224 Squadron Hudson I N7279 QX:U Plt Off. Ewart
Operation: Stavanger, Norway
Date: 15th June 1940 (Saturday)
Unit No: 224 Squadron, 18 Group, Coastal Command
Type: Hudson I
Base: RAF Leuchars, Fifeshire
Location: North Sea off Sola, Norway
Pilot: Plt Off. Niel Ewart 41838 RAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed
Obs/Pilot: Plt Off. Francis Sirius Crawford 41558 RAF Age 20. Missing - believed killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Edgar Pearce 624941 RAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed
Air Gnr: AC1. Thomas Morton 615295 RAFVR Age? Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Leuchers at 06:25 hrs to bomb the ammunition dump at Sola in Norway.
It is thought probable that although he was a pilot, Plt Off Crawford was flying as the Observer.
A tragic day for the squadron with all three being shot down by flak or fighters over the target area. N7279 and N7217 both being shot down by Ofw. Anton Hackl of 5./JG77 flying a Bf109 at around 09:00 hrs.
Anton Hackl survived the war with an incredible 192 claims. He passed away on the 09th July 1984 age 69 at Regensburg. (details from the Kracker archive on this website)
The other two aircraft lost from the Squadron were:
Hudson N7217 QX:W Flown by 28 year old, Sgt. Thomas Hugh Nicholls. All 4 crew members missing - believed killed;
Hudson I N7270 QX:V Flown by 25 year old, Plt Off. Clifford Stephen Greenaway. 2 crew buried at Sola Churchyard with 2 others missing - believed killed. Aircraft hit by anti-aircraft fire.
Plt Off. Niel Ewart. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 8. Born on the 16th August 1916 at Wellington, the son of Niel Patrick George and Grace Ewart (née Clark), of Wellington, New Zealand.
Prior to service worked as an insurance clerk for North Island Motor Union Insurance. A total of 296 flying hours logged and having completed some 16 operational sorties.
Plt Off. Francis Sirius Crawford. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 7. Born on the 20th May 1920 at Auckland, the son of William and Kathleen Crawford, of Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand.
Entered service direct from being a student in 1938. A total of 393 flying hours logged and having completed some 36 operational sorties.
Sgt. Edgar Pearce. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 18. Son of William Willard Pearce and Emily Pearce, of Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, England.
AC1. Thomas Morton. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 25. Remembered at the Scottish National War Memorial, Roll of Honour. Resident in Irvine, Ayrshire. No further information - are you able to assist?
Plt Off. Clifford Stephen Greenaway 43638 RAF. Sola Churchyard. British plot A.6. Son of Frank and Eleanor Greenaway, of Sale Moor, Cheshire, England.
Sgt. Sydney George Henry Stephens 56610 RAF. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 19. No further details.
LAC. Adam Fraser King 546844 RAF. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 16. Son of David and Theresa King.
Cpl. Alfred John Hull 358791 RAF. Sola Churchyard. British plot A.5. Son of Charles Percy and Mary Hull and husband of Muriel Hull, of Claypole, Nottinghamshire, England.
Sgt. Thomas Hugh Nicholls. 561837 RAF. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 18. Son of Thomas Richard and Emma Jane Nicholls, of Penzance, Cornwall, England. Husband of H. Marjorie Nicholls.
Plt Off. Ralph Blanshard Askquith-Ellis 42477 RAF. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 7. Son of Robert Battiscombe Askquith-Ellis and Clara Lepine Askquith-Ellis, of Moseley, Birmingham, England.
AC1. Samuel James Watkin Baines 630891 RAF. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 24. Son of Samuel and Eliza Kate Baines, of Morriston, Glamorgan, Wales.
Sgt. John Long. 621505 RAF. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 24. Son of Charles and Sarah Ellen Long, of Meadow Head, Sheffield, England.
Researched by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot. Thanks to Errol Martyn: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand (Aug 2019). Thanks to Liz Mackinlay for the correction to loss date. Thomas Morton details updated also. (Aug 2022).
Other sources as quoted below: