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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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218
20/21st June 1941 218 Squadron Wellington Ic R1713 Sgt. Fraser

Operation: Kiel

Date: 20/21st June 1941 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 218 Squadron (Gold Coast) (motto: 'In Time'). 3 Group

Type: Wellington Ic

Serial: R1713

Code: HA-V

Base: RAF Marham, Norfolk

Location: North Sea

Pilot: Sgt. Mason John Fraser NZ/40224 RNZAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Obs: Sgt. Desmond Aubrey Dacre NZ/391327 RNZAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed

Air/Bmr|: Sgt. John Abbott Donald 1257597 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harry Hutchinson 938149 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William John Baird 551811 RAF Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Dennis Higham Harrison 975057 RAFVR Age 29. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at about 22:20 hrs to bomb Kiel Harbour and in particular the battleship 'Tirpitz' (1), 115 aircraft taking part including 47 Wellingtons, 24 Hampden, 20 Stirling and 11 Halifax aircraft.

The bombers failed to locate the battleship and switched the target to Kiel city.

Two aircraft failed to return both from 218 squadron, the other:

Wellington Ic R1339 HA-J flown by 23 year old, Sgt. Gordon Grant Jillett NZ/40233 RNZAF who was last heard of in a radio transmission at 03:35 hrs requesting assistance at about 60 miles from the enemy coast. All six crew were listed as missing - believed killed.

Wellington Ic R1713 was attacked and shot down by Oblt. Paul Bohn (2) of 4./NJG 2, who was flying a Ju 88C from Gilze-Rijen airfield in the Netherlands. Shown left. The attack took place 200 km east of Spurn Head, Yorkshire at 00:20 hrs. Again they managed to call for assistance but sadly again all six crew listed as missing - believed killed.

(1) The Tirpitz was attacked several times before being lost on the 12th November 1944 after an attack by RAF Lancasters who scored two direct hits. Over 1200 crew were killed from the battleship.

(2) 25 year old, Oblt. Paul Bohn was killed on the 26th June 1941 from return fire from an RAF Whitley. (courtesy Kracker Archive)

Burial details:

Sgt. Mason John Fraser. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 64. Born on the 27th December 1917 at Feilding. Worked as a clerk for Levin and Company of Wanganui prior to service. A RNZAF reserve pilot where he had flown 19 hours. Enlisted in the RNZAF at Levin on the 15th January 1940. Trained at No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School. Pilots badge awarded on the 10th June 1940 and promoted to sergeant on the 27th July 1940. Embarked for England on the 11th August 1940. Joined 218 squadron on the 10th February 1941. Son of Donald William and Marion Beasley Fraser (nee Gould) of Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. 427 flying hours logged and on his 22nd operational sortie. Highly commended whilst flying as second pilot, for a wheels up landing on return from an operation to Hamburg on the 13/14th March 1941. The captain of the aircraft was wounded and the aircraft had been seriously damaged during the operation

Sgt. Desmond Aubrey Dacre. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 63. Born on the 11th March 1915 at Auckland. Worked as a clerk for W.R. Fletcher Ltd at Wellington prior to service. Enlisted 25th November 1939 at Levin. Trained at No. 1 Air Observer School. Awarded observers badge on the 08th April 1940 and promoted to sergeant. Joined 218 squadron on the 10th February 1941. Embarked for England on the 26th April 1940. Son of Ranulph George (died 31st October1950 age 76) and Eileen Alice Dacre (nee Harper, died 29th December 1956 age 73), brother of Ranulph Marwell Dacre (died 31st October 1950 age 76) and Joan Marwell Dacre (died 21st December 1934 age 29 following surgery) of Windmill Road, Mount Eden, Auckland, New Zealand. 398 flying hours logged and on his 22nd operational sortie.

Sgt. John Abbott Donald. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 42. No further details, are you able to assist?

Sgt. Harry Hutchinson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 45. No further details, are you able to assist?

Sgt. William John Baird. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 39. Son of David and Georgina Baird, of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Sgt. Dennis Higham Harrison. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 44. Son of John and Elsie Harrison, of Eccles, Lancashire, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew 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, AWMM, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 03-06-2021

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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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