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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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15 Squadron Crest
08/09.04.1943 15 Squadron Stirling III EF359 LS:B Plt.Off. Gurr

Operation: Duisburg

Date: 8/9th April 1943 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: 15 Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: EF359

Code: LS:B

Base: RAF Bourn, Cambridgeshire

Location: Binsheim, West of the Rhine

Pilot: Plt.Off. Anthony John Gurr 143231 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Wilfred Spencer Bragg 621785 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Percy Lutwyche 1235760 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air Bmr: Sgt. Frederick George Lambert 1339473 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. John Evan Samuel Kimber 1290705 RAFVR Age? Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. James Hall 1527292 RAFVR Age? Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Ivor Wyn Williams 1504193 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Bourn in Cambridgeshire at 21:37 hrs joining some 391 aircraft to bomb Duisburg - thick cloud hampered the bombers with heavy icing ruining the pathfinders marking. Bomb load consisted of 1 x 2,000 lb. High Explosive, 2 x 500 lb. (Long delay - 37 hours).

Only moderate damage was caused with 40 buildings destroyed, 72 seriously damaged resulting in 36 people in the city killed. Bombing struck on at least 15 other towns in the area.

Bomber Command lost some 8 aircraft during the operation with only one claim by the night fighters due to adverse weather - most, including EF359 fell victim to the fierce anti-aircraft fire. EF359 was hit from 2. and 4./schw. Flak Abt. 646. It is very likely that the aircraft exploded when hit as the bodies discovered at various locations. The aircraft finally crashed at 23:38 hrs.(Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 22 June) 1943 Part 1 - Theo Boiten)

German documents record that the body of Sgt. Percy Lutwyche 1235760 was recovered from the river Rheine and buried in the Evangelist cemetery near Orsoy. The dates recorded for his recovery and burial do not correlate with date of the loss of the aircraft and crew, however, the location coupled with his name and service number make it certain that the documents refer to Sgt. Lutwyche. (“Arolsen archives - Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947” archive from Ancestry.com)

The city was attacked again the following night with similar results.

Burial details:

Plt.Off. Anthony John Gurr. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 2.E.3. Son of Frank and Elizabeth Charlotte Gurr, of St. Margarets, Twickenham, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "With Us Always".

Sgt. Wilfred Spencer Bragg. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Joint grave 2.E.1-2. Son of George Harding Bragg and Janet Eliza Bragg, of Gillingham, Kent, England. Grave inscription reads: "Sweet Are The Memories Silently Kept".

Sgt. Percy Lutwyche. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 14.D.22. The youngest son of Louis Charles Frederick (relative of Gwenda Done) and Lilian Maria (née McBride) Lutwyche.

The family of Sgt. Percy Lutwyche suffered a further loss of his cousin, Flt.Sgt. Leslie Richard Lutwyche killed on the 19th July 1944.

Sgt. Frederick George Lambert. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 2.D.25. Son of Wade Foster Lambert and Julia Lambert, of Ilford, Essex, England. Grave inscription reads: "His Brother John James, Sergeant R.A.F. Was Missing On Air Operations 19.3.44 Age 20".

The family of Sgt. Frederick George Lambert suffered a further loss of his brother, 20 year old, Sgt. John James Lambert 1339964 RAFVR. Missing believed killed on the 19th March 1944. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 232.

Sgt. John Evan Samuel Kimber. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Joint grave 2.E.1-2. Son of John Evan and Hilda Edith Kimber, of Croydon, and husband of J.E.S. Kimber, of Croydon, Surrey, England. Grave inscription reads: "In Unfading Memory Of Our Loving Son".

Sgt. James Hall. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 26.G.16. No further details, are you able to assist?

Sgt. Ivor Wyn Williams. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 9.C.15. Son of Gwyn and Annie Williams, of Penrhos, Caernarvonshire, Wales. Grave inscription reads: "Huna'n Dawel F'anwyl Wyn. Rhoi Ei Hun Beth Ragor All Rhoi Ei Orau I Arall"

Researched for Gwenda Done who would really appreciate other relatives of the crew to add their names and perhaps further information to the page. Thanks to Tina Deckert for the reference to the Arolsen archives (Oct 2020). Additional updates by Aircrew Remembered (Oct 2020). With thanks to sources as quoted below.

RS 17.10.2020 - Update to include Arolsen archive information and other updates

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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