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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.
Further data available at Allied Losses & Incidents database


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578 squadron badge
20/21.07.1944 No. 578 Squadron Halifax III MZ572 LK-C F/O. Trevor G. Harrison

Operation: Bottrop

Date: 20/21st July 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 578 squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: MZ572

Code: LK-C

Base: RAF Burn, Yorkshire

Location: North Sea - West of Den Haag, Holland.

Pilot: F/O. Trevor Gordon Harrison 177077 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

Fl/Eng: P/O. Colin George William Whitehead 55845 RAF Age ? Missing

Nav: P/O. Victor Thomas Glossop 177572 RAFVR Age 33. Missing

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Harry William Cook 1551870 RAFVR Age ? Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Philip Claude Pink 1322624 RAFVR Age 20. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Rober Peter Arthur 1821788 RAFVR Age 19. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Gresswell 1626370 RAFVR Age 20. Missing


Leaving RAF Burn, Yorkshire at 23:57 hrs to attack the synthetic oil refineries at Bottrop. 166 aircraft taking part in this operation, 149 Halifaxes, 13 Mosquitoes and 4 Lancasters.

Northern parts of the target were reported as badly damaged, but no further information on casualties on the ground.

12 aircraft were lost during this operation, resulting in 61 aircrew killed, 13 taken PoW, 1 evading capture with 4 crew members parachuting over friendly territory.

F/O. Trevor Gordon Harrison (courtesy of Jack Harrison via Keith Townsend) Trevor had been a former pupil of the school

A tragic night for this squadron losing 6 aircraft:

Halifax III LK834 LK-E Flown by P/O. William Davidson 179653 RAFVR, killed with 7 crew when their aircraft collided with MZ696 over Balkholme, near Goole, Yokshire.
Halifax III MZ511 LK-M Flown by 21 year old Fl/Lt. Alistair Hope-Robertson 127900 RAFVR from Moffat, Dumfriesshire, killed with 4 other crew, 1 made PoW and 1 escaping capture.
Halifax III MZ556 LK-P Flown by 22 year old, P/O. Kenneth Hutton 178775 from Bridlington, Yorkshire, killed with 2 other crew, 4 made PoW.
Halifax III MZ617 LK-D Flown by 23 year old, Fl/Lt. Joseph Couture J/20061 RCAF, from Washington, USA, killed with all 7 crew.
Halifax III MZ696 LK-K Flown by 21 year old, F/O. Maurice Day 172955 RAFVR from Selby, Yorkshire, killed with all 7 crew.

This Halifax MZ572 is reported as lost without trace. However, in the latest edition of the nightfighter war diaries it is marked as possibly being shot down by Fw. Erwin Egeler of 12./NJGI (1) on the return flight home. The night-fighters chased the bomber stream over the Dutch coast and it is thought that he may have been intercepted over the North Sea between 25-60 km West of Den Haag with combat taking place at 02:16 hrs at 2.000 ft.

(1) This was the first abschüss of three for Fw. Erwin Egeler. He was killed with Uffz. Hermanns and Gefr. Lothar Schubert on the 19/20th October at Treysa, Germany after being shot down in combat. Aircraft he was flying at this time Bf 110 G-4 Wk Nbr: 110152 G9+CZ .


Burial details:

F/O. Trevor Gordon Harrison. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 206. Son of William George and Irene Harrison, of Moseley, Birmingham, England.

P/O. Colin George William Whitehead. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 213. No further details as yet.

P/O. Victor Thomas Glossop. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 211. Son of William Walton Glossop and Gertrude Elizabeth Glossop, of Totley Rise, Yorkshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Harry William Cook. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 216. Son of Henry George and Isabella Cook, of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Fl/Sgt. Philip Claude Pink. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 221. Son of Ada Pink; husband of Muriel Josephine Pink, of Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.

Sgt. Rober Peter Arthur. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 224. Son of Robert and Ann Isbella Arthur, of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Sgt. Ronald Gresswell. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 230. Son of James Edward and Gertrude May Gresswell, of Bingley, Yorkshire, England.

Researched for relatives of the crew. With special thanks to Keith Townsend and Jack Harrison. Jack is the brother of the pilot.

KTY 20.07.2015 New map added.

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', 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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