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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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178 squadron
178 Squadron Liberator B.VI EV822 F/O. McNaughton

Operation: Feuersbrunn

Date: 06/07th July 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 178 Squadron (motto: Irae emissarii - 'Emissaries of wrath'). 240 Wing, 205 Group, Mediterranean Allied Strategic Air Force

Type: Liberator B.VI (1)

Serial: EV822

Code: V

Base: Amendola, Italy

Location: Murska Sobota, Yugoslavia (Slovenia)

Pilot: F/O. George Edward Scott McNaughton NZ/413099 RNZAF Age 32. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. George Alexander Stuart Johnstone 1418677 RAFVR Age? Killed

Nav: F/O. John Charles Ellis 157885 RAFVR Age? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Warwick Brothers NZ/405470 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Leslie Pratt 1877424 RAFVR Age? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Edmond Mitchell 1587838 RAFVR Age? Killed


Taking off at 21:30 hrs to bomb the Luftwaffe fighter airfield at Feuersbrunn. 61 aircraft taking part in this operation, 11 from 178 squadron, 2 failed to return.

The other from 178 squadron:

Liberator III BZ930 S Flown by 21-year-old, Sgt. Bernard John Chillingworth 1803484 RAFVR - killed with 3 others, 3 taken PoW.

EV822 is thought to have been shot down by a night fighter and crashed at the location shown. The crew were initially buried at Murska Sobota but reinterred after the war.

Others lost:

Wellington LP545 of 37 squadron - Flown by 22year old, Fl/Sgt. George Croydon 1576672 RAFVR - killed with all other 4 crew.
Wellington MF241 of 37 squadron - Flown by 21year old, P/O. Charles Walter Keighley 157847 RAFVR - killed with 3 others, 1 PoW.
Wellington LN759 of 40 squadron - Flown by 26year old, P/O. Ronald Thomas Collins 418811 RAAF - all 5 crew killed
Wellington LP210 of 40 squadron - Flown by 29year old, P/O. Ernest Hall 172562 RAFVR - killed with all other 4 crew.
Wellington JA520 of 70 squadron - Flown by Sgt. Frank James Tilbrook 1607033 RAFVR - all 5 crew killed
Wellington JA471 of 70 Sqn - Flown by 22year old Fl/Sgt. Colin Albert Harris 1492811 RAFVR - all 5 crew killed
Wellington LP198 of 70 squadron - Flown by Cpt. Gerard B. Marquardg 205617V SAAF - all 5 crew killed
Wellington LP130 of 70 squadron - Flown by 21year old W/O. Geoffrey James Custance Aus/416938 RAAF - 4 crew killed, 1 Evaded capture
Wellington MF138 of 70 squadron - Flown by 25year old, W/O. Robert Barnes Flegg Aus/410155 RAAF - all 5 crew killed
Wellington LP499 of 104 squadron - Flown by 20year old, W/O. John Arnold Mcdonald Aus/417233 RAAF - all 5 crew killed
Halifax JP287 of 614 squadron - Flown by F/O. Maurice George Harrison 127902 RAFVR - all 7 crew killed

(1) The RAF Liberators appeared in different forms to meet the needs of various commands. The bomber version was designated B.VI or B.VIII and was used primarily as a day bomber in the Mediterranean or South East Asia theatres. Like their American B-24J and L cousins, the B.VI and B.VIII bomber versions often had their ball turrets removed to save weight.

Pilots course 17B, No. 2 Service Flying Training School, RNZAF Station Woodbourne. (August 1941)

L-R: Rear; CC Deller, Leonard James Brennan NZ/413020 killed 26th September 1944, Stephen William George Bishop NZ/413013 killed 16th October 1942, FW Kilgour, MJ Millener, Roy William Raharuhi N/Z412737 Died 30 July 1974.
Middle; RB Hendry, Joseph Ronald Potter N/Z/413119 Died 23 September 2013, JH Keedwell, GL Wallace, WB Cookson, George Edward Scott McNaughton NZ/413099 killed 7 July 1944, MD Muggeridge, George Rowan Jackson NZ.413078 killed 29 March 1943.
Front; WF Hayes, Douglas Ross Hall NZ/413061 killed 18 May 1943, Sidney Lewis Spilman NZ/413138 died 18 September 2020, R Kassler, ASR Macalister, Stanley Charles Jones NZ/413085 killed 11 February 1942, James Frederick Ashby NZ/413169 died 1 October 2003, RD Steel, BJ Doyle.

Burial details:

F/O. George Edward Scott Mcnaughton. Belgrade War Cemetery. Collective grave 5. E. 5-7. Born on the 03rd June 1912 at Christchurch. Worked as a truck driver for Thos Borthwickand sons at Masterton. Enlisted at Levin on the 25th May 1941. Trained with No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School on the 05th July 1941 and then with No, 3 Service Flying Training School on the 15th August 1941. Pilots badge awarded on the 29th September 1941 and promoted to sergeant on the 08th November 1941.

Embarked for England on the 17th November 1941.After further training with various units embarked for Gold Coast on 30th May 1942. Attached to Aircraft Delivery Unit on the up till July 1942 ferrying single and multi-engine aircraft commissioned on the 08th July 1943. Joined 178 squadron on the 24th December 1943.

Son of Hugh McKay McNaughton and Martha Anne McNaughton (née Pitstock, later Jones), of Hastings. Husband of Katherine Moira McNaughton (née McKerchar), of Papatoetoe, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 1090 flying hours logged and on his 32nd operational sortie.

Sgt. George Alexander Stuart Johnstone. Belgrade War Cemetery. Grave 5. E. 4. Understood to be from Great Britain, No further details, are you able to assist?

F/O. John Charles Ellis. Belgrade War Cemetery. Grave 5. E. 2. Understood to be from Great Britain, No further details, are you able to assist?

W/O. Warwick Brothers. Belgrade War Cemetery. Collective grave 5. E. 5-7. Born on the 21st August 1921 at Taihape. Worked as a postal messenger for the P and T Department at Auckland prior to service. Served 3 years in the territorial army before enlisting in the RNZAF. Enlisted on the 22nd December 1940 at Levin. Embarked for Canada on the 30th January 1941. Air gunner badge awarded on the 04th August 1941 and promoted to sergeant.

Embarked for England on the 15th August 1941. Embarked for Egypt on the 01st January 1942. Further training with 70 Operational Training Unit on the 17th October 1942. Joined 52 squadron on the 31st December 1942 and the 221 squadron on the 04th March 1942. Attached to 75 and 76 Operational Training Unit as an instructor August 1943 - January 1944.

Joined 178 squadron on the 18th May 1944. Son of Harold and Spineo Brothers(née Moros) of Auckland. Husband of Doris Lorraine Brothers (née Sherlock) of Thames, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 544 flying hours logged and on his 28th operational sortie.

Sgt. Douglas Leslie Pratt. Belgrade War Cemetery. Collective grave 5. E. 5-7. Son of Herbert Charles and May Edith Pratt. Husband of Barbara Helen Pratt of Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, England. Grave inscription: 'Memories Will Linger Ever In The Hearts Of Those Who Loved You R.I.P.'.

Sgt. Peter Edmond Mitchell. Belgrade War Cemetery. Grave 5. E. 3. Understood to be from Great Britain, No further details, are you able to assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 17-12-2021

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