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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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139 Squadron Crest
20/21.10.1943 No. 139 (Jamaica) Squadron Mosquito DZ519 XD-U Fl/Lt. Archibald Albert Mellor


Operation: Berlin

Date: 20/21 October 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 139 (Jamaica) Squadron (Motto: Si placet necamos - We destroy at will)

Type: Mosquito IV

Serial: DZ519

Code: XD-U

Base: RAF Wyton, Huntingdonshire (now Cambridgeshire)

Location: Wijster near Assen, Drenthe, Holland

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Archibald Albert Mellor MiD 86666 RAFVR - Evaded. (1)

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Philip Henry Brown 1451938 RAFVR - PoW No. 75 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankau-Kreuzburg (Klucsbork, Poland) (2)



We would like to appeal to relatives of the crew with further information and/or photographs to please contact our HELPDESK


INTRODUCTION

Norman Hull is believed to have arrived in the UK in November 1942 and after further training, he was posted to a bomber squadron for operational flying. He later transferred to 1655 Mosquito Training Unit (MTU) where he met navigator Philip Brown with whom he formed a two man Mosquito crew.

Philip Brown hailed from Boston in Lincolnshire and along with three Boston Grammar School pals had joined the RAFVR when he was 19. After training as a wireless operator he took a navigation course and a bombing and gunnery course at RAF West Freugh, Wigtownshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. In December 1942 he volunteered for training on Mosquitoes at 1655 MTU based at RAF Marham in Norfolk and being just 45 miles south of his hometown was most advantageous when he received leave.

A good proportion of Mosquito work involved low level flying, a skill that required much practise and which Phil Brown later described as 'quite nerve-wracking at times.'

Norman Hull was posted to 105 Squadron on 17 March 1943 followed the next day by Phil Brown - they did not have far to travel as the Squadron was also based at RAF Marham. Tt was more than three weeks before their services were required on operations but further training and practice flights were more than enough to keep them busy.

On 9 April they were allocated DZ536 and detailed to fly as one of four Mosquitoes led by F/O. O. W. Thompson for a raid on the Jülich railway workshops in North Rhine-Westphalia. The Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) entry read was as follows:

'Owing to a breakdown of the intercom in the leader's aircraft near the target, the Elsdorf steelworks were bombed instead of the primary by three aircraft. F/O. Hull bombed a factory in the Eschweiler area. Good results were seen in both cases'.

Mosquito DZ536, the aircraft flown by Norman and Philip on this raid, was shot down two days later during the raid on Hengelo (see below)

On 11 April and flying Mosquito DZ462, Norman and Phil were one of four crews detailed for a low level attack on the Stork Diesel works at Hengelo in the eastern Netherlands. Taking off at 1710 hours 'the formation was intercepted just before the target by 6 to 9 Fw 190s, only the leader [S/L. W.W. Blessing DK379] succeeded in bombing the primary. F/O. Fisher [DK337] bombed a train and F/O. Hull brought his bombs back landed 2204. F/O. Polglase flying DZ536 was missing, and was last seen being attacked by several enemy fighters.'

Note: The Squadron ORB erroneously records that F/O. Polglase was flying DZ472 which had, however, been lost in a training accident on 27 February 1943 (see further details here )


Combat Report 11 April 1943 Mosquito IV DZ462 "S" Target Hengalo [sic]

Speed 270 IAS. Course: 227 deg M.

This aircraft took off in formation with three other aircraft to attack the Stork Works at Hengalo [sic], being No. 3 in the formation, but before reaching the target the formation was intercepted by four FW 190s at position 5223N 0710E approximately at 2037 hours at 50 feet. The enemy aircraft when first seen were flying line astern approximately 500 yards behind and slightly to starboard of this aircraft at a height of approximately 500 feet. The enemy aircraft came in to attack from the starboard side and opened fire for approximately 15 secs at a range of 350 yards, tracer being seen all around aircraft which was not hit so far as is known. Evasive action was taken by turning into the attack, weaving, gaining and losing height (50/200ft), and increasing speed. After making the one attack the enemy aircraft broke off and wheeled round to arrack aircraft "Z" which has failed to return from the operation. Weather 5/110 to 8/10 cloud base 3/4000 feet, light failing, vis. 4/6 miles.

Combat Report 12 April 1943 Mosquito IV DK337 "N" 105 Sqn Target Hengalo [sic]

Speed 270 -320 Course: 200 deg M.

This aircraft took off in formation with three other aircraft to attack the Stork Diesel Engine Works at Hengelo, but the formation was intercepted by two formations each of three FW190s before reaching the target. The light was failing and there was 10/10ths cloud at 3000 feet with visibility about three miles. One formation of FW190s was sighted approaching from 1000 yards behind at 1000 feet to starboard and the other from 800 yards behind at 5000 feet to port. Mosquito "N" turned to starboard with one section of FW190s, which fired a bursts of two seconds and then they broke off to starboards in what appeared to be an attack on the two Mosquitoes behind. At 2036 hours (50 feet) what was believed to be a Mosquito which had been shot down was seen to burst into flames in a wood near Bentheim.

To read the story of the loss of DZ472 including photographs of the wreckage click here


19 April - DZ483 - Low level dusk attack on engine sheds at Namur. Hull and Brown flying 3 of 4. Primary abandoned - poor visibility 3 bombed alternative targets - Hull abandoned the operation owing to failure of his undercarriage to retract.

20 April - DZ374 - High level moonlight attack on Berlin by 9 aircraft.

24 April - DK337 Dusk low level attack on Trier loco repair shops by Hull and Brown only. Unable to find target so tried to bomb a railway junction but bombs hung up.

15 May - DZ408 - 3 aircraft despatched for a night raid on Berlin. 2 bombed target, Hull flying No. 2 turned back owing to suspected petrol shortage.

On 7 June 1943 Norman and Phil were posted to 139 Squadron.

The following information about the Squadron is taken from RAF Website

In the summer of 1943, 139 Squadron changed over to night raiding and joined the Pathfinder Force, its early work with the PFF consisting mainly of preceding waves of heavy bombers to drop Window (thin strips of metal foil) and so confuse the enemy’s early warning radar, and making “spoof” raids on other targets to divert enemy night fighters from the primary target attacked by the “heavies”. In 1944 it became an H2S-equipped Mosquito marker squadron and during the year visited a long list of the most famous targets in Germany – Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Mannheim, Hanover, Duisburg, Lübeck, and many others. Very many 4,000-lb. “cookies” were dropped on these targets in addition to TIs (target indicators) to guide the main force heavies. Amongst other duties the squadron inaugurated the “Ploughman” raids in which each aircraft dropped a single bomb on each of four different diversionary targets; and it lit the way for minelaying operations in the Kiel Canal.

Operations flown by Norman Hull and Philip Brown with 139 Squadron. Except where indicated the following operations diversionary raids.

16/17 June - DZ515 - Berlin - uneventful

3/4 July - DZ598 - Hamburg - uneventful

During 3,4 and 5 July the squadron moved to RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire

5/6 July - DZ598 - Hamburg - returned early (half an hour after take off) with undercarriage trouble

6/7 July - DZ515 - Dusseldorf - uneventful

8/9 July - DZ515 - Duisburg - uneventful

15/16 July - DZ598 - Munich - 4 of 6 Mosquitoes despatched returned early with various faults - only F/O. Hull and 1 other bombed target

24/25 July - DZ598 - Lubeck - all bombed in face of heavy searchlight activity and moderate flak.

26/27 July - DZ476 - Hamburg - uneventful

2/3 August - DZ428 - Hamburg - all bombed various areas due to bad weather

19/20 August - DZ521 - Berlin - 1 failed to return, otherwise uneventful

23/24 August - DZ428 - Berlin - uneventful major raid 727 aircraft


Above: Mosquito DZ598 in which Norman Hull and Phil Brown flew on four operations during July 1943. Pictured with the aircraft in the photograph are pilot Fl/Lt. M. W. Colledge, observer F/O. G.L. Marshall and ground crew. Both pilot and observer were missing believed killed when the Mosquito was lost on a raid to Berlin on 14/15 September 1943. To read the story of the loss click here.


On 24 August Norman was posted to No. 8 Operational Training Unit as an instructor. Having flown operations prior to joining 105 Squadron he had presumably completed his tour and was therefore screened. Philip Brown having only flown ops since joining 105 Squadron still had some way to go before reaching the end of his tour.

Archibald Mellor and his navigator Sgt Cash were posted to 139 Squadron from 1655 MTU on 7 August but after flying a few operations were posted to the PFF Navigation Training Unit at RAF Upwood for 4 days. They returned to 139 Squadron but did not fly any further operations together. On 23 September Cash was posted away to 1409 Meteorological Flight and that night Mellor flew his first op with Phil brown as his navigator.

23 September - DZ423 - Darmstadt - 'F/Lt Mellor had to return on one engine for the second time in succession and he again got away with it without doing any damage.' This was a diversionary raid carried out by 8 Mosquitoes of 139 Squadron and 21 Lancasters.

25 September - DZ521 - Cologne - uneventful

28/29 September - DZ521 - Cologne - uneventful

3 October - DZ388 - Hannover - uneventful

13 October - DZ482 - Cologne - landed at Bradwell on return due to bad weather

17 October - DZ423 - Berlin - uneventful

18 October - DZ612 - Berlin - Mellor and 3 others coned in the Bremen Hannover corridor - All 8 returned safely to base.

20 October - DZ519 - 10 Mosquitoes were detailed for a raid on Berlin - it was to be Philip Brown's 25th operation.


REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off from RAF Wyton at 18.39hrs on a diversionary mission to Berlin.

This aircraft was armed with the following bomb load: 2 x 500lb MC, 1 x TI Red, 1 x 5 'drip white' flares.

Special Equipment on board: Gee - see abbreviations

Whilst 358 Lancasters were despatched to bomb Leipzig on the night of 20/21 October 1943, 10 Mosquitoes of 139 Pathfinder Squadron were detailed to make a diversionary attack on Berlin. The diversion was successful in drawing off the bulk of the enemy fighter strength but because Berlin was covered by 10/10th cloud no results of the bombing were seen. One of the Mosquitoes swung on take off and its undercarriage collapsed, two were lost, the other seven bombed the target and returned undamaged.

The other Mosquito lost was DZ597 and both pilot F/Sgt. T.K. Forsyth and Navigator Sgt. L.C. James were killed. They were reported to have been buried at Wittstock, Germany, by the German authorities but because the area fell into the post war Russian Zone, access to their reported graves for verification of their remains by the British Authorities was not permitted by the Russians. They are therefore, commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as having no known grave.

The fate of Mosquito DZ519 was reported by pilot Fl/Lt. Archibald Albert Mellor as follows:

'Outward flight at 28000' and ( fine on course?) but target covered in 10/10ths cloud. Climbed to 30000', dropped bombs (but not Red TIs) 15 minutes after leaving target area all Gyro Instruments became u/s. 10 minutes later starboard engine developed Glycol leak. Engine emitted greenish flames and vibrated badly, partly seized up and feathered immediately. Flying on one engine the aircraft lost height at about 500' a minute but able to keep course. After about 15 minutes oil pressure of port engine dropped slowly - continued to fly on it until pressure was down to 15lbs per square inch. Unfeathered starboard engine and feathered port. Green flames shot out of starboard engine and reverted to port. When it was restarted pressure was 55lbs per square inch but started to fall again. Was at 16000' and over Germany. After 5 minutes, pressure practically zero but for about 7 minutes engine apparently normal. Then oil and coolant temperature started to rise rapidly. Soon after port engine seized completely. Both baled out - pilot from 8000'. Pilot landed about 10 miles inside Holland at Assen.'


Scale: 1" = 12.5 miles



Flight Lieutenant Archibald Albert Mellor

(Photograph, courtesy Ligne Comète Line Remembrance)

Fl/Lt. Mellor landed at about 22.30hrs; his plane crashed and burned a few hundred metres away but there was no sign of his navigator who had jumped a few minutes before him. He buried his parachute and Mae West and began walking in a westerly direction. By 1.30hrs he reached a wood and found a well camouflaged spot, probably a Dutch refractory, in which to hide. There he remained during the 21 October until about 17.00hrs when he was found by a farmer. By gestures and a little French he explained that he was RAF and was then given tea and sandwiches by other farmers then on the scene. At 21.00hrs they returned with a man from Wijster who spoke some English and asked for proof of his identity. This man then took him home to Wijster where he stayed until the following day.

On the 22 October two young resistance workers came to collect him and they took him by cycle to meet a man on a road near Hoogeveen. This man spoke good English and put him in touch with an organisation who would arrange his escape. He subsequently met a man called Van den Hoogan or Van den Hurk who had earlier helped F/O. H.A. Penny of Halifax HR878 shot down on the night of 31 August/1 September 1943. He was then taken by train to Meppel where he stayed at the house of the Minister, Van Noten (or Nooten), where Penny had also stayed. Whilst there he was provided with better clothes and given an identity card. Fl/Lt. Mellor remained there until the 3 November when he went with Van den Hoogan and two of his friends by cycle to Zwolle, from there by train to Tilburg and then by bus to a small village 5km from the Belgian border. Here, he met up with American evader Texan St/Sgt. Elton 'Red' Fred Kevil (A gunner on B17 42-37751 shot down on 8 October 1943). They were taken into a wood (probably near Esbeek) by a Dutch policeman, where they slept. At 0400hrs two or three students who had also been in hiding took them to another Dutch policeman, Karst Smit who directed them across the border into Belgium. Just over the border they met an American navigator and the whole group travelled as far as Tournout. From there they went to Antwerp by steam tram and by electric tram to Brussels, the plainclothes policeman and students still with them. In Brussels they were taken to an apartment, the home of Élise Chabot at 4 Rue Jules Lejeune in Ixelles or Uccle. They were taken into Brussels on the 4 November by Ernest van Moorleghem and, at the corner of a street, handed over to a certain 'UZH' (Alphonse Escrinier) who gave O86B as references. 'UZH' could not speak English and he took the two men to a butcher (probably the fish shop of Prosper Spilliaert). There they were given a meal and were photographed by a man with facial burns (André Duchesnes). There they also met 'Jacques' (Charles Hoste). 'UZH' and 'Jacques' took them to two separate houses. Archibald Mellor was taken to the home of teacher Hector Leplat and Irma Wecksteen at 96 Rue Rubens at Schaerbeek. On the way there Escrinier gave Archibald Mellor two photographs of a man who ran a 'counter-organisation' and told him that the man should be avoided at all cost as he had already handed over many people to the Germans. He was also told that the man was missing the last joint of his little finger. (This was clearly Prosper Dezitter the notorious Belgian collaborator who after the war was arrested in Germany and brought back to Brussels where he was tried and executed by firing squad in 1948)

Archibald Mellor stayed with Hector Leplat and Irma Wecksteen until 3 December being looked after by 'Gaston' throughout this time. Having been received by EVA, the Dutch escape line run by Dutch policeman, Karst Smit he was handed over by Gaston Matthys to Jules Dricot on 3 December and with an American, Carl Smith (2nd Lt. Carl Newton Smith Co Pilot of B17 42-2990 shot down 17 August 1943) who had arrived at the Leplat house the previous Monday, travelled via Mons as far as a farm run by smugglers on the French border. They stayed with a painter Achilles Dupont and his wife Germaine Hennerbert at 173 Rue Trieux del Croix-lez-Saumoy Sivry.

At 0400hrs they were taken into France by two guides, a man and a woman, along with two more evaders (1st Lt. Jack K. Justice Pilot of B17 42-3229 and 2nd Lt. Carl L. Spicer Navigator of B17 42-30818 both shot down 8 October 1943). The woman guide, Amanda Stassart stayed with them as far as Paris.

In France they were taken by van to Mauberge and then by express train to Paris. Archibald Mellor and Carl Smith were sheltered in an apartment owned by the guide's mother Louise Bastin at 8 bis Rue Margueritte in the 17th Arrondisement. There they meet the leader of the organisation who wore glasses and spoke good English. They also met an older blonde woman called Germaine Flachet who was married to a Hindu and who took them to an apartment at a butcher's near the Arc de Triomphe where they stayed from the 4th to the 13th December. Germaine told them that a Belgian had informed the Germans of the organisation and they were trying to get rid of him (this was Jacques Desoubrie). Archibald Mellor, Carl Smith and Belgian resistance leader George Marchand left Paris. Their guide as far as Bordeaux was a very small lady, Marcelle Douard. From there Jean-Francois Nothom took them by train to Dax. In a wood near Dax they found Spicer and Justice and with Denise Houget they all went to a tavern in Bayonne. They were housed at the Restaurant Larre of Jeanne Mendiara at Sutar.

On the night of 15 December they all went to Ustaritz where they met up with two guides and left 'Franco'.

Their's was the 80th crossing by Comete using the Lessorre route with the only guide being Pierre Etchyegoyen. Crossing the Pyrenees alone took seven hours after which they continued until the evening of 19 December when they rested for two nights at a hotel in a small village. On the 21st they were picked up and taken by car to Madrid where they stayed until the 30th December before travelling to Gibraltar on the 31st. On 2 January 1944 Fl/Lt. Archibald Mellor landed back in the UK at RAF Lyneham and the following day was interviewed by Military Intelligence about his ordeal of the previous six weeks.


We would like to thank Brigitte d'Oultremont and Ligne Comète Line Remembrance for allowing us to use the photograph and details of the escape and evasion of Fl/Lt. Archibald Albert Mellor. www.cometeline.org



Fl/Sgt. Philip Henry Brown


Fl/Sgt. Philip Henry Brown landed safely. His story was recounted in the following article which first appeared in the Ely Rotary Wheelwrite Spring and Summary 1993 and kindly made available to Aircrew Remembered by his grandson George Williams.

'I don't know if we were actually hit or not. One engine failed over Berlin, and over Holland the other started to falter and the pilot told me to get out. He followed me but I have never met him since. I heard that he was picked up and flown back to England pretty quickly.

I came down in an agricultural area. There was nothing particularly scaring at the time but I was annoyed because my mother's youngest sister was getting married the next day and I could imagine my parents getting the news that I was missing in the middle of the celebrations.

I landed in the middle of a ploughed field and I was just deciding what to do when I spotted a man on a bike. He had no lights and seemed to be acting furtively and I realised he was up to no good so it would be safe to enough to reveal myself to him.

Anyway, he turned out to be a member of the Underground and hid me in a farmhouse.

Back in England they had no idea I was alive and, as I had feared but only discovered a couple of years later, the worst had happened. My mother's youngest sister was actually handed the telegram at her wedding party: "MISSING", it said. A second telegram stating I was "MISSING BELIEVED KILLED" reached my family six months later.'

For the first six weeks Philip was hidden in a farmhouse by the farmer and his family of three sons. Theses sons were great guys and after work spent hours with Philip improving their English. The Dutch had picked up word that the Germans were searching the area house by house and might search the farmhouse. Philip was told that he would have to hide at night, and for three nights he was taken to a huge stack of square bales of hay in which a space had been made just large enough for him to curl up like an embryotic human!

'It was absolutely black in there but I was at least given a torch for emergencies which fortunately did not arise'

The farmhouse was in a remote part of Holland very similar to the Fens so Philip didn't normally have to hide away all the time.

Eventually, Philip was taken to Meppel where he was hosted by a Dutch priest and his family of a boy and three girls, the youngest of whom was only eight. Until three or four years ago he used to hear from her but the letters stopped and there has been no response since.

'The priest was a cheerful character and responsible for looking after any fliers who managed to evade capture after parachuting to earth. He got hold of black market food and not only arranged for suitable clothes, but also organised the start of the escape route'

Philip was joined by two Americans shortly after his arrival in Meppel and they spent Christmas 1943 and the New Year of 1944 at the parson's house before starting on the long journey back to Britain. When the Americans joined Philip, one of them had a dislocated shoulder. He could not be taken to a hospital so a safe doctor was called and he put the shoulder back with the patient lying on the floor of the lounge.

The three of them together with a Dutch guide travelled by train to Maastricht where they had to change trains and actually missed their connection at Venlo.

The guide was very calm. "We'll just have to get to the next one" he announced. Eventually they reached Brussels and waited for a train to Paris.

'My memory of what we did in Brussels is a bit vague: I remember wandering around Brussels one morning but I can't remember why. However, the Belgians were highly organised so we just accepted their lead.'

'We had a long journey to Paris and when we got there, there were hiccups because the safe house we were making for had been blown, and we spent the day wandering round.

Eventually we were hidden in the basement of a big hospital containing a huge electrical transformer. I distinctly remember that we had fourteen or fifteen mice running about for company, and to sleep on, there were mattresses and thin blankets.

It was in that cellar that I had my first lessons in bridge - from an Australian.'

After a fortnight they were taken to catch a train to Toulouse. They were provided with bread and bacon and a bag, as well as some false documents, which was just as well because the train was searched. They had been told to ignore their guides on the journey so as not to arouse suspicion.

'I remember the train was packed so we had to stand, but I do remember a lady letting me have her seat for a while when she went for dinner.'

After Toulouse they got a local train towards the Pyrenees from where a local bus took them into the foothills where they had to wait to be joined by others. Eventually there were 24 in the party and they all set off, walking steadily up the slopes until they got into deep snow.

One night when we were very close to the border with Spain - and potential freedom - they had to hole up in a barn late one night and were told they would carry on next morning.

'We thought it a bit strange and next day, as we all filed out into the sun, we were captured. Although I'm glad to say that some did manage to get away. That was that and the end of my escape.'

It was galling for Philip to have managed to get almost to the point of getting clean away. He remembers the exact date. 'It was my father's birthday 6th February 1944'. Philip had eluded capture for 3½ months.

He was taken back to Toulouse and placed in a 15th century prison. 'And it certainly looked like it, life was pretty grim. It was cold, with little or no food and I didn't see any of the other escapers there. I know there were several nationalities including Portuguese and two Frenchmen.'

Then he was transferred to a prison at Fresnes on the outskirts of Paris.

'It was a notorious place for the detention of spies. Odette Churchill was there, for example. I polished up my French there mostly by playing cards with three Frenchmen. As in the escape films, we used to communicate via the ventilation system, removing the grill and using the pipes as a telephone. In that way I found out there was an Englishman there in another cell and I used to talk to him.

There were thousands in the prison so it was all pretty primitive. Food used to be put in a container outside the cell and we had to pull it inside with a string. One day the prisoners who used to shout to each other from the windows, were particularly noisy. They were called out of their cells on to the balconies and an officer addressed them as if they were naughty school children, saying the "commandant est fache" i.e. angry, and he stopped their food for one day.'

After a month in Fresnes, Philip was sent to a jail at Wiesbaden where he underwent several interrogations by Gestapo officers anxious to trace his whereabouts during the period he was free.

Eventually the questioning ended and from Wiesbaden he was sent with a group of other prisoners to a transit camp where he was given a postcard on which he could write a brief message to indicate to the folks back home that he was still alive but in enemy hands. Later, very much later, Philip was to learn that his uncle was working in the sorting office of the GPO in Boston and saw the card. He rushed home with it straightaway.

'The ironic thing was they had a helluva job trying to convince the Air Ministry that I was still alive'

He was then transferred to a new permanent camp [at Bankau, 150 miles to the north-east of Bresslau] which was far from ready, and they were housed in small huts, six to a hut, and Philip was the oldest in his hut at the age of 21½.

[Philip arrived at Stalag Luft VII at Bankau-Kruelberg in Upper Silesia, Germany, in Trupp 2 on 13 June 1944]

They did try to make the prisoners work by getting them to erect a hut but the prisoners saw to it that it would not stay up. They put to the German authorities that as senior warrant officers the Geneva Convention did not require them to work. [Philip joked that they were not used to it]. In the end the Germans realised that the prisoners could not be relied upon to do the work satisfactorily and they were left to their bridge and football.

'I also ran the clothing store supplied by the Red Cross'

By means of clandestine radios they kept in touch with the events of the outside world so from early autumn 1944, they knew the Russians were advancing pretty fast. 'That was making us fairly anxious because we wanted to be liberated by either the English or the Americans and then get home without delay.'

Eventually after a series of false alarms, they left the camp on 19 January 1945. 1300 prisoners with their guards marched a set distance each day so that by 5 February, they had done 160 miles. Each night they would stay in farm houses or warehouses or barns. Philip was reasonably fit.

'I know one morning we left at 5.30am to do 25 kilometres through a blizzard. I know I was actually 7 stone when I came back to England.'

The next stage of the journey was by cattle truck to Luckenwalde near Berlin.

'I remember the inscription on one of the trucks read "8 horses, 16 men". We arrived there some time in February 1945 and stayed there till the end of the war in May 1945. From the radio we knew the Russians were close and then one Sunday morning tanks appeared, and after another couple of weeks we were taken to meet the Americans, who took us to an aerodrome near Halle and then via Brussels to England, sitting on the floor in RAF Lancasters.'

Further details of conditions at Toulouse, Fresnes, Weisbaden and Stalag Luft VII, can be found in the story of Victor Thompson. To read his story click here.




BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS


(1) Fl/Lt. Archibald Albert Mellor MiD was born on 8 January 1915 at Alsagar, Stoke-on-Trent the son of Harold Charles Mellor (a Colliery Agent) and Millicent Corfield Mellor nee Pickstock. He had three siblings Harold C. Mellor 1908-1980, Maurice Hubert Mellor born 1911 and Raymond C. Mellor 1913-1999.

In 1939 the family lived at 48 Fields Road, Alsager at which time Archibald Mellor was a Sergeant Pilot in the RAFVR (748120).

He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation on 12 October 1940 (London Gazette 12 November 1940), confirmed i this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer on probation on 12 October 1941 (London Gazette 19 December 1941). He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant (war subs) on 12 October 1942 (London Gazette 12 January 1943)

On 8 June 1944 it was promulgated in the London gazette that he had been Mentioned in Despatches.

He resigned his commission on 15 May 1946 retaining the rank of Flight Lieutenant (London Gazette 11 June 1946)

In 1943 he married Hazel C. Deans in Canada and in 1945 they had a son William R. Mellor born at Horsham, Surrey. On 12 November 1946 they sailed for Canada from Liverpool on the Samaria and settled there. His occupation at that time was given as Motor Engineer. Archibald Albert Mellor died 16 January 1996 aged 81.


(2) Fl/Sgt. Philip Henry Brown was born on 24 June 1922 at Boston, Lincolnshire, the son of Alfred Brown and Maggie L. Brown nee Pinner. Philip had three siblings: Marjorie Brown born 1920, Rosemary Brown born 1927 and Janet Brown born 1934. He attended the local grammar school and in 1939 the family lived at 29 Portland Street, Boston.

In 1948 Philip Brown married Doris Mary Walker at Boston and with whom he later had two children: Alison L. Brown and Julia F. Brown.

Doris Mary Brown sadly died in 1978 aged 50 and in 1985 Philip married Aileen M. Woodroffe at Ely Cambridgeshire.

He began his local government career in the town [Boston] before moving to Ely in 1963. Forced to retire due to ill health following a severe stroke, he later began a second career working part time as Clerk to the Cathedral Chapter. He was active in both Rotary and the Cathedral and visited his family in the USA several times as well as traveling "around the world" in the years after Mary died.

Philip Henry Brown died at Ely, Cambridgeshire in 2002.


Fl/Lt. Norman Stanley Barron Hull was born on 2 October 1918 at Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada the son of Stanley Thomas Hull and Sarah Hilda Hull nee Barron. He had three siblings: Mary Bernice Hull 1917-1990, Colonel Frederick Henry Hull 1918-2010, Marguerite Grace Hull 1923-2007. The family lived at 1224 Fairfield Road, Victoria, British Columbia.

After leaving school he studied accounting and worked in the Royal Bank in Vancouver

He enlisted at Vancouver on 10 January 1941 and after training at No.2 Initial Training School, RCAF Regina, Saskatchewan, No.2 Elementary Flying Training School, RCAF Fort William Ontario, and No.11 Service Flying Training School, RCAF Yorkton, Saskatchewan he was awarded his flying badge and promoted to Sergeant on 10 October 1941.

On the same date he was posted to “Y” Depot and to RAF overseas on 2 November 1941. He was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 10 April 1942 and commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 8 July 1942, to Flying Officer on 8 July 1943 and to Flight Lieutenant, 8 July 1944. He was taken on strength of No.3 Personnel on 11 July 1944. Repatriated to Canada by air on 5 August 1945 and the same moth retired fron the air force.

He served again in the RCAF as a Flight Lieutenant and pilot from 1 January 1947 to date unknown (300382).

In early 1944 he married Joan G. Joy at St. Pancras, London and with whom he went on to have three children.

Following war service he continued working in the financial sector, including the Auditor General's office. In his retirement he became a Commissionaire and his love of gardening sustained him in his retirement years in Victoria.

He died on 30 July 2003 at Oak Bay Lodge, Victoria, British Columbia.




Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for relatives of this crew - July 2015. Sources: RAF Loss Card, Bomber Command Report on Night Operations, Bomber Command Database, Ligne Comète Line Remembrance.

RW 27.07.2015

RW 04.08.2020 Bio details for Philip Henry Brown added.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls
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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