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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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156 Squadron Crest
11.09.1944 No. 156 Squadron Lancaster III ND534 GT-O Sq/Ldr. A.W. Raw

Operation: Gelsenkirchen

Date: 11th September 1944 (Monday)

Unit: No. 156 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND534

Code: GT-O

Base: RAF Upwood

Location: 3 km west of Gelsenkirchen

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Anthony William Raw DFC. AFC. 67624 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: P/O. John Alfred Brooks 182033 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav: Fl/Lt. Charles William Reeves 172236 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sq/Ldr. Geoffrey Alan Ritchie Undrell DFC. 84710 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. Alexander Millar 114578 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Norman Warwick 1103095 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Raymond Haines Leonard AUS/416436 RAAF Age 22. Killed


Some information submitted to Aircrew Remembered for publication in November 2017 by Simon Muggleton and Norman Franks.


REASON FOR LOSS:

For a mother to lose a son in wartime must be devastating, to lose three sons (two in one year) must be heartbreaking, and almost beyond imagination. This is exactly what happened to one mother, Irene Raw, during World War Two when three of her four sons, all RAF pilots were killed.

The second eldest son, Peter would become a fighter pilot flying the Typhoon, and would die in this aircraft on a low level sweep over Holland on the 21st March 1944. Another brother, John passed all his training with flying colours and became an instructor whilst waiting for a posting to a fighter squadron. Killed in a Miles Magister in April 1941 whilst at the Central Flying School at RAF Upavon. The loss of Sq/Ldr Anthony Raw is described briefly within this page.

Lancaster II ND534 took off at 16:54 hrs from RAF Upwood to bomb the synthetic oil plant at Gelsenkirchen. The bomber streams on this and the other two target were escorted by some 26 squadrons of allied fighters. No German fighters were encountered. Not at very successful operation as the target was obscured by a smoke screen. Thought to have been brought down by anti-aircraft fire.

The full story of the last operation by Fl/Lt. Peter Raw DFC 119259 and a postscript is on this website and does contain a great deal more information on the family of the brothers.

Further fuller information on Peter Raw’s RAF career and the Raw family, with numerous photographs can be found in the book 'Raw Courage' ISBN: 978-1908117137 Published by Grub Street 19th August 2011. 224 pages - hardback-English.

Burial details:

Sq/Ldr. Anthony William Raw DFC. AFC. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 30.D.1. Son of Frederic Edward and Alice Beatrice Raw and husband of Kathleen Agnes Raw, of 10 Mount Park Crescent, Ealing, Middlesex, England.

P/O. John Brooks. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 30.D.4. Son of Sam and Clara Brooks, of Harwood, Lancashire and husband of Marion Brooks, of Harwood, England.

Fl/Lt. Charles William Reeves. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 30.D.3. Son of Frederick and Winifred Lilian Reeves, of Bulwark, Chepstow, Monmouthshire and husband of Lilian Reeves, of Manchester, England.

Sq/Ldr. Geoffrey Alan Ritchie Undrell DFC. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 30.D.2. Son of Horace William and Alice Marguerite Undrell, of East Sheen, Surrey, England.

Fl/Lt. Alexander Millar. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 30.D.8. Son of Robert and Mary Millar and husband of Elsie Margaret Millar, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Norman Warwick. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 30.D.5. Son of Isaac William and Ann Warwick and husband of Norah Warwick, of Wetheral, Cumberland, England.

P/O. Raymond Haines Leonard. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 30.D.6. Son of Thomas Daniel and Phillis Jean Leonard, of Berri, South Australia.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Norman Franks - Simon Muggleton November 2017. Page dedicated to the relatives of all the family - further information is welcome from them and indeed others.

KTY - 23.11.2017

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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), 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', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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