75 (New Zealand) Squadron Stirling III BF506 AA-P P/O. Alan Gray Tolley
Operation: Rostock (Heinkel factory)
Date: 20/21st April 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: 75 (New Zealand) Squadron (motto: Ake ake kia kaha - 'For ever and ever be strong')
Type: Stirling III
Base: RAF Newmarket, Suffolk.
Location: Bögballe, Denmark
Pilot: P/O. Alan Gray Tolley NZ/411954 RNZAF Age 21. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Gerald Albert Raymond Town 1217965 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Obs: Fl/Sgt. William Henry Ellis 1021328 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Frank Wakefield Upton NZ/404430 RNZAF Age 28. Killed (1)
WOp/Air Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Cyril Thomas Cobb NZ/412315 RNZAF Age 30. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick Joseph Earle 1332585 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ian Charles Salt NZ/404046 RNZAF Age 20. Killed
A new Dedication / Remembrance ceremony took place over the weekend of 20/21st April 2013. Aircrew Remembered attended.
Every year these wonderful Danish People honour this - and every crew lost over their country. But a very special thank you to Arne Rosenkvirst - who has helped so many relatives over many years.
Lynne Truex placed 7 red roses, 1 for each crew member at the Bomber Command Memorial, London on behalf of all the relatives who were unable to attend on the 21st April 2014.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 22:05 hrs. from Newmarket, Suffolk to bomb the Baltic ports of Rostock and Stettin on the Oder together with a mixed force of 425 aircraft. Also airborne at the same time was a small diversionary force of 11 Mosquitos to carry out the first-ever high-level nuisance attack on Berlin undertaken by Mosquitos, they were employed as a diversion for the main force of heavy bombers which had been assigned to attack Rostock and Stettin.
We are indebted to Maori Television (See here
) for allowing us the use of this interview film with Brian and Diane Ramsay in assisting us in contacting relatives. We hope, that with your assistance in the circulation of both this page of remembrance and the interview to contact all the crew. So please send this page link to all your contacts.
Crash site of BF506 (courtesy Søren Flenstead - see acknowledgements)
The crew were last heard on W/T at 03:00 hrs. signalling “starboard inner on fire”. Nothing further was heard, and the Stirling crashed in flames at Bögballe, 15 km N of Vejle, Denmark. Its demise is reported to have been caused by a night-fighter attack. No further news was received. (2) The Stirling crashed within 100m of a farmhouse that was occupied at the time.
The ensuing glow in the sky caused by the flames from the crash helped another Stirling to belly land in a nearby field after which the crew were captured and became prisoners of war. After the crash, nearby Luftwaffe soldiers from the airfield at Rye retrieved the bodies of 6 of the crew, taking them to Esbjerg for burial. When the crash site was excavated on May the 11th, the body of Flight Sergeant Cobb was found and laid to rest with his crew on the 18th. May.
Above L-R: Plt.Off. Tolley, Sgt. Town, Flt.Sgt. Upton
(Sgt. Town photo courtesy of Norman Smith. Flt.Sgt. Upton photo courtesy of Brian and Diane Ramsay - nee Upton)
Above L-R: Flt.Sgt. Ellis, (courtesy Lynne Truex) Flt.Sgt. Cobb and Flt.Sgt. Salt
(courtesy Auckland Museum - Cenotaph database)
2) The aircraft was homebound from Rostock when it was hit by 3/schw Flak Abt 855. It was also claimed by Fw Mangelsdorf 12/NJG3 during a patrol in box Faun, but Nachtjagd claim not filed with OKL. Flak Abschuss subsequently confirmed. The aircraft crashed at Bogballe at 02:50. This was his first claim and he went on to become an "ace" with 10 confirmed kills. he survived the war. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive 1943 Part 1 - Theo Boiten)
Above left: William Ellis with his wife Mary and daughter Adrianne (Courtesy Lynne Truex)
Sgt. Town with whom it is believed to be Sgt. Earle (courtesy of Norman Smith)
A bronze plaque engraved with the names of the seven crew members and mounted on a small stone at the base of a large rock identifies the crash site. A service on the 4th May 1998 was attended by Mr and Mrs Ramsay, (niece of Fl/Sgt. Upton) and the crew was remembered in a service and wreath-laying Memorial Day. These photos of the memorial are kindly supplied by Allied Airmen - Allierede flyvere 1939-45 DK
. They have also researched this loss
and are very much involved in the reunion planned for 2013. With thanks to Anders Straarup.
A Mads Nielsen was a cabinet maker and also the undertaker for the Parish. He was called upon to supply the coffins for this lost crew.
This affected him and his wife Kirstine a great deal so much so that they decided they would donate this memorial stone to the lost airmen. Their daughter Signe Rømer attended and provided a speech at the memorial on the 4th May 2008.
See photo's below of the service held in 1998 (The memorial stone was in fact unveiled in 1971, but the plaque added in 1998):
The memorial (courtesy of Brian and Diane Ramsay)
The memorial - still covered in blue fabric. (courtesy of Brian and Diane Ramsay)
Brian and Diane Ramsey - nee Upton, visiting the crew graves in 1982 (courtesy of Brian and Diane Ramsay)
Local schoolchildren sing hymns at the ceremony (Courtesy of Brian and Diane Ramsay)
Crew graves (courtesy Mike Harrison)
Burial and additional personal information:
P/O. Alan Gray Tolley. Esbjerg Cemetery (Fourfelt) Collective grave A.11. 11-14. ave A.11. 11-14. Born on the 21st October 1921 at Wellington. Worked as a clerk for North Island Motor Union Insurance in Wellington. Enlisted at Leven as a trainee pilot on the 23rd March 1941. Trained at No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School 04th May 1941. No. 2 Flying Training School 14th June 1941. Pilot badge awarded on the 26th July 1941 and promoted to sergeant 06th September 1941, Embarked for England on the 23rd September 1941 No. 11 Operational Training Unit 03rd March 1942 flying the Wellington. Joined 75 squadron on the 07th August 1942 flying the Sterling, 14 operational sorties. Attached for a brief period with 1665 Operational Training Unit before returning to the squadron on the 29th November 1942.Awarded commission on the 15th of January 1943. Son of Henry John and Eva Florence (née Stout) Tolley, of Northland, Wellington City, New Zealand.
Sgt. Gerald Albert Raymond Town. Esbjerg Cemetery (Fourfelt) Grave A.11. 15. Also known as 'Jerry', enlisted in 1941 with his school friend and crew member, Frederick Earle. Both attended Ashford North County Modern boys school from 1932-6, where they are remembered on the Roll of Honour for WW2, he is also remembered on Ashford Civic war memorial. Son of Winnifred Louise (née Masters) and Ernest G Town of Kent, England.
Left: 7 Tulips for 7 boys remembered in 2016 - Lynn Truex
Fl/Sgt. William Henry Ellis. Esbjerg Cemetery (Fourfelt) Collective grave A.11. 11-14. Also remembered on the Dolgelley war memorial. Born in June 1912 in Lancashire. Eldest son of Alice Emmeline Rigby and William Ewart Ellis. Only brother of Robert Rigby Ellis. Husband of Mary F Stevens (married April 1939). Father of Adrianne M Ellis (born 1940) and Elizabeth Ellis (born 1941). Uncle to Robert’s daughters: Fern Graham (née Rigby Ellis - born 1946) and Lynne Truex (née Rigby Ellis - born 1949) of South Lodge, Ganllwyd, Dolgellau, Wales.
Fl/Sgt. Frank Wakefield Upton;. Esbjerg Cemetery (Fourfelt) Collective grave A.11. 11-14. Born on the 15th August 1914 at Christchurch. ed his secondary education at Christchurch Technical College where he received his Senior Free Place. He was single and played, football, rugby as well as acting as a surf lifesaver at Taylors Mistake near Christchurch, New Zealand. His family knew him as 'Dick'. One of four boys and one girl, his grandmother was born and lived in Denmark prior to emigrating with her two brothers to New Zealand. (Frank's plane crashed just a few miles away from her birthplace in Denmark.) Worked as a clerk for W.H. Harris Ltd (tinsmiths) prior to service. Enlisted at Leven as a trainee pilot on the 24th November 1940. Trained at No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School 20th January 1941. Pilot training terminated and re-mastered as Air Observer on the 26th February 19412. Embarked for Canada on the 18th June 1941. Trained with No. 6 Air Observers School 06th July 1941. Air Observer badge awarded and promoted to sergeant on 08th November 1941. Embarked for England on the 08th January 1942. No. 10 Observer Advanced Flying Unit 24th April 1942. 11 Operational Training Unit flying on the Wellington. 27th May 1942. Re-mustered as Air Bomber 23rd July 1942. 1665 Operational Training Unit 25th August flying the Sterling. Joined 90 squadron on the 13th November 1942 carrying out 1 operational sortie. Assigned to 75 squadron 29th January 1943 carrying out 8 operational sorties. Son of Frederick Samuel (died 01st April 1943) and Isabel (née Butcher - died 20th March 1962) Upton of Addington, Christchurch, New Zealand.Fl/Sgt. Cyril Thomas Cobb. Esbjerg Cemetery (Fourfelt) Grave A.9. 6. Born on the 07th May 1912 at Thames. A Mercer's assistant for E.V. Slyfield in Paeroa prior to service. Enlisted at Levin on the 13th April 1941 as an air gunner. Embarked for Canadian the 26th May 1941. Trained at No. 8 Bomber Gunnery School 21st November 1941. Air Gunner badge awarded on the 22nd December and promoted to sergeant. Re-mustered as W/Op. air gunner. Embarked for England on the 07th January 1942. Further training with No. 9 Observer Advanced Flying Unit 01st May 1942. Attached to No. 11 Operational Training Unit flying on the Wellington 27th May 1942. 1665 Operational Training Unit 25th August flying the Sterling. Joined 90 squadron on the 22nd September 1942 carrying out 2 operational sorties. Assigned to 75 squadron 29th January 1943 carrying out 8 operational sorties. Son of Fred and Mary Cobb (née Delamore), of Bird-In-Hand, Thames, Auckland, New Zealand.
Sgt. Frederick Joseph Earle.; Esbjerg Cemetery (Fourfelt) Collective grave A.11. 11-14. Frederick Earle attended Ashford North County Modern Boys School with Gerald Town. They attended the school from 1932-6 and both enlisted at the same time in 1941. They are buried next to each other at Fourfelt. Both are commemorated on the schools Roll of honour for WW2. Son of Frederick Earle and stepson of Edith A Earle of 14, Gladstone Road, Willesborough, Ashford, Kent.
Fl/Sgt. Ian Charles Salt. Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery Coll. grave A.11. 11-14. Born on the 03rd July 1922 at Christchurch. Worked as a messenger for P and T Department in Wellington. New Zealand Corps of Signals July 1938. Enlisted in Levin as air gunner under training on the 27th of October 1940. Embarked for Canadian on the 06th January 1941. Trained at No. 8 Bomber Gunnery School 18th August 1941. Embarked for England on the 12th of October 1941. Further training with No. 42 Operational Training Unit flying on the Wellington 27th May 1942, flew 1 operational sortie. Re-mustered as an air gunner on the 13th of March 1942 and promoted to sergeant. 1665 Operational Training Unit 25th August flying the Sterling, flew 2 operational sorties. Joined 90 squadron on the 13th November 1942 carrying out 1 operational sortie. Assigned to 75 squadron 29th January 1943 carrying out 9 operational sorties. Son of Lt. Charles Henry (MiD NZ Rifle Brigade. Justice of the peace - died 18th June 1957, age 75) and Margaret Crawford Salt (née Boa - died 16th January 1936, age 38) of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Pilots course 14b, No. 2 Service Flying Training School, RNZAF Station Woodbourne.
L-R: Rear; JD Howard, L Guise, GC Arkley, CC Newlove, Trafford McRae Nicol NZ/411929 (killed on the 24th April 1942)) Douglas Walter Cocks NZ/41878 (died 05th January 1987).
Centre; Graham Edward Murdoch NZ/411827 (killed 09th June 1942), Alan Gray Tolley NZ/411954 (killed on the 21st April 1943), RD Lucas, W Honeyfield, NJ McHugh, Hector Ronald Leckie NZ/411909, EDB Lusk, Sidney Arnold Crump NZ/411978 (killed 23rd December 1941), Patrick Desmond Mullooly NZ/411992 (died 20th June 2010).
Front; Cyril Henry Baigent NZ/411973 (died 10th November 1953), John McCullough NZ/40410 (killed 03rd February 1943), FB Snell, Hugh McKinnon NZ/411081 (killed 07th May 1943), Kingi Te Aho Aho Gilling Tahiwi NZ/411951 (killed 30th September 1942), WG Horne, Frank Murphy NZ/411928 , RW Gilbert.
No. 9b Pilots course, No 3 Elementary Flying Training School, RNZAF Station Harewood.
L-R: Rear; Fredrickson, DL Jones, Longuet, Greenslade, McVay, Newlands, Haden, Emery, Thomas, Todman, Penny, Shuttleworth, Gartrell, Summers, Nilsson, Robertson, Woodcock, Brandon, Williamson.
Centre; Brown, Mitchell, Willis, Gavin, IL Jones, Austen, Downer, Clark, Win, Wilson, Stephens, Mahood, Martin, Irving, Sullivan, Bayley, Black, Calder.
Front; Thiele, Woods, FW Upton, McClure, Tucker, Micholls, Page, Flight Lieutenant Smart, Edge, Shield, Beu, Powell, Webber, Hendry.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew with a great deal of assistance from Brian and Diane Ramsay (nee Upton), Niece of Flt.Sgt. Frank Upton and dedicated to all the relatives and friends of the crew. Also, a big thank you to Lynne Truex (relative of Sgt. Ellis) for some great photo's and further information.
Acknowledgments: With thanks to the following: Brian and Diane Ramsay, Norman Smith, Arne Rosenkvirst, Anders Straarup of the Allied Airmen - Allierede flyvere 1939-45 DK website, Auckland Museum - Cenotaph database, for photographs, Theo Boiten - "German Nightfighter War Diaries", the work of the CWGC.
Also, many thanks to Søren Flenstead who runs a fine website commemorating aircrew of all nations lost over Denmark.
Further thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection,Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, 'For Such Deeds' Gp. Cpt. C.M Hanson, Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Wigram, Whites Aviation collection, Peter Lewis and New Zealand Aviation Forum, other sources as quoted below: