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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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75 squadron badge
20/21.04.1943 75 (New Zealand) Squadron Stirling III BF506 AA-P Plt.Off. Tolley

Operation: Rostock (Heinkel factory)

Date: 20/21st April 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: 75 (New Zealand) Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: BF506

Code: AA-P

Base: RAF Newmarket, Suffolk.

Location: Bögballe, Denmark

Pilot: Plt.Off. Alan Gray Tolley 411954 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Gerald Albert Raymond Town 1217965 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Obs: Flt.Sgt. William Henry Ellis 1021328 RAFVR Age 31. Killed

Air Bmr: Flt.Sgt. Frank Wakefield Upton 404430 RNZAF Age 28. Killed (1)

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Cyril Thomas Cobb 412315 RNZAF Age 30. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Frederick Joseph Earle 1332585 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Ian Charles Salt 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.


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 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. If the video does not appear, go directly to the YouTube page.

(Your comments would be appreciated of course)

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 left - right: 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 left to right: 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)

(1) Flt.Sgt. Frank Upton received 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.) After school he was employed as a clerk by W.H. Harris Ltd, Tinsmiths of Christchurch before applying for aircrew on the 12th of October 1939. After enlisting at the Initial Training Wing on 24th November 1940 and on completion of his training, he was posted on 20th January 1941 to No 3 Elementary Flying Training school at Harewood. Here his flying training was terminated and he was re-mustered to an air observer and re posted on the 13th April to the I.T.W, Levin. On 18th June 1941 he embarked for Canada under the Empire Air Training Scheme. Shortly after his arrival in Canada, Fl/Sgt. Frank Upton was posted on 6th July 1941 to No 6 Air Observers School, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. On 28th September he proceeded to No 3 Bombing and Gunnery School, Macdonald, Manitoba where on 8th November 1941, he was awarded his air observers badge and promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He was further promoted to Flight Sergeant on the 1st April 1943. On 9th November 1941 he was posted to No 1 Advanced Navigation School, Rivers, Manitoba and after completing the course was posted to No 1 'Y' Depot, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 19th December 1941 for embarkation to the United Kingdom. He arrived at No 3 Personnel Reception Centre, Bournemouth on 30th January 1942 and was posted on the 24th April to No 10 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit, Dumfries, Scotland. Here he trained on Dominee, Anson, Botha and Fairey Battle aircraft. Late in May he was posted to No 11 OTU Bassingbourn, Hertfordshire where he crewed up and completed his training as an air bomber on Wellingtons. On 25th August he converted to Stirlings at 1651 HCU Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire. In late September he was posted to 1657 CU Stradishall, Suffolk and on 20th October was attached to 214 Squadron at Chedburg, Suffolk on Stirlings where he took part in 2 mine laying ops. Early in December he was posted to 90 squadron, Bottesford, Notts, carrying out further mine laying ops to the Gironde river, France. He was posted to 75 (NZ) Squadron, Newmarket, Suffolk, on 29th January 1943, taking part in 8 operational flights including Kiel, Duisberg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Mannheim as well as 2 mine laying ops to the Frisian Islands and St.Nazaire in France.

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 effected 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)

Memorial service 2016 (courtesy Arne Rosenkvist)

Crew graves (courtesy Mike Harrison)

Burial details:

Plt.Off. Alan Gray Tolley. Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery Coll. grave A.11. 11-14. Son of Henry John and Eva Florence Tolley, of Wellington City, New Zealand.

Sgt. Gerald Albert Raymond Town. Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery Grave A.11. 15. Son of Winnifred Louise (nee Masters) and Ernest G Town of Kent.

Sgt. Town, 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.

Left: 7 Tulips for 7 boys remembered in 2016 - Lynn Truex

Flt.Sgt. William Henry Ellis. Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery Coll. grave A.11. 11-14. Born June 1912 in Lancashire, England. Eldest son of Alice Emmeline Rigby b. 1888 and William Ewart Ellis b. 1885. Only brother of Robert Rigby Ellis b. 17 May 1915
Husband of Mary F Stevens (married April 1939) Father of Adrianne M Ellis b. 1940 and Elizabeth Ellis b. 1941. Uncle to Robert’s daughters: Fern Graham (nee Rigby Ellis) b. 1946 and Lynne Truex (nee Rigby Ellis) b. 1949

Flt.Sgt. Frank Wakefield Upton. Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery Coll. grave A.11. 11-14. Born on the 15th of August 1914, son of Frederick Samuel and Isabel Upton of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Flt.Sgt. Cyril Thomas Cobb. Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery Grave A. 9. 6. Son of Fred and Mary Cobb, of Thames, Auckland, New Zealand.

Sgt. Frederick Joseph Earle. Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery Coll. grave A.11. 11-14. Son of Frederick Earle and stepson of Edith A. Earle of 14, Gladstone Road, Willesborough, Ashford, Kent, England.
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.

Flt.Sgt. Ian Charles Salt. Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery Coll. grave A.11. 11-14. Son of Charles Henry and Margaret Crawford Salt (nee Boa) of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.

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.

RS 23.04.2020 - Update to loss information

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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Last Modified: 25 March 2021, 17:30

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