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Courtesy Graham Padden (paddeng@padden.eu)

17/12/1942 – Operations. Attack Against Targets At Fallersleben


Five aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 1,000lb. This was to be a low level flight all the way climbing to 5,000 feet to bomb. Four out of the five aircraft unfortunately failed to return. They were the Squadron Commander, Wing Commander V. Mitchell, D.F.C., captain of Stirling I BF396 who took W/O Bagnall and crew who had only arrived a few days previously. Stirling I, BF400 captained by F/O Jacobson, Stirling I, BK620 captained by P/O R.E. Williams, and Stirling I, R9247 captained by F/Sgt. Rousseau.

The one aircraft to return was captained by P/O McCullough who could not find the target owing to rain and bad visibility, and bombed an alternative. This was an aerodrome, the bombs were seen to explode on the flare path and hangars. A.A. fore was fairly heavy and a few searchlights were seen. The aircraft was twice attacked by fighters but they were driven off on each occasion, on return the aircraft was found to have four holes believed due to combat with one of the fighters. The weather was clear to the target but developed to rain and 7/10th cloud on return. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.I BF.396 AA-X

short-stirling-i-raf-nz-75-squadron-aa-x-bf396-25

W/C Victor Mitchell, RAF 37755 – Pilot.
W/O Trevor Horace Bagnell , RNZAF NZ40640 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S Reginald William Pearson, RAFVR 747858 – Navigator.
Sgt. Gerald Thomas Padden, RAFVR 1041966 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Stuart John Goff, RAFVR 916785 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Robert Hart, RAFVR 523663 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Arthur Henry Rider, RAFVR 960489 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Albert Charles William Parker, RAFVR 909252 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time – Missing

Stirling Mk.I BF.396 AA-X was lost without trace and all crew presumed dead. They are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The Captain, W/C V Mitchell, DFC, RAF, was the Squadron Commander. W/O Bagnall and his crew had only arrived on the Unit a few days previously.

W/C Victor Mitchell, RAF 37755 – Pilot.
Lost without trace age 27.
Son of John Mitchell, and of Isabella Forsyth Mitchell, of Elgin, Morayshire.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 64.

W/O Trevor Horace Bagnall, RNZAF NZ40640 – 2nd Pilot.
Lost without trace age 26.
Son of Henry Gordon Bagnall, and of Maud Janetta Bagnall (Nee Ames), of Palmerston North, Wellington, New Zealand.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 114.

W/O Reginald William Pearson, RAFVR 747858 – Navigator.
Lost without trace age 27.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. William Pearson; Husband of Margaret Pearson, of Bilton, Harrogate, Yorkshire.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 72.

Sgt. Gerald Thomas Padden, RAFVR 1 041966 – Air Bomber.
Lost without trace age 20.
Son of Gerald Luke and Janetta Padden, of Chester-Le-Street, Co. Durham.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 91.

Sgt. Stuart John Goff, RAFVR 916785 – Wireless Operator.
Lost without trace age 20.
Son of John Thomas Goff and Norah Goff, of Dagenham, Essex.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 84.

Sgt. Robert Hart, RAF 523663 – Flight Engineer.
Lost without trace age 28.
Son of Phyllis Rose Hart, of Gaddesby, Leicestershire.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 85.

Sgt. Arthur Henry Rider, RAFVR 960489 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Lost without trace age 31.
Son of Arthur H. and Ellen R. Rider, of Dovercourt, Essex; Husband of Ethel G. Rider, of Dovercourt.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 42.

F/S Albert Charles William Parker, RAFVR 909252 – Rear Gunner.
Lost without trace age 22.
Son of James Christopher and Emma Parker, of Gorleston, Norfolk.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 75.

The source of this information is here.

short-stirling-i-raf-nz-75-squadron-aa-x-bf396

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