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Lysanders France/Belgium

Lysanders France/Belgium
Author: John Larder (Guest)
Time Stamp:
11:45:33 Sunday, April 18, 2004
Henk you kindly offered to help with Lysander losses in 1939/ 1940. I am putting on this site as no doubt there are others hoping to fill in the gaps.

LAC T.J. Page 4 Sq. Died 27/9/39 Flying incident?

F/Lt. M.P. Skinner/LAC E.Whitehead 13 Sq. 6/12/39

Cpl. S.O.Slater 26 Sq. 21/2/40

P/O W.B.Adamson 4 Sq. 9/3/40

LAC J.H.F. Lock 26 Sq. 29/3/40

P/O A.F.B. Ramsay 4 Sq. 21/4/40

P/O T.H. Borg-Banks/LAC W.F.Lawes 13 Sq. 16/5/40

F/O T.W. Walker/Cpl. E.T. Baillie 16 Sq. 18/5/40

F/O L.J. Oldacres/P/O J.A. Plumb/LAC C. Butterill/LAC R.J. Thornton 4 Sq. 19/5/40

P/O R.H. Clifford/P/O C.I.D.Halliday/LAC F.L. Bettany/LAC A.F. Church 26Sq. 19/5/40

P/O J.H. Day 13 Sq. 20/5/40

P/O T.J.H. Davey/LAC J.H. Gillam 4 Sq. 21/5/40

F/Lt. R.H.N. Graham/P/O R.E. Butterworth 13 Sq. 21/5/40

P/O M.L.G. Henderson 2 Sq. 22/5/40

26 Sq. I have 5 aircrew killed 27/5/40. I have L6863 for P/O E.E. Howarth.

F/Lt. W.R. Clapham/Sgt. R.E. Brown 16 Sq. 28/5/40

P/O D.G. Fevez/Sgt. R.D.K. Cochrane 26 Sq. 5/6/40

AC2 S.J. McConnell 4 Sq. 25/6/40

Sorry about the length of the list but it is an area I have very little informatio about. Any help appreciated.

If you want information on F/O J.H. Coghlan killed 17/8/40 in a Lysander, I did get something from AHB.

RE: Lysanders France/Belgium
Author: Henk Welting (Guest)
Time Stamp:
13:47:25 Sunday, April 18, 2004
Yes John, I'm interested in the info on COGHLAN. You probably forgot to mention Lac Harold W.E. HANSON, 4 Sqdn, 517631, Runnymede Panel 23, missing 25/6/40.

Many fellow researcher have a search possibility in their database and I would advise to mention the airmen's servicenumbers in your future requests.

Did you succeed reading my info on the Norwegian casualties and was the info helpful?



RE: Lysanders France/Belgium
Author: Henk Welting (Guest)
Time Stamp:
08:08:55 Monday, April 19, 2004
Hello John,

Here is what I have on file on Lysanders 39/40:

6/12/39 (Skinner - Whitehead) - L4763

9/3/40 (Adamson) - L6852 (8/3 dow 9/3)

16/5/40 (Borg-Banks - Lawes) - L4814

18/5/40 (Walker - Baillie) - L4803

19/5/40 (Clifford - Bettany) - N1290

19/5/40 (Halliday - Church) - N1202

20/5/40 (Day) - L4773

21/5/40 (Davey - Gillham) - P9064

22/5/40 (Henderson) - L6849

27/5/40 (Howarth - Bolton) - L6863

28/5/40 (Clapham - Brown) - P1720

5/6/40 (Fevez - Cochrane) - N1211

17/8/40 (Coghlan) - 419 SDFlt - R2625 (Pilot 56 Sqdn)

Any comments from fellow researcher welcome please.



RE: Lysanders France/Belgium
Author: John Larder (Guest)
Time Stamp:
21:21:24 Monday, April 19, 2004

Thanks for help. 549 out of 8,199 war time graves now unaccounted for in France.

F/O Coghlan veteran of Battles of France and Britain. DFC for 6 victories July 1940.

7th. Aug. 1940 posted to Parachute Practice Unit at Ringway (now Manchester Airport). Night of 17/18th. August 1940 took off in Lysander "C" of PPU to perform "Special Duties Flight" carrying unidentified passenger. FTR and body of Acting F/Lt. washed ashore on the French coast 23rd. September. Buried Boulogne Eastern Cem.

No serial number but AHB deduced that since Ken Merrick in "Flights of the Forgotten" states that R2625 and R2626 were assigned to 419 Flt and that R2626 was flying until 1944 it must have been R2625. The movement card for this a/c ends with a/c being taken on charge by 419 Flt. on 10th. August 1940 and alloted to the Central Landing School. Rear of card states that on arrival "required operationally equipped with night flying gear, front but no rear guns". No base is mentioned but North Weald is suspected as 419 Flt. was based there in August 1940.

Coincidentally F/Lt. Coghlan had flown with 56 Sq. at North Weald before transferring.

Regarding Norwegians, I am waitig for chance to see technical adviser if I can ever drag myself away from this site!

RE: Lysanders France/Belgium
Author: Joss Leclercq (Guest)
Time Stamp:
21:59:47 Monday, April 19, 2004
hello John and Henk,

I'll look at my own files about Lysander losses in cas I could add, but Henk has filled in many gaps.

I checked No. 4 Squadron ORB and didn't find that ADAMSON crashed on 8 March 1940, but on the 9th. Same serial as quoted by Henk.

He took off at 09:25 hours from Monchy-Lagache to go to Ronchin A.L.G. (in the suburb of Lille) but crashed on landing at Ronchin. Air gunner LAC STACHELL survived unscathed. ADAMSON was buried on 11th March 1944 at Armenti%E8res (Cit Bonjean MC).

Thanks for the details about COGHLAN. I had N1203 as the serial number of his Lysander. Plane probably crashed in the Channel and the body of the pilot was washed ashore on the French side, and picked up by the Germans. Buried in Boulogne. CWGC still shows unit at No. 56 Squadron. I also found COGHLAN unit quoted at "PArachute Training Unit, Central Landing School".

It seems there was a passenger in the Lysander but no further details about him.


RE: Lysanders France/Belgium
Author: Henk Welting (Guest)
Time Stamp:
12:29:58 Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Hello J and J,

L6852 in Air Britain: "Bounced on landing and overturned, Lille/Ronchin, 8.3.40; DBF." Pilot died 9.3.40.



RE: Lysanders France/Belgium
Author: Laurent Rizzotti (Guest)
Time Stamp:
19:52:42 Thursday, April 22, 2004
I found some data on Lysanders in the book "Twelve days in May", whose main focus is the RAF Hurricanes engaged in France but other RAF types are cited from time to time.

13 May 1940

Lysander P9063 of 4 Sqn was shot down by a Bf109 of I/JG 1 near Hoegaarden at 9h45 with the loss of the crew.

14 May 1940

During an early morning reconnaissance sortie, the Lysander L4742 TV-H of 4 Sqn was shot down in the Louvain-Tirlemont area.

The suadron suffered a second loss in the early evening when P1711 failed to return from another sortie.

15 May 1940

The Lysander L6885 of 13 Sqn was escorted shortly after midday by Hurricanes of 85 Sqn for a reconnaissance but they were bounced by Bf110 of 5./ZG 26 east of Ath and 3 Hurricanes and the Lysander were lost. The Lysander crew were reported to have been killed (but are not in your list)

16 May 1940

At 15h00 9 Huri of 615 Sqn escorted the Lysander L4814 of 4 Sqn but they were bounced near Tirlemont by Bf109 of II/JG 26. 3 Hurricanes and 1 Bf109 were shot down, only one British pilot being killed. But the Lysander was also shot down by Fw Karl-Heinz Bothfeld of 1./JG 27.

Another Lysander of 4 Sqn was intercepted by 6 Bf110 of 1/ZG 1 and claimed shot down by two German pilots but escaped. Its gunner claimed one of the attackers in return.

17 May 1940

A Lysander of 16 Sqn was lost during a reconnaissance to the right of the BEF.

Blenheims and bomb-carrying Lysanders were sent to attakc a column on the Landrecies-Le Cateau road but it might be French. The Lysander L4796 of 16 Sqn RAF was shot down by a Bf109 of 6/JG 26.

During a recon, the Lysander L4815 KO-N of 2 Sqn was attacked by 3 Bf109. The gunner claimed one shot down and another damaged but the Lysander was holed in a petrol tank and force-landed at Douai, where it was burned to prevent capture.

18 May 1940

Two Lysanders didn't return from tactical reconnaissance and two other were written off after landing.

19 May 1940

A Lysander of 26 Sqn flying a dawn reconnaissance was shot down by Bf109 of I/JG 27 as it returned to its airfield (Amiens-Glisy).

Bf109 of 2(J)/LG 2 and II/JG 26 surprised 2 Lysanders of 4 Sqn practising landings at Lille-Marcq around 10h00 and shot down both with the loss of both crews.

Lysanders of 26 Sqn were used as bombers during the day but two (L4773 RM-B and N1202) failed to return.

A crew of 2 Sqn met 20 Ju87s bombing the bridge at Oudenaarde and claimed one shot down.

Shortly before 13h00, 6 Lysanders of 16 Sqn flying from Glisy to Abbeville were sighted and attacked by Bf109 of I/JG 1 and two were shot down by Hptm Wilhelm Balthasar and Fw Hans Umbach. One force-landed and the other crashed with the loss of both crews.

21 May 1940

Only the 4 Sqn and a flight of the 13 Sqn remained in France. They flew from Lille/Ronchin and St Omer and five Lysanders didn't return. Three fell victim to fighters of I/JG 1, 4/JG 2 and I/ZG 26.

A raid by Do17s and Bf110s against the St-Omer airfield destroyed a Lysander and 2 French Potez 63 on the ground and shot down a Lysander that had just taken off (probably allready taken in the five given above).

Lysanders of 16 Sqn flew from Hawkinge, England, and did reconnaissance in the St Pol-Doullens-Amiens- Abbeville area and one didn't return.

Hope this helps. Any comments welcome.

On 16 May 1940, was the 13 Sqn crew (P/O T.H. Borg-Banks/LAC W.F.Lawes) lost in a 4 Sqn airplane (L4814) ?

Speaking from memory, it seems to me that there was a disastrous mission by Lysanders in the last days of May. They were ordered to drop supplies to the garnison of a French port (Calais or Boulogne) but it had allready fallen and the flight was decimated by Flak when they flew over German troops.

RE: Lysanders France/Belgium
Author: Joss Leclercq (Guest)
Time Stamp:
10:24:16 Monday, January 5, 2004

John, sorry to have taken so long to get back to you, but life is becoming so hectic those days%85 Havenít time to achieve all the things I want to do%85

About the SKNNER/WHITEHEAD crash, Iím translating back in English my notes in French taken at Kew. So the words are not exactly what they are in the O.R.B.. I used to do this during my first visits at the PRO (now NA), now when I have to take hand-written notes, I copy them directly in English, so I can forward them to other people exactly as they were typed.

AIR 27/181 No.13 Sqn O.R.B.


At 10:00 hrs., HM King George VI discusses with Squadron personnel stationed at Douai.

At 11:05 hrs., F/L SKINNER and LAC WHITEHEAD crash 2 miles south-west of Mons-en-Chausse. LAC WHITEHEAD is killed outright. F/L SKINNER is severely wounded and brought to Mondicourt. The plane is a complete "write-off".

F/L SKINNER died of his wounds during the night 6/7.

LAC WHITEHEAD is buried on the 7 at 14:30 at Pronne. F/L SKINNER is buried on the 8 at 14:30 at Pronne.

F/L GRAHAM takes over "A" flight left vacant by SKINNER, from 9 December 1939.

P/O BORG-BANKS arrives on 16 December 1939 at 18:00.

P/Os A.J. SIMPSON and A.J. DAY arrive on the 18 December at 18:00, coming from Andover.


On 2 March 1940, "A" flight is moved to Douai : F/L GRAHAM, F/O BUNDOCK, P/Os SIMPSON, BORG-BANKS and BELLERBY.

On 4 March 1940, P/O BORG-BANKS takes 14 pairs stereo for the 1st Corps.

On 16 May 1940 P/O Thomas Humphrey BORG-BANKS (pilot) and LAC Walter Francis LAWES (air gunner), from No. 13 Sqn, based at Douai-La Brayelle, during a recce mission over Belgium, notice German bombers and decide to attack them. Their Lysander is hit by return fire and they crash near the "rue de la gare" in Vieux-Cond, near Valenciennes, in northern France. They are still buried in that village. Post-war, a street was named in their honour "rue des anglais"

From various research, O.R.B.s and compilations :

19 May 1940 : same info as Henk about P/O Ralph Henry CLIFFORD (pilot), from No. 26 Sqn, buried in Neuvilly, and LAC Frederick Lawrence BETTANY (air gunner), buried in Landrecies. They were flying Lysander Mk II N1290.

Still on 19 May 1940 : P/Os John Alfred PLUMB and Leonard John OLDACRES from No. 4 Sqn (base at Lille-Ronchin ALG) were practising circuits [Iíve never understood why, in such a place and at such a time !] at Lille-Bondues airfield when the pair of Lysander was attacked and shot down by Bf-109Es from 2(J)./LG2 (Oblt Friedrich von Wangerow and Lt Werner TISMAR) at about 10 oíclock. Hurricanes from No. 87 Sqn based at Bondues took off and pursued the Bf-109s, and Oblt von Wangerow was shot down and crashed near St Amand. The two air gunners were LACs Clarence BUTTERILL and Ronald James THORNTOW. Iíve never been able to determine the composition of the two crews. It seems one of the Lysanders crashed in the Fives area in Lille, and I can only presume the other crashed in or near St Andr. This would explain why the 4 airmen are buried in St Andr cemetery. No. 4 Squadron for May records were lost.

On 21 May 1940 : F/L Richard Hatt %AB Hat %BB GRAHAM (pilot) and P/O Reginald Edmund Compton BUTTERWORTH (air gunner), took off from Clairmarais (St Omer) where a flight of No. 13 Sqn was detached, to deliver a message to another airfield near St Omer. After take-off a formation of 3 German bombers was seen over St Omer and attacked. The German bombers fired back and the pilot tried an evasive action, but as he was flying too low, he crashed in a valley. The air gunner had been killed by a bullet before the crash. They had been at school together. "Hat" GRAHAM was an Army captain detached in the R.A.F.., flight commander in No. 13 Sqn since December 1939. Both are buried in St Martin-au-Laert, just north of St Omer.

P/O Terence John Frederick DAVEY (pilot) and LAC James Henry GILLHAM (air gunner), from No. 4 Sqn, took off from Clairmarais aboard Westland Lysander Mk II P9064 TV-_ at the same time than F/L GRAHAM from No 13 Sqn for a reconnaissance mission. They too observe German bombers (3 Dornier Do-215s) which were bombing St Omer and attack them. They were hit by return fire and their Lysander crashed near Zudausques. The funeral took place in the afternoon in the cemetery of that village.

On 27 May 1940, No. 26 Sqn casualties during a supply drop to Calais, were :

P/O James Henderson DEAS (pilot) and LAC John Alexander BOLTOW (air gunner), took off at 09:35 hrs. from Hawkinge. Their Lysander crashed near the dike at Calais.

P/O Ernest Elliott HOWARTH (pilot) (New-Zealander) and Sgt Terence McLOUGHLIN, took off at 09:35 hrs. from Hawkinge and crashed near Calais in Lysander Mk II L6863 (s/n quoted from Errol MARTYNís %AB For your Tomorrow %BB.

These 4 airmen are buried in Calais-sud.

P/O Herbert Dixon DIXON (pilot) and LAC Daniel McLellan NIMMO, are buried in Sangatte (les baraques) (just west of Calais).

28 May 1940 : F/L William Roy CLAPHAM (pilot), M.B.E. and Sgt Roy Ernest BROWN, No. 16 Squadron, are lost during a tactical reconnaissance off Gravelines. In fact, they crashed in St Momelin (north of St Omer, very much inland indeed) aboard Lyander Mk II P1720. They were initially buried in St Momelin, near the crash site, but in 1945 their graves were moved to the St Omer (Longuenesse) Souvenir Cemetery, because the bridge over the canal, near their crash site, had to be rebuilt.

Iím too looking for further details for some Lysander casualties, like LOCK or HENDERSON

At last, do you know that COGHLANís log-book still exists ? Itís kept at the National Archives at Kew, under the reference AIR 4/17. I had no time to check it Thursday when I was there, but perhaps will you be able to see it by yourself. Iím also interested in the A.H.B. information about COGHLAN.

Hope the above is of little help to you.


Joss, from France

RE: Lysanders France/Belgium
Author: John Larder (Guest)
Time Stamp:
09:19:21 Thursday, February 5, 2004
Laurent & Joss

Thanks for information. Next time I go to Kew, I will check Coghlan's log book.

RE: Lysanders France/Belgium
Author: Henk Welting (Guest)
Time Stamp:
13:52:29 Friday, May 21, 2004
Hi all,

What about L6885 - 15-5-1940. I've P/O A.C. OLLERENSHAW and LAC C.F. LUCAS. Could tell you this because all info is in Errol Martyn's "For Your Tomorrow" Vol.I. - page 80. Crew buried at Louvain (Leuven).