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In Memoriam : Airmen lost on active service after 578 squadron

Here we remember the airmen of 578 squadron who were killed on operations after their time with 578 Squadron:


13 January 1945 Pilot Officer Thomas Stanley Harris Whitehouse Navigator: Age 21
Pilot Officer David Hauber Bomb Aimer: Age 22

Pilot Officers Whitehouse and Hauber were posted from No.578 Squadron to No.51 Squadron and were members of the crew captained by Flying Officer Andrew Wilson. They were killed in a mid-air collision during a raid on Saarbrucken on 13 January 1945 - see ‘Based at Burn Mk II’, by Hugh Cawdron, pp 296-297. Pilot Officer Whitehouse is buried in Berthenonville Church Yard, France and Pilot Officer Hauber in St Sever Cemetery, Rouen. Andy Wilson received the award of the Distinguished Service Order for bringing back his very badly damaged aircraft to a base on the south coast.


16/17  January 1945 Flight Officer Allan Marshall Pilot
Sergeant Harry Griffiths Flight Engineer
Sergeant Jack Thornley Mid-upper Air Gunner

F/O Allan Marshall and crew, Flight Sergeant Doug Elsome (Radio Operator), Sergeant Fraser Paxton (Navigator), Sergeant Reg Tuck (Rear Gunner), Sergeant Harry Griffiths (Flight Engineer), Sergeant Jack Thornley (Mid-Upper Gunner), Flight Sergeant Doug Lawrence (Bomb Aimer) were posted from 578 squadron to 10 squadron at Melbourne Yorkshire on 2nd January 1945.
On 16th January they took off on a raid on Magdeburg. Having reached the target they completed the "Bombing Run" and turned for home. On the return journey the aircraft was attacked by a German Night Fighter.  It was shot down, and crashed in the town of Hörsum, near Hannover, Germany.  Fraser Paxton, Doug Lawrence, Doug Elsome and Reg Tuck managed to escape the stricken aircraft by bailing out but tragically Allan Marshall, Harry Griffiths and Jack Thornley were killed in the crash. They are buried in Hanover War Cemetery. (A website dedicated to F/O Allan Marshall and crew can be found here: http://www.na237.net)
Marshal Crew
F/O Allen Marshall and crew while with 578 Squadron


28/29 January 1945 Sergeant Raymond Charles Fenner Air Gunner: Age 19

Sergeant Fenner was the rear gunner in Flying Officer Brayshaw's crew. They were posted from No.578 Squadron to No.51 Squadron. Whilst homeward bound, their aircraft was attacked by a Me 109 and Sergeant Fenner was killed. Flying Officer Brayshaw successfully landed the badly damaged Halifax on an American airstrip in France. Sergeant Fenner is buried in the Communal Cemetery, Villeneuve St Georges.


9 April 1945 Flying Officer Douglas John Watson RAAF  Pilot: Age 21
Flight Lieutenant William Alan Clarke Patterson DFC  Navigator: Age 23
Flying Officer George Alan Halliday RAAF  Bomb Aimer: Age 28
Flying Officer Robert Michael Gale  Wireless Operator:Age 24
Pilot Officer Roylance Sydney King  Flight Engineer: Age 20
Flying Officer William Gerrard Flynn DFM  Air Gunner
Pilot Officer Alfred John Damm RAAF  Air Gunner: Age 32

Flying Officer Watson and his crew were posted from No.578 Squadron to No 466 Squadron. On 9 April, returning from a raid on Hamburg, their aircraft crashed in bad weather trying to land RAF Driffield.
Flight Lieutenant Patterson had been awarded the DFC while serving with No.78 Squadron in 1943. Flight Lieutenant Patterson must have been on his second tour. Flying Officer Flynn had been awarded the DFM while serving with No 76 Squadron, so he too must have been on his second tour of operations.
Flying Officers Watson and Halliday are buried in Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. Flight Lieutenant Patterson is buried in Hexham Cemetery, Pilot Officer King in Southend-on-Sea Cemtery, Flying Officer Gale in Roundhay (St John) Churchyard and Pilot Officer Damm in Dalnottar Cemetery.


17 May 1945 Flying Officer Frederick Edward Rumsey-Williams DFC RAF Air Gunner

F/O Rumsey Williams was part of a 355 Squadron Liberator crew.  (KH250)  was shot down by AA fire over Port Blair, South Andaman Island (in the Indian Ocean). He was flying that day as front turret gunner. None of the crew survived. He is buried in a communal crew grave in Port Blair. The Grave marker is currently in very poor condition and the site was flooded by the terrible Boxing Day 2004 tsunami.


25 June 1945 Flight Sergeant G Firth DFM

Having completed a tour of duty with 578 as part of Flying Officer Mann’s crew Flight Sergeant G Firth was awarded the DFC. He was later posted to the far East and lost his life on 25 June 1945 while serving with No 62 Squadron (Dakotas). Flight Sergeant G Firth DFM is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial.



This list may be incomplete as it is difficult to trace records after crew are posted following their time with 578 Squadron. If anyone knows of others please contact us at webmaster@578squadron.org.uk




Research:  ‘Des Hollis, Paul Waites ’