Traces of World War 2 
RAF - No. 58 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

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58 SQUADRON - Bomber - Armstrong Whitworth AW38 Whitley

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No. 58 was flying Whitleys from Yorkshire at the outbreak of the Second World War, and first went into action on the night of 3rd/4th September, 1939, when - in conjunction with No. 51 Squadron - it maid a leaflet raid over Germany. This was the first occasion on which R.A.F aircraft penetrated into Germany during the Second World War.

A few weeks after this operation No. 58 was ordered to an airfield in South-West England for duty with Coastal Command and until late January, 1940, it was employed on escorting convoys and flying anti-submarine patrols. The squadron returned to Yorkshire in February and from April, 1940 to March, 1942, played a prominent part in the night-bombing offensive. Its targets were of the widest variety, from airfields, road and railway communications, marshalling yards and industrial centres, to the Channel Ports, oil and petrol installations and shipping at sea.

Three highlights of this period were the squadron's participation in the first big attack on the German mainland (München-Gladbach) on 11th/12th May, 1940; the first attack on Italy (primary target Turin) on 11th/12th June, 1940; and the first attack on Berlin, on 25th/26th August, 1940.

See also: Sergeant (Pilot) Fred Young, a pilot with 58 Squadron, BBC WW2 People's War

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Operations and losses 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

11-12/05/1940: Mönchengladbach, D
18 May - Misburg
21 May - Julich
22 May - Hirson
23-24/05/1940: Communications, B or D, 1 Plane lost, 1 KIA, 4 POW
24 May - Grongion
01/06/1940: ?
03/06/1940: ?
04/06/1940: ?
11-12/06/1940: Turin, Italy
17-18/06/1940: Gelsenkirchen, D. 1 Plane lost, 2 KIA, 3 POW
18-19/06/1940: Castrop-Rauxel, D. 1 Plane lost, 5 KIA
20-21/06/1940: Essen, D. 1 Plane lost, 5 POW
26/06/1940: ?
28/06/1940: ?

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LOSSES 01/01/1940 - 09/05/1940 (incomplete)

Corporal Patrick H.D. Ditmas, RAF 550777, 58 Sqdn., age 21, 01/05/1940, missing
Flight Sergeant Cecil R. Heayes, RAF 562741, 58 Sqdn., age 26, 01/05/1940, missing
Sergeant Harvey A. Peel, RAF 527531, 58 Sqdn., age 26, 01/05/1940, missing
Aircraftman 1st Class David Robertson, RAF 633753, 58 Sqdn., age 20, 01/05/1940, missing
Sergeant Leonard F. Tomlinson, RAF 580338, 58 Sqdn., age unknown, 01/05/1940, missing

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11-12/05/1940: Mönchengladbach, D

The first big attack on the German mainland (the exits of Mönchengladbach), with 18 Sqdn., 49 Sqdn., 51 Sqdn. and 77 Sqdn..
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23-24/05/1940: Communications

Type: Whitley Mk.V
Serial number: N1361, GE-F
Operation: Communications
Lost: 24/05/1940
Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) Ian L. McLaren, RAF 35151, 58 Sqdn., (78 Sqdn. according to CWGC), age 24, Hotton War Cemetery, B
Sgt J.R. Mirfin PoW
Sgt J. Buckfield PoW
LAC J. Spencer PoW
AC1 H. Wilkinson PoW
Airborne 2300 23May40 from Linton-on-Ouse. Crashed in the Ardennes region of Belgium. Cause of loss not established. F/L McLaren is buried in Hotton War Cemetery where he is recorded as having belonged to No.78 Sqdn.

Sgt J.Buckfield was interned in Camps 8B/L3/L1. PoW No.13091. Sgt J.R.Mirfin in Camps 8B/L1/L6/357, PoW No.13102. LAC J.Spencer in Camps 8B/L6/357, PoW No.13063. AC1 H.Wilkinson in Camsps 8B/L3/L6/357, PoW No.13106. Target also reported as La Capelle.

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11-12/06/1940: Turin, Italy

To mark the entry of the Italians into the war, 36 Whitleys drawn from Nos. 10, 51, 58, 77 and 102 Squadrons were tasked to raid Genoa and Turin during the night of 11/12 June 1940, although only 13 aircraft actually reached their targets due to a combination of inclement weather and engine troubles.

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17-18/06/1940: Gelsenkirchen, D

10 Sqdn. (3 aircraft), 51 Sqdn. (7 a/c), 58 Sqdn. (10 a/c) and 77 Sqdn. (9 a/c) attack an oil plant at Gelsenkirchen.

Whitley Mk.V
Serial number: N1463, GE-L
Operation: Gelsenkirchen
Lost: 18/06/1940
Flight Sergeant (Pilot) Gordon J. Ford, RAF 562682, 58 Sqdn., age 28, 18/06/1940, Culemborg General Cemetery, NL
Sgt H.P. Maguire PoW
Sergeant (Obs.) Eric Jones-Roberts, RAF 580580, 58 Sqdn., age 28, 18/06/1940, Culemborg General Cemetery, NL
Sgt A.E. Furze PoW
Sgt F.S. Staley PoW
Airborne 2140 17Jun40 from Linton-on-Ouse. Crashed, due to engine failure, at midnight, on land identified at the Schalkwijkse Heul, alongside the Beusichemsedijk on the S bank of the River Lek at Beusichem (Gelderland), Netherlands.
Sgt A.E.Furze was interned in Camps L1/L6/357, PoW No.56 with Sgt F.S.Staley, PoW No.54. Sgt H.P.Maguire (also initialled H.P.F.) in Camps L1/L6, PoW No.61. Sgt F.S.Staley is recorded also as Sgt F.S.Stanley.

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18-19/06/1940: Castrop-Rauxel, D

Type: Whitley Mk.V
Serial number: N1460, GE-R
Operation: Castrop-Rauxel
Lost: 19/06/1940
Flying Officer (Pilot) John T. MacInnes, RAF 37753, 58 Sqdn., age 29, 19/06/1940, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, D
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Clement N. Buist, RAF 42690 (Australia), 58 Sqdn., age 20, 19/06/1940, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, D
Sergeant (Obs.) Malcolm L. Dent, RAF 524057, 58 Sqdn., age 23, 19/06/1940, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, D
Sergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Leonard Whittle, RAF 533685, 58 Sqdn., age unknown, 19/06/1940, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, D
Sergeant (W. Op.) Cornelius F. Mckay, RAF 549190, 58 Sqdn., age 23, 19/06/1940, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, D
Airborne 2115 18Jun40 from Linton-on-Ouse. W/T signals reporting shipping had been sighted were received at 2335, after which the bomber crashed at Neukirchen-Vluyn, 10 km NNW of Krefeld, Germany. All are buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. There is an amended report of the crash of this bomber at Dortmund- Mengede.

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20-21/06/1940: Essen, D

Type: Whitley Mk.V
Serial number: N1460, GE-R
Operation: Essen
Lost: 21/06/1940
F/O G.E.Walker PoW
P/O J.Plant PoW
Sgt R.R.Schofield PoW
Sgt C.H.Neary PoW
Sgt H.R.Holmes PoW
Airborne 2115 20Jun40 from Linton-on-Ouse. Cause of loss and crash- site not established. Believed to have been the first crew lost on a pre-determined raid on this target which was to gain a reputation as one of the most hotly defended targets in Germany. Sgt H.R.Holmes was interned in Camp 383, PoW No.149. Sgt C.H.Neary in Camps L1/L3/L1, PoW No.59. P/O J.Plant in Camps 9AH/L1/L3, PoW No.1126. Sgt R.R.Schofield in Camps L1/L6/357, PoW No.3. F/O G.E.Walker in Camps 9AH/L3, PoW No.1123.

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Air Force POWs 1939-1945
Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Lost Bombers
Royal Air Force - 58 Squadron
RAF History - Bomber Command
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
RAF Order of Battle, France, 10th May 1940
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
The Second World War - a day by day account
War over Holland


W.R. Chorley, Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War, Volume 1, 1939/40, Midland Counties Publications, ISBN 0 904597 85 7


Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
CWGC Cemeteries Netherlands
The National Ex-Prisoners of War Association aircraft of WW2
RAF Battle of Britain
Warbird Alley

The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War 1

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This page is dedicated to the men of 58 Squadron.

© Bart FM Droog / Rottend Staal Online 2008. Permission granted for use of the data gathered here for non commercial purposes, if this source is mentioned with a link to