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Old 7th June 2019, 18:04
SteveR SteveR is online now
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9 April 1940: S/L George Peacock, No. 9 Squadron

I'll try to keep this short...

In Shores' Fledgling Eagles it is stated that on 9 April 1940 a Wellington on No. 9 Squadron, returning from an operation to Norway, shot down a Do-18 of 3/406, the crew of which perished, without giving any details of the combat.

In Gordon Thorburn's Bomber Command 1939-1940 the author states that the victorious Wellington was that of S/L George Peacock and that Peacock was awarded the D.F.C. for it.

There's nothing about it in Thorburn's Bombers First and Last or in Mason's 9 Squadron.

I went to the National Archives website to try to find more info. Searching the Air 50 files for a combat report yielded nothing. Searching Air 27 I found confirmation of the D.F.C award but nothing about the combat - not in the ORB or any of the 500+ pages of Appendices.


Have I missed something in the NA? Can anyone suggest search terms that might help me find something there? Does a combat report for this encounter exist?

Does anyone have any more details of this combat from the RAF perspective (the commander of the Do-18 is given in Shores; since the crew perished I figure there's not much to be had from the Luftwaffe perspective)?

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 7th June 2019, 18:36
Col Bruggy Col Bruggy is offline
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Re: 9 April 1940: S/L George Peacock, No. 9 Squadron


PEACOCK, George Ernest, SL. (33067). RAF. 9 SQN.
London Gazette:19/4/1940 (p.)2322.

When leading a formation of aircraft on a raid on enemy warships at Bergen, this officer displayed remarkable courage and determination. After the original attack by his formation he returned alone and repeated his run over the target in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire. When on the return flight to his base he again turned back to attack a hostile flying-boat which was shot down into the sea.

The Distinguished Flying Cross and How it was Won 1918-1995
Carter,Nick and Carol.
N.p.,:Savannah Publications,1998 (Vol.II. M-Z).

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Old 7th June 2019, 22:50
Martin Gleeson Martin Gleeson is offline
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Re: 9 April 1940: S/L George Peacock, No. 9 Squadron

Hello Steve and Col,
This is very interesting, and frustrating. While researching the RAF losses for the month of April 1940 for the ‘Eagles Over Europe’ project I came across this incident but very little detail about it.
As Steve states there is nothing in the 9 Squadron ORB about the combat. This pilot and his aircraft are omitted completely from the 9 Sqn. F.541. Even if they had been for some reason the recording officer saw fit after 4 April 1940 to cease noting the names of all the crew members bar the pilot !
However up to today my only source was the 18 Group Appendices (AIR 25/390, pages 88-96, especially page 96). It identifies the aircraft by letter only, ‘M/9’ (WS-M), and gives some detail on the Do 18 action. It began at 1950 hours and lasted four minutes. The front and rear gunners fired 500 rounds each. Both engines of the Dornier were put out of action before it was landed on the water with one wing down. One man was seen to climb out.
There is a line at the end of the relevant paragraph stating “…..and our aircraft suffered slight damage”. Re-reading same I am no longer sure if this refers to return fire from the Do 18 or flak from KM vessels in Bergen harbour, or indeed to another Wellington ! Best bet is probably still ‘M’.
There is some reference in the 9 Sqn. F.540 (pages 120 and 127), but the 18 Group Appendices make it clear that 9 Sqn. sent out five individual Wellington reconnaissance sorties after midday on April 9th. While these were still in the air a separate force of six Wellingtons (including ‘M’) took off from 1545 hours to bomb light cruisers in Bergen Harbour.
The first five reconnaissance sorties are recorded in the 9 Sqn. F.541 but not the six bombing sorties ! Hence the lack of information on the Do 18 action.
Almost certainly the Wellington was P9232 and Peacock’s crew were;
F/O Peter Charles Lambert ,
Sgt. Ronald Charles Hargrave,
LAC Archibald Kenneth Griffiths,
AC Charles Murton,
AC Read.
The unit moved to Lossiemouth on 2 April 1940. A list of the Wellingtons and their crews appear in the 9 Sqn. Appendices (AIR 27/131, pages 153-154). This aircraft and crew as shown above flew a navigation exercise on April 4th. P9232 and S/Ldr. Peacock flew a shipping search mission on April 7th (though as mentioned at the top without naming the other crew).
I am very grateful to you both for providing the vital links which enabled a fuller version of the story to emerge. Any further information would be most welcome !
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Old 8th June 2019, 01:38
SteveR SteveR is online now
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Re: 9 April 1940: S/L George Peacock, No. 9 Squadron

Thank you, Col, and thanks especially to you, Martin! It seems we had the exact same experience looking through the ORB; glad to know I didn't miss something there and that I'm not blind!

I found the names of the Do-18 crewmen on the luftwaffe-sur-zee website here:

They're listed as: Oblt. Heinrich de Vlieger (FF), Lt.z.See Wolfgang Cohrs (B), Uffz. Hans Liesner (HB), Fw. Helmut Suhr (Bm) - all MIA.

Hopefully someone will know something more!
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