LEATHERHEAD WAR MEMORIALS - WWII

Flying Officer Donald Leslie Stevenson RAFVR
106 Squadron Royal Air Force

Town Memorial World War II


FLYING OFFICER
DONALD LESLIE STEVENSON

Service Number: 131126
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
106 Sqdn.
Died 15 June 1943
Buried or commemorated at
REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY
5. H. 2.
Germany

RAF Bomber Command Losses in the Second World War: WR Chorley: 1943

14-15 June 1943
106 Sqn Lancaster III ED649 ZN-X Op: Oberhausen

took off 2240 RAF Syerston. All were buried on 16 June in the Nordfriedhof at Düsseldorf, since when their remains were taken to the  Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. At 40, F/O Oates was amongst the oldest bomber pilots killed on operations during 1943. By way of contrast, his navigator, P/O Parr, was 19.

Pilot F/O HD Oates
Flight Engineer Sgt J Hindley
Navigator P/O RH Parr
Bomb Aimer P/O DL Stevenson
Wireless Operator Sgt RA Martin
Mid-Upper Gunner Sgt RE Bell
Rear Gunner Sgt JV Sweeney RCAF

As Bill Chorley says, according to the CWGC the crew were at one time buried in Düsseldorf North Cemetery and were reburied in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery on 9 October 1946. This was part of the concentration of scattered war graves into major War Cemeteries.

On the Aircrew Remembered website there is a post which may identify the cause of the loss of this aircraft:

15 June 1943: Bf 110 G-4 "G9 + FN" (W.Nr. 5450) of 5./NJG 1 flown by Oberfeldwebel Fritz Schellwat (F) and Oberfeldwebel Lüdecke (Bf), both wounded, crashed due to enemy fire west of Heinsberg, 100%. He did record his 13th victory that night at 1:32 against a Lancaster over Düsseldorf-Storkheim which was either Lancaster III (ED396) of 103 Sqn, RAF flown by Sgt G Whitehead, all killed or Lancaster III (ED649) "ZN-X" of 106 Sqn, RAF flown by F/O HD Oates, all killed so perhaps the crash was due to return fire from one of these aircraft. (Forum Post)

The Bomber Command War Diaries: An Operational Reference Book: 1939-1945: Middlebrook and Everitt

14/15 June 1943
OBERHAUSEN

197 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitoes: 17 Lancasters lost, 8.4% of the force.

This target was cloud-covered but once again the Oboe sky-marking was accurate. The report from Oberhausen says that the Germans noted the markers  right over the top of the Altstadt. 267 buildings were destroyed and 584 seriously damaged. 85 people were killed and 258 were injured.

So far no press reports of Donald Stevenson's death have been found.


His life

Donald Leslie Stevenson was born on 11 September 1921 at Crowthorne, Reddown Road, Coulsdon, Surrey and so was aged 21 when he died on 15 June 1943.

His father was Archibald Frank Stevenson. He died on 7 May 1941 in Leatherhead Emergency Hospital (Royal Blind School), Surrey. His death was "due to war operations" as his Death Certificate describes his fatal wounding during the bombing of his home at White Wicket, Ermyn Way, Leatherhead which took place on 19 March 1941. It is not known if Donald's mother Isabel was injured.

For more on his father please go to Archibald Frank Stevenson's page.

His mother was Isabel Marvin born 21 July 1893 at Windsor, Berkshire the daughter of Henry Ward Marvin (1850–1929), a Manager, and Ella Durrant (1854–1932). Her death on 26 September 1960 was registered in the Surrey Mid Eastern District.

They were married on 3 July 1917 at St John's, Coulsdon, Surrey by the Rev James, Vicar of St Annes, Brighton. She was later known by the name Isabel Marvin Stevenson.

Donald had a sister, Pamela Marjorie Wildman Stevenson (22 Oct 1918–29 June 1987) who married Officer-Cadet Richard Hugh Reeves (1916–1998) of Leatherhead, at Leatherhead Parish Church on 23 Mar 1940. After the war they lived at Little Rising, Ermyn Way, built on the site of White Wicket.

In the 1939 England & Wales Register his parents were living at White Wicket, Ermyn Way, Leatherhead.

Donald was educated at St, John's, School, Leatherhead, Surrey, entering in 1935. He was in the 1st XI Cricket Team in 1938 and 1939 and was winner of the Games Shield in 1940.

In 1941 he was reading History at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He was a member of the University Air Squadron and left Cambridge early to join up the RAF, with the intention to return and complete his degree.

He was part of the Commonwealth Training Scheme which took fledgling aircrew to Commonwealth countries for flying or navigational training, in his case to  Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa where he was attached to No 6 Training Squadron RAF. He was promoted to Flying Officer.

During his lifetime where Donald's parents lived can be tracked via the Electoral Registers:
1925-1934 4 The Avenue Coulsdon, Surrey
1935-1941 White Wicket, Ermyn Way, Leatherhead

After the war

His mother lived at Holmbury, Garlands Road, Leatherhead until her death in 1960. She is buried in Leatherhead Parish Churchyard with her husband:

456 STEVENSON Archibald Frank b1882 d1941 59
456 STEVENSON Isabel Marvin b1896 d1960 64

Donald Stevenson is remembered on these memorials
Leatherhead Town Memorial
Leatherhead RBL Roll of Honour, Leatherhead Parish Church
St Johns School, Leatherhead - WW2
Sidney Sussex College Cambridge - Act of Remembrance

the website editor would like to add further information on this casualty
e.g. a photo of him, his headstone, and any recollections of him

last updated 28 Jul 20