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RAF 70 Squadron, Wellingtons T2731 | T2734

Joseph Axford Selley, during 1939.
Training days.


Thusday, 7 November 1940



Valona, Albania
RAF 70 Sqn


Wellington MkIc, s/n T2731
742451 George Newcombe Brooks – KIA
741943 Sgt Victor John Morgan – KiA
645315 Sgt James Henry Keddie – KiA
538373 Sgt Charles William Laughton – KiA
751894 Sgt David Philip – KiA
581243 Sgt Edward Reginald Pitts – KiA


Wellington MkIc, s/n T2734
F/Lt 39930 Alan Ellis Brian – KiA
Sgt 539774 Wilfred Ellam – KiA
Sgt 631166 Joseph Axford Selley – KiA
Sgt 65830 George Shafto Wilson – KiA
F/Lt 795741 Gilbert Robert Rawlings – PoWNo228359, Stalag Luft III
Sgt 755914 Walter James Mitchell – PoWNo260665, Stalag 4B, Mühlberg, Elbe




     6 Wellingtons of No. 70 Squadron, operating from Eleusis bombed Valona aerodrome from 6.000 feet, bombs falling on runway and along a line of aircraft. One ship in Valona harbour received a direct hit; another bomb falling very close. The aircraft encountered enemy fighters on standing patrol; 2 Wellingtons were shot down, 1 Br.65 shot down, another unconfirmed.
      Wellingtons attacked formation of 3 Cant 506, five miles of Valona. On both outward and return journeys, the aircraft were fired on by Greek ground batteries at Corinth, and by ships at Patras.



TNA, P355939/40 DP


M.R.E.S. ENQUIRY No. A.15                                                                       SHEET Nos: N/A

Aircraft: Wellington T.2731 Engine Nos: N/A
Unit: 70 Squadron Date of Cas: 7.11.40
Target: Valona Aerodrome
Location of Casualty: Valona Harbour (M.R. 9447, Sh 162, Y.S.1/100,000)

741943 Sgt. MORGAN, V.J. – Pilot – GRAVE ACC
742451 Sgt. BROOKES, G.N.- Pilot-GRAVE ACC
581243 Sgt. PITTS, E.R. – Obs. – Rel.: N/A – D.P.
645315 Sgt. KEDDIE, J.H. – A/G – Rel. : N/A – D.P.
538373 Sgt. LAUGHTON, C.W. – A/G – Rel.: N/A – D.P.
751894 Sgt. PHILIP, D. – A/G – Rel.: N/A – D.P.

1. This aircraft was attacking Valona (Albania) when the petrol tanks exploded and it crashed in Valona Harbour amongst some shipping and continued burning for some time.
2. The Graves of Sgt’s Morgan and Brookes were located in Valona Civil Cemetery and concetrated to B.W.C. Albania, Plot 1, Row B, Grave 5 (Sgt. Morgan) and Plot 1, Row C, Grave 6 (Sgt. Brookes).
3. There is no further information concerning the remainder of the crew.

See M.R.E.S. ENQ
No.A.15 and A.17
/21st March, 1947


M.R.E.S. ENQUIRY NO. A. 16                                                               SHEET No. 162.

Aircraft: Wellington T.2734   

Engine Nos: P.9070/185580

Unit: 70 Squadron  Date of Cas.: 7.11.40
Target: Valona Aerodrome
Location of Casualty: Valona Harbour (M.R.9648 Sh. 162)

39930 F/O/A/F/L. BRIAN, A.E. – Pilot – Rel.: N/A. – D.P.
565830 SGT.  WILSON, G.S.  – Pilot –     Rel.: N/A. D.P.
79574 F/LT. RAWLINGS, G.R. – Nav. –    Rel.:  – SAFE
539774 SGT. ELLAM, J. – W/OP. –              Rel.: N/A. – GRAVE ACC
755914 SGT. MITCHELL, W.J. – W/AG. –                SAFE.
631166 SGT. SELLEY, J.A.  – A/G. –             Rel.:  N/A. – D.P.

1. This aircraft took off from Elevsis, Greece at 08.30 hours to carry out a bombing attack on Valona aerodrome. No signals were received from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base.
2. F/Lt Rawlings who was taken P.O.W. and later repatriated states in a questionnaire that the aircraft was shot down at approx. 11.00 hours and crashed into Valona Harbour, 3 miles S.W. of Valona. Sgt Mitchell and F/Lt Rawlings baled out and the aircraft and the remains were after crashed with the rest of crew aboard.
3. A few hours after the crash, Italians instituted an extensive search of the Harbour but there was no trace of any survivors.
4. The grave of Sgt. Ellam was located in Valona Civil Cemetery to B.W.C. Albania , Plot 1, Row B, Grave 3. Nothing is known regarding the three crew-members still unaccounted for.

SEE M.R.E.S. ENQ. No. A. 15 and A. 17.
21st March, 1947.


Prot: N.309310/VIII 12594       Roma, 7 Dic. 1941
Risposta N.
Oggetto tomba p.g. britannico

Segretario Generale del
Comitato Internazionale
per i Caduti di guerra
Via Parioli N. 12

Si comunica che ca salma del Sergente BROOKS G.N. di nazionalita britannica matricola 742451, e stata tumulata nel Cimitero di Valona (settore nemici) tomba N. VIII

Report of Interview of [DELETED NAME]

   The above named civilian, a resident of TRIESTE, was interviewed on 22 December 1948 by S/Ldr FROST RAFLO, HQ BETFOR, and the following information was obtained.

   The man’s present address is [DELETED] and he is employed at [DELETED]. He served in the Italian Forces until June 942, being stationed in ALBANIA up to June 1941 in the [DELETED] with the rank of MILITE. In November 1940 he was employed on Provost duties at the Port of Valona.

   On 7 November he was an eye witnedd to the following action. A formation of 6 Blenheims (sic) flying in two “vics” of 3 approached from the sea and were attacked from above by two ITALIAN fighters and also by flack (sic) from shore batteries and ships in the bay. Aircraft Nos 1 and 3 of the first “vic” were shot down by the fighters, no 1 crashing in the sea and no 3 exploding in mid air. No2 and 3 of the second “vic” were shot down by flak and crashed in the sea. The crew of one of these aircraft baled out but the parachute of one (ELAM) failed to open. The two remaining aircraft turned out to sea, one returning a few minutes later dropping its bombs on the airfield, and then leaving the target area where there were now 6 fighters airborne.

   When questioned about survivors [DELETED] said that he only saw the crew of one aircraft bale out, and since there was a lot of shipping in the bay he thought that they had probably been picked up. He produced a sheet from ”BOLLETTINI DELLA GUERRA”, an ITALIAN news sheet which refers to the incident, stated that two airmen were taken prisoner.

   In the search for survivors ELAM’s body was found, and two days later a decapitated body was also found in the sea. He could give no particulars of the second body except that it was burried in VALONA military cemetery two days after ELAM.



Antonelos Thanos for | Updated: 06 March 2021
Sources: The National Archives (UK), Veteran Affairs Canada Archives, The Commonwealth War Graves.

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