Lancaster ME334 (05/01/1945)

Lancaster ME334 was one of fifteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Hanover (first raid) on the night of the 5th / 6th January 1945.

It was carrying 5 x 2000lb HC (NI) and various Target Indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Blind Secondary Marker.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Philip John Bryant (Pilot)
  • William John Bentley (Navigator)
  • Kenneth Allerston (Air Bomber)
  • William John Phillips (Wireless Operator)
  • Henry Edward Douglas Figgis (Air Gunner)
  • Squire Nuttall (Air Gunner)
  • Michael William Hanham (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5400N 0500E, 5305N 0700E, 5250N 0910E, Hanover, 5150N 0912E, 5220N 0705E, 5210N 0420E, Southwold

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “The mid-upper gunner (HED Figgis) baled out over the target area; it is believed that he was probably wounded and dazed”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 6th January 1945 the squadron informed Bomber Command, the Air Ministry and the RAF Records Office that HED Figgis was missing.

A telegram, along with a follow up letter from the Commanding Officer, was sent to his next of kin advising them that he was “missing as the result of air operations on 5th / 6th January 1945”.

His kit and personal belongings were removed from his locker and catalogued; kit was returned to stores and personal belongings sent to the RAF Central Depository at RAF Colnbrook.

The Air Ministry Casualty Branch, which was responsible for investigating, monitoring and reporting on the status of missing aircraft and airmen, subsequently published the following information regarding the crew:

  • Nothing found

Crew members who were captured / imprisoned

HE Figgis survived the bale out and was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, shows the following details:

  • Captured: Hanover 05/01/1945 (Broken Ankle)
  • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Obereusel, Frankfurt Jan-45
  • Hospitalised: Hohemark Hospital, Frankfurt Jan-45
  • Hospitalised: Meiningen Jan-45
  • Hospitalised: Obermassfeld Jan-45
  • Hospitalised: Meiningen Feb-45 to Apr-45
  • Repatriated: Apr-45

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Figgis Statement

[Source: Australian Archive]