Lancaster ND929 (24/07/1944)

Lancaster ND929 was one of sixteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Stuttgart on 24th / 25th July 1944.

The crew comprised:

  • Douglas Lawrence Knobloch (Pilot)
  • John Maule (Navigator)
  • Francis Herbert Thomas McNally (Air Bomber)
  • Ronald George Pain (Wireless Operator)
  • James Arthur Bowen (Air Gunner)
  • Reginald Noah Collins (Air Gunner)
  • James William Street (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “On return, H2S failed completely – bomb door could not be closed, despite use of emergency air lock. Cruised at 147 knots. At approximately … found fuel getting short, estimated three hours fuel left. Consumption on starboard side appeared abnormal. After further fuel shortage, two starboard engines feathered over beach-head. Landed at Thorney Island with 20 gallons left”.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 shows that the aircraft was classified at Cat. AC ROS and was repaired and returned to the squadron on 5th August 1944

AM Form 1180

Unreadable text – further work required to decipher


Halifax L9501 (24/07/1941)

Halifax L9501 was one of nine No. 35 Squadron aircraft which took off from Stanton Harcourt to attack the Battleship Scharnhorst (anchored at La Pallice) on 24th July 1941 (daylight raid).

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Robert Fenwick Owen (Pilot)
  • Leslie Alec Hayward (2nd Pilot)
  • Eric Arthur Fawns Gibb (Observer)
  • Douglas Peter Hogg (WOP / AG)
  • Herbert Reginald Higgins (Air Gunner)
  • Rodney Gordon Mullally (Air Gunner)
  • James William Hays (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “During the attack, enemy fighters delivered, in all, ten attacks on Halifax L9501, one being claimed as shot down. Great coolness and deliberation was shown by Sgt Higgins, the tail gunner in fighting back and successfully defending his aircraft. On seeing an apparently disabled Halifax being attacked by two ME 109’s he directed his Captain to the scene of the combat and succeeded in drawing off one of the attackers”.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Journey to the target

The squadron’s Operations Record Book describes the journey to the target as follows:

“The aircraft took off and proceeded via Lizard Point to a point 50 miles west of Ushant and then direct to the target. The journey from base to the turning point was made at a height of 1,000 feet and below, with the climb to the bombing height taking place between this point and the target. 19,000 feet was the intended bombing height but only 15,000 feet was reached before arrival at the target area. The weather was excellent, brilliant sunshine and no cloud, with perfect visibility.

An enemy destroyer was passed in the proximity of the Île d’Yeu, which, apparently believing itself to be under attack, commenced evasive action and opened fire, but did no damage”.

It was assumed that the destroyer warned the authorities of the impending attack and the German defences were fully prepared for the arrival of the aircraft”.

The squadron’s Operations Record Book goes on to describe the arrival and subsequent attack as follows:

“As the squadron approached the target area, a very heavy barrage of A.A. fire was immediately put up, and some 30 enemy fighters were observed, some in the air and others taking off from aerodromes in and about La Rochelle”.

AM Form 1180

The AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows that the aircraft forced landed at Weston Zoyland (Somerset) due to fuel shortage

There appears to have been minimal damage to the aircraft as the aircraft remained on charge of the squadron and was operational again (with much the same crew) on 30th July 1941


Armstrong-Whitworth FK8 C8579 (24/07/1918)

Armstrong-Whitworth FK8 C8579 was being utilised for a Patrol on 24th July 1918

Its crew comprised:

  • JT Duckworth
  • JH Taylor

The RFC Casualty Report shows “Machine left aerodrome (Flesselles) at 6.30am and was forced to land at C.8.B.2.6. In taking off, machine ran over a trench, damaging undercarriage and on landing at aerodrome, this caused wrecking of the machine; personnel uninjured”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Armstrong-Whitworth FK8 C8579

The aircraft was struck off charge of the squadron and transferred to 2 AD

 

Lancaster NE175 (24/07/1944)

Lancaster NE175 was one of sixteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Stuttgart on the night of the 24th / 25th July 1944.

It was equipped with IFF, Gee, Nav Aid Y (H2S), Fishpond and Carpet and was carrying 5 x 2000lbs MC bombs. Its designated Path Finder role was Supporter

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Arthur Samuel Morton (Pilot)
  • James Percy Graham (Navigator)
  • Ivor Edward Hurley (Air Bomber)
  • Dennis Stanley Jones (Wireless Operator)
  • John Webster (Air Gunner)
  • Joseph Mactavish Miller (Air Gunner)
  • Stanley Brook (Flight Engineer)

The route was 4840N 0922E, 4825N 0415E, 4250N 0700E, 4805N 0505E, 4730N 0335E, 4250N 0130E, 4900N, 1000E, Reading, Base (needs confirmation as some coordinates unreadable)

NE175 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 25th July 1944 the squadron informed Bomber Command, the Air Ministry and the RAF Records Office that the aircraft and crew were missing.

A telegram, along with a follow up letter from the Commanding Officer, was sent to the next of kin of each crew member advising them that he was “missing as the result of air operations on 24th / 25th July 1944”.

The crew’s kit and personal belongings were removed from their lockers 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:

  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 449 (Flight 07/12/1944) reported AS Morton, JP Graham, IE Hurley, DS Jones, JM Miller, J Webster and S Brook as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 563 (Flight 21/02/1946) reported JP Graham, IE Hurley, DS Jones, J Webster and S Brook “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 567 (Flight 04/04/1946) reported AS Morton “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”

Note: Presumption of death enabled a death certificate to be issued; personal belongings could then be sent to next of kin, along with any monies due.

No. 35 Squadron’s Operations Record Book shows the following information was received relating to the crew:

  • 08/09/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that JM Miller, missing on 24th / 25th July 1944, was killed
  • 10/11/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that JM Miller and two unknown, missing on 24th / 25th July 1944, were killed

Post War search for the missing crew members

After the war, an investigation officer from the Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service (MRES) was tasked with locating the remains of the missing crew member(s).

Original German documents, burial records and eye witness accounts were utilised to establish the location of the crash site, the cause of the loss and the initial fate of the crew; information was recorded in a MRES Investigation Report.

As part of the process, any remains that were located were exhumed, identified (wherever possible) and concentrated (reinterred) at one of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Cemeteries in the country that they fell, in accordance with Government policy at the time.

Graves were marked with a simple wooden cross, which was replaced by the familiar CWGC headstone during the 1950’s.

Missing airmen who could not be found, or formally identified, had their names commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, which was unveiled in 1953.

CWGC records show that the remains of all the crew members were located at Steinhalle Civ. Cemetery.

NE175 Concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at DURNBACH WAR CEMETERY on 24th June 1948 as follows:

  • BROOK, STANLEY Sergeant ‘1674979’ Grave 8. A. 16.
  • HURLEY, IVOR EDWARD Flight Sergeant ‘1323550’ Grave 8. A. 17.
  • GRAHAM, JAMES PERCY Flying Officer ‘136874’  Grave 8. A. 18.
  • MILLER, JOSEPH MACTAVISH Flight Sergeant ‘R/193144’ Grave 8. A. 19.
  • MORTON, ARTHUR SAMUEL Flight Lieutenant ‘52754’ Grave 8. A. 20.
  • JONES, DENNIS STANLEY Flying Officer ‘155338’ Joint grave 8. A. 21-22.
  • WEBSTER, JOHN Sergeant ‘1559239’ Joint grave 8. A. 21-22.

[Courtesy of Dom Howard]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Flak Claim: 2/schw Flak Abt 436 & 3/schw Flak Abt 241; the acft crashed into Fuchseckstrasse 23, Stuttgart Ost at 0206

WR Chorley (Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War)

Crashed at 01.48 onto Fuchseckstrasse 23, Stuttgart

Halifax HR803 (24/07/1943)

Halifax HR803 was one of twenty three No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Hamburg on the night of the 24th / 25th July 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Nicholas Joseph Matich (Pilot)
  • Cyril Arthur Hewlett (Navigator)
  • Ralph Wilbert Tully (Air Bomber)
  • Francis Robert Dolling (Wireless Operator)
  • Albert Thomas Tuck (Air Gunner)
  • Albert Victor Forsyth (Air Gunner)
  • Ronald McTavish Mather (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “When taking off, both outer engines failed at a height of 2 feet and the aircraft crash landed in a field beyond the aerodrome. There were no casualties”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 1180

The AM Form 1180 shows: Engine Failure on take-off;  port outer and starboard outer. Pilot retracted undercarriage. Shortage of fuel port outer due collapsed …….. pipe.

AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat FB on 24th July 1943; it was sent to Handley Page on 14th August 1943 and struck off charge on 23rd August 1943.

CA Hewlett Letter

In a letter, CA Hewlett recalled “At the point of take-off we lost an engine; the engine restarted, we had a quick consultation and I confirmed that we could reach our target on time by taking a direct route. We went round again, again the engine failed at the same point and we now had no brakes, so the undercarriage was selected up and we belly flopped into a field. No casualties and no after effects”.

Halifax L9527 (24/07/1941)

Halifax L9527 was one of nine No. 35 Squadron aircraft which took off from Stanton Harcourt to attack the Battleship Scharnhorst (anchored at La Pallice) on 24th July 1941 (daylight raid).

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Clarence Arthur Godwin (Pilot)
  • Greville Gascoyne Esnouf (2nd Pilot)
  • Arthur George Eperon (Observer)
  • Eric Oswald Thomas Balcomb (WOP / AG)
  • Reginald Thomas Rudlin (WOP / AG)
  • Sidney Harry James Shirley (Air Gunner)
  • Conrad Howard Newstead (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “As the squadron approached the target area, a very heavy barrage of A.A. fire was immediately put up, and some 30 enemy fighters were observed, some in the air and others taking off from aerodromes in and about La Rochelle. The squadron proceeded in echelon formation as planned but the intensity of the A.A. fire not only damaged several aircraft, but one, L9527, captained by F/Sgt. Godwin, was seen to go down in a slow spiral with smoke coming from one or two of its engines”.

Wartime activity relating to the loss

On 24th July 1941 the squadron informed Bomber Command, the Air Ministry and the RAF Records Office that the aircraft and crew were missing.

A telegram, along with a follow up letter from the Commanding Officer, was sent to the next of kin of each crew member advising them that he was “missing as the result of air operations on 24th July 1941”.

The crew’s kit and personal belongings were removed from their lockers 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:

  • Air Ministry Communique No. 81 (Flight 09/10/1941) reported GG Esnouf, CA Godwin, CH Newstead, RT Rudlin and SHJ Shirley as “missing, believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Communique No. 112 (Flight 26/02/1942) reported GG Esnouf, CA Godwin, CH Newstead, RT Rudlin and SHJ Shirley “previously reported missing, believed killed in action” as “now presumed killed in action\”

Note: Presumption of death enabled a death certificate to be issued; personal belongings could then be sent to the next of kin, along with any monies due

The squadron record book shows the following notifications were received in relation to the crew:

  • 07/08/1941: Telegram received from International Red Cross Society states that PO Eperon (Wounded) and Sgt Balcomb of F/S Godwin’s crew are prisoners of war.
  • 17/08/1941: Information received, passed on from International Red Cross Society that F/S Godwin, captain of an aircraft missing during the attack on the Scharnhorst on 24th July 1941 and the remainder of the crew, except PO Eperon and Sgt Balcomb, already reported prisoners of war, were killed.

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

AG Eperon and EOT Balcomb, baled out of the aircraft and were captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

Their POW Liberation Questionnaires, which were completed as part of the repatriation process at No. 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, show the following details:

  • AG Eperon
    • Captured: La Rochelle (Leg Wound)  24/07/1941
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Aug-41 to Sep-41
    • Imprisoned: Oflag X-C, Lübeck Sep-41 to Oct-41
    • Imprisoned: Oflag VI-B, Warburg Oct-41 to Oct-42
    • Imprisoned: Oflag XXI-B, Schubin (Poland) Oct-42 to Apr-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Apr-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Marlag und Milag Nord, Tarmstedt Jan-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated   May-45
  • EOT Balcomb
    • Captured: La Rochelle (slight wound over eyes)  24/07/1941
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Jul-41 to Aug-41
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IIIE, Kirchhain Aug-41 to Mar-42
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Mar-42 to Jun-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Jun-43 to Jul-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn Jul-44 to Aug-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Aug-44 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: Apr-45

Note: EOT Balcomb escaped the marching column on 15th April 1945 and he joined french POW in a farmhouse. He was liberated by the 11th Armoured Corps three days later (18th April 1945)

Post-War search for the missing crew members

After the war, an investigation officer from the Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service (MRES) was tasked with locating the remains of the missing crew member(s).

Original German documents, burial records and eye witness accounts were utilised to establish the location of the crash site, the cause of the loss and the initial fate of the crew; information was recorded in a MRES Investigation Report.

As part of the process, any remains that were located were exhumed, identified (wherever possible) and concentrated (reinterred) at one of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Cemeteries in the country that they fell, in accordance with Government policy at the time.

Graves were marked with a simple wooden cross, which was replaced by the familiar CWGC headstone during the 1950’s.

Missing airmen who could not be found, or formally identified, had their names commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, which was unveiled in 1953.

CWGC records do not show where the remains of of the five missing crew members were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at ANGLES COMMUNAL CEMETERY as follows:

  • ESNOUF, Greville Gascoyne, ‘929408’,  Joint grave 2.
  • GODWIN, Clarence Arthur, ‘745859’, Joint grave 2.
  • NEWSTEAD, Conrad Howard, ‘567204’, Grave 3.
  • RUDLIN, Reginald Thomas, ‘912084’, Grave 1.
  • SHIRLEY, Sidney Harry James, ‘804422’, Grave 4.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Journey to the target

The squadron’s Operations Record Book describes the journey to the target as follows:

“The aircraft took off and proceeded via Lizard Point to a point 50 miles west of Ushant and then direct to the target. The journey from base to the turning point was made at a height of 1,000 feet and below, with the climb to the bombing height taking place between this point and the target. 19,000 feet was the intended bombing height but only 15,000 feet was reached before arrival at the target area. The weather was excellent, brilliant sunshine and no cloud, with perfect visibility.

An enemy destroyer was passed in the proximity of the Île d’Yeu, which, apparently believing itself to be under attack, commenced evasive action and opened fire, but did no damage”.

It was assumed that the destroyer warned the authorities of the impending attack and the German defences were fully prepared for the arrival of the aircraft.

Chris Goss

The aircraft was hit by flak and attacked by day fighters from I Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 2 (I/JG 2) which was based at Brest Nord and 2 Staffel Ergänzungsgruppe/JG 53 (2 Erg/JG 53) based at Vannes-Meucon. It crashed at a farm (“Le Terrier Du Four”) near the small town of Angles in France

angles-crash

[Courtesy of Chris Goss]

P.4 (Cas) Casualty Branch Files

The following casualty file is available at the National Archives:

AIR 81/7864 Flight Sergeant CA Godwin, Sergeant CH Newstead, Flight Sergeant SHJ Shirley, Sergeant GG Esnouf, Sergeant RT Rudlin, Sergeant LH Newstead: killed; Flight Lieutenant AG Eperon, Sergeant EOT Balcomb: prisoners of war; aircraft shot down near La Rochelle, Halifax L9527, 35 Squadron, 27 April 1941.

EOT Balcomb’s Ashes

The ashes of EOT Balcomb were placed alongside his crew mates at Angles upon his death

Crew Memorial

halifax-l9527

[Courtesy of David Forsyth]

75th Anniversary Commemoration Service

A Commemoration Service was held in Angles on the 75th Anniversary of loss …. read more

floral-tributes-at-the-graves

Floral tributes at the graves following the 75th Anniversary Commemoration Service

Halifax L9524 (24/07/1941)

Halifax L9524 was one of nine No. 35 Squadron aircraft which took off from Stanton Harcourt to attack the Battleship Scharnhorst (anchored at La Pallice) on 24th July 1941 (daylight raid).

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Terence Patrick Armstrong Bradley (Pilot)
  • Douglas Rowley-Blake (2nd Pilot)
  • Thomas Reginald Nixon (Observer)
  • Peter George Bolton (WOP / AG)
  • Richard Charles Rivaz (Air Gunner)
  • Wallace Llewellyn Berry (Air Gunner)
  • HE Wheeler (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Halifax L9524 obtained good sight on target but bomb doors failed to open due to hit by anti-aircraft fire. Doors did however open in time to deliver attack on a moving destroyer, south of the target, but evasive action necessary in countering both flak and enemy aircraft attacks did not permit observation of the results. Tail gunner had one gun out of action and another firing spasmodically, but succeeded in defending the aircraft and shot down one enemy. Sgt Bolton, the first wireless operator received injuries to the chest and died instantly and Sgt Rowley-Blake, the second pilot, received slight shrapnel wounds in the left thigh, calf and shoulder. Although the aircraft suffered damage to one propeller and the controls and the other many hits, it returned safely to St Eval.“.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) records shows the following burial details:

  • BOLTON, PETER GEORGE, Sergeant, ‘944667’, ST. EVAL CHURCHYARD Row 1. Grave 16.

[Source: ww1cemeteries.com]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Journey to the target

The squadron’s Operations Record Book describes the journey to the target as follows:

“The aircraft took off and proceeded via Lizard Point to a point 50 miles west of Ushant and then direct to the target. The journey from base to the turning point was made at a height of 1,000 feet and below, with the climb to the bombing height taking place between this point and the target. 19,000 feet was the intended bombing height but only 15,000 feet was reached before arrival at the target area. The weather was excellent, brilliant sunshine and no cloud, with perfect visibility.

An enemy destroyer was passed in the proximity of the Île d’Yeu, which, apparently believing itself to be under attack, commenced evasive action and opened fire, but did no damage”.

It was assumed that the destroyer warned the authorities of the impending attack and the German defences were fully prepared for the arrival of the aircraft.

The squadron’s Operations Record Book goes on to describe the arrival and subsequent attack as follows:

“As the squadron approached the target area, a very heavy barrage of A.A. fire was immediately put up, and some 30 enemy fighters were observed, some in the air and others taking off from aerodromes in and about La Rochelle.

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was allocated to 43 Group; it was returned to the squadron on 12th September 1941.

AM Form 1180

There is no AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) for this aircraft on this date

P.4 (Cas) Casualty Branch Files

The following casualty file is available at the National Archives:

AIR 81/7855 Sergeant P G Bolton: killed; Sergeant D Rowley-Blake: injured; operational flight over La Rochelle against Scharnhorst, Halifax L9524, 35 Squadron, 24 July 1941.

D Rowley-Blake

D Rowley-Blake was operational again by 7th September 1941


Halifax L9512 (24/07/1941)

Halifax L9512 was one of nine No. 35 Squadron aircraft which took off from Stanton Harcourt to attack the Battleship Scharnhorst (anchored at La Pallice) on 24th July 1941 (daylight raid).

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Stanley Desmond Greaves (Pilot)
  • John Noel Gibson (2nd Pilot)
  • Wilfred Campbell Walters (Observer)
  • Albert Henery (WOP / AG)
  • Ernest William Constable (WOP / AG)
  • Allan Gillbanks (Air Gunner)
  • Gordon Herbert Frank Ogden (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Halifax L9512 was seen to score a direct hit on the Scharnhorst but in the conflict with enemy fighters and bad visibility caused by AA bursts was not seen again and did not return. It is officially reported missing”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 25th July 1941 the squadron informed Bomber Command, the Air Ministry and the RAF Records Office that the aircraft and crew were missing.

A telegram, along with a follow up letter from the Commanding Officer, was sent to the next of kin of each crew member advising them that he was “missing as the result of air operations on 24th / 25th July 1941”.

The crew’s kit and personal belongings were removed from their lockers and catalogued; kit was returned to stores and personal belongings sent to the RAF Central Depository at RAF Colnbrook.

For the remainder of the war, the Air Ministry Casualty Branch utilised information obtained from radio intercepts and from the German Authorities and prisoners of war (which was supplied via the International Red Cross) to establish whether lost crew had been killed, wounded, imprisoned or were “missing”; the squadron and the relevant families were kept informed.

No. 35 Squadron’s Operations Record Book shows the following information was received relating to the crew:

  • 07/08/1941: Telegram received from International Red Cross states that F/S Greaves and his crew are prisoners of war, although all except Sgt Walters and Henery were wounded.

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

All members of the crew survived the crash and were captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

Their POW Liberation Questionnaires, which were completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, show the following details:

  • SD Greaves
    • Captured: Ile de Re (Injuries to right leg)  24/07/41
    • Hospitalised: Lucon Jul-41
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt Aug-41
    • Imprisoned: Stalag III-E, Kirchhain Aug-41 to May-42
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan May-42 to Jun-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Jun-43 to Jul-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn Jul-44 to Aug-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Aug-44 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: Apr-45
  • EW Constable
    • Captured: La Rochelle 24/07/41
    • Imprisoned: Potier (Hospital?)  Jul-41
    • Imprisoned: Stalag III-E, Kirchhain Aug-41 to May-42
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan May-42 to Jun-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Jun-43 to Jul-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Jul-44 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • JN Gibson (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag III-E, Stalag Luft III, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357?
    • Repatriated
  • WC Walters  (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag III-E, Stalag Luft III, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357?
    • Repatriated
  • A Henery (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag III-E, Stalag Luft III, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357?
    • Repatriated
  • A Gillbanks (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured: (Badly injured with head wound)
    • Hospitalised?
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VIII-B, Stalag 357?
    • Repatriated
  • GHF Ogden (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag III-E, Stalag Luft III, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357?
    • Repatriated:

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Journey to the target

The squadron’s Operations Record Book describes the journey to the target as follows:

“The aircraft took off and proceeded via Lizard Point to a point 50 miles west of Ushant and then direct to the target. The journey from base to the turning point was made at a height of 1,000 feet and below, with the climb to the bombing height taking place between this point and the target. 19,000 feet was the intended bombing height but only 15,000 feet was reached before arrival at the target area. The weather was excellent, brilliant sunshine and no cloud, with perfect visibility.

An enemy destroyer was passed in the proximity of the Île d’Yeu, which, apparently believing itself to be under attack, commenced evasive action and opened fire, but did no damage”.

It was assumed that the destroyer warned the authorities of the impending attack and the German defences were fully prepared for the arrival of the aircraft.

The squadron’s Operations Record Book goes on to describe the arrival and subsequent attack as follows:

“As the squadron approached the target area, a very heavy barrage of A.A. fire was immediately put up, and some 30 enemy fighters were observed, some in the air and others taking off from aerodromes in and about La Rochelle.

Cause / Location of Loss

Ile de Ré, France [Crew baled out]

P.4 (Cas) Casualty Branch Files

The following casualty file is available at the National Archives:

AIR 81/7872 Flight Sergeant S D Greaves, Sergeant J N Gibson, Sergeant W C Walters, Sergeant G H F Ogden, Sergeant E W Constable, Sergeant A Gillbanks, Sergeant A Henery: prisoners of war; aircraft crashed during operational flight over La Rochelle against Scharnhorst, Halifax L9512, 35 Squadron, 24 July 1941.

Crew Reunion

A crew reunion at Linton-On-Ouse in 1981

greaves-crew-reunion-raf-mod-uk
Henery , Ogden, Gibson, Greaves, Constable, Walters, Gillbanks [Source: RAF.mod.uk]

Halifax L9511 (24/07/1941)

Halifax L9511 was one of nine No. 35 Squadron aircraft which took off from Stanton Harcourt to attack the Battleship Scharnhorst (anchored at La Pallice) on 24th July 1941 (daylight raid).

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • George Walton Holden (Pilot)
  • Henry Anthony Perks (2nd Pilot)
  • Alistair William Steven (Observer)
  • James Patrick Henderson (WOP / AG)
  • JH Smith (WOP / AG)
  • Harold Walter Stone (Air Gunner)
  • (Possibly) William David Perriment

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Enemy aircraft attacked on approaching target area and accurate heavy AA fire was encountered immediately upon entering the area. The port wheel of Halifax L9511 was burst and the aircraft holed in many places, and although preparation was made to deliver attack the bombs hung up. The aircraft was then attacked by enemy fighters, the first attack with cannon fire killing PO Stone and raking up through the fuselage and wounding both beam gunners Sgt Smith severely and Sgt Perriment slightly. The Captain held steady both his aircraft and his section in the formation. Sgt Perriment although in acute pain kept his post and continued in the defence of the aircraft and Sgt Smith in a state of semi-coma and barely able to see, persisted in remaining by the second operator, supervising the operation of the set and so the aircraft returned safely to England, landing at St Eval.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) records show the following burial details:

  • STONE, HAROLD WALTER, Pilot Officer, ‘45899’, BRISTOL (GREENBANK) CEMETERY, Screen Wall. UU. 114.
stone-hw-memorial

[Photograph © gravestonephotos.com]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Journey to the target

The squadron’s Operations Record Book describes the journey to the target as follows:

“The aircraft took off and proceeded via Lizard Point to a point 50 miles west of Ushant and then direct to the target. The journey from base to the turning point was made at a height of 1,000 feet and below, with the climb to the bombing height taking place between this point and the target. 19,000 feet was the intended bombing height but only 15,000 feet was reached before arrival at the target area. The weather was excellent, brilliant sunshine and no cloud, with perfect visibility.

An enemy destroyer was passed in the proximity of the Île d’Yeu, which, apparently believing itself to be under attack, commenced evasive action and opened fire, but did no damage”.

It was assumed that the destroyer warned the authorities of the impending attack and the German defences were fully prepared for the arrival of the aircraft”.

The squadron’s Operations Record Book goes on to describe the arrival and subsequent attack as follows:

“As the squadron approached the target area, a very heavy barrage of A.A. fire was immediately put up, and some 30 enemy fighters were observed, some in the air and others taking off from aerodromes in and about La Rochelle”.

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 shows that the aircraft was allocated to 43 Group (Maintenance Unit); it was returned to the squadron on 3rd December 1941

P.4 (Cas) Casualty Branch Files

The following casualty file is available at the National Archives:

AIR 81/7850 Pilot Officer H W Stone: killed; Sergeant J H Smith, Sergeant W Perriment: injured; Warrant Officer G A Holden, Sergeant H A Perks, Sergeant J W Steven, Sergeant J P Henderson: uninjured; aircraft hit by enemy anti aircraft fire over La Rochelle, France, Halifax L9511, 35 Squadron, 24 July 1941.

W Perriment / JH Smith

Neither W Perriment nor JH Smith appear to have flown operationally with the squadron after this incident

Halifax L9508 (24/07/1941)

Halifax L9508 was one of nine No. 35 Squadron aircraft which took off from Stanton Harcourt to attack the Battleship Scharnhorst (anchored at La Pallice) on 24th July 1941 (daylight raid).

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • George Arthur Litchfield Elliot (Pilot)
  • James Braidwood Stark (2nd Pilot)
  • [-] White (Observer)
  • John Collins (WOP / AG)
  • [-] Elcoate (WOP / AG)
  • [-] Hill (Air Gunner)
  • [-] Berwick (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “During the attack, Halifax L9508 suffered, in all, nine attacks by enemy fighters. The tail gunner, Sgt. Hill, not only successfully defended the aircraft throughout and enabled its withdrawal, but came away with one enemy aircraft confirmed shot down to his credit. Aircraft returned safely to England on three engines, landing at St Eval”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 shows that aircraft was classified FB (AC) on 24th July 1941 and it is possible that it was posted to 43 Group (Maintenance Unit), although no date is shown. The aircraft was operational again by 7th August 1941.

Journey to the target

The squadron’s Operations Record Book describes the journey to the target as follows:

“The aircraft took off and proceeded via Lizard Point to a point 50 miles west of Ushant and then direct to the target. The journey from base to the turning point was made at a height of 1,000 feet and below, with the climb to the bombing height taking place between this point and the target. 19,000 feet was the intended bombing height but only 15,000 feet was reached before arrival at the target area. The weather was excellent, brilliant sunshine and no cloud, with perfect visibility.

An enemy destroyer was passed in the proximity of the Île d’Yeu, which, apparently believing itself to be under attack, commenced evasive action and opened fire, but did no damage”.

It was assumed that the destroyer warned the authorities of the impending attack and the German defences were fully prepared for the arrival of the aircraft.

The squadron’s Operations Record Book goes on to describe the arrival and subsequent attack as follows:

“As the squadron approached the target area, a very heavy barrage of A.A. fire was immediately put up, and some 30 enemy fighters were observed, some in the air and others taking off from aerodromes in and about La Rochelle.

Halifax L9491 (24/07/1941)

Halifax L9491 was one of nine No. 35 Squadron aircraft which took off from Stanton Harcourt to attack the Battleship Scharnhorst (anchored at La Pallice) on 24th July 1941 (daylight raid).

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Alexander Cameron Maxson  Millar (Pilot)
  • Frank Edward Booy (2nd Pilot)
  • (Possibly) Jack Dunthorne Laurie Hall (Observer)
  • George Alexander Chalmers (WOP / AG)
  • Herbert Reginald Higgins (WOP / AG)
  • Donald Fezard Walker (Air Gunner)
  • (Possibly) Noel Grimoldby (Flight Engineer)

During the attack, L9491 was engaged in five encounters with enemy fighters, the first attack wounding the tail gunner Sgt. Walker in the leg and rendering his turret unserviceable. He remained in his turret however and continued giving directions to his Captain until a further attack, with cannon fire, completely wrecked the inter-comm. The remaining guns were made full use of and the aircraft otherwise successfully defended during the engagements and returned safely to England landing at St. Eval”.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Journey to the target

The squadron’s Operations Record Book describes the journey to the target as follows:

“The aircraft took off and proceeded via Lizard Point to a point 50 miles west of Ushant and then direct to the target. The journey from base to the turning point was made at a height of 1,000 feet and below, with the climb to the bombing height taking place between this point and the target. 19,000 feet was the intended bombing height but only 15,000 feet was reached before arrival at the target area. The weather was excellent, brilliant sunshine and no cloud, with perfect visibility.

An enemy destroyer was passed in the proximity of the Île d’Yeu, which, apparently believing itself to be under attack, commenced evasive action and opened fire, but did no damage”.

It was assumed that the destroyer warned the authorities of the impending attack and the German defences were fully prepared for the arrival of the aircraft.

The squadron’s Operations Record Book goes on to describe the arrival and subsequent attack as follows:

“As the squadron approached the target area, a very heavy barrage of A.A. fire was immediately put up, and some 30 enemy fighters were observed, some in the air and others taking off from aerodromes in and about La Rochelle.

AM Form 78

The Movement Card shows that the aircraft was allocated to No. 43 Group (Maintenance Unit) after the incident; it was returned to the squadron on 13th October 1941

P.4 (Cas), Casualty Branch Files

The following casualty file is available at the National Archives:

AIR 81/7873 Sergeant W Walken: injured; Pilot Officer ACM Millar, Sergeant FE Booy, Sergeant JD Hall, Sergeant R Frimildby (sic N Grimoldby), Sergeant JI Robinson, Flight Sergeant GA Chalmers: uninjured; enemy action, Halifax L9491, 35 Squadron, 24 July 1941.


GP Rudston (24/07/1942)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows that 938766 GP Rudston (Fitter II [E]) died in Naburn EMS Hospital from diphtheritic  polyneuritis (Diptheria) on 24th July 1942

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s records show the following burial details:

  • RUDSTON, GERALD PERCIVAL, Sergeant, ‘938766’, HESSLE CEMETERY Comp. 47. Plot 10. Grave 5.