Lancaster PB762 (17/08/1945)

Lancaster PB762 was being utilised for Operation Dodge on 17th August 1945

Its crew comprised:

  • Peter George Ray Weeks (Pilot)
  • Others?

The AM Form 1180 shows: Pilot successfully landed aircraft on emergency landing ground at Istres (France) after engine failure in flight due to a coolant leak .


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 1180

Engine ran rough and was feathered due to loss of coolant caused by loose header tank camp (presumed not firmly replaced on last inspection at Bari)

AM Form 78


Lancaster SW263 (20/08/1945)

Lancaster SW263 was being utilised on a flight to repatriate Prisoners of War on 20th August 1945.

The crew comprised:

  • V Bowen-Morris (Pilot)
  • Others?

The AM Form 1180 shows that at 400 feet after take off, starboard inner engine started emitting white, then black smoke and flames; engine feathered and flames ceased; aircraft landed on airfield (Tibbenham); no further damage


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

There are no details recorded on the AM Form 78


Lancaster ME484 (15/09/1945)

The AM Form 1180 shows that whilst at Bari Airport (Italy), “aircraft (whilst parked at dispersal) was hit by MN802”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat AC on 15th September 1945 and (possibly) struck off charge of the squadron at that time


Lancaster PB762 (17/10/1945)

Lancaster PB762 was being utilised for Operation Dodge on 17th October 1945

Its crew comprised:

  • JF Carsons (Pilot)
  • Others?

The AM Form 1180 shows that whilst at Tibbenham “running up, aircraft started to swing to port; starboard inner closed and brake applied; aircraft swung starboard and port wing tip hit the rudder of a parked aircraft. (Pilot failed to ensure that chocks were in place before starting up)


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat FA/AC on 17th October 1945; it was returned to the squadron on 7th March 1946


 

Lancaster ME337 (05/01/1945)

Lancaster ME337 was one of fifteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Hanover (first raid) on the night of 5th / 6th January 1945.

It was carrying 4 x 2000lb HC (NI). Its designated Path Finder role was Visual Centerer.

Its eight-man crew comprised:

  • Jack Alfred Murrell (Pilot)
  • John Roderick O’Donnell (Navigator)
  • Albert Sidney Cubberley (Air Bomber)
  • Joseph Omer Dumas (Set Operator)
  • Thomas Ogden (Wireless Operator)
  • Jack Norman Oliver (Air Gunner)
  • James Johnston Black (Air Gunner)
  • William Reginald Eady (Flight Engineer)

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

There is no information in the squadron’s Record Book regarding any incident / damage, but the AM Form 78 shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC; it was repaired on site and returned to the squadron on 20th January 1945


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 1180

There isn’t an AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) held at the RAF Museum and, as such, it has not been possible to establish any more details

Lancaster PB754 (17/08/1945)

Lancaster PB754 was being utilised on an Operation Dodge sortie to Bari commencing  on 15th August 1945.

Its crew comprised:

  • GHW Slaughter
  • Others

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Shortly after it was due to take off from Bari on 17th August 1945, aircraft PB754, which had flown there on 15th August 1945, was badly damaged whilst picketed, by another aircraft  which swung badly on take off. The aircraft, which fortunately was unoccupied at the time, was severed midway along the fuselage”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Lancaster PB754

The AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows “Aircraft parked near runway with engine stopped and no crew aboard was collided with and severely damaged by Lancaster ME834 (No. 115 Squadron) which swung off runway on take off”

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was struck off charge of the squadron


Lancaster PB726 (25/11/1945)

Lancaster PB726 was being utilised for a Dodge Operation on 25th November 1945

Its crew comprised:

  • N Stockwell
  • Others

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “When taxying to take off from Tibenham the aircraft struck an MT vehicle parked without lights near the perimeter track. One of the propellers was slightly damaged but the aircraft was flown back to base for repairs afters its Dodge Operation was cancelled


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 does not record the aircraft being off charge of the squadron for repair after this incident

AM Form 1180

There isn’t an AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) held at the RAF Museum and, as such, it has not been possible to establish any more details

Lancaster ME487 (30/11/1945)

Lancaster ME487 was on a short Ferrying Flight on 30th November 1945

Its crew comprised:

  • Leadon (Pilot)
  • Others?

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Aircraft overshot slightly when landing. The pilot attempted to turn to starboard at the perimeter track but the port undercarriage collapsed after striking a submerged drain. There were no casualties


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as FA(AC) on 30th November 1945; it was subsequently struck off charge on 3rd December 1945

AM Form 1180

Landing; overshot; pilot attempted to swing off runway, port undercarriage collapsed on running over a submerged drain (Runway in use was the shortest one; as there was no wind the longest runway should have been used)


 

Lancaster NN805 (19/07/1945)

Lancaster NN805 was being utilised for a training flight (formation flying) on 19th July 1945.

Its crew comprised:

  • F Cheshire
  • Others

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “NN805 struck a FIDO pipe line on landing, damaging the oleo of the tail wheel, which was thus prevented from castoring. When the aircraft was taxied to its dispersal point, the oleo collapsed causing damage to the tail plane attachments and the bottom of the rear fuselage”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 AM Form 1180

Taxiing having overshot on landing, striking tail wheel on FIDO cross hair, causing oleo leg to jam and prevent castoring of tail wheel. Tail oleo leg collapsed when pilot attempted to turn aircraft at dispersal

Lancaster NG485 (19/07/1945)

Lancaster NG485 was being utilised for a training flight (formation flying) on 19th July 1945.

Its crew comprised:

  • RH Davis (Pilot)
  • BT Humphreys (Navigator)
  • A Skidmore (Air Bomber)
  • CFW Norman (Wireless Operator)
  • Sgt. W Hughes (Air Gunner)
  • A Springham (A Gunner)
  • .. Patrick (Flight Engineer),

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “During a training flight when several aircraft were flying in formation, two of them collided, presumably due to bumpy weather conditions. The aircraft RF139 and NG485 landed quite safely without injuries”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 AM Form 1180

In flight as No. 2 of a formation “vic”, pilot came too close to No. 1 Lancaster RF139 in rather bumpy conditions and struck starboard fin of No. 1 with port outer propeller damaging both aircraft; landed OK

Bernard Humphreys, who was navigator of NG485, recalls:

“Two Lancasters (NG485 and RF139) were involved in the formation flying exercise which was to be followed by a fighter affiliation exercise with a Spitfire.  The navigator of  RF139 had a camera and he had decided he would swap places with the rear gunner for a while so that he could take some photographs when flying in formation with our aircraft.

He told us that our port wing tip had twice tapped the rear turret and then we made the more damaging contact with our propeller.

Diagram showing the position of the two aircraft

Diagram showing the position of the two aircraft

On landing, the aircraft taxied to the same dispersal so that we could all see the damage.  The propeller blades of our port outer engine were crinkled and the starboard tail fin of their tail assembly had a vee shaped notch cut out of it, from memory it was about two feet deep.

…… in summary ……  it was too close for comfort!”


 

Lancaster RF139 (19/07/1945)

Lancaster RF139 was being utilised for a training flight (formation flying) on 19th July 1945.

Its crew comprised:

  • GA Henderson
  • Others

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “During a training flight when several aircraft were flying in formation, two of them collided, presumably due to bumpy weather conditions. The aircraft RF139 and NG485 landed quite safely without injuries”.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

There is no record of the aircraft being off charge of the squadron for repair following this incident

AM 1180

The AM Form 1180 shows “In flight, aircraft No. 1 of formation VIC was struck by prop of Lancaster NG485 flying as No. 2”

Bernard Humphreys, who was navigator of NG485, recalls:

“Two Lancasters (NG485 and RF139) were involved in the formation flying exercise which was to be followed by a fighter affiliation exercise with a Spitfire.  The navigator of  RF139 had a camera and he had decided he would swap places with the rear gunner for a while so that he could take some photographs when flying in formation with our aircraft.

He told us that our port wing tip had twice tapped the rear turret and then we made the more damaging contact with our propeller.

Diagram showing the position of the two aircraft

On landing, the aircraft taxied to the same dispersal so that we could all see the damage.  The propeller blades of our port outer engine were crinkled and the starboard tail fin of their tail assembly had a vee shaped notch cut out of it, from memory it was about two feet deep.

…… in summary ……  it was too close for comfort!

Lancaster ME369 (12/04/1945)

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC on 12th April 1945; it was returned to the squadron on 14th June 1945

Squadron’s Operations Record Book

There are no details in the squadron’s Operations Record Book

AM Form 1180

There isn’t an AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) held at the RAF Museum and, as such, it has not been possible to establish any more details

Lancaster ME362 (15/01/1945)

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC on 15th January 1945; it was returned to the squadron on 10th February 1945

Squadron’s Operations Record Book

There are no details in the squadron’s Operations Record Book

AM Form 1180

There isn’t an AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) held at the RAF Museum and, as such, it has not been possible to establish any more details

Lancaster ME331 (26/03/1945)

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was passed to AV Roe on 26th March 1945; it was repaired on site and returned to the squadron on 28th April 1945


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Squadron’s Operations Record Book

There are no details in the squadron’s Operations Record Book

AM Form 1180

There isn’t an AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) held at the RAF Museum and, as such, it has not been possible to establish any more details

Lancaster PB377 (14/04/1945)

Lancaster PB377 was one of fifteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Potsdam on the night of the 14th / 15th April 1945.Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • VB Bowen-Morris (Pilot)
  • RHH Dyer (Navigator)
  • EG Silcock (Air Bomber)
  • CS Gibbon (Wireless Operator)
  • E Meredith (Air Gunner)
  • JW Tovey (Air Gunner)
  • WG Reynolds (Flight Engineer)

PB377 was initially reported missing but later information stated that the aircraft had caught fire over the target area. The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “the crew, excluding the pilot, baled out near the target area. The pilot continued to fly the aircraft for some time and eventually baled out over Holland.

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 15th April 1945 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 14th / 15th April 1945”.

telegram 2
An example of the telegram that was sent

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. 552 (Flight 29/11/1945) reported WG Reynolds as “missing”

Crew who survived the crash and evaded capture

  • JW Tovey
    • Evasion Route: Hid for a few days with prisoners of war at Schiamiertz before being liberated by US troops
    • Repatriated: April / May 1945
  • VB Bowen-Morris
    • Having regained control of the aircraft, he eventually baled out over Holland and landed in allied controlled territory
    • Repatriated: – (The squadron’s Record Book shows that he was operational again by 7th May 1945)

Crew who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

RHH Dyer, EG Silcock, CS Gibbon and E Meredith baled out of the aircraft and were captured, interrogated and imprisoned.

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:

  • CS Gibbon
    • Captured: Near Riesa 15/04/45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg Apr-45 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • RHH Dyer (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: No information available 
    • Repatriated:
  • EG Silcock (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: No information available
    • Repatriated:
  • E Meredith (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: No information available
    • Repatriated:

Post War search for 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 WG Reynolds were not located (or could not be formally identified) and, as such, his name is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • REYNOLDS, William Graham Sergeant ‘1649222’ Panel 276.

[Source: Clive Lewis]

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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

In the vicinity of the target an engine caught fire and, as ordered, the crew commenced baling out. With six departed and preparing to make his own escape, F/O Bowen-Morris regained control and was able to reach Dutch air space before being obliged to take to his parachute

AM Form 1180

Port outer ………….., unable to feather, caught fire. Crew baled out. Fire went out and then after two hours starboard inner overheated and pilot baled out

Lancaster PB343 (05/01/1945)

Lancaster PB343 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 equipped with Loran, Carpet, H2S and Fishpond and was carrying 4 x 1000lb MC and various Target Indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Blind Illuminator

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Kenneth Potts (Pilot)
  • Murray Allison Mills (Navigator)
  • Arthur Joseph Reeder (Air Bomber)
  • George Alfred Pope (Wireless Operator)
  • Ronald William Bentley (Air Gunner)
  • Vivian Montague Bailey Halls (Air Gunner)
  • Medley Benjamin Sharp (Flight Engineer)

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

PB343 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take-off”

Note: The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows the serial number as PB364

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 6th January 1945 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 5th / 6th January 1945”.

An example of the telegram that was sent

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. 509 (Flight 31/05/1945) reported K Potts, MAC Mills, AJ Reeder, GA Pope, RW Bentley, VB Halls and MB Sharp as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 575 (Flight 02/05/1946) reported GA Pope “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 579 (Flight 16/05/1946) reported MAC Mills “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 580 (Flight 16/05/1946) reported AJ Reeder “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 586 (Flight 06/06/1946) reported K Potts, RW Bentley, VB Halls and MB Sharp “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.

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 RW Bentley, VMB Halls, GA Pope and MB Sharp were located at Ahlhorn Temporary Burial Ground, Germany.

PB343 Concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at Sage War Cemetery on 31st July 1947 as follows:

  • BENTLEY, Ronald William ‘1873484’  Grave 8. D. 6.
  • HALLS, Vivian Montague Bailey ‘2222007’ Grave 8. D. 8.
  • POPE, George Alfred ‘1049025’ Grave 8. D. 7.
  • SHARP, Medley Benjamin ‘1803380’ Grave 8. D. 4.

[Sources: Find-a-Grave]

The remains of MA Mills, K Potts and AJ Reeder were not located (or could not be formally identified); as such, their names are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • MILLS, Murray Allison ‘J/43411’ Panel 279.
  • POTTS, Kenneth ‘183583’ Panel 267.
  • REEDER, Arthur Joseph ‘J/43405’ Panel 279.

[Courtesy of Clive Lewis]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bomber Command Loss Card

Place of Loss: Reide by Thedinghausen (Germany)
Cause of Loss: Believed Flak

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

Hit by flak and believed to have crashed between Reide and Thedinghausen


Lancaster NG436 (16/01/1945)

Lancaster NG436 was one of seven No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Magdeburg on the night of 16th / 17th January 1945

Its eight-man crew comprised:

  • Jack Alfred Murrell (Pilot)
  • John Roderick O’Donnell (Navigator)
  • Albert Sidney Cubberley (Air Bomber)
  • Joseph Omer Dumas (Set Operator)
  • Thomas Ogden (Wireless Operator)
  • Jack Norman Oliver (Air Gunner)
  • James Johnston Black (Air Gunner)
  • William Reginald Eady (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book has no details of the incident but the AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows “aircraft struck by incendiaries from friendly aircraft; successful landing subsequently made”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat FB/AC; it was repaired and returned to the squadron on 10th February 1945


Lancaster NG440 (08/04/1945)

Lancaster NG440 was one of ten No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack the Blohm and Voss Works in Hamburg on the night of 8th / 9th April 1945.

Its designated Path Finder role was Visual Centrer.

Its eight-man crew consisted of:

  • Melville Max Victor Lewis Muller (Pilot)
  • Harry Cobb (Navigator)
  • Patrick Baring Oates Ranalow (Air Bomber)
  • John Leslie Vickery (Set Operator)
  • Thomas Broadley Robinson (Wireless Operator)
  • Charles Wilce (Air Gunner)
  • Robert Christie Webster (Air Gunner)
  • Andrew Coulter Barr (Flight Engineer)

The route was Whitby and Wash, 5430N 0300E, 5435N 0835E, 5410N 1005E, Hamburg, 5330N 0957E, 5325N 0930E, 5235N 0910E, 5132N 0545E, 5140N 0410E, 5245N 0410E, 5430N 0030E

NG440 failed to return from the operation 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 9th April 1945 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 8th / 9th April 1945”.

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. 547 (Flight 08/11/1945) reported MMVL Muller, H Cobb, PBO Ranalow, JL Vickery, TB Robinson, RC Webster and AC Barr as “missing”

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

  • 23/06/1945: Information received from No. 151 Repair Unit that an aircraft, believed to be NG440, had been located near Rotenburg. One member of the crew F/S Wilce, the tail gunner, was uninjured, but the remainder were believed to have been killed.

Crew member(s) who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

PBO Ranalow survived the crash and was captured and hospitalised; he died of his injuries on 10th April 1945

C Wilce survived the crash 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:

  • C Wilce
    • Captured: Wohlsdorf 09/04/1945
    • Imprisoned: Rottenburg Airfield Apr-45
    • Imprisoned: Pinneburg Apr-45
    • Imprisoned: Ludwigslust Apr-45
    • Imprisoned: Labenz Apr-45 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45

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 MMVL Muller, H Cobb,  JL Vickery, TB Robinson, RC Webster and AC Barr were located at Rotenburg Cemetery, Germany.

The remains of PBO Ranalow (who died of his injuries) were also buried there.

ng440-concentration1

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at BECKLINGEN WAR CEMETERY on 8th July 1946 as follows:

  • BARR, ANDREW COULTER Flight Sergeant ‘1113965’  Joint grave 11. B. 10-10A.
  • COBB, HARRY Flight Lieutenant ‘121906’ Joint grave 11. B. 10-10A.
  • ROBINSON, THOMAS BROADLEY Flying Officer ‘158124’ Grave 11. B. 11.
  • MULLER, MELVILLE MAX VICTOR LEWIS Squadron Leader ‘128129’ Grave 11. B. 12.
  • WEBSTER, ROBERT CHRISTIE Flying Officer ‘173076’ Grave 11. B. 13.
  • VICKERY, JOHN LESLIE Flying Officer ‘163864’ Grave 11. B. 14.
  • RANALOW, PATRICK BARING OATES Flight Lieutenant ‘130989’ Grave 14. B. 14.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Possible Nightfighter Claim: Lt. Bruno Rupp, 4./NJG3, Rotenburg-Hannover Area

Note: Theo Boiten has advised that this is still the latest information that he has (December 2015)

Bomber Command Loss Card

Crashed near Rotenburg

“Wilce: Aircraft hit in nose, probably by flak. Aircraft on fire and his turret broke away and he baled out. He saw no more of the aircraft or the crew. Ranalow was seriously injured and died in a German hospital within a few hours”

Map of Locations

NG440 Locations

Lancaster NG440 (18/03/1945)

Lancaster NG440 was one of fifteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Witten on the night of the 18th / 19th March 1945.

Its eight-man crew comprised:

  • John Campbell Blair (Pilot)
  • Derek Ian Jeffery (Navigator)
  • Thomas Henderson Hunter (Air Bomber)
  • “Yale Knox Carter” (Set Operator)
  • John Arthur Moore (Wireless Operator)
  • Harry Foxton (Air Gunner)
  • JS Johnson (Air Gunner)
  • (Possibly) Herbert Bailey (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows: When the aircraft was half way across the Channel, aircraft doing dog leg at 4,000 feet to waste time and an aircraft, believed to be a Lancaster, came in from starboard bow and hit starboard fin, ripped a piece off it, took part of an elevator and fin away. Aircraft went into steep dive and lost 2,000 feet. Aircraft set course for jettison area and returned to base. All personnel were uninjured.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The movement card does not show any details regarding classification as a result of the incident; it is known that the aircraft was back in operational use on 24th March 1945

AM Form 1180

There isn’t an AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) held at the RAF Museum and, as such, it has not been possible to establish any more details


Notes:

  1. Information suggests that the other aircraft involved was No. 640 Squadron Halifax NR289 which damaged its nose and landed at Manston

Lancaster ME367 (21/02/1945)

Lancaster ME367 was one of eleven No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Duisburg on the night of the 21st / 22nd February 1945.

The aircraft was equipped with HS2, Fishpond, Loran and Carpet and was carrying 1 x 4000lb HC, 5 x 1000lb MC and various target indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Blind Secondary Marker.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Francis William Gordon Tropman (Pilot)
  • Robert Thomas Johns (Navigator)
  • Harry Denis Michell (Air Bomber)
  • Neil William Curtis (Wireless Operator)
  • Geoffrey John North (Air Gunner)
  • Malcolm Harry McVey (Air Gunner)
  • Raymond Marcel Hallett (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5000N 0200E, 5010N 0500E, 5050N 0540E, Target, 5128N 0649E, 5130N 055OE, 5055N 0520E, 5035N 0410E

ME367 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 22nd February 1945 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 21st / 22nd February 1945”.

An extract from the letter sent to the family of NW Curtis

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:

  • No information found

It is known that a telegram was sent to the family of FWG Tropman on 9th April 1945 advising them that he had been killed in action. A follow-up letter was sent on 5th May 1945.

tropman-letter

No. 35 Squadron’s Operations Record Book shows the following information regarding the crew:

  • 26/09/1945: Information received from Air Ministry  that RM Hallet and RT Johns have returned safely to the UK.
  • 06/10/1945: Information received from the Air Ministry that MH McVey was reported safe in the UK on 23rd May 1945.

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

RT Johns, HD Michell, NW Curtis, MH McVey, GJ North and RM Hallet 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 show the following:

  • RT Johns
    • Captured: Krefeld 22/02/45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VIII-D, Nuremberg Mar-45 to Apr-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VII-A, Moosburg Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • HD Michell
    • Captured Krefeld 22/02/1945
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Obereusel, Frankfurt
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VIII-D, Nuremberg Mar-45 to Apr-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VII-A, Moosburg Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • NW Curtis
    • Captured: Near Krefeld 21/02/45  (Fractured Ankle)
    • Hospitalised: Krefeld Feb-45
    • Hospitalised: Kaiservert Mar-45
    • Hospitalised: 3 km from Steenwijk Mar-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: Apr-45 (Admitted to RAF Hospital Cosford)
  • MH McVey
    • Captured: Duisburg 21/02/45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VIII-D, Nuremberg Mar-45 to Apr-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VII-A, Moosburg Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • GJ North
    • Captured: Rheurdt  22/02/45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VIII-D, Nuremberg Mar-45 to Apr-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VII-A, Moosburg Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • RM Hallet
    • Captured: Duisburg  21/02/45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VIII-D, Nuremberg Mar-45 to Apr-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VII-A, Moosburg Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45

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 Runnymede Memorial, which was unveiled in 1953.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) records show that the remains of FWG Tropman were located at Vorst Forest Cemetery.

tropman-concentration

His remains were exhumed, and whilst not positively identified, the MRES officer concluded that there were no doubts that it was Tropman and his remains were concentrated (reinterred) at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery on 28th July 1947 as follows:

  • TROPMAN, Francis William Gordon ‘413453’  Grave 29. B. 18.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd War Diaries)

Possible Nightfighter Claim: Hptm. Hermann Greiner, StabIV./NJG1, Neuss, 23.21

MRES Report

The MRES Report shows “A report from the Burgomeister of Vorst gives the information that the aircraft crashed at Schmitzheide/Vorst on 21st February 1945. I visited the scene of the crash and found that all major portions of the aircraft had been removed. I did however find six merlin exhaust flame covers and a Lancaster flap operating boom”

NW Curtis (RAAF Repatriation Questionnaire)

Attacked by unidentified fighter; aircraft on fire under fuselage. Baled out. Captured by German soldiers near Krefeld

Pilot Tropman buried by Americans after identification (this information learnt from adjutant of 35 Squadron).

GJ North (POW Documents)

An extract from GJ North’s POW documents

Lancaster ME361 (07/03/1945)

Lancaster ME361 was one of eight No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack the Deutsche Erdoel refinery at Hemmingstedt, near Heide on the night of 7th / 8th March 1945.

It was equipped with H2S, Fishpond, Loran and Carpet and was carrying 3 x 1000lb B2 Yellow, 3 x 1000lb B4 Yellow, 3 x 1000 ANM.59 and 4 x Cluster Projectiles. Its designated Path Finder role was Master Bomber

Its eight-man crew comprised:

  • Daniel Bulmer Everett (Pilot)
  • James Martin Aylieff (Navigator)
  • Charles George Mitchell (Air Bomber)
  • Clifford Owen Russell (Set Operator)
  • Reginald Clifford Chapman (Wireless Operator)
  • Albert Henry John Pidgeon (Air Gunner)
  • Reginald Martin Weller (Air Gunner)
  • Kelvin Gordon Munro (Flight Engineer)

The route to and from the target was as follows: 5330N 0045E, 5520N 0420E, 5545N 0900E, 5500N 1015E, Target, 5405N 0850E, 5440N 0700E, 5435N 0340E, 5300N 0100E, Base

ME361 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 8th March 1945 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 7th / 8th March 1945”.

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. 338 (Flight 20/09/1945) reported DB Everett, JM Aylieff, CG Mitchell, CO Russell, RC Chapman, AHJ Pidgeon, RM Weller and KG Munro as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 592 (Flight 11/07/1946) reported CG Mitchell “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 593 (Flight 18/07/1946) reported KG Munro “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 594 (Flight 25/07/1946) reported DB Everett, JM Aylieff, CO Russell, RC Chapman, AHJ Pidgeon and RM Weller “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.

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 missing crew members were located at Hemmingstedt.

ME361 Concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at HAMBURG CEMETERY on 2nd August 1946 as follows:

  • AYLIEFF, James Martin Flying Officer ‘177980’ Grave 5A. J. 3
  • CHAPMAN, Reginald Clifford Flight Lieutenant ‘122930’ Grave 5A. J. 2.
  • EVERETT, Daniel Bulmer Squadron Leader ‘155223’ Grave 5A. J. 8.
  • MITCHELL, Charles G. Flight Lieutenant ‘J/20407’ Grave 5A. J. 7.
  • MUNRO, Kelvin Gordon Pilot Officer ‘7122’ Grave 5A. J. 1.
  • PIDGEON, Albert Henry John Flying Officer ‘171882’ Grave 5A. J. 6.
  • RUSSELL, Clifford Owen Flight Lieutenant ‘138894’ Grave 5A. J. 5.
  • WELLER, Reginald Martin Flying Officer ‘155190’ Grave 5A. J. 4.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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

[Master Bomber] Shot down at 22.00 in the target area

German Archives (Courtesy of Rod MacKenzie)

German documents (now held in archives around the world) record that ME361 caught fire in the air and crashed near Hemmingstedt at around 22.00hrs . It is understood that these files also contain unconfirmed claims for the loss by both a nightfighter and various flak batteries.

Map of Crash Location and Original Burials

ME361 Map

Lancaster ME335 (21/02/1945)

Lancaster ME335 was one of eleven No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Duisburg on the night of the 21st / 22nd February 1945.

It was equipped with H2S, Fishpond and Carpet and was carrying 1 x 4000lb HC, 5 x 1000lb MC and 14 Cluster Projectiles. Its designated Path Finder role was Blind Secondary Marker

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • John James Osmond (Pilot)
  • Albert Western Wolk (Navigator)
  • Bernard John Bedford Carr (Air Bomber)
  • Archibald Clarence Aston (Wireless Operator)
  • Bert William Golden (Air Gunner)
  • Geoffrey Arnold Perry (Air Gunner)
  • James Keith Spedding (Flight Engineer)

ME335 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 22nd February 1945 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 21st / 22nd February 1945”.

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. 521 (Flight 05/07/1945) reported BW Golden as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 591 (Flight 04/06/1946) reported BW Golden  “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.

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

JJ Osmond, AW Wolk, BJB Carr, AC Aston, GA Perry and JK Spedding 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:

  • JJ Osmond
    • Captured: Feb-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VIII-D, Nuremburg Mar-45 to Apr-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VII-A, Moosburg Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • AW Wolk (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VII-A, Moosburg
    • Repatriated:
  • BJB Carr (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VII-A, Moosburg
    • Repatriated:
  • AC Aston (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned:
    • Repatriated:
  • GA Perry (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VII-A, Moosburg
    • Repatriated:
  • JK Spedding (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag VII-A, Moosburg
    • Repatriated:

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 BW Golden were located at Neukirchen Community Cemetery.

ME335 Concentration

His remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY on 2nd June 1947 as follows:

  • GOLDEN, BERT WILLIAM Flying Officer ‘179878’  Grave 15. D. 14.

[Courtesy of Klaus Steffensen]

JJ Osmond’s POW Liberation Questionnaire (Australian Archive)

Aircraft attacked from below which sustained strikes on fuselage and starboard wing. The starboard inner engine and trailing edge were on fire. I then took necessary action but the fire did not go out. I then gave the command to prepare to abandon aircraft, followed shortly by order to jump. All members replied, excluding mid-upper gunner; attempts to contact him by call-light not successful. All crew left aircraft successfully, I then left at 10,000 with the aircraft under control but juddering badly with fires still burning. Aircraft crashed approx 30-40 miles west of Duisburg.

All those that baled out landed safely and were captured. The mid-upper gunner crashed in aircraft. WO Aston was told by his captors that he was found dead in his turret.

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd War Diaries)

No information recorded

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

No additional details on the loss

Lancaster ME334 (04/02/1945)

Lancaster ME334 was one of fourteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Bonn on the night of the 4th / 5th February 1945.

It was equipped with H2S, GPI, Fishpond, Loran and Carpet and was carrying 1 x 4000lb HC, 5 x 1000lb ANM65, 5 x 500lb MC and 1 target indicator (No. 1 R/G). Its designated Path Finder role was Blind Secondary Marker

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Allan Edward Johnson (Pilot)
  • Gerald Basil Thomas (Navigator)
  • Harry Coulton (Air Bomber)
  • Roy Maurice Jenkins (Wireless Operator)
  • Douglas Farrant Hadland (Air Gunner)
  • Raymond Neale (Air Gunner)
  • Cecil Arthur Butler (Flight Engineer)
Crew Only (Med)

The route was Base, Reading, 5000N 0200E, 5000N 0400E, 5014N 0540E, Target, 5047N 0715E, 5035N 0725E, 5010N 0640E, 5020E, 0530E, 5000N 0400E, 5100N 0240E, Southwold

ME334 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 5th February 1945 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 4th / 5th February 1945”.

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. 514 (Flight 14/06/1945) reported AE Johnson, GB Thomas, H Coulton, RM Jenkins, R Neale, DF Hadland and CA Butler as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 586 (Flight 06/06/1946) reported AE Johnson, GB Thomas, H Coulton, RM Jenkins, R Neale, DF Hadland and CA Butler “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:

  • 26/09/1945: Information received from Air Ministry that AE Johnson, RM Jenkins and R Neale, missing on 4th February 1945, were killed. Four unknown, presumably the remaining members of the crew, were buried with them in Beuel Cemetery

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 Beuel Cemetery

Original Crosses at Beuel.jpg

The original grave markers at Beuel Cemetery (Note the 3 named crosses and the 4 unmarked “unknowns”) [Courtesy of Brenda Taylor]

ME334 Concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY on 1st May 1947 as follows:

  • NEALE, RAYMOND Flight Sergeant ‘1100968’ Grave 11. B. 1.
  • BUTLER, CECIL ARTHUR Sergeant ‘1868746’  Grave 11. B. 2.
  • HADLAND, DOUGLAS FARRANT Flight Sergeant ‘1616720’ Grave 11. B. 3.
  • COULTON, HARRY Flying Officer ‘152725’ Grave 11. B. 4.
  • JOHNSON, ALLAN EDWARD Flight Lieutenant ‘61984’ Grave 11. B. 5.
  • JENKINS, ROY MAURICE Flight Sergeant ‘1394968’ Grave 11. B. 6.
  • THOMAS, GERALD BASIL Flight Sergeant ‘1549455’ Grave 11. B. 7.

The original graves and grave markers at Rheinberg 1947


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

MRES Report

The MRES report concerning the crew of Lancaster ME334 says that Lancaster ME334, which was reported missing on 4 February 1945, crashed at Beuel, map reference K51/F5738.

In August 1946, a MRES investigating officer from 19 Section, No 4 Missing Research and Enquiry Unit, Germany visited Beuel. He spoke to police there and the Burgomeister who told him that an aircraft had crashed on the outskirts of the town after the attack on Bonn on 4 February 1945. The main part of the aircraft crashed on a plot of waste land in Elsa Brandstroem Strasse. Another witness who lived opposite the crash site said the aircraft came down at 20.20 hours. The wreckage of the aircraft covered an area of about 200 yards square. The witness said that the aircraft was hit to the south of the city and caught fire. The Wehrmacht recovered the bodies of the crew and the aircraft wreckage and the crew were taken by the Leichenbergungskommando of the German Air Force at Hangelar to the New Cemetery, Beuel for burial.”

A letter of hope [Courtesy of Peter Lawson]

Letter (W Butler)1 [Peter Lawson]

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]

Lancaster PB684 (07/02/1945)

Lancaster PB684 was one of sixteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Goch on the night of 7th / 8th February 1945.

Its eight-man crew comprised:

  • Daniel Bulmer Everett (Pilot)
  • John Anthony Gardner (Navigator)
  • Charles George Mitchell (2nd Navigator)
  • Clifford Owen Russell (Set Operator)
  • Leonard Stewart Thorpe (WOP / AG)
  • Cedric Alexander Fraser-Petherbridge (Air Gunner)
  • Reginald Martin Weller (Air Gunner)
  • Kelvin Gordon Munro (Flight Engineer)

There are no details in the squadron’s Operations Record Book but the AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows: No 156 Squadron aircraft (ND875) collided with friendly Lancaster (PB684) during turn off target; many aircraft over target in darkness; each aircraft shares responsibility


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC on 8th February 1945. It was repaired on site and returned to the squadron on 17th February 1945

AM Form 1180

The AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows: No 156 Squadron aircraft (ND875) collided with friendly Lancaster (PB684) during turn off target; many aircraft over target in darkness; each aircraft shares responsibility

Note; Whilst the card records the damage to the 156 Squadron, there are no details regarding the damage to this aircraft

AIR 14/3460

AIR 14/3460 (Summaries of aircraft damaged by enemy action at night) records the cause of damage as “Collision with No. 156 Squadron Lancaster ND875”

No. 156 Squadron ORB

No. 156 Squadron ORB shows the following for ND875: “Target Area 2214 hrs 3/4,000 ft. Orbiting to South, Port wing tip gone, due to collision”.

Citation for Second Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross (DB Everett)

One night in February 1945, Squadron Leader Everett was pilot and captain of aircraft detailed to attack Goch. Whilst making his first run over the target his aircraft was badly hit. The star-board mainplane was extensively damaged and the starboard inner engine caught fire. Momentarily the aircraft went out of control. Squadron Leader Everett quickly levelled out though and feathered the propeller of the burning engine. The flames were then extinguished. Although unable to assess the full extent of the damage sustained, Squadron Leader Everett went on to several further runs over the target, which he left only after he was satisfied as to the success of the operation. He afterwards flew the badly damaged aircraft safely to base. This officer displayed a high degree of skill, courage and resolution throughout.

The damaged engine

Lancaster PB685 (10/02/1945)

Lancaster PB685 was returning to Graveley on 10th February 1945.

Its crew comprised:

  • FHV Beazley (Pilot)
  • Others?

There are no details in the squadron’s Operations Record Books but the AM Form 1180 for the aircraft shows “Forced landed wheels up in a field (Lord’s Farm, Sheldwitch, Kent) due to bad weather conditions; ice formed on wings at 200ft”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC (although there were no operations on this date). It was not returned to the squadron and was reallocated.

Notes:

  1. E-Mail sent to Sheldwich Parish Council on 25th July 2017 to see if there are any further details, but there was no response.

Lancaster ME333 (05/03/1945)

Lancaster ME333 was one of sixteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Chemnitz on the night of the 5th / 6th March 1945.

It was equipped with H2S 3a, GPI, Fishpond and Loran

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Fred Watson (Pilot)
  • Kenneth Samuel Smith (Navigator)
  • Stanley Owen Scott (Air Bomber)
  • Leslie George Holland (Wireless Operator)
  • Phillip James Pentelow (Air Gunner)
  • Victor Arthur Roe (Air Gunner)
  • George Cross (Flight Engineer)

The route was: Reading, 5000N 0200E, 5000N 0500E, 5030N 0720E, 5045N 0930E, 5138N 1132E, 5130N 1240E, Target, 5040N 1300E, 5105N 1200E, 5050N 1020E, 5000N 0200E Reading

ME333 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 6th March 1945 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 5th / 6th March 1945”.

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. 534 (Flight 30/08/1945) reported F Watson, KS Smith, SO Scott, LG Holland, PJ Pentelow and VA Roe as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 588 (Flight 20/06/1946) reported PJ Pentelow “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 593 (Flight 18/07/1946) reported G Cross, F Watson, KS Smith, SO Scott, LG Holland and VA Roe “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.

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 the crew were not located and, as such, their names are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • CROSS, George Flight Sergeant ‘1534727’ Panel 270.
  • HOLLAND, Leslie George Pilot Officer ‘195246’ Panel 268.
  • PENTELOW, Phillip James Flying Officer ‘403024’ Panel 285.
  • ROE, Victor Arthur Warrant Officer ‘1813968’ Panel 269.
  • SCOTT, Stanley Owen Flying Officer ‘162469’ Panel 267.
  • SMITH, Kenneth Samuel Flight Lieutenant ‘165669’ Panel 266.
  • WATSON, Fred Squadron Leader ‘110889’ Panel 265.

[Courtesy of Clive Lewis]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd War Diaries)

Possible nightfighter claim: Fw. Schuster, 1./NJG5, Chemnitz, 21.51

Lancaster ND645 (22/03/1944)

Lancaster ND645 was one of fourteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Frankfurt on the night of the 22nd / 23rd March 1944.

It was equipped with IFF, Gee, Nav Aid Y (H2S) and Fishpond and was carrying 1 x 1000lb MC, 2 x 500lb MC and 1 x 4000lb HC [Minol] and various flares / target indicators. Its designated Pathfinder role was Blind Marker Illuminator

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Thomas Rowe (Pilot)
  • Edmund Howard Williams (Navigator)
  • Alexander Grant (Air Bomber)
  • Fred Haigh (Wireless Operator)
  • Harry Gray (Air Gunner)
  • Malcolm Ross Hunter (Air Gunner)
  • Abel Simpson (Flight Engineer)

The route was Base, 5405N 0400E, 5220N 0845E, Target, 4948N 0830E, 4945N 0710E, 5105N 0240E, Base

ND645 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 23rd March 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 22nd / 23rd March 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. 394 (Flight 15/06/1944) reported EH Williams, A Simpson and MR Hunter as “missing believed killed in action; also F Haigh as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 501 (Flight 10/05/1945) reported MR Hunter “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 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:

  • 11/05/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that T Rowe and A Grant, missing on 22nd / 23rd March 1944, are prisoners of war; also that EH Williams, MR Hunter, H Gray and A Simpson were killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

T Rowe and A Grant 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:

  • T Rowe (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth
    • Repatriated:
  • A Grant (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth
    • Repatriated: 

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 EH Williams, MR Hunter, A Simpson and H Gray were located at Giessen Cemetery

hr645-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, formally identified and concentrated (reinterred) at HANOVER WAR CEMETERY on 1st May 1947 as follows:

  • SIMPSON, ABEL Sergeant ‘1031549’  Grave 4. E. 9.
  • WILLIAMS, EDMUND HOWARD Pilot Officer ‘171772’ Grave 4. C. 8.
  • HUNTER, MALCOLM ROSS Pilot Officer ‘421982’ Grave 4. C. 7.
  • GRAY, HARRY Pilot Officer ‘420662’ Grave 4. C. 10.

[Source: Find-a-Grave]

The remains of F Haigh were not located (or could not be formally identified) and, as such, his name is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • HAIGH, FRED Flight Lieutenant ‘101522’ Panel 202.
Haigh F 202

[Courtesy of Clive Lewis]

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Hptm. Paul Zorner, 8./NJG3, Giessen Area, N target Frankfurt, 5900m, 21.43

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

Exploded, throwing clear the two survivors in the general vicinity of Hanover

Bomber Command Loss Card

Rowe: I was extremely lucky in getting out unhurt, slightly sprained my foot on landing

Crew Memorial

img_0157

National Memorial Arboretum

Lancaster PB684 (14/01/1945)

Lancaster PB684 was one of thirteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Merseburg / Leuna on the night of the 14th / 15th January 1945.

It was carrying 2 x 500lb MC and 2 x 500lb GP. Its designated Path Finder role was Primary Visual Marker

Its eight-man crew comprised:

  • Daniel Bulmer Everett (Pilot)
  • James Martin Aylieff (Navigator)
  • Charles George Mitchell (Air Bomber)
  • Clifford Owen Russell (Set Operator)
  • Clarence John Taylor (Wireless Operator)
  • Raymond Terence Salvoni (Air Gunner)
  • Reginald Martin Weller (Air Gunner)
  • Kelvin Gordon Munro (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Aircraft was hit by a bomb from a friendly aircraft over the target area; the rear turret was smashed and later broke away taking with it the body of the rear gunner F/O RT Salvoni who, it is believed, was probably killed by the impact of the bomb”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 15th January 1945 the squadron informed Bomber Command, the Air Ministry and the RAF Records Office that RT Salvoni 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 14th / 15th 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:

  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 511 (Flight 07/06/1945) reported RT Salvoni as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 525 (Flight 12/07/1945) corrected Casualty Communique No. 511 and reported RT Salvoni as “killed in action”

Post War search for the missing crew member(s)

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 RT Salvoni were not located (or could not be formally identified) and, as such, his name is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • SALVONI, Raymond, Flying Officer, ‘155198’, Panel 267.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat FB/AC. It was repaired on site and returned to the squadron on 27th January 1945

AM Form 1180

The accident card shows “Aircraft struck by bomb from friendly aircraft on rear turret and the turret completely broke away complete with rear gunner, whom it is thought, was killed by impact of bomb”


Lancaster PB684 (18/05/1945)

Lancaster PB684 was being utilised for a training flight on 18th May 1945

Its crew comprised:

  • WN Mercer (Pilot)
  • Possibly:
    • EJL Hall (Navigator)
    • JT Brenner (Air Bomber)
    • HV Gash (Wireless Operator)
    • DA Durie (Air Gunner)
    • EJ Soan (Air Gunner)
    • CM Fenwick (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations record Book shows “When completing a training flight, PB684 made a fast landing and the Captain WN Mercer, attempting to swing the aircraft off the runway, caused the undercarriage to collapse. Though the aircraft was very badly damaged, none of the crew was hurt”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as FA/B; it was later reclassified as FA/E and struck off charge on 5th June 1945

AM Form 1180

The AM Form 1180 shows “Landing; aircraft overshot after fast approach and undercarriage collapsed when pilot swung to avoid running off end of runway (pilot should have gone round again)