15/16.03.1944 51 Squadron Halifax III HX330 MH-V Flt.Lt. Alwyn K. Fell
Date: 15/16th March 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: 51 Squadron
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Snaith, Yorkshire
Location: Hericourt, France
Pilot: Flt.Lt. Alwyn Kevin Dudley Fell 413112 RAAF Age 31. Killed
Flt.Eng: Sgt. Maurice Duckworth 1589150 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: Plt.Off. Herbert Frederick Tomalin 159417 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Bmr: Flt.Sgt. Charles Elmer Harvey 1580365 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Terence Raymond Dennis 1315320 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Philip Rodney Cattrall 2216054 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: WO. Ronald Sharp R/180338 RCAF Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Halifax III HX330 MH-V took off from Snaith, Yorkshire at 19:11 hrs. Shot down by Luftwaffe night fighter and crashed at Hericourt some 45 km ESE of Vesoul, France.
Hptm. Heinz Reschke from Stab I./NJG6 claimed a probable a 4-mot over Jussy near Belfort, SW of Strassbourg at 22:32 hrs. It was posthumously confirmed as a full victory on the 28th July 1944 as 51 Sqn Halifax HX330. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 15 March 1944) Part 1 - Theo Boiten)
863 aircraft - made up from 617 Lancasters, 230 Halifaxes and 16 Mosquitos took part in this raid.
The German night fighters split the force into two parts. The bombers flew over France nearly as far as the Swiss border before turning North East to approach Stuttgart. This resulted in delaying the Luftwaffe making contact with the bomber force. When the German fighters did arrive just before Stuttgart was reached a fierce combat followed.
A total of 37 aircraft were lost (27 Lancasters and 10 Halifaxes - 2 other Lancasters force-landed in Switzerland.)
Adverse winds delayed the opening of the attack and the same winds may have caused the pathfinder marking to fall back well short of the target area - despite the clear weather conditions.
Some of the bombing fell in the city centre but most were ineffective and fell into open country south - west of the city. The bombing destroyed some housing and a college. A total of 88 people on the ground were killed and a further 203 injured. Aircrew losses: Killed: 218, Injured: 3, PoW: 47, Interned: 1, Evaded:17
Flt.Lt. Alwyn Kevin Dudley Fell. Choloy War Cemetery 2A.B.8.. Son of Lindsay James Fell and Catherine Fell, husband of Elsie Mary Fell, of Forbes, New South Wales, Australia.
A media release on the 3rd February 2020 from the Australian Minister for Veterans and Defence personnel reported that the identity tags for Flt.Lt Fell were reunited with family members.
Sgt. Maurice Duckworth. Choloy War Cemetery 2A.B.10. Son of John and Lavinia Duckworth, of Huncoat, Accrington, Lancashire, England.
Plt.Off. Herbert Frederick Tomalin. Choloy War Cemetery 2A.B.12. Son of Herbert and Louisa Tomalin, of Brockley, London, England.
Flt.Sgt. Charles Elmer Harvey. Choloy War Cemetery 2A.B.7. Son of Charles Frederick and Fanny Harvey, of Hall Green, Birmingham, England.
Sgt. Terence Raymond Dennis. Choloy War Cemetery 2A.B.13. Son of Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Dennis, of Ramsgate, Kent, England.
Sgt. Philip Rodney Cattrall. Choloy War Cemetery 2A.B.11. Son of Harry Wignall Cattrall and Cynthia Irene Cattrall, of Maeshafn, Mold, Flintshire, Wales.
WO. Ronald Sharp. Choloy War Cemetery 2A.B.9. Son of Arthur W. Sharp and Alice L. Bessant Sharp, of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.
Researched by: Stephane in France and webmaster - further assistance provided by the 51 Sqn Historical Association. Thanks to Adrian for the link to the Media Release from the Australian Minister for Veterans and Defence personnel.