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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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115 Squadron Crest
19/20.05.1944 No. 115 Squadron Lancaster I HK547 K0-F P/O. Atkin

Operation: Le Mans

Date: 19/20th May 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 115 Squadron (C Flight)

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: HK547

Code: KO-F/A4

Base: RAF Witchford, Cambridgeshire.

Location: South Lisieux, France

Pilot: P/O. Samuel Stephen Atkin 172115 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Pilot 2: F/O. John Victor Hayward 139986 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Ivor Collins Plumb 1804691 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: P/O. Kenneth Richard Mather 173890 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Joseph Rafferty 955666 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Reginald Frederick Arthur Giles 1317796 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Rhys Webb Jones AUS/410064 RAAF Age 25. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Leonard Eugene Mehden 423152 RAFVR Age 24. Killed


Took off from RAF Witchford in Cambridgeshire at 22:28 hrs to bomb the railway yards at Le Mans.

The operation is described as being a success with major damage to the target with locomotive sheds destroyed, an ammunition train was also blown up, 2 main lines were totally destroyed with all the other lines blocked due to the overhead power lines coming down.

Left: Air gunner P/O. Rhys Webb Jones (courtesy George Evans)

It is reported as "probable", that Lancaster HK547 was shot down by Oblt. Jakob Schaus (1) of 4./NJG4 with combat taking place at 3.000 metres with the aircraft crashing south of Lisieux at 00:25 hrs. Although some reports say that the aircraft was brought down by light flak.

Thought to be some of the crew with who we believe maybe L-R Rear: P/O. Samuel Atkin, ground crew, P/O. Kenneth Richard Mather, Sq/Ldr?, ground crew, known to be Fl/Sgt. Reginald Giles, P/O. Rhys Webb Jones?, P/O. Leonard Eugene Mehden?

Front: Sgt. Ivor Collins Plumb, the next three we feel are ground crew. (courtesy Janet McWee - it is hope that Janet will be forwarding a further crew photo which she believes has the names on reverse)

(1) This was the 10 abschüsse for Oblt. Jakob Schaus who went on to have a total of 23 during the war which he survived.
On the 2/3rd February 1945 he was wounded in a crash at Rockenhausen near Bad Kreuznach after being shot down by what is thought to have been a Mosquito from 239 Squadron.

Burial details:

P/O. Samuel Stephen Atkin. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-1945. Row C. Grave 24. Son of George and Catherine Atkin of Dronfield, Derbyshire, England

F/O. John Victor Hayward. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-1945. Row C. Grave 25. No further details available as yet, are you able to add information?

Sgt. Ivor Collins Plumb. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-1945. Row C. Grave 27. Son of Thomas William and Doreen Jean Plumb of Bromley, Kent, England.

P/O. Kenneth Richard Mather. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-1945. Row C. Grave 26. Son of Sydney and Kathleen Mather of Plymouth and husband of Blanche R.E.Mather of Mannamead, Plymouth, England.

Sgt. Joseph Rafferty. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-1945. Row C. Grave 28. No further details available as yet, are you able to add information?

Fl/Sgt. Reginald Frederick Arthur Giles. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-1945. Row C. Grave 14. Son of Frederick Richard Arthur and Dorothy Elizabeth Giles of Brixham, Devon, England.

P/O. Rhys Webb Jones. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-1945. Row C. Grave 21. Born on the 16th March 1919, the son of Lloyd Britton and Rachel Jones and husband of Jessie Nimmo Tulloch of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Right: P/O. Rhys Webb Jones. (courtesy George Evans)

P/O. Leonard Eugene Mehden. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-1945. Row C. Grave 15. Born on the 02nd September 1918 in Randwick, New South Wales, Australia. Son of Carl and Letitia Mehden and husband of Jocelyne Marjorie Mehden of Kings Cross, New South Wales, Australia.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. With thanks to George Evans, for photo of P/O. Jones. Also to Diana Gourley for photo correction - June 2016. Also to Janet McWee, niece of Fl/Sgt. Reginald Giles who contacted us in July 2017 and supplied corrected details of address and the crew photograph. Further information supplied by sources as shown.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 23 July 2017, 16:43

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