10/11.09.1942 No. 16 OTU Wellington IC DV775 XG-O Sgt. Kenneth Bonter
Operation: Düsseldorf, Germany
Date: 10/11th September 1942 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No.16 OTU (Operational Training Unit)
Type: Wellington IC
Base: RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire
Location: North Sea, 50 k.m. West of Katwijk
Pilot: Sgt. Kenneth Charles Bonter MiD. R/100209 RCAF PoW No. 27156 Camp: Stalag Lumsdorf (344) (1)
Nav: P/O. Arthur Henry Childs 116799 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. R. J. Harvey 1219720 RAFVR PoW No. 27110 Camp: Stalag Lumsdorf (344) (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Douglas Richard Smith R/73247 RCAF Age 21. Killed (2)
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Richard Cecil Daoust R/130187 RCAF Age 20. Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 20:37hrs. from RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire detailed to attack Dusseldorf.
479 aircraft - 242 Wellingtons, 89 Lancasters, 59 Halifaxes, 47 Stirlings, 28 Hampdens, 14 Whitleys. Training aircraft of 91, 92 and 93 Groups took part in this raid, bombing between 22:12 hrs and 23:55 hrs. 33 aircraft - 20 Wellingtons, 5 Lancasters, 4 Stirlings, 3 Halifaxes, 1 Hampden - lost.
The Pathfinders successfully marked the target, using 'Pink Pansies' in converted 4,00Olb bomb casings for the first time.
All parts of Düsseldorf except the north of the city were hit as well as the neighbouring town of Neuss. 39 industrial firms in Düsseldorf and 13 in Neuss were damaged so much that all production ceased for various periods. 8 public buildings were destroyed and 67 damaged.
911 houses were destroyed and 1,506 seriously and 8,340 lightly damaged. 132 people were killed, 120 in Düsseldorf and 12 in Neuss. 116 further people were still classed as missing 2 days later and 19,427 people were bombed out.
P/O. Arthur Henry Childs (courtesy Chas Duckhouse) Fl/Sgt. Douglas Richard Smith (courtesy Donald Smith via Belleisle Regional High School, Springfield, New Brunswick, Canada.
Over the target area the port engine was hit by flak and put out of action. Setting course for base the aircraft was hit again by flak near Rotterdam finally ditching into the sea about 35 miles of the Dutch coast. 479 aircraft took part in this raid with a loss of 33 aircraft. 16 OTU lost 5 of it's 13 Wellingtons during this night!
It is also reported that Ofw. Wilhelm Beir (3) of 9./NJG2 intercepted this Wellingtom at 01:19 hrs over the North Sea some 50 k.m. west of Katwijk.
Above: No. 38 Observer Course 08th July 1942. Rear row L-R: Schofield, Abel, Wheatley, Wright, Leng, Bing, Seaman, Wilson. Front: Myers, Lascelles, Kidd, Sparkling, Newman, Childs. (Are you able to recognise anyone?)
LAC. Arthur Henry Childs shown above front row extreme right - no details when or where this was taken - are you able to assist?
(1) Sgt. Kenneth Charles Bonter and Sgt. R. J. Harvey survived the air crash and on impact the automatic dinghy functioned and they spent 6 days drifting in the North Sea until they were picked up by a German Motor Torpedo Boat near the shore, as PoW they were taken to an island south of the Hook of Holland for questioning. A full fascinating account is also available. (Please do not use this without prior permission)
(2) This was Fl/Sgt. Douglas Richard Smiths first flight and he had yet to be assigned to a Squadron with the RAF. Born in Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada. Trained as Wireless Operator and Air Gunner he arrived in England in December 1944 and in April 1942 transferred to No 16 OTU A fuller account on Fl/Sgt Smith also available. (Please do not use this without prior permission) This information has been kindly supplied by Belleisle Regional High School students.
(3) Ofw. Wilhelm Beir went on to claim (this was his 28th claim) 38 kills of the war - he survived but we have no further information.
P/O. Arthur Henry Childs. Bergen General Cemetery. Plot 1. Row A. Grave 18. Son of Frederick Henry and Margarretta Pamflett Childs of Oxhey, Hertfordshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. Douglas Richard Smith. Kiel War Cemetery. 3. E. 5 (4) Son of Clarence R. and Mabel L. Smith of Petitcodiac, New Brunswick, Canada. Grave inscription reads ‘Love Never Faileth.’
Fl/Sgt. Richard Cecil Daoust. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 103 (5) Son of Richard and Dora Daoust of Garson, Ontario, Canada.
(4) Fl/Sgt. Douglas Richard Smith was originally buried at the Cemetery of Westerland, Sylt Island, Germany before being reinterred at Kiel War Cemetery. He is also remembered on the Cenotaph in Anagance Village, New Brunswick, Canada
(5) Fl/Sgt. Richard Cecil Daoust is remembered in the Book of Remembrance at Sudbury City Hall, Canada and the International Nickel Company ″Inco Triangle″ newsletter Roll of Honour having worked at Garson Mine, Ontario, Canada
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Kate Tame for relatives of this crew. With thanks to, Shawnee Totton (Courtesy of the Lest We Forget initiative of Belleisle Regional High School, Springfield, New Brunswick, Canada), New Brunswick Military Heritage Project, Veterans Affairs Canada, Air Force Association, Canada, RAF Bomber Command. With thanks to André Reijniers, BobBoston for grave photos. Also to Chas Duckhouse for photographs/information on P/O. Arthur Childs.