13/14.09.1942 No. 158 Squadron Halifax II BB205 NP-B Sgt. Fred Caldwell
Date: 13/14th September 1942 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: No. 158 Squadron
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF East Moor, Yorkshire
Location: Ter Idzard, Holland
Pilot: Sgt. Fred Caldwell 655627 RAFVR PoW No: 26977 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344) (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robin H.D. Bren 909207 RAFVR PoW No: 27003 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344)
Nav: Sgt. Clarence Albert Hunt R/78615 RCAF PoW No: 27034 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344)
Air/Bmr: Sgt. J.J. Reid 1053920 RAFVR PoW No: 27107 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. R.J. Cantillon 401230 RAAF PoW No: 27045 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. D.F. Readman 946535 RAFVR PoW No: 27062 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. L.J. Soper R/116639 RCAF PoW No: 27058 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344)
REASON FOR LOSS:
On an operation to bomb Bremen, using large numbers from the Operational Training Units to make up the 446 aircraft taking part. Halifax BB205 left RAF East Moor at 23.54 hrs.
The bombing lasted from 02:05 hrs - 04:10 hrs. Reports from the city state that 848 houses were destroyed with Bremen’s industry also suffering damage. The Lloyd dynamo works were hit and put out of action for a number of weeks. Various parts of the Focke Wulf factory were also hit. Sadly 2 hopsitals were hit as well as 6 schools. Casualties on the ground amounted to 70 killed, 371 injured. This would be the last raid on Bremen for 5 months.
Photograph taken at Stalag VIIIB/Lamsdorf thought to be late 1943.
Front row: Sgt. Jackson, Tpr. E. Keating (1), Sgt. Smith, W/O2. Clarke, Sgt. Edwards, W/O2. McCabe, W/O2. Weaver, Sgt. Lemon, LAC. Ulmer.
Middle Row: W/O2. Hunt (BB205 crew), Sgt. Falmer, Sgt. Andrews, Fl/Sgt. Greene, W/O. Gledhill. Sgt. Nelan, Sgt. Duff, Sgt. Thompson, Sgt. Sherret.
Rear Row: Sgt. Bren (BB205 crew), LAC. Dickens, Sgt. Kimber, Fl/Sgt, Wyatt, Sgt. Maltby, Fl/Sgt. Farmer, Sgt. McLeod, Sgt. London.
Bomber Command lost 26 aircraft, 4 of these crashing on return to England. 87 crew members lost their lives, 28 taken PoW.
We now understand that Halifax BB205 engines overheated causing a lack of control with the aircraft. The crew were ordered to bale out, with the aircraft crashing at 04:30 hrs.
Some Flak units also claimed shooting the aircraft down but we understand from Mr. Lieuwe Boonstra of Holland who has researched this loss at great length that the actual cause was engine problems as described.
Additional information has been found for a claim by Oblt Ludwig Becker 6/NJG2 - Idaard South East of Leeuwarden (Eisbar): 5,700m at 02:15. (Nachtjagd War Diaries Volume 1-Theo Boiten)
(1) Sgt Caldwell exchanged identities with 7889956 Trooper D E Keating Royal Armoured Corp-PoW Number 221154 at Lamsdorf. Mr. Lieuwe Boonstra advised us that this in fact he did, but recaptured on both occasions.
Identity tags recovered at the crashsite in the early 1990's and presented to Mr. Lieuwe Boonstra
None - all survived.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jeff Hunt, nephew of Sgt. Clarence Albert Hunt for some great photographs and information. Also to Mr. Lieuwe Boonstra of Holland who researched this loss for over 5 years. He is currently working on producing a small booklet on the loss. Thanks to John Jones for the additional information regarding Sgt. Caldwell and night fighter claim.
Family photograph showing L-R: Raymond Hunt, Clarence, Joyce, Keith and Donald. All from London, Ontario Canada. Clarence died in the spring of 1983 and Donald (father of Jeff who sent in these photographs) died in August the same year.