11/12.03.1943 No. 214 Squadron Stirling III BF469 BU-M P/O. Carruthers
Date: 11/12th March 1943 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 214 Squadron
Type: Stirling III
Base: RAF Chedburgh, Suffolk.
Location: Fagnières, North Eastern France
Pilot: P/O. Alexander Carruthers J/16064 RCAF Age 28. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Edgar Louis Eaglen 629071 RAF Age 23. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Eric Parker 655812 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Percy Pugh Oakes 1201575 RAFVR Age 29. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Basil Carnell 798585 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Brian Roland Jennings 1215579 RAFVR Age 19. Killed (1)
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. A.J. Tyrell 1208901 RAFVR PoW No: 27746 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344)
REASON FOR LOSS:
214 Squadron Stirling BF469 took off at 20:02 hrs from RAF Chedburgh, Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk on an operation to Stuttgart. 314 aircraft taken part to bomb the German city, one of a total of 53 raids that after the war left the centre of Stuttgart almost completely destroyed with 4,477 people dead.
This raid was not a success as far as damage was concerned with only a small packing sore at the Bosch factory destroyed. Most of the bombing fell in open country but some fell on two small towns killing 112 people and injuring 386. Mostly houses were hit with 186 destroyed. The reason for the poor bombing is felt that although the pathfinders did drop accurate markers the main force arrived late and were also subject to German decoy markers in use for the first time.
This operation cost 13 aircraft lost with the deaths of 42 aircrew, 25 being made PoW and 13 aircrew evading capture. 3 civilian maids were also killed when an abandoned severely damaged Halifax DT492 MP-H from 76 squadron crashed onto the residence of Colonel Loder at Slaugham, Horsham.
Stirling BF469 was attacked and shot down by Oblt. Hans Autenrieth (2) of 6./NJG4 over Fagnières with combat taking place at 00:45 hrs.
(1) Sgt. Brian Roland Jennings was a former pupil of Moseley Grammar school (Now secondary/grammar school.) We are working very closely with the school's historians to remember all the ex pupils who died whilst serving with the RAF and recorded on the school memorial.
2) Oblt. Hans Autenrieth already an ace at this time with 10 kills, went on to make a total of 22, before he was shot down on the 4th August 1944 and taken prisoner. He did manage to evade capture for 2 days before being caught by the French resistance.
P/O. Alexander Carruthers. Chalons-en-Champagne East Communal Cemetery. Sec I. Coll. Grave 1591. Son of James D. Carruthers and Agnes D. Carruthers, of Tonawanda, New York, USA.
Sgt. Edgar Louis Eaglen. Chalons-en-Champagne East Communal Cemetery. Sec I. Coll. Grave 1591. Son of A. Eaglen and Dulcie Eaglen, of Saham Toney, Norfolk, husband of V. Eaglen, of Holme Hale, Norfolk, England.
Sgt. Eric Parker. Chalons-en-Champagne East Communal Cemetery. Sec I. Coll. Grave 1591. Son of Arthur and Jane Parker, of Blackpool, Lancashire, England.
Sgt. Percy Pugh Oakes. Chalons-en-Champagne East Communal Cemetery. Sec I. Coll. Grave 1591. Son of Percy Oakes and Edith Laura (née Pugh) from Ludlow, Shropshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. Basil Carnell. Chalons-en-Champagne East Communal Cemetery. Sec I. Coll. Grave 1591. Son of Harry and Eva Carnell, husband of Paula Carnell, of Newton Abbott, Devon, England.
Sgt. Brian Roland Jennings. Chalons-en-Champagne East Communal Cemetery. Sec I. Coll. Grave 1591. Son of Roland Bingham Jennings and Florence Amelia Jennings, of Hall Green, Birmingham, England.
Researched for the relatives of the crew. With thanks to the following: Keith Townsend historian of Moseley Secondary/Grammar school memorial records, with thanks to Annie Greene for details on Sgt. Percy Oakes - January 2017, Michel Beckers and Les Parker for crew photographs - July 2013, other sources as quoted below.