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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
15.11.1944 115 Squadron Lancaster I HK595 Sqn Ldr. Hugh W. Castle

Operation: Dortmund

Date: 15th November 1944 (Wednesday)

Unit No: 115 Squadron ("Despite the Elements")

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: HK595

Code: KO:A

Base: RAF Witchford, Cambridgeshire.

Location: Leverkusen, Germany

Pilot: Sqn Ldr. Hugh Wilfred Castle 122360 RAFVR Age 30. Missing

2nd Pilot: Fg Off. Peter Derek Mullett 153056 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

Flt Eng: Sgt. Graham Mortimer Sampson 1608556 RAFVR Age? Killed

Nav: Flt Sgt. Bernard Collinson 1549496 RAFVR Age 18. Missing

Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Arthur Horace Gribble 1397763 RAFVR Age 32. Missing

WOp/Air Gnr: Plt Off. Felix Milton Burrows 427230 RAAF Age 20. Missing

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Plt Off. Robert John O'Sullivan 415910 RAAF Age 24. Killed

Air Gnr (Mid Under): Plt Off. Gordon Forbes Dawson J89896 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Air Gnr (Rear): Flt Sgt. Ronald Stuart Stickland 430523 RAAF Age 19. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Above: Sqn Ldr. Hugh Wilfred Castle (courtesy of his son, Geoff Castle)

Took off at 12:40 hrs from Witchford near Ely in Cambridgeshire to attack Dortmund. 177 Lancasters took part in this G-H attack on the oil plant in Dortmund which had been classed as very accurate even though the raid took place with thick cloud.

G-H - A two station radio direction finder system - Instruments in the bomber measured its position from one station and distance from another. It could be used by up to 80 bombers from any one pair of stations. By using more than one pair of stations, multiple targets could be attacked at the same time without the aid of pathfinders and markers. Once a major part of Bomber Command was fitted with the technology, G-H became a most useful blind-bombing device.

Captured German documents record that the aircraft was shot down by flak at 15:40 hrs which crashed near the railway station at Kircherne, 3km NE of Dortmund.

Very unusual crew formation on Lancaster HK595 - normally a 7 man crew this Lancaster had a crew of 9 - made up with an extra pilot and an extra air gunner who operated in the mid-under (belly) gunner position.

Burial details:

Sqn Ldr. Hugh Wilfred Castle. Runnymede Memorial Panel 200. Son of Henry J. and Alice Elizabeth Castle; husband of Vera F. M. Castle, of Beddington, Surrey. B.Sc. England.

Fg Off. Peter Derek Mullett. Runnymede Memorial Panel 208. Son of George H. and Effie Mullett; husband of Doreen Mary Mullett, of St. Peter's, Jersey, Channel Islands.

Sgt. Graham Mortimer Sampson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 4.B.11. No further details as yet - can you assist?

Flt Sgt. Bernard Collinson. Runnymede Memorial Panel 216. Born on the 4th August 1926 in Hull, Yorkshire East Riding. Son of Tom Laythorpe and Florence J. (née Bilton) Collinson of Hull, Yorkshire East Riding, England.

Flt Sgt. Arthur Horace Gribble. Runnymede Memorial Panel 218. Born in London in 1912, the son of Albert Gribble, a fitter, and Marion (née Oxenham) Gribble of 45 Parbury Road, Brockley, London SE23, England.

Plt Off. Felix Milton Burrows. Runnymede Memorial Panel 258. Born on the 24th February 1924 in Freemantle, Western Australia. Son of Frederick William and Mary Maud Burrows, of Mount Lawley, Western Australia.

Plt Off. Robert John O'Sullivan. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 4.B.9. Grave Inscription: "FOREVER REMEMBERED". Born on the 4th September 1920 in Boulder, Western Australia. Son of John Robert and Jessie Shilla O'sullivan, of Subiaco, Western Australia.

Plt Off. Gordon Forbes Dawson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 4.B.10. Grave inscription: "TILL MEMORY FADES AND LIFE DEPARTS YOU LIVE FOR EVER IN OUR HEARTS." Born 6th June 1922 in Cookstown, Ontario. Son of Thomas James and Isobel Carolyne (née Forbes) Dawson. Husband Gwendoline Doris (née Joiner) Dawson of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Flt Sgt. Ronald Stuart Stickland. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 4.B.1. Grave inscription: "HIS DUTY FEARLESSLY AND NOBLY DONE. EVER REMEMBERED." Son of Alfred Bernard and Ethel Stickland, of East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Researched for Geoff Castle the son Sqn Ldr. Hugh Castle and for all the crew's relatives. With thanks to John Hamblin for information on Flt Sgt. Gribble - March 2017. Thanks to John Jones for the correction to the loss of the aircraft (Mar 2022).

RS 29.03.2022 - Correction to loss information and NoK details updated.

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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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