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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 No.115 Squadron Lancaster I HK595 Sq/Ldr. Castle Crew loss

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: Sq/Ldr. Hugh Wilfred Castle 122360 RAFVR Age 30. Missing

Pilot 2: F/O. Peter Derek Mullett 153056 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

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

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Bernard Collinson 1549496 RAFVR Age ? Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Horace Gribble 1397763 RAFVR Age 32. Missing

Air/Gnr: P/O. Felix Milton Burrows AUS/427230 RAAF Age 20. Missing

Air/Gnr: P/O. Robert John O'Sullivan AUS/415910 RAAF Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Gordon Forbes Dawson J/89896 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Stuart Stickland AUS/430523 RAAF Age 19. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 12:40 hrs from Witchford near Ely in Cambridgeshire to attack Dortmund. 177 Lancasters took part in this G-H attack (1) on the oil plant in Dortmund which had been classed as very accurate even though the raid took place with thick cloud.

Left: Sq/Ldr. Hugh Wilfred Castle (courtesy of his son, Geoff Castle)

This Lancaster HK595 collided with another Lancaster NN706 in a mid air collision also from the same squadron. These were the only aircraft to be lost on this raid. The crew of the NN706 Lancaster flown by Fl/Lt. John William Davidson RCAF were also all lost - details added in another section of the website.

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.

(1) 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.


Burial details:

Sq/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.

F/O. 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?

Fl/Sgt. Bernard Collinson. Runnymede Memorial Panel 216. No further details as yet - can you assist?

Fl/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.

P/O. Felix Milton Burrows. Runnymede Memorial Panel 258. Son of Frederick William and Mary Maud Burrows, of Mount Lawley, Western Australia.

P/O. Robert John O'Sullivan. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 4.B.9. Son of John Robert and Jessie Shilla O'sullivan, of Subiaco, Western Australia.

P/O. Gordon Forbes Dawson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 4.B.10. Son of Thomas James Dawson and Isobel Caroline Dawson; husband of Gwendoline Doris Dawson, of Cookstown, Ontario, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Ronald Stuart Stickland. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 4.B.1. Son of Alfred Bernard and Ethel Stickland, of East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Researched for Geoff Castle the son Sq/Ldr. Hugh Castle and for all the crew's relatives. With thanks to John Hamblin for information on Fl/Sgt. Gribble - March 2017.

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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