22/23.05.1944 No. 103 Squadron Lancaster III ND629 PM-G P/O. William J.D. Charles
Date: 22/23rd May 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 103 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Serial: ND629 (1)
Base: RAF Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire.
Location: North Ahaus, Germany
Pilot: P/O. William James Donald Charles J/19622 RCAF Age 27. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Augustus Ernest Lee 1874595 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Nav: F/O. Owen Wright J/28272 RCAF Age 28. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Lancelot Stanley Kennedy J/27157 RCAF Age 27. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Derek Abraham Wiener 157874 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Vaughan Davies 2210654 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Henry Alfred Shephard 1853068 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 22:34 hrs along with 360 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes of 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups to bomb Dortmund, the first large raid on this target for a year. 18 Lancasters lost.
The attack fell mainly in the south-eastern districts of Dortmund, mostly in residential areas. 852 houses and 6 industrial buildings were destroyed, 788 houses were seriously damaged. 335 Germans and 26 prisoners of war were killed with 1,697 people injuries on the ground.
Thought that it was a ‘possible’ claim by Oblt. Wilhelm Henseler (2) of 1./NJG1 with combat taking place at 5.500 metres at 00:39 hrs. The Lancaster crashed 5 km north of Alhaus, Germany. All the crew lost their lives.
Crew photographs courtesy Dave Champion)
Also lost on this operation from 103 Squadron:
Lancaster I LL946 PM-Z Flown by 22 year old Fl/Lt. Godfrey Arnold Morrison DSO. 150107 RAFVR from Pickering, Yorkshire, England. Killed with all 6 other crew members.
(1) Lancaster ND 629 had been delivered to 103 Squadron in February 1944. Fitted with Merlin 38 engines and built by A.V. Roe of Chadderton. The crew had taken part in the following operations together: 19/20 th May 1944 Target - Orleans - Railway Yards, Aircraft - ND381. Up 22:11 hrs, down 03:01 hrs. Bombed markers from 10,000 feet at 00:49 hrs. On return bomber was diverted to land at Kelstern. 21/22nd May 1944 Target - Duisberg Aircraft - ND993. Up 22:50, down 04:01. Bombed markers from 20,000 feet at 01:15 hrs.
(2) This was the 8th victory for the Luftwaffe ace Oblt. Wilhelm Henseler. It is understood that he survived the war with a total of 9/10 abschüsse. No further details.
P/O. William James Donald Charles. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 23.C.16. Son of John Wilson Charles and Violet Ann Charles, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Sgt. Augustus Ernest Lee. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 23.C.12-14. No further information, are you able to assist?
F/O. Owen Wright. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 23.C.12-14. Born in Ottawa on the 07th December 1914, the son of Tiberius J. and Violet A. Wright. Prior to service a mine surveyor in South Porcupine, Ontario. Enlisted Ottawa on the 3rd July 1942.
F/O. Lancelot Stanley Kennedy. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 23.C.15. Born on the 23rd June 1916, the son of Stanley (1892-1961) and Alice Mary Kennedy (1892-1963), of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, husband of Margaret B. Kennedy, understood to be from Toronto, Canada. Prior to service employed as a foreman machinist. Enlisted in Toronto on the 20th September 1939. Commissioned 11th June 1942. Married the former Margaret Bella Davidson at Toronto on the 18th November 1942. He had one brother and three sisters.
F/O. Derek Abraham Wiener. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 23.C.12-14. Son of Solomon David and Bernice Wiener, of Cleveleys, Lancashire, England.
Sgt. Vaughan Davies. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 23.C.12-14. No further information, are you able to assist?
Sgt. Henry Alfred Shephard. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 23.C.12-14. Son of Henry and Louisa Susan Shephard, of Sidmouth, Devon, husband of Joan Shephard, of Stoke Gabriel, Devon, England.
For further details our thanks to William Ballantine who is a relative of F/O. Laurence S. Kennedy. Also to Dave Champion who sent further details information and crew photographs - July 2017. Other sources as quoted below. Cemetery photo courtesy of Dilwyn P. Lloyd.