27/28.04.1944 No. 166 Squadron Lancaster III ND825 AS-J2 P/O. Cooper
Date: 27/28th April 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 166 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Kirmington, Lincolnshire
Location: Grange-Sur-Volognes. France
Pilot: P/O. Alfred Ernest Stanley Cooper 172298 RAFVR Age 30. Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Eric Alfred Cryer 1606768 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Simon McCallum 1397486 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Charles William Eric Tiplady J/26726 RCAF Age 23. Killed (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt Leonard Percival Oughton 1397336 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Eric Moore Thompson 427220 RAAF Age 20. Killed (3)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Rowley 1454675 RAFVR Age 22. KIlled
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 2125 hrs from RAF Kirmington to attack the small town of Friedrichshafen the reason being that it contained important factories manufacturing gearboxes and engines for the German tank force. The attack was arranged on a moonlit night to make the bombing more successful. Although more dangerous doing this the town was south of the country and on the very limit of Luftwaffe night-fighters.
The bomber stream approached and bombed the target with no interception from fighters. However, during the attack the Luftwaffe arrived. 18 of the 322 Lancaster's were brought down.
L-R: Rear - Sgt. Oughton, Sgt. McCallum, F/O. Tiplady, Sgt. Thompson.
Front - Sgt. Cryer, W/O. Cooper, Sgt. Rowley. (see credits)
The attack itself proved very successful with 1,234 tons of bombs being dropped resulting in an estimated 99 acres (67%) of the town being devastated - the gearbox factory was destroyed along with other important buildings. Civil reports state that 136 people were killed and a further 375 injured, with 656 houses destroyed and 421 damaged to a severe degree.
Lancaster ND825 was one of three 166 Squadron losses on this raid and was shot down by Hptm. Paul Zorner (4) from 5./NJG6 with combat taking place at 5.500 mtrs. above Grange-Sur-Volognes South West of Bruyeres at 01.51 hrs.
Other 166 Squadron losses this night:
LL903 AS-B Piloted by P/O. Bridges P.O.W along with another member of the crew with the remaining 5 killed.
ME720 AS-X Piloted by P/O. Ridley killed along with 4 other crew members - 2 were interred in Switzerland - later crossing into France.
(1) P/O. Cooper had been promoted on the 31st March.
(2) Tiplady Lake in northern Ontario is named after F/O. Tiplady
(3) The family of Fl/Sgt. Thompson tragically lost another son also serving in the R.A.A.F.
(4) Hptm. Paul Zorner was already an ace with 45 kills at this stage of the war. He went on to survive the war with a total of 59 kills.
Funeral of the crew and below, same church in 2010
Crew graves at Granges-Sur-Vologne (courtesy Benoît Howson)
P/O. Alfred Ernest Stanley Cooper. Granges-Sur-Vologne Communal Cemetery. Collective grave 4-6. Son of Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Cooper, of Boscombe, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.
Sgt. Eric Alfred Cryer. Granges-Sur-Vologne Communal Cemetery. Collective grave 4-6. Son of Alfred and Beatrice Rose Cryer, of East Horsley, Surrey, England.
Sgt. Simon McCallum. Granges-Sur-Vologne Communal Cemetery. Collective grave 4-6. No further details as yet.
F/O. Charles William Eric Tiplady. Granges-Sur-Vologne Communal Cemetery. Collective grave 4-6. Son of William and Eva Adelaide Tiplady, of Copper Cliff, Ontario, Canada.
Sgt Leonard Percival Oughton. Granges-Sur-Vologne Communal Cemetery. Grave 3. Son of Henry Joseph and Lilian Emma Oughton, of Battersea, London, England.
Fl/Sgt. Eric Moore Thompson. Granges-Sur-Vologne Communal Cemetery. Grave 2. Son of Claude and Maude Australia Thompson, of Narrogin, Western Australia.
Sgt. Kenneth Rowley. Granges-Sur-Vologne Communal Cemetery. Grave 1. Son of Bertie and Rose Rowley, of Morley, Yorkshire, England.
Information and these great photographs provided by Mike Whelan, nephew of Sgt. Kenneth Rowley and created in remembrance of all the crew members. Further photographs kindly submitted to us by Benoît Howson. With thanks for additional information to Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 5, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Also thanks to the members of the Lancaster archive forums for assisting Mike with information and names on the photographs. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'.