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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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156 Squadron Crest
27/28.07.1943 No. 156 Squadron Lancaster III JA709 F/O. L.R. Crampton

Operation: Hamburg

Date: 27/28th July 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 156 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JA709

Code: GT-?

Base: RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire

Location: off Vollerwik, Germany

Pilot: F/O. Leonard Robert Crampton 124479 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. James Lionel Leader 919585 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav: F/O. John William Crowley J/11953 RCAF Age 27. Killed Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Everett Victor Lee J/22569 RCAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Law Campbell 1366510 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alexander Suttie Scott 948645 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: F/O. Hugh William Woodsend 129042 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (2)


Took off from RAF Warboys in Cambridgeshire at 21:57 hours as part of a group of 787 aircraft - 53 Lancasters, 244 Halifaxes, 116 Stirlings and 74 Wellingtons - on one of the raids against Hamburg known as ‘Operation Gomorrah’. This was the night of the firestorm, which resulted from a combination of unusually dry and warm weather, the concentration of the bombing in one area and firefighting limitations.

A total of 2,326 tons of bombs were dropped. In the period following the raid, approximately 1,200,000 people fled the city in fear of further raids.

Above and below: F/O. Hugh William Woodsend (courtesy Hugh Woodsend - nephew)

Left: Maj. Günther Radusch (Kracker Archives)

At 00:26 hrs the aircraft was shot down in the coastal waters of Vollerwick by the Luftwaffe nightfighter ace Maj. Günther Radusch (1) of Stab II./NJG3 - his 33rd claim of the war.

Another from 156 Squadron was lost: Lancaster III EE178 Flown by Fl/Sgt. G.W. Wilkins 1332786 RAFVR (the only crew member to survive). Shot down ‘probably’ by Ofw. Heinz Löschner of 9./NJG3 at 01:53 hrs.

(1) Major ‘Flips’ Günther Radusch survived the war with 66 claims. He passed away in Nordstrand, Schleswig-Holstein on the 29th July 1988, aged 75.

(2) Hugh William Woodsend is listed as sergeant in some publications - listed as a Flying Officer on the CWGC website. With thanks to Hugh Woodsend for pointing this out - November 2017.

Burial details:

Initially buried at Tönning on the 30th July and later reinterred at the Ohlsdorf Cemetery.

F/O. Leonard Robert Crampton. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Collective grave 4A.H.1-7. No further information - are you able to assist? Grave inscription reads: "At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them".

Sgt. James Lionel Leader. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Grave 4A.H.9. Son of William John and Louisa Sophia Leader, of Lane End, Buckinghamshire, England.

F/O. John William Crowley. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Collective grave 4A.H.1-7. Son of William Joseph and Anita Mosley Crowley, of Dundas, Ontario, Canada.

Air/Bmr: P/O. Everett Victor Lee. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Collective grave 4A.H.1-7. Son of Edwin Cornelius and Molly (Née Helmer) Lee of Timmins, Cochrane district, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. George Law Campbell. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Collective grave 4A.H.1-7. Son of Mrs. J. Spiers, of Ayr, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: "Sweet Are The Memories Silently Kept Of One We Loved And Will Never Forget".

Sgt. Alexander Suttie Scott. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Collective grave 4A.H.1-7. Son of David and Barbara Suttie Scott, of Lochgelly, Fife, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: "Loved, Remembered, Longed For Always".

F/O. Hugh William Woodsend. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Collective grave 4A.H.1-7. Son of Robert Noel and Griselda Sarah Woodsend, of Catterick, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Went The Day Well? We Never Knew But Well Or Ill, Freedom, We Died For You".

Researched by Marcus Kroll for Aircrew Remembered - April 2017. Also thanks to Hugh Woodsend nephew of F/O. Woodsend who contacted us in December 2017 with further photographs, page dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown below.

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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Last Modified: 06 December 2017, 09:26

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