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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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101 Squadron Crest
06/07.12.1942 No. 101 Squadron Lancaster I ED322 SR-T P.O. Howard Earl Dabbs DFC

Operation: Mannheim

Date: 6/7th December 1942 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No.101 Squadron (Special Duties)

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ED322

Code: SR-T

Base: RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor

Location: Carmarthen Bay, Tenby.

Pilot: P/O. Howard Earl Dabbs DFC. J/15608 RCAF Age 20. Killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. James Hughes 997105 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Leonard Roy Anderson R/91822 RCAF Age 24. Killed (2)

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Robert Gordon Smith R/93318 RCAF Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Robert John Middleton R/91294 RCAF Age 25. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Stefan Franchuk R/86255 RCAF Age 31. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Thomas Warren 1318039 RAFVR Age 19. Killed


Took off from Holme-on-Spalding Moor late afternoon. Part of a force of 272 aircraft to attack the city of Mannheim. But a dismal failure with 12 aircraft lost and a further 3 lost after crashing in England.

The full facts regarding the loss of ED322 are currently not known. 4 bodies were recovered when they were washed ashore - the remainder (see below) are commemorated on the Runnymede War Memorial. On the 9th December 1942 the body of Howard Dabbs was washed ashore at Amroth Beach, South Wales. The medical officer together with an ambulance from RAF Carew Cheriton recovered his body and declared that the cause of death was by drowning.

The target area was completely covered in cloud and only 500 incendiary bombs and some leaflets were dropped. The only damage done to the city was the destruction by fire of an old wooden building, subsequently a local farmer lost 25 sheep, 4 lambs, some turnips and some hay. A local canoe clubhouse was also set on fire but soon extinguished. No casualties in Mannheim but a total of 55 aircrew were killed, 3 more made P.O.W, a further 10 aircrew injured.

P/O. Howard Dabbs D.F.C. (Shown here as a Sgt) and his splendid memorial at the lake in Alberta named after him thanks to the tremendous efforts of the Airman's Memorial Cairns Committee, Royal Canadian Legion.

Burial details:

P/O. Howard Earl Dabbs DFC. Carew (St Mary) New Churchyard Row B, Grave 4. Son of William L. Dabbs and Florence D. Dabbs, of Daysland, Alberta, Canada.

Sgt. James Hughes. Bolton (Heaton) Cemetery Div.3. Sec. X.1. Nonconformist Grave 3. Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Hughes, of Bolton, England.

Fl/Sgt. Leonard Roy Anderson. Runnymede Memorial Panel 102. Son of Otto and Anna Anderson, of Kildonan, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, husband of Louise Anderson, of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Fl/Sgt. Robert Gordon Smith. Carew (St Mary) New Churchyard Row B, Grave 5. Son of Robert Young Smith and Mary Helen Smith, husband of Isabelle Smith of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Robert John Middleton. Carew (St Mary) New Churchyard Row D, Grave 1. Son of Nicoll and Mary Middleton, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Stefan Franchuk. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 103. Survived by his wife Mrs. S. Franchuk of Kenora, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. William Thomas Warren. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 96. Son of Winifred E. Warren, and stepson of Edward J. Carpenter, of Maidenhead, Berkshire, England.

Researched by Colin Bamford and Mike Harrison and dedicated to relatives of the crew.

(1) Dabbs Lake in Alberta Canada has been named after P/O. Dabbs

(2) Anderson Hill south west of Shannon Lake, Manitoba is named after Fl/Sgt. Anderson

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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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