AR banner
Search for phrases in quotes eg "Alan Smith"

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the AddInfo button, or send us email from the Helpdesk.
158 Squadron Crest
02/03.08.1943 No. 158 Squadron Halifax II HR751 NP-J Sgt. Ken Davie

Operation: Hamburg

Date: 02/03rd August 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 158 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: HR751

Code: NP-J

Base: RAF Lissett, Yorkshire

Location: Eidelstedt, Hamburg, Germany

Pilot: Sgt. C. Ken Davie RAFVR PoW No: 222439 Camp: L3 Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria

Fl/Eng: Sgt. A. Kevern ‘Lofty’ Snell RAFVR PoW No: 222441 Camp: 4B Stalag Mühlberg-Elbe

Nav: Sgt. G. Rusbatch RNZAF PoW No: 222424 Camp: 4B - Stalag Mühlberg-Elbe

Air/Bmr: Sgt. H.P. Jarmen RAFVR PoW No: 222437 Camp: L3 Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Raymond Brown Farmery 1482428 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.M. Lally RCAF PoW No: 222436 Camp: 4B - Stalag Mühlberg-Elbe

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. C.R. Buckland RAFVR PoW No: 222440 Camp: 4B - Stalag Mühlberg-Elbe

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 23.41 hrs from RAF Lissett, Yorkshire to bomb the port of Hamburg - 740 aircraft taking part. 19 aircraft were claimed by by night fighters during the bombing operation. Some were intercepted and shot down over Heligoland, some over Schleswig-Holstein with others over the target area. The bomber stream were scattered suffering a fierce thunderstorm once they reached the target.

                  

Above L-R: Sgt. A. Kevern ‘Lofty’ Snell, Sgt. Raymond Brown Farmery (courtesy Clive Smith - see credits)

At least 4 allied aircraft were lost over the target due to the weather, icing, turbulence or struck by the lightning. Several turned back. As the bomber stream was scattered so was the bombing with many other towns over a 100 mile radius receiving hits. A large portion of the raid was caused by a house fire in Elmshorn (some 12 miles from the target - shown on map north west of loss area) that it was thought had been struck by the lightning, resulting in the bombers thinking this was the target, released their bombs. Some 57 people were killed in the town with 254 houses destroyed.

It is thought that HR751 was hit by flak. Sgt. A. Kevern ‘Lofty’ Snell, the Flight Engineer, takes up the story:

"We were flying over Hamburg during a storm and were hit by flak. The plane started to spiral downwards. It was my job to stay and help the pilot on with his parachute, which I did, and then I made my way to the hatch. This was not easy as the plane was spiralling fast and we were held to the floor by centrifugal force. 
When I got out of the plane I put both hands to my chest to release the parachute but found nothing there. After a moment's panic I realised that the parachute was not strapped round me but was hanging above my head. I reached up and managed to pull the cord and so the parachute opened. I landed in a cornfield in torrential rain and stayed there all the next day in the blazing heat of an August summer. 
The next night I began to make my way as we had been instructed, going through hedges and across fields. I went through one hedge and came face to face with a young German soldier, who looked as shocked as I was. I was taken for interrogation and ended up as a PoW".

All the other crew had baled out successfully, but Sgt. Farmery's parachute failed to open and he is buried in Hamburg Cemetery, Ohlsdorf.

The wonderful award winning memorial at RAF Lissett village. Unveiled in 2009 and made from metal - it is inscribed with the names of the 851 people who lost their lives at or departing from the airfield during WW2. - A miniature of the memorial is available direct from the designer Peter Naylor. At date of publication these cost from £25.00. (Please mention Aircrew Remembered when you apply for one)

Burial details:

Sgt. Raymond Brown Farmery. Hamburg Cemetery. Grave 9A.B.15. This cemetery is classed as the largest non-military cemetery in the world with 3 CWGC plots located within it. Son of Clement George and Marion Farmery, of Cleveleys, Lancashire, England.

For further details our thanks to the following, Clive Smith, researcher and qauthor of ‘Lancaster Bale Out” (See below). Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, 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 (Updated 2014 version), 'Paradie Archive'. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Further information from these titles/organisations are available from us, just use the 'help' button on the main page above or 'add info' button also shown on this page.

“Lancaster Bale Out” (shown left) written by Clive Smith ISBN No: 978-1-907516-26-9 Published by Tucann Ltd 2013. The story about the Uncle of Clive Smith and his RAF service during WW2 with 106 Squadron. Lancaster III ED720 ZN-R.

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.
Click any image to enlarge it
Links in this story were correct at the time of writing, but can change.
Please tell us via Helpdesk of any that no longer work.

Do you have more information or corrections to this story? Use our AddInfo facility

Readers Interested In Further Reading:
More personal histories and associated material
Show Research Material

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2017
Last Modified: 27 December 2014, 00:03