02/03.03.1944 No. 76 Squadron Halifax III LW629 MP-M Fl/Sgt. Davies
Date: 02/03rd March 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 76 Squadron
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Holme-On-Spalding Moor, Yorkshire
Location: Celles-Sur-Plaine, France
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Hiram Tom Davies 1388039 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. C.W. Jackson 1433366 RAFVR PoW No: 267 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankan, near Kreulberg, Upper Silesia L7
Nav: Sgt. Albert Fenwick 996901 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Barnard Basford 1580529 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Albert Drake 1049379 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Dalgetty Greenhill 1567926 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Kenneth George Wilson 1603668 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Holme-On-Spalding Moor in Yorkshire at 23:29 hrs - 557 aircraft leaving to attack Stuttgart. The Laufende reportage came on air at 00:30 hrs some 15 minutes prior to the bombers crossing the French coast. Details passed to the night fighter squadrons. However the bombers had the advantage of flying over thick cloud and left the Luftwaffe guessing the bombers objective.
Many of the night fighters were grounded due to poor weather conditions, however some 51 twin engined aircraft did take off and proceeded to intercept them. They were up in the air for some two hours and many returned due to lack of fuel. So the bombers continued to the target, with very little combat.
At 02:58 hrs some five minutes after the allied had arrived over the city was then Stuttgart was mentioned as the target - all available fighters were ordered to intercept. Most had completed their bombing runs and had returned to make their way home.
Left: Hptm. Gerhard Friedrich (courtesy Kracker Archive)
It is understood that Halifax LW629 was intercepted at 04:04 hrs and shot down by Hptm. Gerhard Friedrich (1) of 1./NJG6 with the aircraft coming down at Celles-Sur-Plaine in France having already released their bomb load and on their return journey home.
(1) This was Hptm. Gerhard Friedrich’s 8th confirmed claim of the war. He went on to claim a total of 30 kills before he was himself killed on the 16/17th March 1945 near Stuttgart after a collision with a 576 Squadron Lancaster PB785 UL-L2. The pilot of that aircraft Fl/Lt. Frank Dotten J/12642 RCAF and all 7 crew were also killed. (6 Canadians and 1 British)
Fl/Sgt. Hiram Tom Davies. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1A.B.17. Son of Cpl. Hiram Morecroft Davies, 6th Middlesex Bn. Home Guard (died on active service. 11th September, 1940 - age 54 and buried in South Ealing Cemetery, London, England), and of Ethel Gwenllian Davies, of Bellevue, Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa. Grave inscription reads: “Abide With Me”.
Sgt. Albert Fenwick. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 1A.B.19-22. Son of George Frederick and Eliza Ann Fenwick, of Sheffield, England. Grave inscription reads: “A Beautiful Star Shines On This Grave Of A Loving Son We Could Not Save”.
Fl/Sgt. Ronald Barnard Basford. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1A.B.18. Son of Mr. and Mrs. M. Basford, of 98 Becher Street, Derby, England. Grave inscription reads: “Until The Day Breaks And Shadows Pass Away”.
Sgt. Albert Drake. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 1A.B.19-22. Born on the 17th July 1922 in Wigan, the son of Levy and Sarah Helen Drake, of Lowton St. Mary's, Lancashire, England. Husband of Annie Drake, of Lowton St. Mary's. Grave inscription reads: “Sweet Is The Memory Of One We Loved And Never Forget Loving Wife, Daughter Doreen”.
Sgt. George Dalgetty Greenhill. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 1A.B.19-22. Son of John Dalgetty Greenhill and Charlotte May Greenhill, of Forfar, Angus, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: “Only Those Who Have Lost Can Feel The Grief Borne Silently For One We Loved Well”.
Fl/Sgt. Kenneth George Wilson. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 1A.B.19-22. Son of Zachariah and Ada Wilson of Outwell, Cambridgeshire, England. Further information: volunteered for the RAF at the outbreak of war but was turned down as he was engaged in"important work"- he worked at Hall Farm. After five subsequent attempts he was accepted in May 1942, and began a course as wireless operator. He was then posted to the school of gunnery and at the end of his course started on "Ops". He gained his crown in around 1943. Posted to 76 Squadron Holme-on-Spalding Moor. Detailed in the Operations Book and Air 27 records with sorties in January and February 1944. On January the 20th 1944 he was on Halifax V LL189 "C" with Fl/Sgt. Eaton, Fl/Sgt. Neal, Sgt. Harding, Sgt. Wallis, Sgt. Becker and Sgt. Watson on an attack on Berlin. Prior to this date they had been grounded for 22 days due to poor weather conditions.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Gail Wilson-Waring - relative of Fl/Sgt. Kenneth George Wilson, Ian Macdonald relative of Sgt. Albert Drake. Ben on the ‘Find A Grave’ website for grave photographs. Also thanks to Graham Eaton, son of Pilot Fl/Sgt. Eaton (76 Squadron pilot) for correction of details on Fl/Sgt. Kenneth George Wilson. Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2.