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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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75 Squadron crest
11/12.08.1942 No. 75 Squadron Wellington III BJ767 Fl/Lt. Laurence Dobbin

Operation: Mainz, Germany.

Date:11/12th August 1942 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 75 Squadron (3 Group)

Type: Wellington III

Serial: BJ767

Coded: AA-?

Base: RAF Feltwell, Norfolk

Location: 700M South West Vaals, Holland

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Laurence St. George Dobbin NZ/401375 RNZAF Age 29. Killed

Obs: Sgt. W.E. Braddock 1267404 RAFVR PoW No. 25637 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (Later promoted to W/O in captivity)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. James McQueen NZ/404466 RNZAF Age 21. PoW No. 25680 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (Later promoted to W/O. in captivity) (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack Leslie Jury NZ/411764 RNZAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. A. Elson 751538 RAFVR PoW No: 25696 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (Later promoted to W/O. in captivity)

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 22:15hrs from Feltwell, Norfolk part of a force of 154 aircraft to bomb the city of Mainz. Taking part in this operation were 68 Wellingtons, 33 Lancasters, 28 Stirlings and 25 Halifaxes. The first raid on this city. It is reported that 152 people were killed on the ground, 87 men, 64 women and 1 soldier although some doubts remain about these figures.

16 aircraft were lost (although this figure differs depending on the source checked - one source states 6, another 14 and yet another 16?) on this operation and 3 were from 75 squadron alone. 7 of the force were claimed by night fighters.

Wreckage of Wellington BJ767 (courtesy of Anneliese Autenrieth)

BJ767 has been claimed by a German night fighter ace Lt. Hans Autenrieth of Stab II./NJG1 - engaged at a height of 1.300m south west of Vaals, Holland at 01:33 hrs on the 12th August.

Lt. Hans Autenrieth of Stab II./NJG1 with his gunner Gerf. Rudolf Adam (courtesy of Anneliese Autenrieth)

Lt. Hans Autenrieth of Stab II./NJG1 survived the war but was shot down by a Mosquito from either 264 or 488 squadron north east of Rennes on the 3/4th August 1944 and became a PoW along with one of his crew Georg Helbig, the other Uffz Adam Rudolf was killed. Hans Autenrieth died of cancer in Bonn, 08th June 1996.

(1) James McQueen passed away on the 15th December 2015 after a long illness, age 94. Married to Rayma for 67 years.


Burial Details:

Initially buried at Venlo but later reinterred at the CWGC cemetery at Jonkerbos.

Fl/Lt. Laurence St. George Dobbin. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 24.F.8. Born on the 09th November 1912 at Oaonui, the son of George Hill and Alice (née Boardman), of Opunake, Taranaki, New Zealand and husband of Marjorie (née Staniland), of New Brighton, Canterbury, New Zealand. Prior to enlisting on the 04th June 1940 worked as a teacher. A total of 728 flying hours logged and on his 10th operational sortie.

Sgt. Jack Leslie Jury. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 24.F.9. Born on the 27th February 1922 at Petone, the son of Francis Raymond and of Elsie May, (née McCarthy), of Auckland City, New Zealand. Worked as a glass silverer before enlisting on the 16th March 1941. A total of 130 flying hours logged and on his 4th operational sortie. The love of his life, Helen passed away in May 2018. She had kept all his letters and the 'Ponomou' he had given her, read every one and laid them out on her bed every evening.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted 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, 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', 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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