31.12/01.01.1945 83 Squadron Lancaster III PB134 OL-N Fg.Off. Duggan
Date: 31st December/1st January 1945 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: 83 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire.
Location: Oslo Fjord, Norway
Pilot: Fg.Off. Gordon William Duggan 418362 RAAF Age 23. Missing
Flt.Eng: Flt.Sgt. George Jabez Arthur Groom 1284873 RAFVR Age 33. Missing
Nav: Flt.Sgt. Sidney James Samuel Maynard 1801363 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Bomb Aimer (Observer): Flt.Sgt. Samuel Brockbank 1543556 RAFVR Age 21. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Ronald Kear 1314473 RAFVR Age 23. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: WO. Francis John Poole DFM. 655599 RAFVR Age 31. Missing (1)
Air Gnr (Mid-upp) Flt.Sgt. Herbert Thomas Little 1893906 RAFVR Age 19. Missing
Air Gnr (Rear): Flt.Sgt. Henry Jones 2218793 RAFVR Age 32. Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Leaving RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire at 19:56 hrs to bomb the Kriegsmarine cruisers 'Emden' and 'Koln' (4) in Oslo fjord between 00.03 and 00:51 hrs.
The outward force was first plotted 50 km. South of Lister then on to the target and back to the Western Danish coast.
Right to Left: Flt.Sgt. George J.A. Groom, Flt.Sgt. Ronald Kear, Flt.Sgt. Henry Jones, Flt.Sgt. Samuel Brockbank, Flt.Sgt. Herbert T. Little, Flt.Sgt. Sidney J.S. Maynard (courtesy Keith Groom)
British listening stations heard one Nachtjäger claim, 25 km. North Hansted/Vigso bay area at 02.07 hrs, which probably concerns an Abschuss by the Nachtjagd Staffel Norwegen. This claim can be tied to the loss of the only Lancaster that failed to return from the raid, PB134 of 83 Squadron, which reportedly crashed in Oslo Fjord following a night fighter attack (Nachtjagd War Diaries Volume 2 (April 1944 - May 1945) - Dr Theo E.W. Boiten & Roderick J. Mackenzie).
So it is 'probable' that it was shot down by Kurt Keilig (2) of Nachtjagd Staffel, Norwegian at 02.07 hrs, combat taking place over the Vigso Bay area. We know that it eventually crashed in Oslo Ford. This Lancaster being the only loss on this operation - with one claim made by the Luftwaffe in this area, it is reasonable to surmise that Keilig’s claim matches this loss.
Sources from Norway inform us that the aircraft came down in the sea at Østerskjær, which is a very small island south of Bastøy in the Oslo fjord, between Horten and Moss. The body of Fl/Sgt. Sidney Maynard was found in the sea in Moss Bay. His body was recovered and despite the German occupation forces trying to resist any ceremony. The church warden, Mr Peder Ludvigsen, representing the church authorities, refused to accept this, and a burial took place at Moss Civil Cemetery. There the brother of the grandfather of Mr Arne Jørgen Ludvigsen sang two verses from a Norwegian psalm, although the Germans threatened to arrest him for his stubborn behaviour.
In 1947 a column was placed to this airman and on every Norway National day, (May 17th) a wreath is laid at his grave and a speech made, as a symbol of gratitude to his loss.
Above and below the Mayor, Henry Jacobsen and people from the town, honouring the grave of Fl/Sgt Maynard - thought to have been taken around 1950. (courtesy Johan Rynnaas via Arne Jørgen Ludvigsen)
Above: Kriegsmarine cruisers 'Emden' and 'Koln' (courtesy wikipedia)
(1) WO Poole is recorded as flying in the role of a second Wireless Operator/Air Gunner on this mission but his actual role has not been established. WO Francis John Poole gained his DFM whilst with 61 Squadron, Gazetted on the 10th September 1943.
(2) Ofw. Kurt Keilig took off in Ju 88 G-1 B4+DA, claiming a Lancaster (PB134 of No. 83 Squadron) at 01.47 hours on 1 January 1945 and had a total claim of 2. He survived the war and died on the 11th September 1996.
(3) It has been rumoured that Lancaster PB134 was discovered lying in around 30 mtrs. of the Oslo Fjord near Horten by Norwegian divers in 2008. We have tried to find further evidence of this, we have contacted the Norwegian website who made this claim. (November 2013)
We have now made contact with them (December 2013) and although they can not be certain if this aircraft is PB134 - It is very possible. They have permission from the MoD to dive and explore the wreckage on the usual condition that they treat it as a war grave, if any human remains are to be found, they are to be left undisturbed. The purpose of the dive is to clarify which aircraft it actually is. As these chaps don’t have the funds to search the area, it will have to wait for another day.
Keith Groom sent the following:
'In May 2015 I had the honour of going to Oslo to commemorate Norway’s Independence Day, on which after their own remembrance services they gather at the grave of F/Sgt Sid Maynard (Navigator and only body to be recovered) and hold a further service. At this service I presented to the Mayor of Moss a framed collage of photographs (same as the ones I sent to Aircrew Remembered, Squadron photo, crew in flying dress and in uniform dress, plus one where they have all signed the back of a photograph). Also at this service was Keith Little, nephew of Herbert Little (mid upper gunner).
We were hosted by Arne Jorgen Ludvigsen.
On the following day Jorgen took us over the fjord from Moss to a place called Asgardstrand, which is the place where Lancaster OL-N PB134 was shot down. Later on 23rd February 1945 a further Lancaster OF-E PB588, from 97 Sqn, was shot down which was engaged on a mission to bomb the docks further up the fjord which were engaged in repairing German warships. This Lancaster crashed on the land so the bodies were able to be retrieved. To commemorate these two acts the local population, at their own expense, erected a memorial of a bronze plaque with the names of the two bomber crews attached to a stone memorial.
I cannot thank the Norwegian people enough for their friendliness and hospitality and still stay in touch with Jorgen.
The 3 photos I have attached to the email along with this statement shows the memorial, bronze plaque and a photo of the fjord showing the approximate place where PB134 lies'.
Keith G Groom
Sonar scan of what is believed to be Lancaster PB134 (courtesy Glenn Knudson - see links at bottom of page)
(4) Emden was blown up by the Germans on the 3rd May 1945 to prevent the allies capturing the ship. The Koln survived the war and was scrapped in 1956.
Left: Moss Church in 1945 (courtesy Arne Jørgen Ludvigsen)
Fg.Off. Gordon William Duggan. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 257. Son of Frank and Emily Maud Duggan of Stewarton, Victoria, Australia. Born in Benalla, Victoria, Australia on 25th October 1921. Enlisted in Melbourne on the 22nd May 1942.
Flt.Sgt. George Jabez Arthur Groom. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 271. Son of Gertrude Violet Groom and husband of Dorothy Groom of Norbury, Surrey, England.
Flt.Sgt. Sidney James Samuel Maynard. Moss Civil Cemetery, Norway. Son of Sidney M M and Catherine Margaret Ann Maynard of Romford, Essex and husband of Mary Maynard of Romford, Essex, England.
Flt.Sgt. Samuel Brockbank. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 270. Son of William James and Mary Brockbank of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
WO. Francis John Poole DFM Runnymede Memorial. Panel 269. Son of Cornelious House and Lily Gertrude Poole of Weston super Mare, Somerset, England.
Flt.Sgt. Ronald Kear. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 271. Son of Harry and Elizabeth Kear of Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales
Flt.Sgt. Herbert Thomas Little. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 271. Son of Herbert John and Edith Elizabeth Clara Little and brother of William John Herbert Little (who served in the Royal Navy in WWII) of 36,Spirland Avenue, Paddington, London, England.
Flt.Sgt. Henry Jones. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 271. Born on the 19th February 1912 in Liverpool, England. Youngest son to James and Rachel Jones. Husband to Mrs. Ethel Jones and father to his unborn child.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Special thanks to Keith Little, nephew of Flt.Sgt. Little for family details. Further information kindly supplied by Arne Jørgen Ludvigsen, photographer Johan Rynnaas, Glenn Knudsen of Gasss-tech Norway, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - "Nightfighter War Diaries Vol. 2". Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Thanks to Keith Groom for his updates to the report
Norwegians honour RAF crew
Yesterday I had the honour of saying these words (in Norwegian) to honour Sidney Maynard and his 7 colleagues, on the 200th Anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution, and presenting a wreath on his tomb. (I have translated my speech for Aircrew Remembered )
Between 300 and 400 People showed up for the ceremony at Moss Civil Cemetery, and after my Speech, the choir Jeløykameratene (behind me on one of the two pictures) sang your National Anthem; God save the Queen. It was a great moment for us all.
Yours Jørgen Ludvigsen
At Sidney Maynard’s grave, Moss, Norway - 17th of May 2014. (Translated from Norwegian - by Jørgen Ludvigsen).
Above: Jørgen Ludvigsen delivering his fine words on this special occasion (courtesy Anders E Sanden, Moss Avis-‘Daily News’)
Good citizens of Moss !
On the 20th of August 1940 – when Britain was the last remaining opponent to Hitler’s war machine in Western Europe, - Prime Minister Winston Churchill made one of his great speeches in Parliament – where he said his famous words about the young men in the Royal Air Force: 'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few'. The then 18-year-old Sidney Maynard from Romford in East London may have been inspired by those words. Maynard started his education as a flight navigator and volunteered for the Royal Air Force. It may also have played a part in his choice that the Blitz – the German terror bombing of London and other cities the next 9 months – killed 43.000 civilians, of these 142 in Maynard’s own borough. On New Years Eve 1944 – almost 70 years ago – he gave his life for the cause of freedom, and for us - in this country. Our celebrations today – on the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution – with 200 years of peace among the Scandinavian countries - AND on the 69th Constitution Day in a free, democratic post-war Norway – it is a great honour and a great privilege for me to express these words of gratitude - and remember ONE of those thousands upon thousands of young people who were willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING – for the rest of us.
The aeroplane Lancaster PB134 – with Sidney Maynard and his 7 colleagues in it - was the only one of the 25 Bomber planes never to return to their RAF base at Coningsby in England. Their task was to sink the German cruiser ,the «Köln» out there in the Oslo Fjord (pointing), but their attack was not very successsful, as the 'Köln' got away with minor damages. Maynard’s plane, however, was hit by the Germans and crashed burning in the sea south of Bastøy over there. (pointing again)
The body of Sidney Maynard was found here in Moss Bay in early March-45 and identified by his ID-number 1801363, carried around his neck. It is very likely that Maynard’s 7 colleagues were stuck in the plane and found a wet grave on the botton of the Oslo Fjord, since they have not been found and identified (yet).. Sidney Maynard was just 22 and newly married. The 7 others were: the pilot, Gordan William Duggan ( aged 23), George Groom (33), Samuel Brockbank (21) Francis Poole (31), Ronald Kear (23),Herbert Thomas Little (19), and Henry Jones (32).
Left: The huge crowd that attended (courtesy Marit Kruse (wife of Jørgen)
Sidney Maynard was buried right here at Moss Civil Cemetery on March 14th 1945, in the presence of two German officers, just wanting to get the enemy soldier off in silence, and the Church Warden Peder Ludvigsen, my grandfather’s brother, representing the church authorities of Moss. When the coffin was lowered, Ludvigsen folded his hands and started singing the Psalm 'O, imagine when, one day, the congregation of the saved shall meet', still found as no 508 in the Norwegian Book of Psalms. The German officers were furious and cried 'Maul halten' = 'shut up' and threatened to arrest him. He just stared at them, continued with verse 2 as the coffin was lowered, said Amen and left.
A few months after Liberation, in the autumn of 1945, the people of Moss had this memorial stone erected in gratitude – to honour Maynard. Every year since 1946 a wreath has been put down and a short speech made, e.g. in 1987 by veterans from Maynard’s 83rd Squadron and in 2011, by Mr Phil Steer from the Historical Society of Romford in London.
It is with great respect and gratutude that we honour you and your colleagues at your grave, Sidney Maynard. We thank you in reverence for the ultimate contribution you and your colleagues made to beat the Nazis, so the occupation and the dictatorship could end - and the people of Norway could have their freedom back.
Moss, Norway, 17.05.14 Jørgen Ludvigsen
83 Squadron, probably at RAF Coningsby (courtesy Keith Groom)