25/26.08.1944 75 Squadron Lancaster III LM593 AA:N Fg Off. Fleming
Operation: Opel motor works, Russelsheim
Date: 25th/26th August 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: 75 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire
Location: Nunkirchen, Germany
Pilot: Fg Off. James Allan Fleming 422382 RNZAF Age 27. Killed
Flt Eng: Sgt. Kenneth Eric Croxon 1893473 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Nav: Fg Off James Atkinson Dale 425562 RNZAF Age 27. Killed
Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Frank Arthur Vincent 395910 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Eric Garforth 2206796 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Edwin Slater 2210570 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Alan Raymond Bryce Stewart 1344346 RAFVR Age ? Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 20:25 hrs. from RAF Mepal in Cambridgeshire.
A total of 412 Lancasters took part in this raid and over 17 were lost in fierce battles over the target area several German night fighters were also lost. The Pathfinder marking was accurate and the raid was successfully completed.
An official German report says that the forge and the gearbox assembly plant were put out of action for several weeks, but 90% of the machine tools in other departments escaped damage. The assembly line and part of the press works were able to re-commence work 2 days later and lorry assembly was not affected because of considerable stocks of ready made parts. 179 people were killed in the raid but their nationalities were not recorded.
Above left: Jim Mackay?, John Cecil Turner, Jim Pryde, Jim Ladd, Butch Fleming, ?Sgt. Francis Scott. The three squatting down - ? Braddock, Ross Pollock and Edgar Lawrence Burke. Above right: Russell Young, F/O. James Allan Fleming, Sgt. Francis Scott, Two in the centre front of back row from left: Bob Vancy? and F/O. Euan Wilfred McLachlan, two chaps each side of that row: Les Brown and ‘Bubs’ Richards. Two chaps at the front from left: Dave Thomas? Fl/Sgt John Cecil Turner. (courtesy Jan Field-Dodgson)
38 miles NW of the target the aircraft exploded in mid-air for unknown reasons over Münchweiler in Germany, crashing into the forest of Nunkirchen. The crew were initially buried Nunkirchen War Cemetery.
The 79th Infantry Division of the German Wehrmacht, with the duty to secure the frontier and the Westwall, established in September 1939 the field Lazarett in Nunkirchen. A Military Cemetery has been set up within a Pinewood forest along the country road L-152 for the deceased soldiers in the hospital and for the fallen soldiers of the 79th Infantry Division. All soldiers which died during WWII at the Military Hospital in Nunkirchen were first buried in the Military Cemetery in Nunkirchen. After the war, they are relocated to their respective locations. The crew of the Lancaster III, LM593, AA:N was relocated to the Military Cemetery in Rheinberg. (Nunkirchen - We Remember)
The Squadron were to lose another crew during this operation: Lancaster I LL866 AA:S Flown by 28 year old, Plt Off. Richard Stockdale Barker 421345 RNZAF - Killed with all 6 other crew.
Fg Off. James Allan Fleming. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. grave 8.K.8-10. Son of Thomas and Eva Fleming, of Opotiki, Auckland, New Zealand. (544 flying hours logged - his 23rd operation)
The family of Fg Off. James Dale were also suffering the loss of another son. 25 year old, Plt Off. Thomas Wilson Dale 428085 RNZAF went missing on the 17th June on an operation to provide bomber support for operations to Sterkgrade flying a 199 Squadron Stirling III LJ531 EX:N. All 8 crew members were listed as lost without trace
Sgt. Kenneth Eric Croxon. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. grave 8.K.8-10. Born on the 7th May 1913 in West Ham, Essex. Son of George Frederick Charles and Lavinia Ellen (née Cole) from West Ham, Essex, England.
Fg Off. James Atkinson Dale. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. grave 8.K.8-10. Born on the 12th May 1919, the son of James Murray Dale and Maude Mary Dale, of Wellington City, New Zealand.
381 flying hours logged - his 22nd operation) His brother, Plt Off. Thomas Wilson Dale is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial. Panel 263. (484 flying hours logged)
Flt Sgt. Frank Arthur Vincent. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. grave 8.K.8-10. Son of Arthur Edward and Muriel Ada Vincent, of Felixstowe, Suffolk, England. Epitaph reads: “ To Our Darling Frank, Treasured Memories, Mum, Dad, Sister and Queenie.”
Sgt. Eric Garforth. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. grave 8.K.8-10. Son of Percy and Mary Garforth, of Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England. Epitaph reads “Thy Will Be Done.”
Sgt. Edwin Slater. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Joint grave 8.K.6-7. Son of Margaret Alice Slater, of Hollinwood, Oldham, Lancashire, England.
Sgt. Alan Raymond Bryce Stewart. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Joint grave 8.K.6-7. No further details - are you able to assist?
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jan Field-Dodgson (relative of the pilot, Sgt. Francis Scott and whose album these photographs were scanned - April 2017) Auckland War Memorial Museum. Other sources as well as Errol Martyn - For Your Tomorrow Vols 1-3 shown below. Thank to John Jones for the aircraft crash information (Sep 2021). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Sep 2021).