Date: 28/29th December 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 576 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Fiskerton, Lincolnshire.
Location: Manston, Kent
Pilot: F/O. Derrick Fletcher 179580 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. P.D. Lake RAFVR Survived.
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Charles Gerrard Campbell 1565575 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Angus 1581067 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Leonard James Bull 1606722 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. Gordon Warren J/93781 RCAF Age 20. Killed (1)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Norris 1900179 RAFVR Age ? Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Fiskerton at 15:17 hrs on an operation to bomb the railway yards in Bonn. Reports made by the Bomber Command differ than that of the German authorities - they state that considerable damage was caused, the German police state that the only damage was that done to the Victoria road bridge across the main line from Cologne to Koblenz however a great deal of damage was done generally with many buildings hit along with the University and 2 public shelters received direct hits. 486 people on the ground were killed.
Two aircraft were lost on this raid. 101 Squadron lost Lancaster PB634 SR-U flown by Fl/Lt William Parke RCAF who was killed along with 7 other crew members, when it was shot down by Fw. Richard Richter of 8./NJG2. This Lancaster NN750 was also attacked and damaged severely by a Luftwaffe night fighter.
Fl/Sgt. Leonard Bull (courtesy of Stephen Bull)
P/O. Fletcher and his crew did a superb job of controlling the aircraft to bring it back across the English Channel. Both elevators are understood to have been damaged and could not be used. The only way that the aircraft could be controlled was by using the trim (this was reported by the W/Op at the time). They tried to land at Manston but this was not successful so the pilot decided to open the throttles and to go around again.
Unfortunately, while doing so, the aircraft lost too much speed, stalled and then crashed. It is reported that one crew member survived but we have no further information on Sgt. Lake. We do know that it seems he survived the war.
The superb Fiskerton Memorial dedicated to the lost crews. (origin unknown)
The poem written by Cedric Roberts and dedicated to 57 Squadron
Graves of some of the crew (courtesy Stephen Farnell Find A Grave)
F/O. Derrick Fletcher. Mexborough Cemetery. Sec A. Uncons. Grave 188. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?
Fl/Sgt. Charles Gerrard Campbell. Glasgow (St. Kentigern's) Roman Catholic Cemetery. Sec. 5. Grave 175. Son of Patrick Campbell, and of Ellen Campbell (née Callaghan), of Glasgow. Scotland.
Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Angus. Cardington (St. Mary) Church Cemetery. Row H. Grave 15. Son of William Young Angus and Violette Angus, husband of Kathleen Mary Angus, of Tranmere, Birkenhead, England.
Fl/Sgt. Leonard James Bull. Dilton Marsh (Holy Trinity) Churchyard. Grave 188. Son of Charles James Bull and Beatrice Ellen Bull, of Westbury, husband of Phyllis May Bull, of Westbury, England.
P/O. Gordon Warren. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 56.C.7. Son of William Shirley Warren and Edna Pearl Warren, of St. James, Manitoba, Canada.
Sgt. James Norris. Ferrybank Catholic Churchyard. Grave 71. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?
Researched for Mr Lewis Bull (via his son Stephen E. Bull) cousin of Fl/Sgt. Bull and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. With thanks to: Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 5", 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", the C.W.G.C. Stephen Farnell contributor at "Find A Grave". "A Place of Honour - Manitoba War Dead"
(1) Warren Lake in Manitoba is named after P/O. Warren