29/30.07.1943 No. 7 Squadron Stirling III EF364 MG-X F/O. Allan L. Forbes
Date: 29/30th July 1943 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 7 Squadron
Type: Stirling III
Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire
Location: Not known - lost without trace
Pilot: F/O. Allan Leighton Forbes J/17200 RCAF Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Frederick Herbert Webb 1448647 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed
Nav: F/O. Dale Ernest Pushor J/12967 RCAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Douglas Leonard Arthur Pool 149168 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Raymond Marshall Bowyer 1800778 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric Arthur Charles 1095725 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: F/O. Arthur Pyrah 130235 RAFVR Age 29. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Oakington in Cambridgeshire to bomb the port and city of Hamburg joining 776 other aircraft on the third raid on this target within the last five days. 340 Lancasters, 244 Halifaxes, 119 Stirlings, 70 Wellingtons and 4 Mosquitoes made up the force. This Stirling was carrying 1 x TI red, 5 x TI Green, 1 red flare, 5 X 4500 lb. MC bomb load.
Sgt. Raymond Bowyer had been an active member of the Southall Cricket club. Mr. Steve Hunnisett came across the card sent by his parents, after condolence wishes had been sent by its members. Sadly the club no longer exists.
The idea was that the target be approached from the north to concentrate on the northern area of Hamburg which had not been bombed on previous occasions. The pathfinders dropped their markers too far east of the city. 707 aircraft got through to the target, dropping a total of 2,318 tons of bombs on residential areas - no figures are available as to the casualties on the ground for this raid although it is known that over 40,000 were killed during that week and over 16,000 residential buildings were destroyed.
The worst incident was when bombs hit a large department store in Wandsbek - the building collapsed and blocked exits from a shelter that was in the basement - 370 people died from poisoning by the fumes from a coke store nearby. 1,200,000 people fled the city after these raids.
The allies lost 31 aircraft on this operation with 176 aircrew losing their lives and a further 17 being made PoW.
7 Squadron Stirlings lined up at RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire (courtesy IWM)
Most of the aircraft were shot down by the Luftwaffe night fighters, although 14 were shot down by searchlight assisted flak over the target area.
No details or claims on how and where this Stirling came down, but probably over the target area as the aircraft lost over the sea have mostly been identified.
F/O. Allan Leighton Forbes. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 173. Son of Leighton I. and Stella V. Forbes, of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Right: Sgt. Eric Charles - taken, we understand, on the 06th September 1941. Elaine Wilde recalled that she used to visit with her brother his mother when they were very young, this photograph was always on her sideboard in the dining room. (courtesy Elaine Wilde February 2017)
F/O. Dale Ernest Pushor. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 174. Son of Mr and Mrs H.E. Pusher of East Coulee, Alberta, Canada - Husband of Mrs. D.E. Pusher, further details unavailable, are you able to assist?
P/O. Douglas Leonard Arthur Pool. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 133. Son of William Arthur and Margery Ann Pool, of Surbiton, Surrey, England.
Sgt. Frederick Herbert Webb. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 169. Son of Frederick H. and Emily K. Webb, of Fetcham, Surrey, England, husband of J. Webb.
Sgt. Raymond Marshall Bowyer. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 143. Son of Marshall Eugene and Gertrude Violet Bowyer, of Norwood Green, Southhall, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. Eric Arthur Charles. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 145. Son of Arthur and Alice Charles from Sheffield, England, Eric was their only child and the family were devastated by his loss.
F/O. Arthur Pyrah. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 129. Son of Harry and Alice Pyrah, husband of Rose Pyrah, of Tingley, Yorkshire, England.
With thanks to Steve Hunnisett for information and bringing this loss to our attention. Thanks also to Elaine Wilde for further information on Sgt. Eric Charles - February 2017. Sources as quoted below.Left: Panel 129 at Runnymede showing the name of F/O. Arthur Pyrah.