07/08th.03.1945 No. 192 Squadron Halifax III MZ932 DT-Z Fl/Lt. Ford
Date: 07/08th March 1945
Unit: No. 192 Squadron
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Foulsham, Norfolk
Location: Force landed at Toul-Rosières airfield, Rosières-en-Haye. Meurthe-et-Moselle, France
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Bernard Ford DFC 144787 RAFVR - Safe, no injuries
Fl/Eng: Sgt. J.J. Carter RAFVR - Safe - Injured and hospitalised
Nav: P/O. Frank Wallace Lovick DFC 56324 RAF - Safe - Injured and hospitalised
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Leslie Robson RAFVR - Baled out - PoW, no further details
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O Donald Joseph Coates DFC 169608 RAFVR - Safe - Injured and hospitalised
Spec/Op: Fl/Sgt. Henry Joseph Carley 195101 RAFVR Age 28 - Baled out - murdered
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Geoffrey Grundy 1675341 RAFVR - Safe, no injuries
Air/Gnr: F/O. Gallagher RAFVR - Baled out - PoW, no further details
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 17:25 hrs from RAF Foulsham in Norfolk - another large operation consisting of 526 aircraft from 4, 6 and 8 Groups. A devastating raid on this new target in Eastern Germany.
During the homebound leg MZ932 was attacked by a night fighter at about 20:30 hrs hitting the port inner engine. The nose of the Halifax was also badly damaged making the navigation instrument and oxygen system unserviceable. It also proved impossible for the pilot to feather the engine causing them to lose speed and height. 3 of the crew baled out, Fl/Sgt's. Carley and Robson and F/O. Gallagher. All of them landed safely in the area of Kulte. Fl.Sgt. Carley landed further away from the other two.
The reduction in weight enabled the pilot to keep the aircraft level and succeeded in landing at Toul-Rosières airfield.
Meanwhile 3 SS officers picked up Fl/Sgt. Carley despite protests that he should be a prisoner of the Luftwaffe and took him back to the camp at Arolsen.
Later, after their arrest for war crimes at a trial in Hamburg, they made statements (independent of each others) that Henry Carley had tried to escape which is why he was shot. All three were acquitted and released (Otfried Hellwig, Walter Kellerman and Karl Henkel). The doctor was also charged and we understand, acquitted for falsifying the death certificate (Dr. Louis Erich August Baatz).
Because of the pilots actions and the assistance of seriously wounded F/O. Coates they were both awarded the DFC.
London Gazette, 24th April 1945:
'These officers were pilot and wireless operator respectively in an aircraft detailed to attack Dessau. During the operation the aircraft was badly hit when attacked by an enemy fighter. The nose of the bomber was severely damaged. The port inner engine was put out of action. The inter-communication and the oxygen systems were rendered unserviceable and some important equipment was destroyed. Flying Officer Coates was wounded in both legs and about the face, the navigator also was wounded. The aircraft dived out of control. Coolly and skilfully, Flight Lieutenant Ford succeeded in levelling out and headed for allied territory. Although deprived of the services of the navigator, he flew the badly damaged aircraft to an airfield and effected a safe landing. This officer displayed exceptional skill, coolness and courage in most trying circumstances. Flying Officer Coates also proved himself to be a courageous and resourceful crew member. In spite of much physical distress he remained at his post to co-operate splendidly with his pilot throughout the return flight. His example was worthy of high praise".
London Gazette, 25th September 1945:
Plt.Off. Frank Wallace Lovick (22 January 1917- Mar 1999) was subsequently awarded the DFC for his efforts in assisting the pilot in navigating back to a safe forced landing in France, despite his injuries. That was his 31st sortie and marked the end of his first tour.
Fl/Sgt. Henry Joseph Carley. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 5.K.18. Son of Henry and Ellen Susan Carley and husband of Mary May Carley, of Whetstone, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "The Dearest Husband, The Nicest Daddy. Always Remembered. Mary, Peter And Anne".
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Traugott Vitz for information. Oliver Clutton-Brock - 'Footprints On The Sands Of Time'. National Archives: WO 235/465, WO 309/205, WO 309/206 and WO 309/1157. RAF Commands Forum for crew details. Also to 'Plodd In The Square Mile' for some details on Henry Carley - Henry, prior to service, was a serving policeman. Thanks to John Lovick, the son of Plt.Off. Frank Wallace Lovick for information regarding the award of the DFC.