28/29.01.1945 No. 156 Squadron Lancaster III PB186 GT-A Fl/Lt. J.H. Freeman
Date: 28/29th January 1945 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: No.156 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Upwood, Cambridgeshire
Location: Vaihingen, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. James Harold Freeman J/85875 RCAF Age 26. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Raymond Breaks 2202497 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: F/O. David Watson J/35230 RCAF Age 22. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Nowell Percy Hibbert DFC 151844 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Joseph George Shaw 1802925 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James Raymond Wood 1604157 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Joseph Frank Kaviza J/95377 RCAF Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Left RAF Upwood at 20:20 for an operation to Stuttgart.
The Lancaster crashed at Vaihingen in the SW suburbs of Stuttgart. Of the eight Lancasters from 156 Squadron taking part in this Stuttgart raid, this was the only one lost.
It is "probable" that the night fighter pilot who shot PB186 down was either Ofw. Günther Bahr (1) or Ofw. Heinrich Schmidt. (2)The interception took place between 4,500 mts and 5,600 mtrs with the Lancaster crashing between 23:32 hrs and 23:46 hrs.
(1) 37 confirmed kills by Ofw. Gunther Bahr, surviving the war - no further details.
(2) A total of 15 claims by Ofw. Heinrich Schmidt were confirmed - he also survived - no further details.
Grave photographs kindly taken and submitted by David Franklin who has provided us with permission to release any at the high resolution that he used - please contact us.
All were originally buried in the local Friedhof, later being reinterred in Durnbach War Cemetery.
Fl/Lt. James Harold Freeman. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 4K.26. Further information: Son of Cecil C. and Florence Freeman of Fleming, Saskatchewan, Canada. Had completed over 30 operational trips and this being his second tour of operations. Grave inscription reads: ‘At Rest.’
Sgt. Raymond Breaks. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave G4 J26-28. Son of Christopher and May Breaks of Bideford, Devon. Grave inscription reads: In The Light And In The Darkness We’ll Not Forget Dear. Mum, Dad, Christine, Ernest.’
F/O. David Watson. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave G4 J26-28. From Toronto, Canada, no n.o.k. details.
F/O. Nowell Percy Hibbert DFC. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave G4 J26-28. Further information: Son of Major John Percy Maghull Hibbert MC. and Olive Helen (nee Kershaw) Hibbert of the Hermitage, Kenilworth. Brother of Tom Hibbert. Nowell Hibbert born on the 25th April 1923 and having volunteered for the Air Force, read Mathematics at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, for a year, and then went to Canada for training, becoming a Pathfinder Marker. His DFC was gazetted on 27th March 1945. Completed 48 Sorties. Grave inscription reads: ‘ I Am Ready on the Threshold Of A New Day. To Serve Thee Bravely And Joyfully.’
Fl/Sgt. Joseph George Shaw. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave G4 J26-28. Son of Joseph Charles and Fanny Shaw and husband of Agnes Shaw of Barking Essex. Grave inscription reads: ’It’s Not The Words, They Are But Few, It’s The Loving Memory We Keep Of You, Joe.’
Fl/Sgt. James Raymond Wood. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 4K.2. Son of Raymond and Emma Wood of Windsor, Berks. Grave inscription reads: ‘Treasured Memories Of Our Dear Son, Mam And Dad.’
Fl/Sgt. Joseph Frank Kaviza. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 4K.28. Further information: Son of Joseph and Nancy (nee Ketz) Kaviza of 149, York Street, Hamilton, Ontario. Born on the 5th of February 1924 in France to a Czechoslovakian father and Hungarian mother, he changed his name by naturalisation from Josef Kaviza to Joseph Frank Kaviza.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered volunteer, researcher and genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Photo credits and family information on Flying Officer Hibbert to Tom Hibbert (brother) and Vaughan Hawker. Other sources as quoted below. David Franklin for visiting the graves and photographing them for relatives.