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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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75 squadron
20.11.1944 No. 75 Squadron (RNZAF) Lancaster I PB689 F/O. Gordon Loss of all crew

Operation: Homberg, Germany.

Date: 20th November 1944 (Monday)

Unit: No. 75 Squadron (New Zealand)

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: PB689

Code: AA-X

Base: RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire

Location: Moers, Germany

Pilot: F/O. Ronald Gordon 185116 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Carl Robert Freeman 189608 RAFVR Age 33. Killed

Nav: F/O. John Robson Bell 173943 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Albert John Weston 1115103 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Louis David Sampson 186413 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Sidney George Hone 2221190 RAFVR Age 35. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Leonard Forrester 3010665 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 12:49 hrs from RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire to bomb the oil plant at Homberg, Germany. 183 Lancasters took part but the weather was extremely stormy and many of the bomber stream were not able to maintain formation with the G-H (Radar bombing aided aircraft) on the bombing run and the bombing was believed to have been scattered.

All aircraft are thought to have been brought down by anti aircraft fire (flak) as no claims are recorded by Luftwaffe aircrew.

5 Lancasters were lost on this raid (3 from 75 Squadron, 1 from 18 Squadron, 1 from 514 Squadron) with the loss of 27 crew killed and a further 8 being made Prisoners of War.

75 Squadron flew 8,017 sorties - losing 193 aircraft in operations, (a further 8 destroyed in crashes), and represented the third greatest tonnage of bombs dropped during WW2 (21,600 tons of bombs and a further 2,344 mines) and suffered the highest casualties in Bomber Command.

Crew of Lancaster PB689 (courtesy of Jean Mitchell and Techie Serivces for restoration) Left - Right: P/O. Louis Sampson, ? ground crew, F/O. Ronald Gordon, ? ground crew, ? crew, ? crew, ? ground crew, ? Sgt. Carl Freeman. Front L - R: Sgt. Sidney Hone, F/O. John Robson Bell taken we think whilst at Heavy Conversion Unit prior to operations. (Not positive identification - so if you know differently, please contact us - thanks to the son of Sgt. Freeman who confirmed him in the photo.)

Burial details:

F/O. Ronald Gordon. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 29. B.1-16. No further details available as yet - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Carl Robert Freeman. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Grave 25. G.5. Son of Charles Lewis Freeman and Anne Freeman, husband of Rosa May Freeman. of Streatham, London, England.

Sgt. James Leonard Forrester medals shown right (courtesy Michael Holden)

F/O. John Robson Bell. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 29. B.1-16. Son of Harry and Mary Bell, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, husband of Jean Doreen Bell, of Jesmond, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.

Fl/Sgt. Albert John Weston. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 29. B.1-16. No further details available as yet - are you able to assist?

P/O. Louis David Sampson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Cemetery Grave 25. C.2. P/O. Louis David Sampson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Cemetery Grave 25. C.2. Husband of Gwen Hart and father to Patricia and Philip David Sampson.

Sgt. Sidney George Hone. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Cemetery Grave 25. G.14. Husband of Ivy Bessie Hone, of Ward End, Birmingham, England.

Sgt. James Leonard Forrester. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Cemetery Grave 25. G.3. Son of James Edward and Gladys Forrester, of Bootle, Lancashire, England.

Researched with thanks to Jean Mitchell for providing the photo of the crew and for Aircrew Remembered's technical services for restoring the image as much as was possible. Thanks also to Michael Holden for other information and photograph. To the son of Sgt. Carl Freeman who contacted us in August 2015. Also to Helen Park who contacted us in January 2017 - Helen is the Granddaughter of P/O. Louis Sampson.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 30 January 2017, 21:01