No. 7 Squadron Lancaster III PB466 MG-Q F/Lt. Wilson DSO. DFC. DFM
Operation: Emden, Germany
Date: 6th September 1944 (Wednesday)
Unit: No. 7 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire
Location: Bansmeer, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Granville Wilson DSO DFC DFM 141094. RAFVR Age 23 Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: F/O. A. Wood 159891 RAFVR Age? PoW No? Camp: Stalag Luft 1 - Barth (2)
Nav: Sgt. Dennis Jones 1583686 RAFVR Age 19 Killed (3)
Visual Marker: Fl/Lt Peter Henry Cutchey DFC and Bar 118608 RAFVR Age? PoW No? Camp: Stalag Luft 1 - Barth (4)
Nav/Air/Bmr: Sgt. Edward Ronald Brunsdon 1587881 RAFVR Age 20 Killed (5)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Percy Frederick Christopher DFC 156784 RAFVR Age? PoW No 5479 Camp: Stalag Luft 1 - Barth (6)
Air/Gnr: W/O. Joseph Anthony Fagan DFM 1077128 RAFVR Age? PoW No 775 Camp: Stalag Luft 7 - Bankau (Bakow) (7)
Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. Hector Joseph Smith MBE DFC and Bar 49952 RAF Age 25 PoW No 5479 Camp: Stalag Luft 1 - Barth (8)
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REASON FOR LOSS:
Lancaster PB466 took off from RAF Oakington at 16:18 hrs. for an operation on Emden. Part of a large bomber force of 105 Halifaxes and 76 Lancasters that took off that day. These aircraft were escorted by Spitfires and American Mustangs.
The weather over the target area was cloudy, but visibility was good. The aircraft encountered moderate flak and the operation almost completely destroyed Emden with the loss of nearly 80% of the buildings and the town was seen to be a mass of flames. Black smoke from the bombing was so severe that it could be seen from 100 miles away.
At 18:39 the Master Bomber (Sqr/Ldr. A.J.L. Craig) spoke to Fl/Lt. Wilson to say he was leaving the area and received a reply. Nothing further was heard from Fl/Lt. Wilson.
Lancaster PB466 was hit by flak over the target area killing the pilot, navigator and bomb aimer instantly. The remaining crew parachuted to safety, but were soon captured.
The aircraft crashed near Bansmeer 6km East of the town centre. This was the last Bomber Command raid of the war on Emden.
Map of the area of the crash site of Lancaster III PB466
Lancaster III aircraft and the H2S device which was the first airborne, ground scanning radar system. Lancaster PB466 was fitted with one of these and was operated by Fl/Lt. Cutchey
(2) F/O. A. Wood. 20th January 1944 P/O. A. Wood was confirmed as Pilot Officer and promoted to the rank of Flying Officer and on the 14th August 1944 he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant.
(4) Fl/Lt. Peter Cutchey DFC and Bar. The following came from Peter's recollections of what happened on the night of the 6th September 1944 as told to Mike Read in July 2013.
“Peter said that he could see the ground based spotters following his aircraft across the sky on their first run in to the target so he asked the pilot if he could drop just one single bomb on them, to which the pilot said No, mark the target only to avoid any confusion. On the second run in over the target at 10 000 feet, the Lancaster was hit from the front below the cockpit area killing the Pilot and the two Navigators instantly.
The aircraft still flew on, with the glass nose section completely blown out as well the headwind which was absolutely ferocious. Peter managed to reach back into the fuselage to grab his parachute and somehow managed to put it on and launch himself against the airflow out of the remaining broken glass, but had forgotten to disconnect his oxygen and electrical leads which obviously snapped when the tension became too much. His time in the chute was uneventful just watching the aircraft flying away from him. Upon landing a German soldier was stood there, with his rifle and said the favourite words “for you the war is over” just like in the movies
Peter continued "Whilst in the POW camp he was nominated as the Red Cross officer and would detail who would receive the parcels from England, which is where he managed to obtain the card/paper from which he had the cartoon paintings drawn on these adorned his bed space in the barrack block. Each picture cost him 200 cigarettes (the camps unofficial currency) but Peter was lucky as he had managed to keep his wristwatch hidden from his captors all this time and this earned him the sum of 20 000 cigarettes, and also he was quite good at poker for 200 cigarettes a go.
Right: Fl/Lt. Granville Wilson DSO DFC DFM (courtesy Peter Croft)
After being released by the Russians from the POW camp he walked into the local town with 2 other aircrew and a German guard. They sat drinking with the locals (vodka mixed with a mystery ingredient). When the German guard was asked to go outside he was never seen again. Once back in allied hands he was stripped, washed and deloused and given a clean RAF uniform and remembers that he was interrogated as to how he had been treated. He remembers seeing an airfield full of ME262 jet fighters around this time and area" Peter spoke of a few other small things but became more distant as the hour wore on and there were tears in his eyes which I shall remember for a long time" F/Lt. Peter Henry Cutchey is aged 92, but is very frail now
F/Lt. Peter Henry Cutchey. DFC and Bar. 1330087 LAC Peter Henry Cutchey was promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer 118608 on the 28th March 1942 and on 1st October he was promoted to Flying Officer. On the night of the 17/18th August 1943 F/O. P. H. Cutchey No. 7 Squadron was one of the air bomber's on the Peenemunde operation to bomb the v2 rocket site where they were being built and tested. Awarded the DFC while serving with No. 7 Squadron as per London Gazette 7th September 1943.
On the 28th March 1944 F/O. Cutchey had the rank of Flight Lieutenant and with effect from 5th October 1944 was awarded a Bar to his DFC as per London Gazette 29th December 1944 - "F/Lt Cutchey has completed many successful sorties since the award of the DFC. He has continued to display outstanding enthusiasm and determination as a bomb aimer. His reliability, courage and devotion to duty have always inspired confidence in his crew" F/Lt Cutchey extended his service on the active list by four years on the 8th August 1946. On the 1st July 1965 F/Lt. P H Cutchey transferred to General Duties (Ground) Branch, Supplementary List and on the 11th August 1966 F/Lt Peter Henry Cutchey retired from the Royal Air Force.
(6) F/O. Percy Frederick Christopher DFC, was appointed to commission as Pilot Officer on probation on the 27th July 1943 and was awarded the DFC while serving with No. 199 Squadron as per London Gazette 7th December 1943. He was confirmed as Pilot Officer and promoted to Flying Officer 27th Jan 1944 and was posted to No 7 Squadron on the 13 August 1944. In 1946 Peter Frederick Christopher extended his service by four years on the active list and was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on the 27th January 1947 and his service was extended to eight years. Peter Frederick Christopher DFC transferred to the Technical Branch on the 1st October 1950.
F/Lt. Christopher was promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader 1st July 1955 and was awarded the MBE as per London Gazette 2nd June 1961. Sqr/Ldr Christopher MBE, DFC, MIERE retired from the Royal Air Force on the 29th June 1968. Percy Frederick Christopher was held as a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft 1 - Barth until his release in 1945. Percy Frederick Christopher DFC died on the 25th August 1997 and is buried in Corfe Mullan Parich Council Cemetery.
Joseph Anthony Fagan is on the left of this picture with Fl/Lt. Granville Wilson in the centre, and a chap named Porteous on right.
(7) W/O. Joseph Anthony Fagan. DFM. 1077128 Fl/Sgt. Joseph Anthony Fagan was awarded the DFM while serving with No. 7 Squadron as per London Gazette 29th October 1943 - "One night in September 1943, this airman was the rear gunner of an aircraft detailed to attack Hanover. During the bombing run, the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire which wounded Flight Sergeant Fagan and rendered his turret unserviceable. Shortly afterwards the bomber was attacked by a fighter. in spite of his wounds, Flight Sergeant Fagan refused to leave his turret and played his part determinedly in frustrating the attacker. Displaying great fortitude and devotion to duty, this gallant gunner steadfastly held to his post until his aircraft was clear of the enemy coast. His example was most inspiring" Hector Joseph Smith enlisted in the Royal Air Force in 1940 and was posted to No 7 Squadron on the 13 August 1944. Born in Ireland. Joseph Anthony Fagan was held as a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft 7 - Bankau (Bakow) until his release in 1945.
(8) Hector Joseph (Eddie) Smith (courtesy Jacqui Stickland)
Fl/Lt. Hector Joseph (Eddie) Smith. DFC. Sgt. H. J. Smith 612433 was promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer 49952 on probation 24th October 1942 and was awarded the DFC while serving at No. 7 Squadron on the 19th May 1944 as per London Gazette 16th May 1944. Flying Officer H.J. Smith transferred to the Physical Fitness Branch in 1947 and was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant on the 30th July 1947.
Appointed to commission (permanent) as Flight Lieutenant 12th March 1952, and was awarded the MBE as per London Gazette 31st December 1954 for services during the Malaysian Campaign, where he was a Parachute Instructor, devising a method of release from trees in the jungle and coaching members of the SAS. Fl/Lt Smith MBE DFC transferred to the Catering Branch on the 1st October 1956 after suffering a fracture in his neck and retired from the Royal Air Force on the 15th February 1961.
Hector Joseph (Eddie) Smith was held as a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft 1 - Barth until his release in 1945. Hector Smith MBE DFC sadly passed away on the 16 April 2009 aged 90.
Sage War Cemetery and the Runnymede Memorial
Fl/Lt. Granville Wilson. DSO. DFC. DFM. Sage War Cemetery, Oldenburg, Germany. Grave Ref: 3. D. 13. Son of Samuel and Sarah Wilson of Belfast, Northern Ireland. (1) Fl/Lt. Granville Wilson was the Deputy Master Bomber for this operation a roll he had carried out on many occasions. Fl/Sgt. Granville Wilson 1062387 was promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer 141094 on probation 0n 17th January 1943 and was awarded the DFM as per London Gazette 14th May 1943. Promoted from Pilot Officer to Flying Officer 30th July 1943. While serving with No. 7 Squadron P/O. Granville Wilson DFM was awarded the DFC - "One night in July 1943, this officer piloted an aircraft detailed for an operation against Hamburg. Whilst over the target area his aircraft was hit in several places by anti-aircraft fire and, whilst taking evasive action one of the propellers was shot away. Despite this, Pilot Officer Wilson regained his bombing run and attacked the target successfully. On the return flight a second engine became defective but Pilot Officer Wilson succeeded in flying the damaged aircraft to base. The following night en route to another objective 1 engine of his aircraft became useless but Pilot Officer Wilson continued to the target and bombed it. This Officer has completed many sorties and has always endeavoured to press home his attacks with vigour. His skill and courage have set a commendable example" as per London Gazette 3rd September 1943. Awarded the DSO on the 5th November 1943 while with No. 7 Squadron as Per London Gazette 2nd November 1943. F/Lt. Granville Wilson is remembered on the Belfast War Memorial
Sgt. Dennis Jones. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 232. Son of Harry Norris and Jessie Jones of Chilwell, Nottinghamshire. (3) Sgt. Jones was posted to No. 7 Squadron on the 23rd August 1944
Above: Sgt. Edward Ronald Brunsdon's Flying Log Book and below his Certificate of Qualification and Ron (second right) with his crew mates in Minneapolis January 1944 (courtesy of the Brunsdon family)
Sgt. Edward Ronald Brunsdon. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 226. Son of Sidney George and Edith Nellie Brunsdon of Gloucester. (5) Sgt. Brunsdon was born on the 3rd October 1923 and was educated at Crypt School. Ron (Nipper) was brilliant on the cricket field. Ron joined the RAFVR in December 1942 as a LAC and September 1943 was posted to No. 1 Central Navigation School, Rivers, Manatoba, Canada.
Between 9th December 1943 and April 1944 he had completed 105 hours flying as a navigator in a Avro Anson aircraft. Ron qualified as a Navigator 0n the 21 April 1944. Returning to the UK in July 1944 Ron continued his training at No. 2 Observer Advanced Flying Unit, RAF Millom and then in August 1944 Pathfinder Force Navigation Training Unit at RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire. Ron was then posted to No. 7 Squadron on the 23rd August 1944. Edward Ronald Brunsdon is remembered on the Gloucester War Memorial
Special thanks to Peter and Joan Cutchey for their contribution to this page of remembrance and to Mike Read for his notes of Peter's memories, Jacqui Stickland daughter of Fl/Lt. Hector Joseph (Eddie) Smith. MBE DFC. Bob Brunsdon nephew of Sgt. Edward Ronald Brunsdon, Dave Cheetham No 7 Squadron Archivist for the crew photographs and Maren Klose - Emden. Also thank you to the nephew of the pilot, Mr. Peter Croft who contacted using February 2017.
Researched by Kate Tame, Aircrew Remembered, for all the relatives and friends of the crew. With special thanks to, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - Bomber Command War Diaries 1939-1945, W. R. Chorley - Bomber Command Losses 1944, Oliver Clutton-Brock - Footprints on the Sands of Time, Martin Middlebrook - The Peenemunde Raid, Tom Docherty - No 7 Bomber Squadron RAF in World War II, London Gazette Archives, National Archives Air 27/101, Imperial War Museum, ww2talk forum.