09.04.1945 No. 61 Squadron Lancaster I RF121 QR-J Fl/Lt. Greenfield DFC
Date: 9th April 1945 (Monday)
Unit: No. 61 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Skellingthorpe
Location: Kirchwistedt, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Albert Paulton Greenfield DFC. AUS/414674 RAAF Age 24. Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. ‘Jock’. I.F. Fraser 566457 RAFVR PoW - Details not recorded
Nav: F/O. William Gibb 187911 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. William John Haddon 1491704 RAFVR Age 30. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Victor Patrick Smith 196338 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Robert King 612231 RAF Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Sydney D.P. Goodey 1881110 RAFVR PoW - Details not recorded
REASON FOR LOSS:
40 Lancasters from 5 group were detailed to take part in a daylight bombing operation on the oil tank storage facilities in Hamburg. During the same period 17 Lancaster from 617 Squadron were to bomb the U Boat shelters. Both operations were classified as successful.
Two aircraft were lost on the Oil storage bombing. The other:
50 Squadron Lancaster I NG342 CB-B Flown by 25 year old F/O. Vincent Gerald Berriman AUS/17354 RAAF of Scarborough, Western Australia - Killed with all 6 other crew after being shot down and crashing in the city.
Lancaster RF121 took off from RAF Skellingthorpe at 14:45 hrs. It is understood to have been attacked by 2 jet fighters, Me262’s after bombing the target and leaving the target area. The rear gunner, Fl/Sgt. Sydney Gibb claimed shooting one of these down before the second hit the Lancaster which caught fire. He claimed that after the attack he knew of just three of the crew surviving the initial attack - Fl/Sgt. Hadden, Sgt ‘Jock’ Fraser and himself. He then baled out of the stricken aircraft. It is not known how Fl/Sgt. Hadden was killed, but understood that he remained in the aircraft when it crashed at 17:45 hrs.
On the 3rd June 1947 during a visit by the MREU (2) RAF team to the area they found the crash site which covered an area of about 250 sq. yards seems to confirm the statement made by one of the survivors, that the aircraft exploded prior to impact. One engine was found some 150 yards away from the main wreckage area.
(1) Fl/Lt. Albert Paulton Greenfield DFC Citation published in the London Gazette on 1st March 1946 reads: This officer has completed numerous sorties - displaying great courage.
(2) Fl/Sgt. Sydney Goodey was from 103 Star Street, Ware, Hertfordshire - he returned to England after being released on the 8th May 1945.
(3) MREU - Missing Research and Enquiry Service - RAF unit which worked to recover, identify and where necessary relocate RAF war dead: sometime also known as MR and EU - Missing Research and Enquiry Unit. Sadly it was disbanded in 1949 (Europe) 1952 (Far East) against all recommendations of its staff who maintained that a great deal more was required - public and political demands to cut budgets forced the issue. Many thousands have no known grave today.
The bodies of the crew killed in the crash were identified following exhumation on the 3rd June 1947 by a team from G Section, No. 4 MREU team led by Fl/Lt. R.A. Saager. Originally buried in the village cemetery at Kirchwistedt on the 15th April 1945 by the Luftwaffe and the well-tended grave marked as ‘5 unknown English pilots’. Moved to Becklingen in 1947.
Fl/Lt. Albert Paulton Greenfield DFC. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 17.D.11. Son of Percival Warren Greenfield and Agnes Greenfield, of ‘Tresco’ 140 Adelaide Street Clayfield, Queensland, Australia. Born on the 27th July 1920. This was his 33rd operational sortie. Prior to enlisting on the 8th November 1941 he was serving an apprenticeship with his fathers company A.P. Greenfield and Co. Optometrists in Brisbane, Australia. His other brother, LAC A.M. Greenfield AUS/429555 also served, surviving the war. Grave inscription reads: "His Duty Fearlessly And Nobly Done. Ever Lovingly Remembered".
F/O. William Gibb. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 17.D.12. Son of William Gibb, and of Elizabeth Gibb, of Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Also remembered on the Huntly Parish War Memorial, a reporter for the Huntly Express for 10 years. Grave inscription reads: "Sadly Missed And Deeply Mourned".
Fl/Sgt. William John Haddon. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 17.D.9. Son of John Robert and Isabella Haddon; husband of Margaret Haddon, of Cricklewood, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "He Was So Thoughtful, Good And Kind. A Beautiful Memory He Left Behind".
P/O. Victor Patrick Smith. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 17.D.10. Born in 1922 at Aston, Warwickshire, England, the son of Edward Frederick Smith and Eileen Byrne of Birmingham, England. His father was a retired police officer.
Fl/Sgt. John Robert King. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 17.D.13. Next of Kin details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
Page researched and placed for Tricia Fraser, daughter of Sgt Fraser. Also to Stephen White for details on P/O. Victor Smith. For further details our thanks to the sources as quoted.