09.04.1945 No. 61 Squadron Lancaster I RF121 QR-J Fl/Lt. Albert P. Greenwood 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’ Iain Fergusson 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 ? 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 (2)
We welcome contact from any relatives of the crew who are able to contribute any further information.
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 Lancasters 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. None from the U boat operation. 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.
61 Squadron Lancaster II
On the 3rd June 1947 during a visit by the MREU (3) 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, from 103 Star Street, Ware, Hertfordshire - 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 some as a direct result of this decision!.
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 tendered 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.
F/O. William Gibb. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 17.D.12. Son of William Gibb, and of Elizabeth Gibb, of Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Fl/Sgt. William John Haddon. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 17.D.9. Son of John Robert and Isabella Haddo, husband of Margaret Haddon, of Cricklewood, Middlesex, England.
P/O. Victor Patrick Smith. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 17.D.10. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
Fl/Sgt. John Robert King. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 17.D.13. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
Page researched and placed for relatives of the crew. For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission. National Archives Australia.