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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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Bomber Command Crest
26/27.04.1944 No. 619 Squadron Lancaster I LL919 Fl/Lt. Gunzi Crew loss

Operation: Schweinfurt Germay (Ball bearing production facilities)

Date: 26/27th April 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 619 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: LL919

Code: PG-W

Base: Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire

Location: Landeville, Haute Marne

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Guy Godfrey Charles Gunzi 169429 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Ernest George Cass 573138 RAF Age 21. Killed

Nav: F/O. Nickolas Vlassie J/28974 RCAF Age 25. Killed (1)

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. J. W. Mills PoW Survived.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alan Pickstone 1436408 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Lewis Leslie Feindell J/86639 RCAF Age 21. Killed (2)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Frank 1590367 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 21:32 hrs. from Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire to attack Schweinfurt in what is described as a failure with the low-level marking of the Mosquitoes from 5 group bot being accurate, bombing was very poor and much of it fell outside the target area. 2 people on the ground were killed but following the fierce fighting with the Luftwaffe Night fighters the allies lost a total of 21 aircraft of the 215 taking part!

Lancaster LL919 is listed as being shot down by Oblt. Dietrich Schmidt of 8./NJG1 with combat taking place over Dijon, South West of St. Dizier at a height of 4.400 mtrs. at 00:47 hrs.

This plaque forms part of the memorial at the former RAF Dunholme Lodge, the concrete being from one of the runways - it is now private land. This piece of concrete with this plaque is set against the remaining blast wall of a building that was near to where the control tower used to be and also forms part of the memorial, it is surrounded by plants and well cared for. (Anne Grimshaw and photo supplied by Richard at the Airfield Information Exchange Website) Understood to have been placed by Fl/Sgt. Mills the only survivor of this crew. Sadly he died in 1993.



Above left to right: P/O. Feindell, Fl/Sgt. Alan Pickstone (courtesy RAF Museum)


Left: Oblt.Dietrich Schmidt of 8./NJG1 Oblt. Dietrich survived the war with 38 kills and died in March 2002.







The crew burial site at Landeville Churchyard


BURIAL DETAILS:

Fl/Lt. Guy Godfrey Charles Gunzi. Landeville Churchyard Grave 1. Son of Charles Terrence and Ella Maria Gunzi.

Fl/Sgt. Ernest George Cass. Landeville Churchyard Grave 4. Son of Henry James Cass and Thirza Cass, husband of Barbara Eileen Cass, of Sherwood, Nottingham, England


(Photo: courtesy David Archer - Operation Picture Me)

F/O. Nickolas Vlassie. Landeville Churchyard Grave 2. Son of Andrew and Photini Vlassie, of 101 Norquay Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He attended Gladstone and Kelvin Schools and was manager of the College Inn, Portage Avenue before enlistment. His brother Sgt. Emmanuel Vlassie was stationed at No. 3 Wireless School, Tuxedo.

Fl/Sgt. Alan Pickstone. Landeville Churchyard Grave 6. Son of Harold and Minnie Pickstone, of Radcliffe, Lancashire, England.

P/O. Lewis Leslie Feindell. Landeville Churchyard Grave 5. Son of Lewis and Agne (nee Pratt). Nephew of John T. Green of Semans, Saskatchewan, Canada, who raised him after his parents died. Half brother of John William and Dale

Sgt. Kenneth Frank. Landeville Churchyard Grave 3. Son of Arthur and Ottoline Frank, of Pickering, Yorkshire, England.


Researched by for and with the assistance of Anne Grimshaw. Further information supplied by Colin Bamford. Paul Gregg and Airfield Information Exchange.

(1) Vlassie Lake in Manitoba is named after F/O. Vlassie

(2) Feindell Lake in Saskatchewan is named after P/O. Feindell

RW 26.03.2016: Photograph and other details of F/O. Nickolas Vlassie added

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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