07/08.05.1944 70 Squadron Wellington X MF144 DU:H Fg Off. Sydney J. Hanney
Operation: Bucharest, Romania.
Date: 7th/8th May 1944 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: 70 Squadron
Type: Wellington X
Base: RAF Foggia, Italy
Location: Talpa Bâscoveni, Romania
Pilot: Fg Off. Sydney James Hanney 159459 RAFVR Age? Killed
Nav: WO. Alfred Charles Weppler 413919 RAAF Age 30. Survived/PoW
Bomb Aimer: Flt Lt. Clive Hugh Masters DFC. 42783 RNZAF Age 25. Killed
2nd Bomb Aimer: Fg Off. Percy Raymond Billingsley 152751 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Charles Frederick Pope 1033297 RAFVR Age 33. Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Alexander Francis Rowlands 2204416 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
205 Group to attack the capital of Romania, Bucharest. Industrial targets in the city were chosen as well as the railway yards in the North West. Barracks were ht during the raid as well as the main railway yards.
It is thought that Welington MF156 was hit by flak with the aircraft coming down at Talpa Bâscoveni, north east of Vartoapele, Romania. One crew member, WO. Weppler an Australian survived and is thought to have been taken PoW but we have no further details on this. Perhaps you are able to assist? We do know that he survived the crash, only to be captured after a few days in hiding.
Photographs of the graves are available at a higher resolution free of charge to any relative / friend of the crew.
This crew also are remembered on a special plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire, England. (photo shown above courtesy Sarah Rowlands)
Fg Off. Sydney James Hanney. Bucharest War Cemetery. Grave 2.C.6. Next of kin details not currently available, are you able to assist?
Flt Lt. Clive Hugh Masters DFC. Bucharest War Cemetery. Grave 1.D.6. Born on the 15th March 1919 at Ongaonga, North Island. Son of James Ethelbert Masters and of Gertrude Ethel Masters (née Powell), of Onga Onga, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.
Worked as a farmer on his mothers sheep farm in Te Hunga prior to service. Enlisted in the RNZAF on the 18th April 1942 at Rotorua. Awarded his navigators badge and promoted to Sergeant and he was commissioned on the 23rd October 1942. A total of 444 flying hours logged and on his 35th operational sortie he was the Squadron Bomber Leader.
DFC was posthumously awarded to acting Flt Lt. Masters whilst with 70 Sqn. Promulgated in the London Gazette 23rd March 1945.
Fg Off. Percy Raymond Billingsley. Bucharest War Cemetery. Grave 2.C.8. Son of Percy William and Fanny C. M. Billingsley, of Birmingham, England.
Sgt. Charles Frederick Pope. Bucharest War Cemetery. Grave 1.C.5. Son of Charles Frederick and Janet Pope, of Rhos-on-Sea, Denbighshire, Wales.
Sgt. Alexander Francis Rowlands. Bucharest War Cemetery. Grave 2.C.7. Son of Richard Francis and Ada Rowlands, brother of Austin, Mary and Monica of Liverpool. England.
Researched and dedicated to Sarah Rowlands (great niece of Sgt. Rowlands) and all the relatives of this crew with thanks to Commonwealth War Grave Commission, Patrick Macdonald 'Through Darkness to Light'. Also to Julia Zhu - relative of Flt Lt. Masters who contacted us in March 2017.
Anyone who has further information on this crew or details of the loss Sarah Rowlands would very much like to hear from you