27/28.04.1944 No. 75 Squadron Lancaster III ND796 AA-J F/O. Herron
Date: 27/28th April 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 75 Squadron (RNZAF)
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Mepal
Location: Langenhart near Stockach
Pilot: F/O. Robert Weir Herron NZ/422282 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. John William Germing 1803074 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Matthew Roland Henderson NZ/427204 RNZAF Age 25. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Walter Reginald Percival 553063 RAF Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Euan Wilfred McLachlan NZ/415266 RNZAF Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: W/O. Keith Alfred Smith NZ/416022 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: F/O. Peter Ernest Chilman 155993 RAFVR Age ? Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 22:05 hrs from RAF Mepal to attack the small town of Friedrichshafen the reason being that it contained important factories manufacturing gearboxes and engines for the German tank force. The attack was arranged on a moonlit night to make the bombing more successful. Although more dangerous doing this the town was south of the country and on the very limit of Luftwaffe night-fighters.
The bomber stream approached and bombed the target with no interception from fighters. However, during the attack the Luftwaffe arrived. 18 of the 322 Lancasters were brought down.
It is estimated that 100 twin-engined night fighters were sent to intercept the 322 Lancasters in the bomber stream - Lancaster ND796 was shot down at 01:37 hrs by Fw. Gunther Bahr of 3./NJG6 with the aircraft crashing at Langenhart near Stockach.
The attack itself proved very successful with 1,234 tons of bombs being dropped resulting in an estimated 99 acres (67%) of the town being devastated - the gearbox factory was destroyed along with other important buildings. Civil reports state that 136 people were killed and a further 375 injured, with 656 houses destroyed and 421 damaged to a severe degree.
Above left: F/O. Euan Wilfred McLachlan. Right: rear - Russell Young, F/O. James Allan Fleming, Sgt. Francis Scott, centre - Bob Vancy, F/O. Euan McLachlan, front - Les Brown, ‘Bubs’ Richards, Dave Thomas, Fl/Sgt John Cecil Turner. (courtesy Jan Field-Dodgson)
(1) This was the 16th kill for Fw. Gunther Bahr who went on to claim a confirmed total of 37 kills. He survived the war, passed away on the 29th April 2009.
F/O. Robert Weir Herron. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 4.C.11-7. Son of David Craig Herron, and of Edith Stewart Herron (née Smart), of Auckland City, New Zealand. M.A. (Otago University).
Sgt. John William Germing. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 4.C.11-7. Son of Wilhelmus Joseph and Leah Elizabeth Germing and husband of Lilian May Germing, of Potters Bar, Middlesex, England.
Fl/Sgt. Matthew Roland Henderson. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 4.C.11-7. Son of Matthew C. Henderson, and of Agnes Henderson (née Findlay), of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand.
Sgt. Walter Reginald Percival. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 4.C.11-7. Son of Wallis George and Ellen Elizabeth Percival, of Blackheath, London, England.
F/O. Euan Wilfred McLachlan. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 4.C.11-7. Son of Wallace Lamorg McLachlan and Erica McLachlan, of Tinwald, Canterbury, New Zealand.
W/O. Keith Alfred Smith. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 4.C.11-7. Son of William James Smith and Elsie Mary Smith, of Pahiatua, Wellington, New Zealand.
F/O. Peter Ernest Chilman. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 4.C.11-7. No further details are you able to assist?
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown below. Thanks also to Jan Field-Dodgson (relative of the pilot, Sgt. Francis Scott and whose album these photographs were scanned - April 2017) Auckland War Memorial Museum. Other sources as well as Errol Martyn - For Your Tomorrow Vols 1-3.