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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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61 Squadron Crest
14/15.10.1944 61 Squadron Lancaster I ME595 QR:Y Fg.Off. Norman E. Hoad

Operation: Braunschweig

Date: 14/15th October 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: 61 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ME595

Code: QR:Y

Base: RAF Skellingthorpe

Location: Rieseberg, Germany

Pilot: Fg.Off. Norman Edward Hoad 143275 RAFVR Age 21. PoW No: 8372 * (1)

Pilot 2: Fg.Off. S. Cadman 184372 RAFVR PoW No: 8561 *

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Cyril Stanley Webb 1629973 RAFVR Age 20. Survived (2)

Nav: Fg.Off. K.C.W. Ball 153197 RAFVR PoW No: 8361 *

Air Bmr: Fg.Off. W.H. Pullin 55233 RAFVR PoW details not known (probably *)

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. George Patrick Boyd 1290787 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. N. England 1217807 RAFVR PoW No: 1066 **

Air Gnr: Sgt. C.V.C. Embury 1821623 RAFVR PoW No: 1065 **

* Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland.

** Stalag Luft 7, Bankau near Kreuzberg, Silesia, Germany. (Now Bąków, Opole Voivodeship, Poland)


Leaving RAF Skellingthorpe (Skelly as known to the crews) in Lincolnshire at 22:51 hrs to bomb Brunswick (Braunschweig) this the fourth attempt by the allies to destroy the city. This operation was listed as the most devastating of the war. 233 Lancaster bombed the city. 150 hectares were destroyed by the bombing, the last time the city was hit with any strength during the war.

Above crew of ME595 L-R: Fg.Off. Ball, Sgt. Embury, Fg.Off. Pullin, Sgt. England, Sgt. Wilson (not this crew), Sgt. Webb. Front: Sgt. Boyd, Hoad.

Above the compass from ME595 and below the goggles that belonged to F/O. W.H. Pullin - these were sent into us in June 2015 by Dutch researcher Ernest Donders, the compass is part of his own collection. The goggles went to another buyer.

This was the only aircraft lost during this operation. On its return from the operation the aircraft was hit by flak and crashed between 02:45 hrs - 03:00 hrs with the Lancaster crashing at Rieseberg, Germany.

61 Squadron Lancaster QR:Y

(1) Fg.Off. Norman Edward Hoad - remained in the RAF after the war, retiring in March 1978 as Air Vice-Marshal. He passed away on the 29th November 2014, age 91. (shown left)

(2) Sgt. Cyril Stanley Webb - taken prisoner by a road worker, Hermann Behrens and handed over to the local police at Groß Schwülper. Word was sent to Major Dinge, Luftwaffe commander of the Fliegerhorst detachment at Völkenrode airfield. Ordering Stabsfeldwebel Georg Gawliczek and Josef Bussem to collect the prisoner, he hinted strongly that the airman should not be brought back alive.

The two men set off on their motor-cycle combination to fulfil their orders. Having taken custody of Webb they stopped on the banks of the Mittelland Canal and pretended to urinate. As Webb wandered about, his escort shot him dead and threw his body into the canal. During the War Crimes trial the officers used the excuse that he was ‘shot trying to escape’. A German soldier testified that Sgt. Webb could not move as he had a leg injury.

The three Luftwaffe officers accused, 55 year old, Maj. Wilhelm Hermann Dinge, 38 year old Stabsfeldwebel (WO) Georg Gawliczek and 30 year old Stabsfeldwebel (WO) Josef Bussem were hanged on the 14th November 1947 in Hamelin. The CWGC have Sgt. Cyril Webb listed as killed on the 19th October 1944 - he is buried next to Sgt Boyd.

We are indebted to Marc Hall for image of Sgt. Cyril Webb and to Traugott Vitz and the Vitz Archive - now on this website.

'Missing - Presumed Killed': 240 pages Published by Fighting High Publishing (1 Sept. 2018) ISBN-13: 978-1-9998128-5-0. Purchase via this link.

'Operation Hurricane': 256 pages Published by Fighting High Publishing (19 Jan. 2013) ISBN-13: 978-0957116337. Purchase via this link.

Marc Hall developed an interest in aviation at an early age, and gained a commercial pilots licence. Marc's research in to RAF Bomber Command is ongoing and his first book 'Bomber Command Operation Hurricane' met with critical acclaim. Sean Feast started a career in journalism in 1985, concurrently training at the London College of Printing and later joining Maxwell Business Communications. He has written or co-written more than a dozen books.

Burial details:

Sgt. Cyril Stanley Webb. Hannover War Cemetery. Grave 2.G.14. Born during 1924. Son to Henry Charles (Chas) and Elsie May (née Hillier) Webb of Great Coxwell, Oxfordshire, England.

Sgt. George Patrick Boyd. Hannover War Cemetery. Grave 2.G.15. Son of George and Edith Elizabeth Boyd, of Sandwich, Kent, England. Grave inscription reads: "The Parting Was Sudden The Shock Severe To Part With One We Loved So Dear".

Above: Sgt. George Patrick Boyd's medals (courtesy Michel Beckers)

For further details our thanks to Malcolm Hoad, son of the pilot who contacted us in March 2015. Also to Ernest Donders from the Netherlands, for information on the compass and goggles. Thanks to Gavin Anderson for the update to Sgt. Webb's NoK details. Also to Marc Hall, Sean Feast and Traugott Vitz for war crime information. Also to Normand Hoad for crew photograph, the Boyd family for George Boyd photograph, Sarah O'Donovan for photograph of Sgt. Cyril Stanley Webb.

RS 19.10.2018 - Minor corrections to punctuation and German place name
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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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