15/16.03.1944 No. 625 Squadron Lancaster III DV194 CF-F Fl/Sgt. Frank G. Hodgkins
Date: 15/16th March 1944
Unit: No. 625 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Kelstern, Lincolnshire.
Location: Obereschach, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Frank Grafton Hodgkins 574399 RAF Age ? Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Norman Sinclair Allan 9066502 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Nav: W/O II. Arthur John Dennis Fox R/15142 RCAF Age 24. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Allen Edward Roy Ward 1509409 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Smith 1527311 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John McDougal McIntyre 1568125 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold Edward Chapman 1876520 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 19:08 hrs from RAF Kelstern inLincolnshire to attack the city of Stuttgart. A total of 863 aircraft - made up from 617 Lancasters, 230 Halifaxes and 16 Mosquitos took part in this raid.
The German night fighters split the force into two parts. The bombers flew over France nearly as far as the Swiss border before turning North east to approach Stuttgart. This resulted in delaying the Luftwaffe making contact with the bomber force. When the German fighters did arrive just before Stuttgart was reached, a fierce combat followed. A total of 37 aircraft were lost (27 Lancasters and 10 Halifaxes - 2 other Lancasters force landed in Switzerland) Adverse winds delayed the opening of the attack and the same winds may have caused the pathfinder marking to fall back well short of the target area - despite the clear weather conditions.
Some of the bombing fell in the city centre but most were ineffective and fell into open country south - west of the city. The bombing destroyed some housing and a college. A total of 88 people on the ground were killed and a further 203 injured.
DV194 is understood to have been shot down by a night fighter from 1./JG301 between 23:00 hrs. and 23:59 hrs. but no confirmed claim from Luftwaffe records. The aircraft exploded and scattered debris near the village of Obereschach, north, north east of Villingen, Germany. (see map)
Aircrew losses on this operation: Killed - 218, Injured - 3, PoW - 47, Interned - 1, Evaded - 17.
Original Crew grave marker (courtesy Nick Smith)
Crew graves Durnbach 2013 (courtesy David Franklin)
Fl/Sgt. Frank Grafton Hodgkins. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 11.E.15-18. Son of Alfred Grafton Hodgkins and Theodora Hodgkins, nephew of Mr. R. Lerry, of Worcester, England.
Sgt. Norman Sinclair Allan. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 11.E.15-18. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?
W/O II. Arthur John Dennis Fox. Durnbach War Cemetery Grave 11.E.14. Son of Arthur E. Fox and Lena M. Fox, of Springford, Ontario, Canada.
Sgt. Allen Edward Roy Ward. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 11.E.15-18. Son of Roy McGreggor Ward, and of Jean Ward (née Holding), husband of Margaret Ward (née Arbury), of Blackpool, Lancashire, England.
Sgt. Arthur Smith and his grave at Durnbach (courtesy Nick Smith)
Sgt. Arthur Smith. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 11.E.15-18. Son of N.H. Smith of 77 Shadsworth Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, England.
Sgt. John McDougal McIntyre. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 11.E.15-18. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?
Sgt. Harold Edward Chapman. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 11.E.15-18. Son of Albert Victor and Maud Violet Chapman, of East Greenwich, London, England.
Researched for the son of Sgt. Arthur Smith Mr Peter Smith and for all the relatives of the crew.
Sgt. Arthur Smith during training (courtesy Nick Smith)