12/13.01.1941 No. 149 Squadron Wellington II T2807 Sgt. Richard A. Hodgson
Operation: Turin, Italy
Date: 12/13th January 1941 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 149 Squadron
Type: Wellington MkII
Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk
Location: near Venice Beach, Italy
Pilot: Sgt Richard Arthur Hodgson DFM RAFVR Evaded capture (1)
Pilot 2: P/O. Kenneth S Wilson 81026 RAF Age 20. PoW No. 2547 Stalag Luft 3 Sagen and Bellaria
Obs: Sgt. L.W. Hatherly 759243 RAF PoW No. 260523 Stalag 4B Muhlberg (Elbe)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. "Lofty" E.E. Harding RAF PoW No. not known Stalag 4B Muhlberg (Elbe)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Anthony MacAnally 969038 RAF PoW No. 260747 Stalag 4B Muhlberg (Elbe) (2)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Frederick Pummery 755709 RAF PoW 138981 Stalag 11A Altengrabow
REASON FOR LOSS:
Hodgson's crew attacked the secondary target, which they hit. Then they carried out a low-level run across Venice, dropping bundles of propaganda leaflets. It was then that the Wellington was hit. Bullets burst all around Wilson and Harding the Wireless Operator. Hodgson Yelled over the intercom "Were on fire”!
At the PoW Camp - Sgt. James MacAnally front, 2nd from left. it was 2 years since they were listed as missing before they received news that the crew were prisoners. The camp Padre sent this photo to the family assuring them of their captivity rather than lost. (courtesy Veronica Ford)
They had flown right over the only armed naval patrol ship in the lagoon. Wilson reckoned that the wimpy must have been doing 200 mph as they hit the water. The front-gunner Sgt. Pummery was still in his turret. Incredibly all crew members survived without injury. They were rescued by the Regia Marina and taken to an island south of Venice.
(1) Sgt Richard Arthur Hodgson DFM awarded 09th May 1941.
(2) James MacAnally released from captivity on the 23rd April 1945 - enlisted 24th May 1940 - left the service on the 18th August 1945, passed away some time around 1966.
None - all crew survived
Researched by Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered, February 2016. Photographs from the Michel Beckers collection. Photo of Sgt. James MacAnally courtesy John Ford (grandchild of James Anthony MacAnally and Monica Mary Therese MacAnally) With thanks also to Veronica Ford for additional information / photographs of Sgt. James Anthony MacAnally - May 2017.
Further information on James MacAnally, notes from his daughter: It turned out my Mum was pregnant with Margaret the eldest daughter. My father then didn’t see her till she was about 4 and half when he got home from the War. Then they went on to have nine children. Margaret, Padraig, Monica, Veronica, John (RIP), Jim, Marie Anne, Marty, and Gus who was was born in Australia 1962.
I have heard him say the following;
“The first night they crashed, they took refuge in an old monastery on top of a hill.”
When the family travelled to Australia in December 1961 and the ship was berthed for a day at Naples, my father tried to get to an old monastery at the top of a hill. We took a tram and there was a lot of walking for us uphill but he didn’t get to where he wanted.
I heard him tell this story to a mate one night;
“We escaped. I was with a Frenchman. We ran across an open area and climbed over a very high fence. I don’t know how we did it but we did. We ran and the first night we took refuge in an old barn house. We were hungry and didn’t know what food looked like. In the camp some men would eat numbes. We ate something that was lying on the floor and it turned out to be rat bait. We were very sick from that.”