27/28.08.1944 No. 115 Squadron Lancaster I HK556 A4-F F/O. Holder
Date: 26/27th August 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 115 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Witchford, Cambridgeshire
Location: Brodersdorf woods, Germany
Pilot: F/O. Donald Fraser Holder NZ/421053 RNZAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Maxwell John Pearson 1836265 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Henry Herbert Hartley 1582326 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. John William Swannell 1339960 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Roy Clatworthy 1338676 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Allen Stewart Jackson AUS/434791 RAAF Age 19. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Athol Grant Webber AUS/432605 RAAF Age 19. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Witchford, Cambridgeshire at 20:19 hrs - 372 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups despatched to Kiel. 17 Lancasters lost, 4.6 per cent of the Lancaster force.
The Pathfinder marking was hampered by smoke-screens but the local report tells of a very serious raid with heavy bombing in the town centre and surrounding districts and widespread fires fanned by a strong wind. The Rathaus was completely burnt out and many other public buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged. Some 134 people on the ground were killed with a further 1,002 suffering various degrees of injuries.
Above left: Sgt. Francis Alexander Jack Scott, F/O. Donald Fraser Holder, FL/Sgt. Arthur Russell Young and Sgt. Steve Holder, thought to be his brother. Right: Sgt. Steve Holder, Sgt. Francis Alexander Jack Scott, Fl/Sgt. R.W. Vaney, Fl/Sgt. Arthur Russell Young.
No confirmed reports regarding the loss of Lancaster HK556 but other reports state that it is possible that the aircraft came down in the Brodersdorf woods area, other reports state that it was Lancaster I LM230 from 12 Squadron. The remains of the crew (the aircraft crashed with a full bomb load) were buried at the Kiel Cemetery as unidentified. Consequently they are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.
The others lost from the Squadron:
Lancaster I HK560 A4-K Flown by P/O. Howard Charles Braun J/88272 RCAF from Toronto, Canada, killed with all 6 other crew.
Lancaster I LM127 KO-H Flown by 29 yearly, F/O. James Edward Morgan 182018 RAFVR from Hammersmith, London - killed with all 6 other crew.
F/O. Donald Fraser Holder. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 262. Son of Albert William Holder and Leila Beatrice Holder (née Burrows), of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Sgt. Maxwell John Pearson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 236. Son of Melville Llewellyn Pearson and Mary Louise Pearson, of Croesyceiliog, Monmouthshire, Wales
Fl/Sgt. Henry Herbert Hartley. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 218. Son of Frederick and Ellen Hartley, of Birmingham, England.
Fl/Sgt. John William Swannell. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 222. Son of John and Violet Constance Swannell, of Hastings, Sussex, England.
Sgt. Douglas Roy Clatworthy. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 227. No further details - are you able to assist?
Fl/Sgt. Allen Stewart Jackson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 260. Son of John Joseph and Olive Isabel Jackson, of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.
Fl/Sgt. Athol Grant Webber. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 262. Son of William Thomas Webber and May Webber, of West Maitland, New South Wales, Australia.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jan Field Hodgson who’s relative, Sgt. Francis Alexander Jack Scott left a photo album with many great historical photos of 75 Squadron aircrew - submitted to Aircrew Remembered in May 2017. Also many thanks to Donald Holder, nephew of F/O. Holder who contacted us in June 2017. Further pages are being added daily thanks to the great work from Jan for us.