24/25.02.1944 115 Squadron Lancaster II LL701 KO-F Flt.Lt. James C. Hornby
Operation: Schweinfurt, Germany (Ball bearing factories)
Date: 24/25th February 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: 115 Squadron
Type: Lancaster II
Base: RAF Witchford, Ely, Cambridgeshire.
Location: No details currently available
Pilot: Flt.Lt. James Clement Hornby 150016 RAFVR Age 32. Missing.
Flt.Eng: Sgt. ‘Arty’ Arthur Frederick Challinor 1623295 RAFVR Age 20. Missing.
Nav: Flt.Sgt. ‘Cyril’ Leonard Charles Casper 1392257 RAFVR Age 22. Missing.
Air/Bmr: Fg.Off. John Buller Colthurst 143762 RAFVR Age 33. Missing.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Morley 1531492 RAFVR Age 22. Missing.
Air/Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Gordon Lewis Ward R/191520 RCAF Age 19. Missing.
Air/Gnr: Plt.Off. Francis Leonard Kennedy J/92027 RCAF Age 19. Missing.
A relative of Sgt. Arthur Frederick Challinor contacted us in November 2013, would like to make contact with Mark Challinor, son of the flight engineer.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Witchford at 18:50hrs to join a massive attacking force of 734 aircraft made up from 460 Lancasters, 169 Halifaxes and 11 Mosquitoes to attack the German main production area of ball bearings.
Above left: Flt.Sgt. ‘Cyril’ Leonard Charles Casper, Right: Sgt. Gordon Lewis Ward (see credits)
Above: Plt.Off. Francis Leonard Kennedy probably taken whilst under training as his uniform does not have an Air Gunner brevet. (Courtesy Cristopher Thompson)
The plan was to split the force into two halves separated with a 2 hour interval. This did work with 22 aircraft being lost on the first raid but half that number on the second and the majority of losses on the second wave were caused by flak.
362 People were killed on the ground from this raid and one from the previous night by American bombers.
LL701 was official posted as lost without a trace. However, an entry in the German night fighter logs for the night of the 24th/25th February 1944 has come to light and records a 115 Sqn Lancaster serial LL701 as being lost in the North sea, cause unknown. (Further research is being undertaken)
Two aircraft from 115 Squadron were lost on this operation, the other:
Lancaster LL644 KO-N flown by 22 year old, Fg.Off. Ronald Frank Nice 138588 RAFVR from Hornchurch, Essex, England - killed along with all other 6 crew members.
A 4-Mot was claimed by Lt. Hans Raum, his 5th victory, from 9./NJG3 nr. Würzburg: 6500m at 01:32. The aircraft was either LL644 or 463 Sqn Lancaster LM444. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 15 March 1944) Part 1 - Theo Boiten)
None - all commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
Flt.Lt. James Clement Hornby. Panel 202. Son of Mrs W.Hornby of Port Lewaigue, Isle of Man.
Sgt. Arthur Frederick Challinor. Panel 226. Son of Frederick James and Ivy Challinor of Liverpool, England. Known as Arty by family and friends.
Flt.Sgt. Leonard Charles Casper. Panel 216. Son of Cyril Leonard and Beatrice Maud Casper of Peckham, London, England. Known as Cyril by family and friends.
Fg.Off. John Buller Colthurst. Panel 205. Son of Arthur Beadon and Mary Teresa (née Paul) Colthurst.
Sgt. Kenneth Morley. Panel 234. Son of John Turner and Maud Morley of Leeds, England.
Flt.Sgt. Gordon Lewis Ward. Panel 255. Son of Lewis Garfield and Ellen Jane Ward of London, Ontario, Canada. born 5th March 1924. Further information: Sgt. Ward joined up in September 1942 and gained his wireless/Air Gunners wing at Mont Joli, Quebec before being posted overseas in June 1943.
Plt.Off. Francis Leonard Kennedy. Panel 251. Son of Duncan and Catherine Kennedy of Apple Hill, Ontario, Canada. Born on July 30th 1924.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Special thanks to Leonard, Arthur, Eileen, William and Patricia Chaplin, the family of Sergeant Casper for information and photograph. Also to the Canadian Veterans Roll of honour for the photo of Sergeant Ward. Thanks to Christoper Thompson, for the photograph of his Great Uncle, Sgt. Kennedy and for the German Night Fighter logs.