08/09.10.1943 No 106 Squadron Lancaster III DV272 ZN-F Sq/Ldr. David Howroyd
Date: 08/09th October 1943 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 106 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire
Location: Ronnenberg, Germany
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. David William Southam Howroyd 40115 RAF Age 25. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Alan Williams 1677696 RAFVR Age 19. Killed (1)
Nav: Sgt. Thomas Herbert Davies 159934 RAFVR Age 34. Killed
Air/Bmr: P/O. L.D. Cromb J/18230 RCAF Age ? PoW No: 3219 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Bellaria.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Stanley Knox Chappell 976906 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Glendinning Kelly 1559792 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: F/O. Alan James Horobin RAFVR 127862 Age 21 Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire at 22:51 hrs. joining a force of 496 aircraft comprising 282 Lancasters, 26 Wellingtons and 188 Halifaxes was despatched on this mission whilst the largest diversionary raid of the war thus far, was carried out on Bremen by 95 Stirlings and 24 Pathfinder heavies. A second diversionary raid was carried out on Berlin by 7 Mosquitoes. The raid on Hanover was to be the last in which Wellingtons took part.
430 of the aircraft designated to attack Hanover delivered a most concentrated attack against the city whilst 7 reported attacking the alternative areas. For various reasons 32 aircraft aborted the sortie and 27 did not return.
Weather over the target was described as cloudless but hazy. The searchlights were hampered by the haze and flak was reported as being only moderate. Though initially deceived by the diversionary attacks a significant number of enemy fighters met the main bomber stream near Hoya about 60km north of Hanover and followed it. Thus, considerable fighter activity was reported during the latter stages of the route and over the target. Perhaps not surprisingly only one of the 27 losses was definitely attributable to flak and though only 8 of the rest were actually observed being shot down by fighters it is probable that most of the other losses were due to enemy fighters.
The pathfinder force commenced bombing at 01:26hrs, the H2S groundmarking being exceptionally accurate. The main force attacked from 01.34hrs until 01:50hrs devastating two square miles of the city centre and damaging 62 factories, much railway, commercial and residential property and numerous military installations.
Photographs and location details our sincere thanks to German researcher Mr. Dirk Hartmann who also interviewed an eye witness to the crash and has carried out extensive work on this and many other losses.
Mr. Dirk Hartmann went to the crash area in February 2016 and met an eye witness Mr. Fricke. He explained that the tail unit was severed from the fuselage and was seen to be hanging from trees opposite the field where DV272 fell. Both photographs above show a panoramic view of both the field and the trees where the tail unit fell.
Prior to service Alan Horobin worked at the famous Claridges Hotel, Mayfair, London.
It is thought possible that Lancaster DV272 was shot down by Uffz. Otto Kutzner of 5./NJG3 at 01:46 hrs. This was his first claim of the war. Went on to claim a total of 8 night and possibly 2 others during daylight engagements. Wounded on the 08th March 1945 at Göttingen airfield his crew were killed - he was hospitalised for two years and had his left leg amputated, survived the war. (Information courtesy of the Kracker Archive, on this website)
2 Lancasters were lost from 106 Squadron on this raid, the other:
W4242 ZN-A Flown by 20 year old P/O. John Edwin Hay AUS/412958 RAAF from Bondi Junction, New South Wales, Australia. Killed with all his 6 other crew.
Some of this crew survived earlier ditching in the North Sea just over a month previously. Lancaster III JA893 ZN-C
Sq/Ldr. David William Southam Howroyd. Hannover War Cemetery. Grave: 3.D.3. Son of Bernard William and Marjorie Helen Howroyd and husband of Barbara Arm Lester Howroyd, of Kelvedon, Essex, England.
Sgt. Alan Williams. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave: 3.D.5. Son of Edwin and Rose Williams, of Cockerham, Lancashire, England.
(1) His 18 year old brother, Sig. Owen Williams 14913071 also died on service whilst with Royal Corps of Signals. Buried at Yeovil Cemetery. On a trooping flight to India on the 22nd November 1945 when after take off from RAF Merryfield, Liberator VIII KH126 from 53 Squadron struck a hill side at Whites Farm, Broadway some 4.5 miles from the airfield. All 27 passengers and crew were killed.
Sgt. Thomas Herbert Davies. Hannover War Cemetery. Grave: 3.D.4. Son of Herbert L. and Martha A. Davies, of St. David's, Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Sgt. Douglas Stanley Knox Chappell. Hannover War Cemetery. Grave: 3.D.6. Understood to be from Hythe, Folkestone, Kent. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
Fl/Sgt. Ronald Glendinning Kelly. Hannover War Cemetery. Grave: 3.D.1. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
F/O. Alan James Horobin. Hannover War Cemetery. Grave: 3.D.2. Alan James Horobin was the only child of Theodore Horobin (born in 1892 in Paddington, London) and Kathleen Julia James. They were married in West Ham, London in 1921 and Alan was born on 22nd May in 1922 in Hampstead, London. His parents sadly divorced and Theodore Horobin died in June 1932 aged 40 in Paddington, London. His mother, Kathleen remarried in 1949 (a Samuel McLachlan who died in 1953) in Nottingham (where she had been living with her sister Annie and her family). She eventually returned to the London area and her death is registered in Battersea in December 1962 aged 67. Mary Gauntlett-Munn contacted us in January 2018 and as the only living relative she has managed to keep a lot of details and photographs.
With many thanks to Mary Gauntlett-Munn (née James - cousin of F/O. Alan James Horobin), also to Dirk Hartmann for his valuable research for Mary. To our Roy Wilcock for his research on this Hanover operation.