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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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156 Squadron Crest
24/25.06.1943 No 156 Squadron Lancaster III ED858 GT-R P/O. Hudson

Operation: Wuppertal

Date: 24/25th June 1943 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 156 Squadron (Pathfinders)

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ED858

Code: GT-R

Base: RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire

Location: Spiel, Germany

Pilot: P/O. Richard Julian Hudson AUS/403742 RAAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Harold Jones 629048 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

Nav: Sgt. Roy Brown 1213064 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Arnold Thomas Barlow 1314768 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Wilfred Stanley Brooks 1193006 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Richards 1356283 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Cyril Christopher Adams 1222832 RAFVR Age 30. Killed


Taking off from RAF Warboys in what was then Huntingdonshire at 23:13hrs. 630 heavy aircraft took part in the bombing of the Elberfeld region of Wuppertal. The other region of the town Barmen, had been devastated at the end of May.

The Pathfinders marked the target with great accuracy with a reported 94% of the target destroyed with the allied force bombing between 01:01 and 01:47 hrs. 815 tons of high explosive bombs fell, together with over 330,000 incendiaries. 171 Industrial premises as well as about 3,000 houses destroyed. A further 53 Industrial buildings and 2,500 houses damaged. It is estimated that 1,800 people were killed on the ground with a further 2,400 suffering injuries.

The nightfighter of the Luftwaffe and the anti-aircraft units managed to bring down some 33 heavy bombers most during the outbound part of the operation.

ED858 was intercepted and shot down at 01:24 hrs by Hptm. Werner Hoffman (shown right) of 4./NJG5 on detachment from 4/NJG1, his 6th claim of the war. The Lancaster crashed inn the village of Spiel close to the village of Titz. All the crew were killed and understood to have been buried initially in the Cologne Military cemetery.

Later a team from the Missing Research and Enquiry Unit post war confirmed that only 3 of the crew graves could be positively identified. The remaining 4 members although known to have been buried within the Cologne Cemetery could not have a positive identification made and consequently their graves have had to have graves marked as 'Unidentified Airman of WW2". Relatives were informed of this in 1948 but that their names would be placed on the Runnymede Memorial.

156 Squadron lost another crew on this operation:

Lancaster III EE127 GT-X Flown by 21 year old, P/O. Leo Frederick Joseph Brown AUS/416018 RAAF, lost with all other 6 other crew.

(1) Whilst with 14 Operational Training Unit (92 Group) on the 13th August 1942 the pilot escaped with his life along with 4 others when the Avro Anson R9608 he was piloting came into land at RAF Cottesmore. Following a mistake from Airport control permitting him to land when another aircraft was taking off. The pilot intended to overshoot but then realised that due to lack of fuel he had to attempt he landing. The aircraft did overshoot and crashed into the boundary of the field at 01:35 hrs. The Anson suffering category 'E' damage.

All the crew and the two air cadets survived with serious injuries. Sadly, as well as the pilot of this aircraft being killed on this Wuppertal operation, the two other crew were also killed later in the war. Air cadets Downs and Clarke survived.
Observer, 22 year old, Fl/Sgt. John Eldon Galbraith R/92353 RCAF killed on the 18th January 1943 whilst with 9 Squadron on Lancaster I W4379 WS-A on an operation to Berlin. (2 crew killed - 5 PoW) Buried at Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.C.22.
W/Op/Air/Gnr, 22 year old, Fl/Sgt. William Ewart Douglass R/78364 RCAF killed on the 29th January 1943 whilst with 22 Operational Training Unit on Wellington X HF650 on a night training sortie. All 5 crew members killed. Buried at Moreton-In-Marsh New Cemetery. Grave Section K. 39.

Burial details:

P/O. Richard Julian Hudson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 191. Born on the 09th December 1921 at Dubbo, NSW the son of James John and Frieda Mary Hudson, of Grafton, New South Wales, Australia.

Sgt. Harold Jones. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 155. No further information are you able to assist?

Sgt. Roy Brown. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 4.F.10. Son of Harry and Emily L. Brown, of Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Who Died For Us, That, Whether We Wake Or Sleep, We Should Live Together With Him".

Sgt. Arnold Thomas Barlow. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 141. Son of Herbert George and Christine Gordon Barlow, of Yeovil, Somerset, England.

Sgt. Wilfred Stanley Brooks. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 143. No further information are you able to assist?

Sgt. Kenneth Richards. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 4.F.11. No further information are you able to assist?

Sgt. Kenneth Cyril Christopher Adams. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 4.F.12. Son of Thomas Henry and Elizabeth Adams, of Shirley, Warwickshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Dearly Loved, Sadly Missed. Longed For Always. Bless You, Son".

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks Des Philippet for grave photographs. Other information to sources as shown.

KTY 21.11.2018

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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