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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 156 Squadron Lancaster III ED858 GT:R Plt Off. Richard J. Hudson

Operation: Wuppertal

Date: 24th/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: Plt Off. Richard 'Rick' Julian Hudson 403742 RAAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed (1)

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

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

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Arnold Thomas Barlow 1314768 RAFVR Age? Missing - believed killed

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

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. Kenneth Richards 1356283 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Kenneth Cyril Christopher Adams 1222832 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Above: photograph of crew taken in May 1943. (Courtesy of Hux Pohlman)

On reverse of photograph. Left to right: Rear Gunner, Rick, Bomb Aimer, Flight Engineer, Wireless-Air-Gunner, Mid-upper-turret, + seated, Navigator. (Sgt. Adams, Flt Sgt. Hudson, Sgt. Barlow, Sgt. Jones, Sgt. Brooks, Sgt. Richards, Sgt. Brown)


Hux Pohlman also have Rick's logbook and '42/'43 diaries, excerpts of which he is willing to share with any other crew member's family.


REASON FOR LOSS:

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 claimed by Hptm. Werner Hoffmann (Shown below) of 4./NJG5 on detachment from 4./NJG1, his 6th Abschuss and the first of two claims this night, 3km SW of Erkelenz at 5.300 m at 01:24 hrs. 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.

Note: The aircraft was also claimed by Flak of schw.Flak Abt. 5711 and schw.Flak Abt. 5713 (Lancaster spiel near Titz at 01:35 hrs). The victory was confirmed for Hptm. Hoffmann on the 20th December 1944. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (23 June - 22 September) 1943 Part 2 - Theo Boiten)

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, Plt Off. Leo Frederick Joseph Brown 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, Flt Sgt. John Eldon Galbraith R92353 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.
WOp/Air Gnr, 22 year old, Flt Sgt. William Ewart Douglass R78364 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:

Plt Off. Richard Julian 'Rick' Hudson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 191. Born on the 9th December 1921 at Dubbo, NSW the son of James John and Frieda Mary Hudson, of Grafton, New South Wales, Australia.

Plt Off. Hudson was lost on his 27th trip (+2 early returns). His commission and promotion to Plt Off. was promulgated with effect on the 17th March 1943.

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. Grave inscription: "WHO DIED FOR US, THAT, WHETHER WE WAKE OR SLEEP, WE SHOULD LIVE TOGETHER WITH HIM". Son of Harry and Emily L. Brown, of Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England.

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. Born in 1921 in Stoke upon Trent. Son of Samuel and Ethel (née Ward) Richards, (His mother predeceased him in 1940) of Stoke upon Trent, Staffordshire, England. His father was a works Policeman.

Sgt. Kenneth Cyril Christopher Adams. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 4.F.12. Grave inscription: "DEARLY LOVED, SADLY MISSED. LONGED FOR ALWAYS. BLESS YOU, SON". Son of Thomas Henry and Elizabeth Adams, of Shirley, Warwickshire, England.

Researched by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks Des Philippet for grave photographs (Nov 2018). Thanks to Hux Pohlman, the nephew of Plt Off. Hudson, for the crew photograph and the offer to the crews families (Mar 2022). Update to loss claim by Aircrew Remembered (Mar 2022).

Other sources as quoted below:

RS 07.03.2022 - Addition of crew photograph

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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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