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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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115 Squadron Crest
28/29.10.1944 115 Squadron Lancaster I NF960 KO:R Flt.Lt. Brian M. Hynes

Operation: Cologne

Date: 28th/29th October 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: 115 Squadron, 3 Group

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: NF960

Code: KO:R

Base: RAF Witchford, Cambridgeshire

Location: Burscheid, Germany

Pilot: Flt.Lt. Brian Maurice Hynes 415971 RNZAF Age 26. PoW (1)

Flt Eng: Sgt Ernest Gooch 1862966 RAFVR Age 20. PoW No: 1224 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankau (Bakow, Poland)

Nav: Flt.Sgt. George Harold Wiggin 1582724 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air Bmr: Flt.Sgt. John Macauley Bovill 428015 RAAF Age 21 PoW No: 1225 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankau (Bakow, Poland)

WOp/Air Gnr: WO. Arthur Benjamin Brennan 426030 RAAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Percy Weston Taylor 1084566 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Charles Francis Raybould 2221557 RAFVR Age 36. Missing - believed killed

NF960 crew photograph (Courtesy John Gooch). The identities of all the individual crew members are not known.

Those that have been identified are 3rd from the left Flt.Sgt. Bovill (Height 5’ 11", Fair hair and photograph from his service record); 4th from the left, Flt.Lt. Hynes (Pilot); 7th from the left, WO Brennan (Height 5’ 5 1/2" , Black hair, photograph from his service record and national shoulder flash. The other two crew members from New Zealand and Australia have already been identified )


REASON FOR LOSS:

The pilot had an earlier lucky escape whilst with 42 Operational Training Unit. He was forced to ditch Whitley BD351 into the sea of Pembrokeshire on the 30th June 1943. All the crew of 4 survived. Information on that can be found here.

Taking off at 13:10 hrs from RAF Witchford in Cambridgeshire to bomb Cologne. A force of 733 aircraft taking part - 428 Lancasters, 286 Halifaxes with 19 Mosquitoes.

Reports of damage state that it was devastating with 2,239 blocks of flats were destroyed along with 15 industrial premises, 11 schools, 3 police stations and a variety of other buildings. 630 Germans were killed with a further 1,200 suffering injuries. No figures available as to other foreign nationals in the area.

The allies lost 3 Lancasters and 3 Halifaxes with 19 aircrew killed, 2 taken PoW. A crew of 7 crew baled out and survived over allied territory, another crew of 7 from the Free French Air Force force landed at Brussels, a further crew of 7 surviving a ditching off Felixstowe, Suffolk.

It is understood that Lancaster NF960 was hit by flak. The pilot ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft whilst flying at about 20,000 ft. although the survivors stated in their debrief that they had heard no one acknowledge this. Flt.Sgt. Bovill baled out first with Sgt. Gooch behind him.

John Gooch, the son of Sgt. Gooch the Flt.Eng., relates the story as told by his father which describes the circumstances leading up to the loss of the aircraft and his capture.

He tells of the moment when an 88 mm shell burst through the floor of the aircraft fizzing and bouncing around the cockpit yet failed to explode. Flt.Lt. Hynes told him, using some colourful language of the moment, to get rid of it. Sgt. Gooch duly pushed it out of the hole it came through. Then not 10 minutes later another shell hit the aircraft but this time it exploded setting the aircraft ablaze. He was aware of Flt.Sgt. Bovill escaping but he himself blacked out and woke up under his parachute, to see the aircraft curving away and crashing. He was never aware of Flt.Lt. Hynes escaping, let alone of his dreadful fate, always believing all the other 5 crew perished in the crashed aircraft. He said it took 20 minutes to drift down where he landed on the roof of a barn and watched as the locals came out and started to beat Flt.Sgt. Bovill who had landed nearby. They then spotted him up on the barn, dragged him down and started to beat him too. The SS arrived and saved both their lives by putting them in a van. The locals actually smashing the vehicle’s window to get at them. They were then transferred to solitary confinement for a month before being transfered to Bankau and subsequently, Luckenwalde after the infamous winter march.

The photograph of the aircraft depicts a Lancaster II which was the Mk fitted with Bristol Hercules radial air cooled engines. They entered service during October 1942 and were started to be phased out at the end of 1943. This Mk only flew with 115, 408 & 514 Sqns

The Lancaster crashed onto a farm house killing the owner Herr Pott and a Polish girl when the bombs on board exploded on impact when it was thought that 3 of the crew were also killed. Flt.Sgt. Wiggin did manage to bale out but was killed at Glöbusch (between Altenberg and Odenthal) when his parachute failed to deploy.

The three remaining crew landed safely and were quickly captured by the Germans.

Sgt Ernest Gooch of 95 Cammon Rise, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England.

Flt.Sgt. John Macauley Bovill of 'Kanangra', Pleasant Street, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia.

(1) Flt.Lt. Brian Maurice Hynes was being taken to the police station at Odenthal by his escort when a small group from the SS and Hitler Youth from a local camp took him into their custody. Shortly afterwards he was led into some woods and shot twice. His flying boots and jacket were removed and then they buried him in the same location.

Three men were brought to trial in spring 1948. They were Georg Griesel, a painter by trade, who had been drafted into the Waffen-SS and who served as an instructor in the camp. The second was Peter Klos, an Oberbannführer (equivalent to colonel) in the Personnel Department of the Berlin HQ of the Hitler Youth (Reichsjugendführung). He was at Altenberg on a duty visit which had to do with collecting Hitler Youth money. The third was a Hitler Youth member from the camp. All three were charged with being concerned in the violation of the laws and usages of war, i.e. the killing of a prisoner of war.

Georg Griesel and Peter Klos were found guilty and sentenced on Thursday the 6th April 1948, the other person charged a Horst 'B' (a youth of 16 at the time - which is why we have decided not to publish his full name) was also found guilty and received a sentence of 10 years imprisonment. (Photographs Credit: Traugott Vitz)

It seems that Peter Klos, on the 24th May 1948, made an unsuccessful attempt to smuggle a secret message out of Fuhlsbüttel prison, asking for an ampule of liquid poison for his use at the last moment if he was actually to be hanged. The message was confiscated by the two prison officers present during the visit of the person who was supposed to receive it, and was the subject of official mail (preserved in the file at the National Archives WO 235/472) about who might have leaked the date of Klos impending transport to Hameln (which the prisoner seemed to know).

33 year old, Georg Griesel and 34 year old, Peter Klos were both sentenced to death, the punishment carried out on Wednesday the 09th June 1948 at Hameln. The hangman in charge of the execution was Albert Pierrepoint with his assistant Sgt. Major Richard Anthony O'Neill. (Information courtesy of Traugott Vitz)

Burial details:

Flt.Lt. Brian Maurice Hynes. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 31.G.14. Born in Hong Kong, the son of Thomas George Hynes and of Rosita Amelia Hynes (née Romero), of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. Also of 65 Courtfield Gardens, Ealing. London, England.

Flt.Sgt. George Harold Wiggin. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 6.D.5. Son of James Wiggin, and of Lillie Wiggin, of 33 Stafford Road, Oakengates, Shropshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER YOU".

WO. Arthur Benjamin Brennan. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 259. Born on the 18th January 1922 at Brisbane, the son of William and Johanna Mary Brennan, of Hampton Street, East Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Sgt. Percy Weston Taylor. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 238. Son of Noel W. and Katharine Taylor, of Bewlch, Cwm-Ryserth, Dyserth, Flintshire, Wales.

Sgt. Charles Francis Raybould. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 236. Son of Francis Joseph Raybould, and of Ann Elizabeth Raybould, of 'Plasradnart', Woodland Park, Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Traugott Vitz Archive. Thanks to John Gooch, the son of Sgt. Gooch, for the crew photograph and story.

RS 26.01.2020 - Addition of crew photograph and other provided/researched information

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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