22/23.06.1943 No. 15 Squadron Stirling I EF348 LS-N Fl/Sgt. Jack Newport
Date: 22/23rd June 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: No. 15 Squadron
Type: Stirling I
Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk
Location: Kessenich, Belgium
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Jack William Newport 1383342 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. D.S.P. Roberts 1431427 RAFVR PoW No: 234 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus
Nav: P/O. Donald Ivor Turner 133580 RAFVR Evaded capture (1)
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Arthur Frederick Kellet 1258269 RAFVR Evaded capture (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. T. Mosedale 990901 RAFVR PoW No: 43349 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John J.George Damboise R/119393 RCAF PoW No: 577 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Wilfred Chalmers Macaulay 1340793 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Leaving RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk at 23:38 hrs to bomb the German city of Mülheim - a bomber force made up with 242 Lancasters, 155 Halifaxes, 93 Stirlings, 55 Wellingtons and 12 Mosquitoes - 557 aircraft in total. 17 Stirlings sent from 15 Squadron.
The city was seriously damaged, the bombing had cut all communications with Oberhausen, with which Mülheim was linked for air-raid purposes. No one could get through, not even cyclists, the only possible way in which they could communicate was with foot messengers. The total damage was reported as 578 people killed on the ground, 1,174 injured. 1,135 houses were destroyed with a further 12,637 damaged. Various other buildings were hit including 41 public buildings, 27 schools, 17 churches and 6 hospitals. It has been reported that 64% of the town was destroyed.
This came at a huge loss to the Allies with 35 aircraft being lost. 202 aircrew killed, 34 being made Prisoners of War with 3 aircrew evading capture.
15 Squadron lost two aircraft this night, the other:
Stirling III BK656 LS-A flown by 28 year old, F/O. John Vincent Hawkins NZ/416111 RNZAF (his 7th operation), killed with all 6 other crew.
Stirling EF348 was intercepted on its outbound trip by a night fighter, badly damaged the pilot decided to return home. However, another night fighter, flown by Oblt. Hans Autenrieth (3) of 6./NJG4 on detachment from II./NJG1 intercepted the Stirling at 2,800 mrs. The pilot ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft which then crashed at 01.35 hrs. Sadly, two of the crew remained in the aircraft, the rear gunner was reported to be trapped in his position by excessive clothing and unable to rotate the dome to jump. Both bodies were recovered from the wreckage.
Sgt’s Roberts, Mosedale and Damboise were caught and sent to the various PoW camps.
(1) P/O. Donald Ivor Turner had been promoted on the 1st December 1942 to officer status (973058)
(2) Sgt. Arthur Frederick Kellet was on the run for some 4 months - with the assistance of the Belgium resistance in particular, Robert Goffaux, his wife, Marie and his niece, Jeanne Macintosh (amongst several others during the war) he managed to evade capture returning to England in October 1943. A feature story on this family and their amazing story is currently under preparation. Part of this is very much connected with the loss of a 158 Squadron Halifax II LW298 NP-L fom 158 squadron.
(3) This was the 12th abschüsse for the Luftwaffe ace, Oblt. Hans Autenrieth. The Luftwaffe night fighter went on to make a total of 22 kills, before he was shot down on the 4th August 1944 then taken prisoner. He did manage to evade capture for 2 days, before being caught by the French resistance. Served the remainder of the war as a PoW. Died from cancer on the 8th June 1996, age 75.
Fl/Sgt. Jack William Newport. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 8.K.3. Son of Jack Louis Newport and Edith Anne Newport, of New Malden, Surrey, England.
Sgt. Wilfred Chalmers Macaulay. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 8.K.4. Son of John and Jane Wyness Crichton Macaulay, of Dundee, Scotland.
For further details our thanks to Virginia Caldwell for bringing this loss to our attention. Also to Michel Beckers for the grave photographs. For further information on RAF Evaders we recommend the Comet Line website.