22/23.11.1944 No 61 Squadron Lancaster I NG179 QR-C F/O. Thomas James
Date: 22/23rd November 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 61 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire
Location: Not known.
Pilot: F/O. Thomas James 145058 RAFVR Age 25. Missing
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Raymond Eke 1594944 RAFVR Age 19. Missing
Nav: F/O. Herbert Arthur Jeffreys J/38196 RCAF Age ? Missing
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Bernard Ewart Longhurst 1651990 RAFVR Age 21. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ernest Morris 119961 RAFVR Age 24. Missing
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Norman Gordon Simpson 1818121 RAFVR Age 19. Missing
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Raymond John Sims 1817708 RAFVR Age 19. Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Skellingthorpe at 15:55 hrs. on an operation to bomb the U Boat pens at Trondheim. 171 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitoes took part but the target was covered by a smoke-screen.
Fl/Sgt. Ernest Morris and the U Boat pens at Trondheim
Reluctantly the master bomber ordered the raid to be abandoned after the marking force had been unable to find the target.
The allies lost three aircraft during this operation, Lancaster LL949 LE-E flown by F/O. George R. Flood RNZAF crashed near the Humber, killing 6 of the crew, another, Sgt Woodward died from injuries 9 days later. A Mosquito IV DZ642 AZ-H from 627 Squadron also crashed on return in Shetland. Fl/Lt. John A. Reid RAF and his navigator F/O. Wesley D. Irwin RCAF were both killed.
Lancaster NG179 was lost without trace.
F/O. Thomas James. Runnymede Memorial Panel 207. Son of Thomas John and Olive James of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England.
Sgt. Raymond Eke. Runnymede Memorial Panel 228. Further information: Raymond Eke was the son of Lawrence Eke and Edna (née Butcher) of 33 Stephen Rd, Rotherham, England. He was an only child, born in Rotherham in the second quarter of 1925. Raymond was educated at Spurley Hey Central School, and after leaving was employed by the Co-Op. He was an amateur actor known as Frank Randal and ventriloquist.
F/O. Herbert Arthur Jeffreys. Runnymede Memorial Panel 246. Son of Eric Sidney and Maude Mabel Jeffreys of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Fl/Sgt. Bernard Ewart Longhurst. Runnymede Memorial Panel 220. Son of David and Morfwdd Longhurst of Llanelly, Carmarthanshire, Wales.
Fl/Sgt. Ernest Morris. Runnymede Memorial Panel 220. Further information: Only son of Ernest and Agnes Morris and husband of Kathleen Morris of Hednesford, Cannock, Staffordshire, England. Ernest worked at his father’s barbers and hairdressing business before joining the Airforce. Their son Clive was born six months after Ernest failed to return from his last mission.
Sgt. Norman Gordon Simpson. Runnymede Memorial Panel 237. Son of Arthur and Ida Annie Simpson of Birmingham, England.
Sgt. Raymond John Sims. Runnymede Memorial Panel 237. Son of Arthur and Mary Cecilia Sims of Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. With thanks to Clive Morris, son of Fl/Sgt. Ernest Morris for photo and information.