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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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166 Squadron Crest
14/15.02.1945 No. 166 Squadron Lancaster I PD394 AS-P F/O. Dennis S. Kemp

Operation: Chemnitz

Date: 14/15th February 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 166 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: PD394

Code: AS-P

Base: RAF Kirmington

Location: Culitzsch, Germany

Pilot: F/O. Dennis Stuart Kemp J/42491 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. John McCreadie 638636 RAF Age 32. Killed

Nav: F/O. Edgar Charles Hill 160743 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Michael Arthur O’Callaghan 164488 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Arthur George Flack 1304368 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Neville Walter Oates 1868430 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick William Wakefield 1853724

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Kirmington in Lincolnshire to bomb Chemnitz as part of the "Operation Thunderclap" (1) 717 aircraft from 1,3,4,6 and 8 group taking part.

The bombing was hampered by cloud, even though very little is available as to the results of the raid many parts of the city were hit. Although the majority of the bombs fell in open country.

The diversionary tactics used by the allies resulted in relatively few aircraft losses, 13 in total during the Chemnitz raid,.

PD394 the only aircraft lost from 166 Squadron on this operation. Understood to have been shot down by Oblt Engelbert Heiner (2), of Stab.IV./NJG6. The action taking place over Culitzsch, Germany with the aircraft crashing at 00:43 hrs scattering the wreckage over a considerable area.

1) "Operation Thunderclap" - In August 1944 plans were drawn for an operation code named Thunderclap but it was shelved and never implemented. The plan envisaged a massive attack on Berlin that would cause 220,000 casualties with 110,000 killed, many of them key German personnel, which would shatter German morale. But on consideration it was decided that it was unlikely to work, so it was shelved.

The plan was reconsidered in early 1945, to be implemented in coordination with a Soviet advance, but again was rejected again as impractical, and instead a number of coordinated smaller attacks against cities in the communications zone of the Eastern Front, through which key routes to the east converged, were chosen. The cities designated as choke points where the bombing would be most effective were Berlin, Dresden, Chemnitz and Leipzig. Intensive bombing of these targets was carried out with the intention of disrupting the rear areas of the German Eastern Front lines, to aid the Soviets advance as had been requested by the Soviets at the Yalta Conference. These raids were large ones, but were not the massive raids envisaged in the original Thunderclap plan.

(2) Oblt Engelbert Heiner was an ace at this time. He was killed on the 18/19th March 1945 over Gelnhausen after combat with a 157 Squadron Mosquito NT364 flown by W/O. D. Taylor and his navigator, Fl/Sgt. Radford. At the time of his death, 31 year old Heiner had a total of 15 abschüsse to his name. His crew, Fw. Rosenbaum and Uffz. Hübner were also killed. (see Kracker Archive on this site)


Right: Oblt Engelbert Heiner Kracker Archives)

Burial details:

All the crew were initially buried at the local cemetery in Culitzsch and reinterred after war end.

F/O. Dennis Stuart Kemp. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 13.Z.2. Son of Harold Stuart Miller Kemp and Elsie Kemp (née Lamb), of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "The Eternal God Is Thy Refuge And Underneath Are The Everlasting Arms" Further information can be found on the ‘Saskatchewan Virtual Memorial’.

Fl/Sgt. John McCreadie. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 13.Z.5. Son of James and Annie McCreadie; husband of Marjorie McCreadie, of Hexthorpe, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: “Always Remembered.”

F/O. Edgar Charles Hill. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 13.Z.1. Son of Sidney Moody Hill and Winifred Eva Hill; husband of Evelyn Ida Hill, of Ewhurst, Surrey, England. Grave inscription reads: “My Beloved Husband, Though Absent You Are Always Near, Still Loved And Ever Dear.”

F/O. Michael Arthur O’Callaghan. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 13.Z.7. No further information, are you able to assist?

W/O. Arthur George Flack. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 13.Z.3. Son of Albert and Jemima Caroline Flack, of South Lambeth, London, England. Grave inscription reads: “Till We Meet Again.”

Sgt. Neville Walter Oates. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 13.Z.4. Son of Herbert Leslie and Louise Jenny Oates, of Reigate, Surrey, England. Grave inscription reads: “Faithful Unto Death.”

Sgt. Frederick William Wakefield. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 13.Z.6. No further information, are you able to assist?

Researched for relatives of John McReadie and dedicated to all relatives of the crew. For further details our thanks to the sources quoted below.

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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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