06/07.11.1944 622 Squadron Lancaster I HK644 GI-D F/O. R.D. Leake
Date: 6/7th November 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 622 Squadron.
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk
Location: Target area - Koblenz.
Pilot: F/O. Roslyn Downs Leake AUS/424422 RAAF Age 21. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Terence Brendon O'Donnell 1652692 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Peter Edwin Bell 1606089 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. John Daly Robertson 1565047 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Hoy 1670542 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Hunter 1826736 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Air/Gnr: F/O. Harold Frederick Jones 54704 RAF Age 26. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald George Hawkes 1876684 RAFVR Age 20 Killed
We would like Helen Glen to contact us as her email address we have on file is no longer valid and we have been contacted by a former pilot who knew Ross Leake very well and would like to make contact with you
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 16:66 hrs. from Mildenhall, Suffolk to attack Koblenz as part of a 128 Lancaster raid from 3 Group.
The night attack was classed as successful with most of the damage being done by fire damage in the centre of the city. 303 acres - 58% of the town's built up area destroyed. 104 people were killed on the ground made up from 89 civilians, 8 soldiers and 7 French and Italian prisoners of war.
Crew photo, left to right, top: F/O Leake, Sgt. O'Donnel, Sgt. Bell and Fl/Sgt. Robertson
Lower: Fl/Sgt. Hoy, Sgt. Hunter, F/O. Jones and Sgt. Hawkes (courtesy Ian Hossack)
Two Lancasters were lost on this raid, the other Lancaster from the same squadron HK621 GI-O crash landed in France with no fatalities. The force did not encounter any resistance from German night-fighters. Heavy flack over the target area brought HK644 down. All the crew are buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery.
F/O. Harold Frederick Jones and his grave - then and now (Courtesy Bill Jones)
Bill Jones described how the family obtained this original grave marker photo:
"I was going through old photographs that I had received from a late relative when I came across the attached photograph. I recall that twin boys from Aberystwyth were stationed in Germany during their national service in the late forties. Their mother was a friend of Harold's mother and she insisted that her boys make their way to Rheinberg to take a photograph of Harold's final resting place. I believe they had to travel some distance to achieve the object. A job well done!"
Sgt. Robert Hunter with his wife Mary on their wedding day 5th May 1944 and his grave - then and now (courtesy Ian Hossack)
Left: F/O. Roslyn Downs Leake original grave marker Centre: "The Letter" Right: Condolence letter
The letter sent by W/C. Buckingham never reached his father as he had died suddenly of a heart attack. Ross was alive at this point and extremely upset that he could not get home to attend his fathers funeral or help with his mother.
Fl/Sgt. Hoy - with letter and telegram sent to the family (courtesy Nigel Barton and family)
We have been in contact with the relatives of F/O. Roslyn Downs Leake and hope to have further information on this loss shortly.
We would also like any other relatives to contact us regarding other crew members.
Rheinberg War Cemetery - Register building (courtesy Bill Jones)
Fl/Sgt. Arthur Hoy's grave at Rheinberg. Shells from Ballyholme, Bangor, Co Down where his sister (Jean) lives. (courtesy Nigel Barton and family)
F/O. Roslyn Downs Leake. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 9.C.10. Son of Clifton Downs Leake and Elsie Margaret Leake, of Manly, New South Wales, Australia.
Sgt. Terence Brendon O'Donnell. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 9.C.11. Son of James Benedict O'Donnell and Gwen Mary O'Donnell, of Ely, Cardiff, Wales.
Sgt. Peter Edwin Bell. Rheinberg War Cemetery Collective Grave 9.C.13-16. Son of Percy Samuel and Winifred Jane Bell, of Portsmouth, England.
Fl/Sgt. John Daly Robertson. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 9.C.12. Born on 10th January, 1913 in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland. Married Margaret Lewis of Stevenston, Ayrshire on 5th May 1944. She gave birth to a son James on 23rd January 1945.
Fl/Sgt. Arthur Hoy. Rheinberg War Cemetery Collective Grave 9.C.13-16. As a memorial to his death Fl/Sgt. Hoy’s father made a table which was donated to West Kirk Presbyterian church, Shankill Road Belfast. Arty, as he was known by the family, was brother to Tommy, William (Billy) James, George, Alexander, Jean and Margaret (Peggy), from Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Sgt. Robert Hunter. Rheinberg War Cemetery Collective Grave 9.C.13-16. Son of Robert and Isabella Hunter, of Armadale, West Lothian, Scotland. Brother of Jessie Peden (née Hunter), husband of Mary Hunter (nee Pennycook), of Armadale.
F/O. Harold Frederick Jones. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 9.C.9. Further information: Also remembered on the Cenotaph in Aberystwyth, the War Memorial in Nantymoel. His name was added to the latter at the insistence of his father-in-law. Born on Thursday 7th March 1918, the son of Mrs. Amy Florence Jones of Aberystwyth, Gardiganshire, husband of Mrs. Iris Jones (née Morgan) of Nantymoel, Nr. Bridgend, Glamorgan, Wales.
Sgt. Ronald George Hawkes. Rheinberg War Cemetery Collective Grave 9.C.13-16. Son of Arthur George Harold and Mabel Charlotte Hawkes, of Pitsea, Essex, England.
Dedicated to all relatives of this crew. With thanks to Bill Jones (nephew) for information and photographs of F/O. Harold Jones. Thanks also to Ian Hossack for information and photo's of Sgt. Robert Hunter. Ian's wife is the niece of Sgt. Robert Hunter and we hope to be able to add further information shortly. We have also been contacted by relatives of Fl/Sgt. Hoy in May 2013 with new photographs added. April 2016 - relative of Fl/Sgt. Robertson also contacted us with further information and grave photograph.
Also information kindly supplied by Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol 3", Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - "Nightfighter War Diaries Vol. 2", Martin Middlebrook "Bomber Command War Diaries". The Commonwealth Graves Commission. Thanks to Colin Hoy, the nephew of Fl/Sgt. Hoy for the update to his NoK details.