06/07.09.1943 No. 76 Squadron Halifax V EB250 MP-R P/O. Eoin G. Little
Date: 06/07th September 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 76 Squadron
Type: Halifax V
Base: RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor
Location: Oberhaching, south Munich, Germany
Pilot: P/O. Eoin Graham Little NZ/417071 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Lumley Hugh Ellis Gittins 1337875 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. James Peter Arnold 909128 RAFVR Age ? killed
Nav: P/O. E. M. Farrington 139299 PoW No: 2527 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Bruce Arthur Phillis 658017 RAF Age 23. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack Hempshall Naylor 1074000 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Ernest Lewis 1333112 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. G.W. Broadbent 2206574 PoW No: 521 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 19:19 hrs. RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor, to attack the city of München. 257 Lancasters took part in this operation together with 147 Halifaxes.
Munich was covered in cloud this night - ground and sky markers were ineffective. Bombing was scattered over the southern and western parts of the city. No damage reports are available from Munich.
Mk. V. Halifaxes preparing for take off
The allies lost some 19 aircraft on this operation, a total of 88 aircrew were killed, 29 being made pow's and a further 6 being injured (in the early hours) when a 9 Squadron Lancaster III ED975 WS-Y crashed at Minting, near Horncastle, Lincolnshire.
Halifax EB250 is understood to have been shot down by Lt. Schulze (1) of 5./NJG101 (an instructor crew taking off from Lechfeld) with combat taking place over Niederseeon - Moosach 5,600 mtrs. at 00.37 hrs. Aircraft crashing at Oberhaching south of Munich.
(1) This was the first and only claim by Lt. Schulze - who, we understand, survived the war - no further details.
A few words from Deborah Boyce on her Uncle Sgt. Bruce Arthur Phillis:
"I never knew Uncle Bruce as I was born after the war, but as small child I had this vague notion that he was Douglas Bader (as portrayed by Kenneth More) after being taken to see the film, "Reach for the Sky", in the 1950s. My mother had something of a crush on Bader, which was probably a combination of hero worship and a link to her ‘missing’ brother - that and the fact they lived close to Woodley airfield in Berkshire where the crash in which Bader lost his legs occurred. I came away from the cinema thinking I had seen something about Uncle Bruce!
Sadly, although Bruce had been listed as ‘missing presumed dead’, as far as I am aware none of us knew his body had been found and that he was buried with his comrades in Durnbach. Perhaps my grandfather had been told but had decided it would be too distressing to share this information with the womenfolk. We shall never know. It was only a few years ago that I discovered Bruce - a single man with no children - was buried in Durnbach.
My mother and, I understand, my grandmother and aunt died never knowing that there was a last resting place and somewhere for them to go and visit if they had wished. In fact my rather fanciful mother died at the age of 93 still convincing herself that Bruce had survived but had lost his memory during the war and was possibly living in Australia with a new identity.
I am hoping to make the trip with my own son to visit Bruce’s grave as an act of remembrance on behalf of my grandmother, mother and aunt."
Durnbach War Cemetery (courtesy David Franklin - David has kindly provided us with permission to release high definition copies to relatives)
P/O. Eoin Graham Little. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 9.D. 25-28. Further information: Also commemorated on the Cave War Memorial, Otago, New Zealand, Pleasant Point School War Memorial, South Canterbury. Son of William Alexander Little, and of Helen Greig Little (nee McMarter), of Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand. This was his 17th Operation.
Fl/Sgt. Lumley Hugh Ellis Gittins. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 9.D. 25-28. Son of E. Ellis Gittins and Mary Gittins; husband of Avril Isolde Ellis Gittins, of Tolworth, Surbiton, Surrey, England
Sgt. James Peter Arnold. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 9.D. 25-28. Son of James and Alice Arnold.
Sgt. Bruce Arthur Phillis. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 9.D. 25-28. Son of Major and Ethel Phillis, of Woodley, Berkshire, England
Sgt. Jack Hempshall Naylor. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 9.D. 25-28. Son of Wood and Annie Naylor, of Horsforth, Yorkshire, England
Sgt. Ronald Ernest Lewis. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 9.D. 25-28. Son of Ernest and Elizabeth Lewis; husband of Vera Lewis, of Kenton, Middlesex, England
Researched for: Deborah Boyce - niece of Sgt. Bruce Arthur Phillis and for all relatives of the crew. Deborah would like any other relatives to make contact.
For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2’, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Oliver Clutton-Brock ‘Footprints On The Sands Of Time’. Errol Martyn - For Your Tomorrow Vol’s 1-3,