30/31.03.1944 467 Squadron Lancaster III DV240 PO:D Plt.Off. Llewelyn
Date: 30/31st March 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: 467 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Location: Westum near Sinzig, Germany
Pilot: Plt.Off. Ronald Ernest Llewelyn 410423 RAAF Age 28. Killed
Flt.Eng: Sgt. Leonard Henry Joseph Dixon 1321050 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Nav: Sgt. William Prest 1055466 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
Air Bmr: Fg.Off. G.W.H. Venables J24233 RCAF PoW No: 5129 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria (3)
WOp/Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Keith Overy 421450 RAAF Age 23. PoW No: 4199 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Air Gnr: Sgt. F.W. Hammond 1287892 RAFVR PoW No: 16 Camp: Dulag Wetzlar
Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Kenneth William Ward 409780 RAAF Age 34. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
This raid on the City of Nuremberg resulted in Bomber Command heaviest losses of the war!
Despite the fact that it was a period of bright moonlight and an earlier meteorological flight had warned that there would be no cloud cover for the bomber stream, conditions that normally would have ordered a cancellation of the mission, no such order was made. Nuremberg was an important industrial target as well as a centrepiece of the Nazi Party that had not been attacked for seven months. Air Chief Marshall Harris was not to be deterred from his plan.
Nuremberg was a distant target and even though the route chosen was to be one of a direct nature it still represented a round trip of between 1300 and 1600 miles dependant upon the base airfield. Additionally, it was one that would lead the bomber stream between the Ida and Otto radio beacons located near Cologne and Frankfurt respectively which in hindsight turned out to be a fatal mistake. German intelligence had monitored the bomber force taking off in England and plotted their course by intercepting their H2S transmissions. Suspecting that the intended target was somewhere in south eastern Germany, the Luftwaffe commanders had ordered their fighters to assemble at the Ida and Otto beacons.
Although the bombers flight path had been clear and moonlit, by the time the Pathfinders arrived in the vicinity of the target thick cloud cover and strong winds prevailed. The thick cloud made the target indicators all but invisible and, combined with the unexpected winds blowing the Pathfinders off course, caused much of the main force bombing to be cantered on the small town of Lauf and the surrounding villages to the north east of Nuremberg. In the confusion some crews dropped their bombs on Schweinfurt causing minor damage to the ball bearing factories but again many of the bombs fell in the outskirts. Damage in Nuremberg itself was relatively light. Several smaller fires were set in the city centre and a few buildings hit including the railway station, post office and some houses but the main objective of setting the city ablaze and bombing the M.A.N. and Siemens factories failed completely.
Of the 795 aircraft making up the attacking force 82 of their number would be lost due to enemy action en-route and near to the target. While some of these were brought down by flak by far the majority was as a result of night fighter action. Another nine bombers were brought down by the night fighters and flak on the return leg. Fourteen more were lost, eleven in crashes on take off or on their return to base, one due to friendly fire and two to mid-air collision.
In all 543 aircrew were killed and a further 157 captured as prisoners of war.
The operation was a total failure not only in terms of the loss of so many brave aircrew and aircraft but little damage was sustained by the City of Nuremberg.
Left: A detailed account of this operation has been described in Martin Middlebrooks publication” ‘The Nuremberg Raid’ ISBN-13: 978-1844158751 (Also available in softcover)
The leading Pathfinders were able to pass through the gap before the consolidated force of over 200 night fighters converging on the beacons hit the middle of the bomber stream.
On their 7th operational sortie Plt.Off. Llewelyn and his crew took of at 22:03 hrs from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. They were attacked by a night fighter at 00:29 hrs on the outbound trip of the operation.
Lt. Hermann Leube, his eleventh and twelfth Abschuss, from Stab II./NJG3 claimed either; DV240 or 514 Sqn Lancaster LL738, 10-20 km south of the Flak zone of Bonn at 6000 m at 00:15 hrs or 20-30 km south east of Bonn at 5400 m at 00:24 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (16 March 1944 - 11 May 1944) Part 2 - Theo Boiten)
Mr. Bill Anderson submitted details regarding the loss of Halifax III LW692 of 420 Squadron on 21st April 1944. His father, Plt.Off. Robert Anderson was one of the Air Gunners that day. A photo then arrived of his father taken at Stalag Luft III (Sagan and Belaria).
This has proven most interesting as we have now been able to identify most of the aircrew shown (all from Manitoba, Canada, with the assistance of our Paradie Archive) and list briefly details of their loss. We decided to do this as we hope that others who whose relatives are shown on this may come forward and offer their information. Of course Bill has provided us with permission to release a copy of this photograph to relatives who contact us.
Above, Group shot taken at, we understand, Stalag Luft Sagan in 1944, Canadian aircrew from Manitoba, Canada. Fg.Off G.W.H. Venables Rear row 3rd from left (Coutesy Bill Anderson) See Featured story for details of the PoWs.
Crew initially buried at Sinzig by the Germans - reinterred in 1947 at Rheinberg War Cemetery.
Plt.Off. Ronald Ernest Llewelyn. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 10.C.2. Born on the 18th February 1916 at Inverloch, Victoria, the son of Llewelyn and Alice Gertrude Llewelyn, of 51 Melbourne Road, Dandenong, Victoria, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "We Have You In Our Memory, God Has You In His Care. Duty Nobly Done".
Ronald was the seventh of nine children, four sisters and four brothers. An elder sister was Mrs. C. (née Llewelyn) Blenkiron, his appointed NoK, of 326 Racecourse Road, Flemington, Victoria.
His brother John Llewelyn was the eldest boy and followed Ron to the UK with the RAAF where he worked at Australia House in London. In fact he was told first of Ron's death and Ron's personal effects were sent to his quarters in London. John had actually seen him and his crew on 26th March 1944 when they had had to abandon a trip across the Channel in the old Lancaster Bomber S for Sugar - its 99th trip - when problems arose with the plane. They returned to RAF Tangmere in Sussex, South England and came up to London by train as they had been ordered to report back for duty, although Ron was due for a break. The crew all had a shave and a hot baths at John's residence (Janice Llewelyn daughter of John Llewelyn)
Sgt. Leonard Henry Joseph Dixon. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 10.C.6. Son of Joseph Henry and Jane Rebecca Dixon, of Dagenham, Essex, England. Grave inscription reads: "In Heavenly Love Abiding".
Sgt. William Prest. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 10.C.3. Son of Thomas William and Lillian Prest and husband of Lilian Ada Prest, of Mill Hill, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "For Our Tomorrow He Gave His Today. Loved And Remembered Always".
Flt.Sgt. Kenneth William Ward. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 10.C.1. Born on the 4th February 1910 at Calcutta, India the foster-son of Lily Livia Harriet Berry, of Murrumbeena, Victoria, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "Sweet Memories".
Researched for Graeme Owen - relative of Sgt. William Prest and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Graeme fr his sponsorship and to sources as shown. Grave photographs courtesy Des Philippet and Paul ten Broeke via Find-A-Grave. (Aug 2018). Thanks to the niece of Plt.Off. Llewelyn, Janice Llewelyn, for the correction to her aunt's married name of Blenkiron (Aug 2019), and for the correction to his Next of Kin information (Oct 2020). Further update to Plt.Off. Llewelyn's NoK details (Nov 2010).