02/03.02.1945 No. 189 Squadron Lancaster I NG307 CA-F
Operation: Karlsruhre, Germany
Date: 02/03rd February 1945 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 189 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Fulbeck, Nottinghamshire
Location: Jarny, France
Pilot: F/O. Graham Edward Locke 183459 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Chaplin Whyte 1571971 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Nav: Fl/Sgt. William John Treadwell 1576216 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Antony Orlando Blencowe 1396632 RAFVR Survived with minor injuries
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Robert John Young AUS/428488 RAAF Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Elliot Brook 1593536 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Richard Powell 541089 RAFVR Survived (1)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Fulbeck in Nottinghamshire at 20:22 hrs to bomb Karlsruhre with 250 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitoes from 11 Group.
Sadly, cloud cover over the target resulted in the operation being a complete failure on this, the last major operation to the city by the RAF of the war. 14 Lancasters were lost!
The Squadron lost 4 aircraft during this operation, the others:
Lancaster I PB743 CA-E Flown by 24 year old, Fl/Lt. John Outram Davies 133640 RAFVR killed with 5 other crew, 1 taken PoW.
Lancaster I PB840 CA-K Flown by 21 year old, F/O. William Desmond Kelly AUS/426438 RAAF killed with 5 other crew, 1 taken PoW.
Lancaster I PB848 CA-Q Flown by 22 year old Fl/Lt. Norman Philip Blain J/88570 RCAF killed with 5 other crew, 1 taken PoW.
The conclusion of this loss was that it was not attributed to enemy action. The son of Fl/Sgt. Blencowe stated that his father thought that they had been hit by bombs being dropped from above. At the time they had been climbing up to their bombing height of 16,000 ft through thick cloud. When they were at about 12,000 ft the aircraft’s port wing suddenly dipped violently and the aircraft went into a steep dive.
The pilot announced to the crew that the aircraft was behaving ‘funny’ and ordered the crew to place on their parachutes.
The tail gunner abandoned the aircraft at about 8/9,000 ft and landed safely in allied territory, the Air bomber left the aircraft at between 1,000 and 1,500 ft (he had been pinned down by gravity during the steep dive and then suddenly found himself in mid-air) - he suffered a sprained hip and a severe cut on his knee but otherwise unhurt.
(1) Amazing in that Sgt. Richard Powell had been the sole survivor of a mid-air crash with a Lancaster from 467 Squadron just the previous month on the 05th January 1945. All the crew of the 467 Lancaster III ND473 PO-N survived after baling out. The pilot of Sgt. Powell’s Lancaster III ME300 CA-P 28 year old, F/O. Jack Ian Coad 183812 RAFVR from Freshwater, Isle of Wight was killed along with 5 other crew. The collision took place over Cognac in Allied held territory after an operation to Royan.
F/O. Graham Edward Locke. Hotton War Cemetery. Grave VI.F.7. Son of Francis William and H. A. Locke, of Buckfastleigh, Devon, England. (Prior to service an Architect and Surveyor) Epitaph reads: 'In Loving Memory Of Graham. Only Child Of F. And H. Locke Buckfastleigh, Devon.’
Sgt. John Chaplin Whyte. Hotton War Cemetery. Grave VI.F.10. Son of John. C. and Agnes C. Whyte, of Forfar, Angus, Scotland. Epitaph reads: ‘Ever In Our Thoughts.’
Fl/Sgt. William John Treadwell. Hotton War Cemetery. Grave VI.F.11. Son of Thomas and Margaret Anne Treadwell and husband of Alice Joan Treadwell, of Hednesford, Staffordshire, England. Epitaph reads: ‘Eternal Rest Give Unto Him O Lord And Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him.’
Fl/Sgt. Robert John Young. Hotton War Cemetery. Grave VI.F.9. Born in Moonee Ponds, Victoria, Australia on the 01st February 1924. Son of Robert Martin Young and Cecilia Agnes Young, of 1 Collins Street, Essendon, Victoria, Australia. Epitaph reads: ‘Thy Will Be Done. Rest In Peace.’
Sgt. George Elliot Brook. Hotton War Cemetery. Grave VI.F.8. Son of Elliot and Mary Brook and husband of Joyce Brook, of Frizinghall, Bradford, Yorkshire, England. Epitaph reads: ‘ Without Farewell He Fell Asleep. Leaving Just A Memory For Us To Keep.’
Researched for Chris Blencowe - son of Fl/Sgt. Antony Blencowe and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown.