11/12.03.1943 No. 83 Squadron Lancaster I ED313 OL-B Fl/Lt. Norman A.J.B. Mackie
Date: 11/12th March 1943 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: 83 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire
Location: Sogny-En-L’Angle, Marne, France
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Norman Alexander John Buist Mackie DSO. DFC and bar. 88410 RAFVR Age 21. PoW - Evaded (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt Ralph Henderson DFM 156121 RAFVR Age 33. Evaded (2)
Nav: Fl/Lt. ‘Joe’ Alan McPherson Ogilvie DFC and bar. MiD. Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star 20509 RAFVR/RCAF Age Evaded (3)
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. William Eric Barrett DFM 751810 RAFVR PoW No:886 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus - 357 (4)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Lewis E.J. Humber 1181464 RAFVR PoW No:1006 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus - 357
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alexander Lynch DFM 1001787 RAFVR Age 30. Killed (5)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth William Chipchase 1105193 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
A mixed force of some 314 Lancasters, Halifaxes and Stirlings were sent to bomb Stuttgart between 22:45 hrs - 23:51 hrs. One of a total of 53 raids that after the war left the centre of Stuttgart almost completely destroyed with 4,477 people dead.
This raid was not a success as far as damage was concerned with only a small packing sore at the Bosch factory destroyed. Most of the bombing fell in open country but some fell on two small towns killing 112 people and injuring 386. Mostly houses were hit with 186 destroyed. The reason for the poor bombing is felt that although the pathfinders did drop accurate markers the main force arrived late and were also subject to German decoy markers in use for the first time.
This operation cost 13 aircraft lost with the deaths of 42 aircrew, 25 being made PoW and 13 aircrew evading capture. 3 civilian maids were also killed when an abandoned severely damaged Halifax DT492 MP-H from 76 squadron crashed onto the residence of Colonel Loder at Slaugham, Horsham West Sussex.
Lancaster ED313 was intercepted and shot down whilst on the homebound trip in the early hours of the morning of 12th March at 00:47 hrs. by Fw. Gerhard Rase of 6./NJG4 (6) in an Me110, combat taking place at some 3000 metres, his first claim of the war. (see Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site)
Above photographs of crash - courtesy of J. Lelongt via Brian Gibbs
(1) Fl/Lt. Mackie DSO. DFC and bar remained in the Airforce after the war, retired on on 22nd December 1967. He then became bursar at Highgate School, and later worked as a personnel administrator in the City. He retained his links with the RAF through the Pathfinders' Association and the RAF Escaping Society. He also made occasional visits to France to meet members of the families who had helped him evade capture, he also managed to trace the remains of his crashed Lancaster. Norman Mackie married, in 1958, Thelma Vallis, who survived him with their daughter, after his death age 80 in 2003.
(2) Sgt. Henderson DFM (shown left) was later killed on the night of 22/23 November 1943. Flying Lancaster III JB424 OL-B on an operation to Berlin. All 7 crew killed over the target area, probably by the radar predicted anti-aircraft fire through the 10/10ths cloud. 23 heavy bombers were claimed by the flak divisions with only 4 claimed by night fighters. Son of the late Robert William Henderson (died 18th November 1926) and Mary Jane Henderson (died 29th August 1962) of 53 North Avenue, Blyth, Northumberland. Husband of Muriel C. L. Henderson, of Headington, Oxford.
14th August 2017 Barry Gibbs had just returned from visiting the crash site:
"Well this weekend I went to see his grave in Sogny-en-l'angle. It was a little emotional to see his grave. I placed flowers on both of them. It's a small village with about 40 people in it. I then left the church and went to see if I could find the crash site.
On my way I flagged down a farmer on his tractor, Michelle was his name, so I explained to him why I was here, (I can speak French). He knew about the history of the two airmen and told me about when he was a child his mother used to take him and show him where ED313 came down and that his mother went with the villagers to see the crash site when it happened.
Well, incredibly he took me to the exact spot, the trees have gone now and there is still a slight hole in the ground where it came down. I spent over an hour in the field and was amazed to find fragments of the aircraft, all that is left of ED 313, I couldn't believe it. So I brought them home - to be treasured."
(3) Fl/Lt. Ogilvie DFC and bar. MiD. Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star died on the 30th December 2000 leaving his wife, sister Ruby, his sons Steve, Robert and Donald, his daughters Claire and Jill, and seven grandchildren. His biography was published by Creative Publishers, Newfoundland and edited by John Parsons - ‘All the Luck in the World’ ISBN 1-895387-43-4 (shown left) DFC awarded on 12th March 1943, bar - 27th July 1943, MiD 01st January 1945, CdeG awarded 12th December 1947. His early training took him to Toronto, Ontario and Winnipeg, Manitoba during 1940-1941. In England he went through No. 25 OTU Finningley, Yorks, September - December 1941. Joined 83 Squadron at Scampton, Lincolnshire in January 1942. Obituary also placed on our website with a great deal more personal details.
(4) Fl/Sgt. Barrett - DFM awarded on the 29th December 1942 - retired from the airforce in 1945 as a W/O. Finally moving to Australia, died in 2003. A Battle of Britain veteran with 25 Squadron flying the Blenheim.
(5) Fl/Sgt. Alexander Lynch - DFM awarded 02nd January 1942. (Shown above - courtesy Brian Gibbs)
(6) Fw. Gerhard Rase this his only claim of the war from which he survived. Fw Gerhard Rase, his bordfunker was Uffz Rolf Langhoff. On the night of 16/17th April, 1943 they were involved in a combat with Halifax JB910 (ZA-R) of 10 Sqn. During this combat, the rear gunner of the Halifax shot down the Me110. Rase parachuted to safety whilst Langhoff was killed. Fl/Sgt. Hill the rear gunner in the 10 Sqd Halifax JB910 opened fire with 5 or 6 bursts shooting off the port wing which then crashed at Ste. Menehould near Chalons sur Marne. Rase was transferred at some point to 10./NJG6 which operated in the Balkans/Romania where the opportunities for nightfighter 'trade' must have been much lower than the nightly crowded skies of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany so this probably accounts for his single victory - and his survival! He finished the war as an Oberleutnant, roughly the same rank as a Flying Officer. (see Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site)
Fl/Sgt. Alexander Lynch DFM. Sonny-En-L’angle Churchyard. Grave 1. Son of Robert and Bessie Lynch, of Stranraer, Wigtownshire, Scotland. Grave inscription: 'Until The Day Break And The Shadows Flee Away (Song Of Solomon 2:17)'.
Sgt. Kenneth William Chipchase. Sogny-En-L’Angle Churchyard. Grave 2. Son of Harry and Frances Mary Chipchase, of Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription: 'In The Garden Of Memories We Meet Every Day'.
Later: Sgt Ralph Henderson DFM. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 1.G.10-15. Son of the late Robert William Henderson (died 18th November 1926) and Mary Jane Henderson (died 29th August 1962) of 53 North Avenue, Blyth, Northumberland. Husband of Muriel C. L. Henderson, of Headington, Oxford.
Researched for relatives of the crew. A great deal of information has been provided by Steve Ogilvie (son of Fl/Lt Ogilvie) Also Brian Gibbs (nephew of Fl/Sgt. Alexander Lynch) With thanks to Uwe Jenrich for grave photographs. Other sources as quoted below. We also recommend 'RAF Evaders' written by Oliver Clutton-Brook and 'Footprints On The Sands Of Time' for further information.