08/09.02.1945 No. 44 Squadron Lancaster III ME299 KM-E Fl/Lt. Kenneth Mangos
Date: 08/09th February 1945 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 44 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Spilsby, Lincolnshire.
Location: Location: 1km from Eickstedt and 12 km East of Prenzlaw
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Kenneth Mangos NZ/426054 RNZAF Age 23. Missing - Believed killed
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. T.S. Fitzpatrick RAFVR PoW - No further details
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Donald Dennis Finlayson 191796 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - Believed killed (1)
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. John N. Sheehan RAAF Age 31. PoW - No further details (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. Kenneth Richard Bingham DFC. 120950 RAFVR Missing - Believed killed (3)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Willie Joshua James 1086218 RAFVR Age 32. Missing - Believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Maldwyn Jones 1589280 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - Believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Left Spilsby at 16:50 hrs. on 8th February 1945 on an operation to Politz near Stettin, to take part in the first wave attack on the synthetic oil production plant. The operation consisted of 475 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitoes of 1, 5 and 8 groups. 12 Lancasters lost, 1 of them coming down in Sweden.The weather conditions were clear and the bombing of both waves was extremely accurate. Severe damage was caused to this important synthetic-oil plant. It produced no further oil during the war. Speer mentioned this raid, in his post-war interrogations, as being another setback to Germany's war effort.
The Lancaster was brought down some 45 km SW of the target area - hit by flak according to survivor reports and crashed on the farm of Herr Wilhelm Tetran, about 1km from Eickstedt and 12 km East of Prenzlaw.
Above far right: Don Finlayson with friends ken, left and Doug, right at 365 Albany Street, Winnipeg, Canada.
When Fl/Sgt. Sheehan and Sgt. Fitzpatrick arrived back in the UK after being prisoners of war, they visited Donald’s mother to recount the events of that night. Fl/Sgt. Finlayson is remembered for pushing other members of the crew from the aircraft. One crew member looked up from his parachute descent and saw the plane explode with Donald still on board and clearly visible. Donald had placed his own parachute on either crew member Sheehan or Fitzpatrick, placing one of the injured crew in the arms of his uninjured crew mate so that they could share a parachute if the first one failed, as it was holed.
475 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos took part on this operation. 12 Lancasters lost in what was regarded as a highly successful raid with the synthetic-oil plant producing no further oil for the rest of the war.
(1) Donald Finlayson was posthumously awarded his officer’s commission. Pilot Officer.
(2) John N. Sheehan was from Campertown New South Wales, Australia.
3) F/O. Kenneth Richard Bingham - Citation for DFC 09th April 1943:
'As wireless operator, this officer has completed 32 operational missions. An extremely efficient member of aircraft crew. Flying Officer Bingham has rendered valuable service. In February, 1943, during an operation in bad weather, his skill was largely responsible for the safe return of his aircraft. By effecting repairs to his damaged wireless apparatus he succeeded in obtaining bearings which enabled his pilot to fly the aircraft safely home after it had been hopelessly off its course. Three nights later, when returning from Gabes, Tunisia, the aircraft in which he was flying was brought down on to the sea owing to engine trouble. After drifting for 82 hours in the dinghy, Flying Officer Bingham, with the other members of the crew, succeeded in getting ashore near Zuara. This officer has displayed great determination and devotion to duty. '
Fl/Lt. Kenneth Mangos. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 284. No further information currently available - are you able to assist?
Fl/Sgt. Donald Dennis Finlayson shown front row, 4th from left with armband. Recognise others? We have this at a higher resolution if required.
Fl/Sgt. Donald Dennis Finlayson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 268. Son of Raymond “Ray” and Beatrice Finlayson having one brother and sister. Born in 1922 in Cambridge. After training at No.2 Squadron ITW, Scarborough, Yorkshire, he went on to train in Winnipeg and stayed with a family in Winnipeg, becoming good friends with their daughter ”Bunty”. Fl/Sgt. Finlayson is remembered on the Second World War Roll of Honour for Chesterton, Cambridge, England.
Fl/Lt. Kenneth Richard Bingham DFC. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 265. Son of Thomas and Alice Ann Bingham and husband of Lillian Mary of Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England.
Sgt. Willie Joshua James. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 275. Son of David and Clara Ada James of Pontnewydd, Monmouthshire, Wales.
Sgt. Maldwyn Jones. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 275. Son of Llewellyn and Jane Ellen Jones of New Broughton, Denbighshire, Wales.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Photo credits to Jean Finlayson Hellwag (sister) and Carolyn Carey (niece) thanks to Errol Martyn for further information.