419 Squadron Lancaster X KB750 F/O. Martin loss of crew
Date: 2/3rd February1945
Unit: No. 419 RCAF Squadron (Moose)
Type: Lancaster X
Base: Middleton-St.George, County Durham
Location:1km. S of Wolf, Germany
Pilot: F/O. Bernhard William Martin J/88129 RCAF Age 23. Killed
Flt/Eng: Sgt. John McAfee 1037806 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Nav: F/O. Richard William Hodgson J/38227 RCAF Age 31. Killed
Air/Bmr:F/O. John Alexander Francis McDonald J/37891 RCAF Age 29. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Peter Frederick English J/93863 RCAF Age 27. Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. Robert Albert Nisbet J/95453 RCAF Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. W.J. McTaggart RCAF Age Unknown. Survived the crash and was hospitalised as a PoW for the remainder of the war.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 20:41 hours, F/O. Martin’s Lancaster was part of a force of 450 bombers, sixty of which were from Canadian squadrons, detailed to attack the town of Weisbaden. The town, though not of significant industrial importance, was a centre for the rehabilitation of and an assembly point for German troops from which they were transported by rail to the various theatres of war.
F/O. Bernhard William Martin
A changing forecast of the winds resulted in the force being late over the target by which time the cloud had closed in obliterating the target area from view. Although the Pathfinders dropped their markers their glow was hidden from the following bombers and so most crews used navigational aids to bomb the target. Later, reconnaissance photographs showed that the damage was widespread over an area of about fifteen square miles, mainly by fire, to the railway station, freight sheds, and other municipal and industrial buildings.
From the only survivor of KB750, tail gunner Fl/Sgt. W.J. McTaggart, it is reported that the aircraft was hit by flak soon after dropping its bombs. The pilot, seeing that the aircraft was doomed, gave the order to bale out but McTaggart was the only member of the crew able to out of the plane before it crashed heavily into the ground near the village of Wolf on the banks of the Mosel River. Although injured, Fl/Sgt. McTaggart was fortunate to be alive and spent the remainder of the war hospitalised as a PoW.
F/O. Bernhard William Martin. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Collective Grave 8 D 22-24. From Golden Prairie, Saskatchewan, Canada. No further details.
Sgt. John McAfee. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Collective Grave 8 D 22-24. Son of Vernor and May McAfee, of Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.
F/O. Richard William Hodgson. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 8 D 20. Son of R. W. Hodgson and Mary Hodgson, of Blue Ridge, Alberta, Canada.
F/O. John Alexander Francis McDonald. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 8 D 21. Son of Daniel Allen McDonald and Mary Catherine McDonald, of Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada.
P/O. Peter Frederick English. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Collective Grave 8 D 22-24. Son of Roy Edward and Winnifred Hilda English, of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
P/O. Robert Albert Nisbet. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Collective Grave 8 D 22-24. Son of Robert and Maggie O'Della Nisbet, of Ardath, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew. With thanks to the following: Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol 6", the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.