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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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419 squadron
419 Squadron Lancaster X KB750 F/O. Martin loss of crew

Operation:Wiesbaden

Date: 2/3rd February1945

Unit: No. 419 RCAF Squadron (Moose)

Type: Lancaster X

Serial: KB750

Code: VR-N

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 ND750, 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.

Burial Details:

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.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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