13/14.05.1943 No 149 Squadron Stirling III BF479 OJ-E F/O. Martin
Date: 13/14th May 1943 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 149 Squadron
Type: Stirling III
Base: RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk.
Location: Kasterlee, Belgium
Pilot: F/O. Leslie Cyril Martin 124513 RAFVR Age? Killed
Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Robert Chrysler Ferguson R/115045 RCAF Age 26. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Jack Eric Butt 961492 RAFVR Age 29. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Norman Harry Frank 1387239 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. George Reicher Royde DFC. 118604 RAFVR Age 32. Killed (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edmund Hazelden-French 1268287 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold Arthur James Berry 1578408 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Howard Philip Fudge R/76310 RCAF Age 22. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 00:55 hrs to join 441 aircraft made up from 135 Halifaxes, 104 Wellingtons, 95 Stirlings and 10 Mosquitoes.
The raid did start well but the bombers were drawn away by decoy markers made by the Germans. It is reported that 394 buildings were destroyed a further 716 seriously damaged with 302 people killed on the ground.
29 allied aircraft were lost on this raid with total crew killed; 102. PoW; 54. Just a single Crew member evading capture.
149 Squadron lost another aircraft and crew on this operation: Stirling III BK726 OJ-Z Flown by 20 year old Harold Earl Forsyth J/17672 RCAF from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, killed with all his crew.
This Stirling III BF479 was intercepted and shot down by Lt. Walter Schon (2) of 3./NJGI at 03:07 hrs 4,300 mtrs above Kasterlee, in Belgium.
In 2013 Wings Museum erected a plaque for the crew (courtesy Wings Museum)
(1) F/O. George Reicher Royde DFC survived an earlier incident with Fl/Sgt. Middleton as pilot - read that story here.
(2) This was the 4 kill for Schön who after 9 kills was himself killed on the 20/21st October 1944 in a crash at Gross-Ballerstedt after air combat. (note: some publications place Ofw. Fritz Schellwat as the Luftwaffe pilot)
F/O. Leslie Cyril Martin. Schoonsel Hof Cemetery. Coll. Grave II. G.69. N.o.k. details not currently available.
Fl/Sgt. Robert Chrysler Ferguson. Schoonsel Hof Cemetery. Grave II.G.11. Son of William Alexander Ferguson and Mabel Gertrude Ferguson.
Sgt. Jack Eric Butt. Schoonsel Hof Cemetery. Grave II.G.10. Son of Alfred F. R. Butt, and of Alice E. Butt, of Weybridge, Surrey, England.
Sgt. Norman Harry Frank. Schoonsel Hof Cemetery. Coll. Grave II. G.69. N.o.k. details not currently available
F/O. George Reicher Royde. D.F.C. Schoonsel Hof Cemetery. Coll. Grave II. G.69. Son of Henry and Clara Reicher, of Bayswater, London, England. Husband of Wendy Royde. LL.B.
Sgt. Edmund Hazelden-French. Schoonsel Hof Cemetery. Coll. Grave II. G.69. N.o.k. details not currently available.
Sgt. Harold Arthur James Berry. Schoonsel Hof Cemetery. Grave IVa. B. 43. Son of Arthur William and Elsie Irena Berry. of Sheldon. Warwickshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. Howard Philip Fudge. Schoonsel Hof Cemetery. Coll. Grave II. G.69. Son of Philip Thomas Fudge, and of Elizabeth Abigail Fudge, of St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jacques Boone, Wings Museum, Rob Ferguson (nephew of Fl/Sgt. Robert Ferguson), Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 4, 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'.