27/28.09.1943 No. 75 Squadron Stirling III EF515 AA-F Sgt. R.E. Martin
Date: 27/28th September 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: 75 Squadron (RNZAF)
Type: Stirling III
Base: RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire
Location: Haverbeck - Hamelin area.
Pilot: Sgt. R.E. Martin RNZAF PoW No: 250736 Camp: Stalag Mühlberg-Elbe
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Charles Arthur Smith 917722 RAFVR Age 36. Survived (1)
Obs: Sgt. H.C. Dwight RNZAF PoW No: 637 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus
Air/Bmr: Sgt. E. McKay RNZAF PoW No: 250738 Camp: Stalag Mühlberg-Elbe
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. W. Harries RAFVR PoW. No: 250731 Camp: Stalag Mühlberg-Elbe
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Archibald Robert Bangs 1891699 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. R.F. Summerhayes RNZAF PoW. Details unknown
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 19.42 hrs. from Mepal. on an operation to Hannover. 678 aircraft - 312 Lancasters, 231 Halifaxes, 111 Stirlings, 24 Wellingtons. 5 B-17s also took part. 38 Bomber Command aircraft - 17 Halifaxes, 10 Lancasters, 10 Stirlings, 1 Wellington - lost, 5.6 per cent of the force, and 1 B-17 also lost.
The only fatality from the crew on this day, EF515 Mid-upper gunner, Sgt. Archibald Robert Bangs, also shown his grave at Hanover (courtesy Patricia Bullen)
The use by the Pathfinders of faulty forecast winds again saved the centre of Hannover. The bombing was very concentrated but fell on an area 5 miles north of the city centre. No details are available from Germany but R.A.F. photographic evidence showed that most of the bombs fell in open country or villages north of the city.
21 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitoes of No 8 Group carried out a diversionary raid on Brunswick which was successful in drawing off some night fighters. 218 people were killed in Brunswick - 51 Germans and 167 foreigners. 1 Lancaster lost.
9 Mosquitoes on another diversion to Emden, 5 Mosquitoes on Oboe tests to Aachen (3 were successful), 19 aircraft minelaying in the Kattegat and the Frisian Islands, 4 O.T.U. sorties. No losses.
Stirling EF515 was intercepted and shot down by Uffz. Emil Heintelmann (2) of 8./NJG1 at 23.30 hrs. Combat took place at 5,500 mts. over Haverbeck 5 km. north west of Hamlyn. Crashing in the vicinity of Haverbeck, Hamelin.
Two of the crew, Sgt. McKay and Sgt. Summerhayes were repatriated on 6th February 1945, arriving at Liverpool aboard the Arundel Castle.
(1) Although Sgt. Charles A. Smith survived the crash, he was made a PoW. Sadly, he was later to die in captivity on the 8th April 1944. No further details on this - are you a relative? Can you contribute?
(2) This was the 5th and final kill for Uffz. Heintelmann. He was killed on the 13/14th December 1944, after a failed belly landing during a practice flight after an engine fire.
Sgt. Archibald Robert Bangs medals (courtesy Michel Beckers)
(1) Sgt. Charles Arthur Smith. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 6. G.11. Son of Walter Guy and Sarah Louise Smith
Sgt. Archibald Robert Bangs. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 3. E. 18. Son of Harry and Florence Bangs (née Southgate) of 131 Bonner Hill Road, Kingston on Thames, Surrey, England. Further details: Archibald Bang was the youngest son. Brother to Florence, Alice, Helen and Harry Bangs. Known as Archie, he was born on the 13th March 1924, it is believed in the family that he lied about his age when he volunteered for the RAFVR
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for Patricia Bullen, niece of Sgt. Bangs and dedicated to all relatives of the crew.
With thanks to Patricia Bullen for additional information/photographs. For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'.