30/31.05.1942 No. 22 OTU Wellington IC R1235 DD:O Flt.Sgt. Matthews
Operation: Köln (Cologne)
Date: 30/31st May 1942 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 22 OTU. (Operational Training Unit)
Type: Wellington IC
Base: RAF Wellesbourne Mountford, Warwickshire
Location: Kalenberg, 20 km West of Bonn
Pilot: Flt.Sgt. Cyril James Matthews 1160730 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Obs: Flt.Sgt. Philip Grimshaw Barclay R80160 RCAF Age 21. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Plt.Off. William Frazer Caldwell DFM. 121509 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Denis Henry Edwards 405515 RNZAF Age 22. Killed
Air Gn (Rear): Plt.Off. Dudley Arthur Ronald Tallis DFM. 48958 RAF Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 22:55 hrs to bomb Köln (Cologne) on a thousand bomber raid made up of 602 Wellingtons, 131 Halifaxes, 88 Stirlings, 79 Hamdens, 73 Lancasters, 43 Manchesters and 28 Mosquitoes. (1,047 aircraft.)
In 1942 RAF Wellesbourne aircraft were used in the 1,000 bomber raids on Germany, with many casualties. On the first bomber raid on Cologne on the night of 30th May 1942. RAF Wellesbourne managed to put up 35 Wellingtons crewed by pupils and instructors. On 1st June 1942 the second 1,000 bomber raid was on Essen, RAF Wellesbourne managed 34 aircraft and all returned safely to base. On the 25th June 1943, the 3rd bomber raid was on Bremen and the airfield managed 31 aircraft, 2 failing to return. On completion of these operations RAF Wellesbourne returned to it's training role.
During the war period RAF Wellesbourne lost 96 Wellingtons in operational and training accidents. 80 airmen were injured and 315 killed. These comprised of 243 Canadians, 59 RAF, 9 New Zealand, 2 Belgian, 1 Australian and 1 WAA.
868 aircraft are said to have bombed the main target others bombing other targets. Huge losses were incurred on this raid with 41 aircraft lost which was classed as acceptable at the time!
Claimed by Oblt. Rolf Bokemeyer an his Funker Uffz. Laakmann, his 2nd Abschuss, from 5./NJG1 near Kalenberg, 20 km west of Bonn at 2,000m at 01:43 hrs. They flew a patrol in 'Raum Kolibri E’ under control of JLO Oblt. Lahm.
Oblt. Bokemeyer recorded the next day: "On 31 May 1942 I took off at 00:23 hrs on a night operation in Zone "Kolibri" E. Around 01:21 hrs I saw an enemy bomber of the "Halifax" Type in the moonlight. After I’d received the order to attack I slowly got myself below and behind the hostile plane and, after the rear gunner opened fire on me, shot at his turret. The e/a nosed steeply down. I pushed the stick forward likewise and fired several bursts in the ensuing combat. I observed burning in his fuselage, then flipped over into a dive. At this point my operator changed the drum magazines and suddenly I saw twin-engined e/a right by the Halifax. Although I again put the nose down, I lost sight of the Halifax. Suddenly, at 2000 m I again saw an e/a ahead of me. I immediately got control of my plane and fired into the starboard wing root from behind and below with all guns. Right after the first shots I was dazzled by a flash of flame. At 01:43 hrs while orbiting in search of the hostile plane I saw the impact fire beneath me." (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (30 May - 31 December 1942) The Early Years Part 3 - Theo Boiten).
22 OTU lost 4 aircraft and crews on this raid:
R1714 flown by Flt.Lt. Alwyn Hamman DFC. and bar - killed with 3 other crew members and one being taken PoW.
DV701 flown by Fg.Off. Harold Blake DFC. - killed with all 5 crew.
DV843 flown by Plt,Off. William Fullerton DFM. - killed with all 5 crew.
Above left: Cyril Matthews with his wife Dorothy. Right: Flt.Sgt. Cyril James Matthews (Courtesy Tamara Bell)
Wellington LT:O - The Squadron code for 22 OTU was recorded both as LT and DD however R1235 was allocated the code DD
Flt.Sgt. Cyril James Matthews. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 14.C. 15-19. Further details: Born 19th September 1920. Son of James and Lilian Matthews, husband of Dorothy Jackaman - married on christmas day 1940 at Bury St Edmunds Cathedral. Educated at Culforfd School, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England.
Flt.Sgt. Philip Grimshaw Barclay. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 14.C. 15-19. Born 25th June 1920 in Glasgow, Scotland. Son of Philip Grimshaw and Mary Harvey (née Edwards) Barclay from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Barclay Island in Kamuchawie Lake, Manitoba is named after Flt.Sgt. Barclay, shown left.
Plt.Off. William Frazer Caldwell DFM. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 14.C. 15-19. Son of Alfred J. F. Caldwell and Mabel H. Caldwell, of Davenport, Stockport, Cheshire, England.
Left: Sgt. Denis Edwards as an LAC, probably taken whilst on leave at home (Courtesy Ian Carswell)
Sgt. Denis Henry Edwards. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 14.C. 15-19. Born on the 7th September 1919 at Dannevirke, the son of Henry Norman and Laura Gertrude Ellen Edwards (née Beale), of Dannevirke, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. Prior to enlisting on the 21st December 1940 worked as a cycle mechanic for F.R. Garton of Hastings.
Sgt. Denis Henry Edwards. Tragically, his brother was killed, just four days later on the 4th June 1942. Flt.Lt. Norman Edwards 79510 serving with the RAFVR Piloting a Wellington III X3473 SR:S with 101 Squadron on a raid to Bremen. 2 other crew members were also killed and 2 taken PoW. Mr. Ian Carswell published a book about the Edwards Brothers in 1997. He is currently updating the book for a possible future new edition.
Plt.Off. Dudley Arthur Ronald Tallis DFM. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Collective grave 14.C. 15-19.Son of Cornelius Leslie and Nellie May Tallis, of Shirley, Birmingham, England.
Plt.Off. Tallis DFM had a previous lucky escape. He was then serving with 102 Sqn at Linton-On-Ouse. They had taken off at 20:15 hrs. when their Whitley V T4135 DY:S scheduled to bomb Merseburg was forced to return with faulty instruments. The aircraft crashed at 23:35 hrs on 6th November 1940, still carrying its full bomb load! All the crew escaped injury but were badly shaken.
Moseley Grammar school and memorial
Plt.Off. Dudley Arthur Ronald Tallis DFM. was a former pupil of Moseley Grammar school (Now secondary/grammar school. We are working very closely with the school's historians to remember all the ex pupils who died whilst serving with the RAF and recorded on the school memorial. The DFM. Citation reads:
'Sergeant Tallis has completed 31 operational bomber missions and in addition eight convoy patrols involving a total of some 300 hours operational flying. On 5 February 1941, he was the first Wireless Operator of a Whitley aircraft which was running short of petrol in adverse weather. Wireless operating conditions were poor and the skill displayed by Sergeant Tallis in obtaining quick QDMs from Abingdon were largely responsible for the safe arrival of the aircraft at that aerodrome. In addition to his individual skill this NCO has rendered great service in building up the strength of first Operators within the unit. He has on many occasions flown in the tail turret with a U/T Operator at the W/T set, and by careful guidance has enabled doubtful Operators to gain sufficient confidence to qualify as First Operator.'
With thanks to the following: Tamara Bell, daughter of Dorothy Matthews, wife of the pilot, Keith Townsend historian of Moseley Secondary/Grammar school memorial records, Mr. Ian Carswell. Thanks to Ian Carswell for the correction to the 22 OTU Sqn code (Sep 2020). Reorganisation of narrative and update to night fighter information by Aircrew Remembered (Sep 2020). Reinstatement of image for Sgt. Edwards (Oct 2020).