14/15.04.1943 7 Squadron Stirling III BK769 MG-G Sqn.Ldr. McCarthy
Date: 14/15th April 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: 7 Squadron
Type: Stirling III
Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire.
Location: Lembach, 2km south of Oberstenfeld, 10km SSE of Heilbronn
Pilot: Sqn.Ldr. Raymond William McCarthy 40239 RAF Age 30. Killed
Flt.Eng: Sgt. Gordon Wade 568514 RAF Age 21. Killed
Nav: Plt.Off. Alfred Louis Foster J/17453 RCAF Age 23. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Ralph Vincent Jennings 1337496 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: WO2. Lloyd Wallace Bartman R/92543 RCAF Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leonard Francis James Harris 1377951 RAFVR Age 33. Killed
Air/Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Frederick James Britton 1336022 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire at 2117 hrs to join 462 aircraft - 146 Wellington, 135 Halifaxes, 98 Lancasters, 83 Stirlings to attack Stuttgart again. Not classed as a huge success as the pathfinders although claiming to have placed the markers accurately the main bombing force hit the north east of the target.
Only a few bombs hit the centre of Stuttgart. The old church Gedachtnis was destroyed and a 1 bomb had a direct hit on an air raid shelter packed with French and Russian prisoners of war. 257 Frenchman and 143 Russians were killed. This tragedy brought the total death toll to 619, a new record for raids to Germany. (Below, the effects of allied bombing on Stuttgart).
23 aircraft were lost on this raid. 7 Squadron lost three aircraft:
Stirling I R9278 MG-E Flown by Plt.Off. J.R.T. Taylor DFC shot down and taken PoW with all but two of his crew - the others evaded capture.
Stirling III BK709 MG-F Flown by 21 year old American Plt.Off. Mathew Mank from Miami, Florida, RCAF killed with all his 6 other crew members
This aircraft is thought to have been a victim of flak as no Luftwaffe claims were made for this Stirling. (7 Squadron Stirlings shown above at R.A.F. Oakington)
Durnbach War Cemetery (courtesy David Franklin - David has kindly provided us with permission to release high definition copies to relatives)
Above, the McCarthy brothers - all lost.
Left: Photo of Sqn.Ldr. McCarthy grave at Sage taken by Bart Baeyens for Aircrew Remembered in 2013. Any relaive who would like a copy of this in higher resolution Bart has given us permission to send it to you free of charge. Above - Durnbach War Cemetery.
Sqn.Ldr. Raymond William McCarthy. Sage War Cemetery. Grave 5.E.9. Son of William Edmond and Clara McCarthy, of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand. His brothers 19 year old, Morris Donald Darwin and 26 year old, Robert Colin also died on service. Although Raymond and Morris died in different years they are buried in the same grave in Sage War Cemetery, Germany. The family requested that his remains to be placed with his brother - originally he was buried with his crew at Durnbach. Their other brother, L/Cpl. Robert Colin McCarthy 32716 25th Battalion NZ Infantry killed on the 25th October 1942 - buried at El Alamein War Cemetery, Grave I.E.3.
Sgt. Gordon Wade. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 9.D. 23-24. Born on the 22nd July 1922. Son of Harry and Florida Wade. Living with Mary Wade (née Bush), Thame Oxfordshire. Joined RAF as an apprentice in 1937.
Plt.Off. Alfred Louis Foster. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 9.D. 21. Born on the 13th July 1917. Son of Willie and Mary Ada Foster, of Toronto, Canada. He had 3 siblings and worked as a lumber mill worker before enlisting in June 1940.
Sgt. Ralph Vincent Jennings. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 9.D. 20. Son of Leonard Victor and Kathleen Louise Jennings, of Dymock, Gloucestershire, England.
WO2. Lloyd Wallace Bartman. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 9.D. 22. Born in 1921. Son of Harold and Christina Bartman, of Hanna, Alberta, Canada. (Left: Newspaper clipping from the Calgary Herald (veterans.gc.ca)informing family of the loss of the brothers)
WO2 Gordon Harold Bartman R/103506, Lost with 102 Sqn Halifax II HR712 on an operation to Stettin. Nyborg New Cemetery Grave G2.
Sgt. Leonard Francis James Harris. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 9.D. 23-24. Son of Francis Frederick Joseph and Emily Annie Harris, of Brockley, London, England.
Flt.Sgt. Frederick James Britton. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 9.D. 23-24. Born in September 1921. The son of Frederick George and Bessie Gladys lindley Britton, of Portsmouth. He married Betty Alice Blagden in March 1940. He was an iron caulker at HM Dockyards before the war.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Bart Baeyens of Lembeek, Flanders, for grave photo, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 4, 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', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Thanks to Marcus Wade for Next of Kin details for Sgt. Wade. Thanks to Caroline Cook for the Next of Kin details for Flt.Sgt. Britton, Plt.Off. Foster and cutting for the Bartman brothers. Thanks to Joerg Mezger for the accurate location of the crash site.