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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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37 Squadron Crest
14/15.07.1940 No. 37 Squadron Wellington Ic L7792 LF-L Sgt. John F. McCauley

Operation: Hamburg, Germany

Date: 14/15th July 1940 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 37 Squadron

Type: Wellington 1c

Serial: L7792

Code: LF-L

Base: RAF Feltwell

Location: Beckedorf, Germany

Pilot: Sgt. John Francis McCauley 564908 RAF Age 25. Killed

2nd Pilot: Sgt. Sydney Chapman Kirkbride 566117 RAF Age 24. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Charles Edward Read 580828 RAF Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. George John William Grimson 631689 RAF Age 32. PoW No. 134 Camp: Stalag Heydekrug - 357 (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. T. Johnson 621438 RAF PoW No. 438 Camp: Stalag Heydekrug - 357

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Feltwell at 22:00hrs to bomb Hamburg. 80 aircraft attacking various targets within Germany.

Shot down by Flak from the No.1 Reserve Flak of 182 Blumental - Bremen

(1) After he was shot-down, Sgt. Crimson was captured and subsequently imprisoned in a succession of prisoner of war camps in Germany. He then escaped and formed a network which assisted fellow escapers. George Grimson remained on the run in Germany, hunted by the Gestapo, but eventually disappeared, ‘probably’ having been captured and murdered by the SS on or about April 14th 1944 in the Danzig area.

(2) Geodetic Airframe: The system was later used by Barns Wallis's employer, Vickers-Armstrongs in a series of bomber aircraft, the Wellesley, Wellington, Warwick and Windsor. In these aircraft, the fuselage was built up from a number of duralumin alloy channel-beams that were formed into a large framework. Wooden battens were screwed onto the metal, to which the doped linen skin of the aircraft was fixed.

The metal lattice-work gave a light structure with tremendous strength; any one of the stringers could support some of the load from the opposite side of the aircraft. Blowing out the structure from one side would still leave the load-bearing structure as a whole intact. As a result, Wellingtons with huge areas of framework missing continued to return home when other types would not have survived; the dramatic effect enhanced by the doped fabric skin burning off, leaving the naked frames exposed. The benefits of the geodesic construction were partly offset by the difficulty of modifying the physical structure of the aircraft to allow for a change in length, profile, wingspan etc. (Information courtesy Wikipedia)

Burial details:

Initially buried at the Aumunder Cemetery before being moved to Becklingen.

Sgt. John Francis McCauley. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 27.B.13. Son of James Stanley and Kate McCauley, husband of Nancy McCauley, of Derby, England.

Sgt. Sydney Chapman Kirkbride. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 12.D.1A. Son of Thomas and Isobel Kirkbride, husband of Kathleen Mary Kirkbride, of Bradford, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Charles Edward Read. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 12.D.1B. Son of Charles Edward and Florence Ethel Read, of Ewell, Surrey, England.

Later:

W/O. George John William Grimson MiD. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 213. Son of William John and Rebecca Grimson, of Putney, London, England.

Researched for Aircrew Remembered by Michel Beckers - February 2016. Photographs - Aumunder Cemetery: Michel Beckers via Günhter Meiss, Askrigg War Memorial: Peter Hunkin, others from the collection of Michel Beckers.

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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Last Modified: 28 February 2016, 09:06

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