22/23.03.1944 No. 103 Squadron Lancaster III ND329 PM-A Fl/Sgt. McInerney
Date: 22/23rd March 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 103 Squadron 1 Group (motto: Noli me tangere - 'Touch me not')
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Eltham Wolds, Lincolnshire
Location: Rödelheim, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Leonard Joseph McInerney AUS/416976 RAAF Age 23. PoW No: 3375 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Stanley Alfred Lewis 1604730 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Nav: W/O. Nash James Trewavas NZ/417297 RNZAF Age 20. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. William Alfred Munday 1380855 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Stanley William Tolley 1393284 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Dennis John Findlay 1807884 RAFVR Age 18. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Neil Graham 1568451 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Eltham Wolds in Lincolnshire at 19:04 hrs o bomb the city of Frankfurt together with a force of 816 aircraft (620 Lancasters, 184 Halifax’s and 12 Mosquitoes)
Using an indirect route to confuse the Luftwaffe controllers, crossing the Dutch coast north of the Guider Zee, then due south to Frankfurt.
This did confuse the Germans for a short period into thinking the target was Hanover with only a few night fighters making contact.
The city was bombed with great accuracy - half of the city was left without gas, water and electricity with severe damage to the industrial areas west of the city. 948 people were killed on the ground, 346 seriously injured with 120,000 bombed out of their homes.
The allies lost some 26 Lancasters and 7 Halifaxes during the operation.
It is thought 'probable' that they were shot down by the Luftwaffe ace Hptm. Gerhard Raht of 4./NJG3 at around 22:05 hrs - his 28th claim (of 60) of the war from which he survived. (Passed away on the 11th January 1977 in Reinfeld, Schleswig-Holstein) Shown right.
Although four of the crew are listed as missing it is thought they are buried at the main cemetery in Frankfurt - their graves could not be positively identified after the end of the war.
Sgt. Stanley Alfred Lewis. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 233. Son of Leonard S. and Gertrude Lewis, of Ponders End, Middlesex, England.
W/O. Nash James Trewavas. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 8.E.14. Son of Edith Annie Young, of Motueka, Nelson, South Island, New Zealand and grandson of Charles R. Trewavas and Jessie E. Trewavas. A total of 267 flying hours logged.
Sgt. William Alfred Munday. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 8.E.13. Son of William Henry and Mary Ellen Munday, of Battersea, London, England. Grave inscription reads: "To All The World He Was Only One. To Us He Was All The World. Requiescant In Pace".
Sgt. Stanley William Tolley. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 239. Son of William George Christopher and Grace Rebecca Tolley, of Barking, Essex, England.
Sgt. Dennis John Findlay. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 229. Son of Edward John and Katerina Findlay, of Woodford Green, Essex, England.
Sgt. Neil Graham. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 230. No further details - are you able to assist?
Researched Jenifer Lemaire for Aircrew Remembered - April 2019 and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:
Note: Image of W/O. Nash James Trewavas reproduced under licence Auckland Library Heritage Collection : 7 June 1944 : AWNS19440607-24-41.