08/09.07.1943 106 Squadron Lancaster I R5573 ZN:B Flt Sgt. Kenneth H.W. McLean
Date: 8th/9th July 1943 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: 106 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Serial: R5573 (nicknamed: ‘Admiral-Foo-Banc V’)
Base: RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire
Location: Harzé, Belgium
Pilot: Flt Sgt. Kenneth Hector Wally McLean R109281 RCAF Age 20. Killed
Flt Eng: Sgt. Samuel Leigh 616090 RAF Age 23. Killed
Nav: Flt Sgt. Donald Hugh McLeod R128853 RCAF Age 20. Killed
Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Reginald William Lingfield Muir 1388470 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Charles Barrett 1164249 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Leslie Ronald Johnson 412967 RAAF Age 27. Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Edward Hannell 1388875 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Syerston in Nottinghamshire at 22:30 hrs - joining some 281 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitoes to bomb the German city of Cologne. Bombing took place between 01:10 - 01:32 hrs with very accurate marking made by the Mosquitoes.
The crew of R5573 - images digitally enhanced by Aircrew Remembered from poor quality copies (courtesy Pierre Ninane - see credits)
106 Squadron Syerston Lancaster ZN:B October 1942 (courtesy IWM)
19 Industrial buildings along with 2,381 domestic dwellings were destroyed - 502 civilians killed during the attack but many others are understood to have been killed at a prisoner of war camp and artillery barracks - figures for these are not known.
48,000 people were bombed out of their homes, making a total of 350,000 in the 3 raids within a week on the city.
R5573 Crash site July 1943 (courtesy Pierre Ninane - see credits)
The allies lost 7 aircraft, with 3 from 106 Squadron:
Lancaster I ED720 Flown by 23 year old American 1st Lt. Eugene L. Rosner from Pennsylvania, USA killed with 6 other crew, 1 survived as a PoW.
Lancaster I ED360 Flown by 23 year old Flt Sgt. Arthur G. Bristow from Cippenham, Buckinghamshire, killed with 4 crew when they crash landed in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire on return.
Above: Oblt. Paul Anton Guido Zorner (Kracker Archive)
Lancaster R5573 is understood to have been shot down at 01.53 hrs by Oblt. Paul Zorner of 3./NJG3 on detachment from I./NJG1. This was the 9th Abschuss for Oblt. Zorner and his wireless operator, Heinrich Wilke, in a Bf-110. The Lancaster crashed at Harzé, Belgium at about 02.00 hrs.
Oblt. Paul Anton Guido Zorner, already a night fighter ace at this time went on to claim a total of 59 night victories. He survived the war - imprisoned by the Soviets until 1949 he went on to work for Hoechst as their Chief Engineer before retiring in 1981. He died in Hamburg on the 27th January 2014 age 93.
In 1981 locals in the village of Harzé erected a memorial to the crew.
Memorial to the crew, placed in 1981 (courtesy Pierre Ninane - see credits)
A report by No. 2 MREU Section 12 determined that six of the crew were initially buried in the Brusthem (St Trond) Cemetery in Grave Nos. 260 to 265. Sgts Hannell, Barrett and Johnson were in Grave No. 260, 261 and 262. Three unnamed crew members were in graves 263, 264 and 265. Approximately, four or five weeks later another body was found in a field and taken away by the German authorities but no information was forthcoming as to who this was or where the body was taken.
A letter dated 6th December 1947, on Flt Sgt. McLeod’s Service file, records that Sgt. Leigh was one of the four airmen that were identified after exhumation from the Brusthem (St Trond) Cemetery. The letter also states that Sgt. Leigh was buried in grave no. 276. Although circumstantial, the out of sequence grave number strongly suggests that Sgt. Leigh was the crew member found four or five weeks later. The crew were relocated to the Haverlee War Cemetery on the 24th March 1947.
Flt Sgt. Kenneth Hector Wally McLean. Heverlee War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 5.A.19-21. Son of Kenneth A. and Lillian May McLean, of Vulcan, Alberta, Ontario, Canada.
Sgt. Samuel Leigh. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 5.A.15. Son of Samuel and Ethel Leigh, of Warrington, Lancashire, England.
Flt Sgt. Donald Hugh McLeod. Heverlee War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 5.A.19-21. A son of John (1887-1938) and Helen Phoebe (née Taylor) McLeod (1887-1995) of Alliance, Alberta. His father pre-deceased him.
Sgt. Reginald William Lingfield Muir. Heverlee War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 5.A.19-21. Son of George Frederick and Doris Elizabeth Muir, of South Hackney, London, England.
Sgt. Ronald Charles Barrett. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 5.A.16. Son of Charles and Gertrude Barrett, of Aldbourne, Wiltshire, England.
Flt Sgt. Leslie Ronald Johnson. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 5.A.17. Son of August and Gladys May Johnson, husband of Dorothy Isabel Johnson, of Bowral, New South Wales, Australia.
Sgt. Edward Hannell. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 5.A.18. Son of John and Emma Hannell, husband of Muriel Ethel Hannell, of Hook, Surbiton, Surrey, England.
Researched for Melissa Burrows - great niece of Flt Sgt. Leslie Ronald Johnson. Other references listed below. Thanks to Pierre Ninane, whose family witnessed the aircraft crash. Thanks to Rhe Probert for the NoK details for Flt Sgt. McLeod (Jan 2020). Update to initial grave locations by Aircrew Remembered (Dec 2021).