17/18.12.1942 No. 44 Squadron Lancaster I W4126 KM-B F/O. L.G.L. McNamara
Date: 17/18th December 1942 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No: 44 Squadron (Rhodesia)
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire.
Location: Texel, Netherlands
Pilot: F/O. Lawrence Gerard Lyons McNamara 80193 RAFVR Age 27. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Gordon Alan Read PoW No: 27313 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344) Poland
Obs: F/O. Raymond Norman McCleery J/11118 RCAF Age 28. Killed
Obs: F/O. James William Loree J/11109 RCAF Age 24. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Robert Macleod 1058806 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr (mid upper): Sgt. Geoffrey Beckett 622136 RAF Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr (rear): Sgt. Gordon William Jones 1395418 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire - part of a group of 8 raids on various small German towns.
A costly failure with losses amounting to 3 Lancasters lost from 44 Squadron.
Above L-R: F/O. McNamara, Sgt. Beckett, Sgt. Jones, F/O. McCleery and F/O. Loree
Details of other two lost:
Lancaster I R5666 KM-F Flown by F/O. Michell. 2 crew members killed, 5 taken PoW.
Lancaster I ED355 KM-D Flown by Fl/Sgt. Dening R.A.A.F. with all 7 crew members killed.
44 Squadron Lancaster I W4126 KM-B
It is understood that W4126 was hit by Kriegsmarine flak (1) and crashed at 18.45 hrs on the island of Texel. Sgt. Read on his release stated that the aircraft was on fire when he baled out.
The Germans provided the crew a funeral with full military honours on Tuesday 22nd December.
Crash site of Lancaster W4126 KM-B
Sgt Reed, fifth from left middle row at the PoW camp
A letter was written and sent to the wife of the pilot on the 27th January 1946 by the only survivor Sgt. George Read - brief extract:
"We left base on Dec 17th for a raid on Nienburg, Germany. We crossed the North Sea flying fairly low without meeting any trouble, but directly we crossed the Dutch Coast we met plenty of light flak and machine guns, we kept going but shortly after were hit in one of our engines, as another of our engines wasn't too good, "Mac" decided to turn back.
A painting of W4126 by Chris Garden
We turned for home and reached the coast without further incident, but as we were crossing the Zuider Zee we received a direct hit which set us afire and out of control, some of the crew were killed instantly. Mac gave orders to abandon aircraft and we both made our way to the escape hatch. As I went out of the hatch "Mac" was just behind me, I never saw him leave the aircraft and if he did I don't think his parachute would have opened in time as it was too near the ground. My parachute only just opened in time and even then I was badly knocked about.
I never saw any of the Crew again, but was later told by the Germans that five bodies had been recovered. I'm afraid that's all I can tell you about that tragic night in which you lost so fine a Husband and I lost six of the finest friends a man could ever hope to have."
Original crew grave markers
(1) Kriegsmarine - German Navy
Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery
A revised edition of the publication 'The Ninth Mission' has been received by Aircrew Remembered by the author in July 2014 - a small publication run intended for the relatives and family. A great researched book full of illustration and photographs.
F/O. Lawrence Gerard Lyons McNamara. Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery. Plot K. Row 1. Grave 4. Son of Lt.-Col. John Daniel McNamara and Winifred Sarah McNamara, husband of Frederica Eileen McNamara, of Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia.
F/O. Raymond Norman McCleery. Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery. Plot K. Row 1. Grave 14. Son of Capt. Edward J. McCleery and Jessie Isobel Olga McCleery, of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. School Teacher.
F/O. James William Loree. Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery. Plot K. Row 1. Grave 6. Son of James E. and Hazel V. Loree, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Sgt. Kenneth Robert Macleod. Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery. Plot K. Row 1. Grave 12. Son of Robert Thallon MacLeod and Alice Jane MacLeod, of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Sgt. Geoffrey Beckett. Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery. Plot K. Row 1. Grave 10. Son of Edward Fisher Beckett and Lottie May Beckett, of Buxton, Derbyshire, England.
Sgt. Gordon William Jones. Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery. Plot K. Row 1. Grave 8. Son of Albert and Bertha Jones, of Gravesend, Kent, England.
Researched for Paul Baker (relative of Sgt. G.W. Jones) and dedicated to all members of the crew. Other sources as shown below.
We would like to thank the following for the contribution of both information and the splendid photographs used on this page of remembrance: Paul Baker from Australia, Chris Garden from England, Bram van Dijk, Jan Nieuwenhuis, Andreas Wachtel from Germany, Philp Baker, CWGC.