27/28.06.1944 No. 44 Squadron Lancaster I ME743 KM-G Fl/Lt. Merrick
Date: 27/28th June 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: No. 44 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire
Location: North Sea off France/Belgium
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Francis Xavier Merrick 151469 RAFVR Age 33. Missing - believed killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Ronald David John Campbell Carling 934352 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed
Nav: F/O. John Poulter 142340 RAFVR Age 34. Missing - believed killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Raymond Neil Bartlett J/24141 RCAF Age 30. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Clifford Dickinson 1511926 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: (mid-upper) Fl/Sgt. Harold Peter Warll R/206109 RCAF Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr (rear): Sgt. John William Thomas 1588612 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Another operation attacking the various V1 Flying Bomb sites in Northern France. The allies had been hitting them for several days in succession. Tonight some 721 aircraft made up from 477 Lancasters, 207 Halifaxes and 37 Mosquitoes from various squadrons attacking 6 different sites - all reported to have been a success.
A further 214 Lancasters with 9 Mosquitoes from 1, 5 and 8 Group were also active - bombing various railway yards in support of the landings at Normandy earlier in the month.
Lancaster ME743 took off at 22:57 hrs to bomb the site at Marquise.
The German Luftwaffe were hampered by both a mandrel screen and also a force of Operational Training Unit aircraft sent to add to the confusion at around midnight, once they crossed the Channel their work was done and returned at 00:30 hrs. It wasn’t until oo:13 hrs that the German controllers could place a plot on the approaching bombers but they were still confused as to their target. Eventually they engaged the bomber streams but not in sufficient numbers to inflict many casualties.
The allied bomber crews managed to claim four Ju88’s, one Me410 and one Fw190. The night fighters shot down four Lancasters and two Mosquitoes on the operations to the railway yards with the loss of twenty four aircrew killed, four taken PoW and four others evading capture.
Two aircraft were lost on the flying bomb operations. Lancaster ME743 was shot down by a night fighter and it is probable that they were shot down by the Luftwaffe ace Obstlt. Helmut Lent (1) of Stab NJG3 at 01.10 hrs, with combat taking place at 5,200 mtrs. during their return trip. Also listed as a probable night fighter attack is by Oblt. Jakob Schaus (2) of 4./NJG4 with combat taking place at 2.800 metres with the aircraft crashing into the sea off France/Belgium at 01.25 hrs.
Only one of the crew from ME743 was recovered. Sgt. John Thomas’s body washed washed up at Terschelling on the 07th September - the remaining crew are remembered as shown below.
(1) This was the 103rd victory for Obstlt. Helmut Lent. On the 7th October 1944 he died after suffering injuries sustained during a crash landing on the 5th October 1944 during a crash landing in his Ju88 G-6 at Paderborn airfield following engine failure and subsequent collision with a high tension cable. His crew were rescued - injured from the crash. Walter Kubisch (radio operator) and Hermann Klöss (2nd radio operator) died the same day, Werner Kark (War correspondent and Air/Gnr) died the next morning.
(2) The 18 claim for Oblt. Jakob Schaus who went on to have a total of 23 during the war from which he survived. On the 2/3rd February 1945 he was wounded in a crash at Rockenhausen near Bad Kreuznach after being shot down by what is thought to have been a Mosquito from 239 Squadron.
Left: One of the Panels at Runnymede - with thanks to our volunteer Andrea Ruddick she has taken a full resolution one for each of the crew. Please contact us if you are a relative/friend and a copy will be sent to you - courtesy of Andrea.
Fl/Lt. Francis Xavier Merrick. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 203. Son of William and Gertrude Merrick, of Salford, Lancashire, England. Held a B.Sc. degree of London.
Sgt. Ronald David John Campbell Carling. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 226. Son of Thomas Edward and Lily Kate Carling, of Canterbury, Kent, England.
F/O. John Poulter. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 208. Son of John and Catherine Poulter; husband of Mary Poulter, of Fallowfield, Lancashire, England.
F/O. Raymond Neil Bartlett. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 245. Born on the 01st June 1914, the son of William Noel Bartlett and of Rosetta Bartlett (née Crosswell), of Unionville, Ontario, Canada and husband of Violet Helen Bartlett (née Tandy).
Sgt. Clifford Dickinson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 228. Husband of Doris Dickinson, of Herne Hill, London, England.
Fl/Sgt. Harold Peter Warll. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 255. Born on the 11th December 1923. The son of Ernest Peter and Edith Rubina Warll (née Trail). 180 Hamilton Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Prior to service worked as an Office Boy. Previously served with the 48th Highlanders in the band. (ID Card shown below, courtesy Edie Albisser)
Sgt. John William Thomas. Terschelling General Cemetery (West-Terschelling). Grave 125. Son of Peter and Mary Elizabeth Thomas, of Walton, Liverpool, England. Grave inscription reads: "Beautiful Memories Of A Loving Son. Till We Meet Again. Mother".
Researched for Edie Albisser - relative of Fl/Sgt. Harold Peter Warll and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. With many thanks to Andrea Ruddick who has taken the photographs of all the panels on the Runnymede Memorial for this crew - high and full resolutions are available to any of the relatives - courtesy of Andrea. With thanks to sources as shown below.