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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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Bomber Command Crest
25/26.06.1942. No 24 OTU Whitley V BD379 F/O. James B. Monro

Operation: Bremen

Date: 25/26th June 1942 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 24 Operational Training Unit

Type: Whitley V

Serial: BD379

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Honeybourne, Worcestershire

Location: North Sea off Terschchelling

Pilot: F/O. James Brian Monro NZ/403970 RNZAF Age 21. Killed (screened instructor)

Obs: F/O. Gordon Richard Lind AUS/400229 RAAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. John Storey 937066 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Ian Patterson Clark 124634 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold Hermon Hudson 942732 RAFVR Age ? Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

The first 1000 bomber raid carried out by the RAF on the night of 30/31 May 1942 against Cologne was a great success but a second follow up raid against Essen on 1/2 June was not. Although 1047 aircraft were scraped together for the Cologne raid only 956 could be put into the air for the raid on Essen. The third 1000 bomber raid against Bremen on 25/26 June was again similarly a misnomer: despite using every type of aircraft in Bomber Command only 960 aircraft were able to be despatched. The force consisted of 472 Wellingtons, 124 Halifaxes, 96 Lancasters, 69 Stirlings, 51 Blenheims, 50 Hampdens, 50 Whitleys, 24 Bostons, 20 Manchesters and 4 Mosquitoes and although 102 Hudsons and Wellingtons of Coastal Command took part in the raid their contribution was classed as an independent effort.

Sir Arthur Harris had no more than 400 front line aircraft with trained crews at his disposal, so in order to achieve the required figure, large numbers of aircraft and crews from Conversion Units and Operational Training Units were used to augment his front line force.

The 48 losses sustained by Bomber Command during the raid represented an arguably acceptable 5% of the total force employed but the heaviest casualties were inflicted upon the aircraft of the Training Units which were equipped with old aircraft that had been previously withdrawn from front line service.

Significantly, of these old 198 Wellingtons and Whitleys provided by the Operational Training Units, 23 of them, representing 11.6% of the total, were lost on the raid

Left: This is the letter from Sgt Clark to Allan Bush Clark, his elder brother.The Postmark shows that it was actually posted from Dundee Angus 15.45hrs 27th June 1942. It is assumed he was on home leave there, making arrangements for his wedding

The plan was for 142 aircraft of No. 5 Group to attack the Focke-Wulf factory; 20 Blenheims were allocated to bomb the AG Weser shipyard; the RAF Coastal Command aircraft were to bomb the Deschimag U-boat construction yard; all other aircraft were to carry out an area attack on the town and docks. The limited success was entirely due to the use of GEE, which enabled the leading crews to start marker fires through the cloud cover. 696 Bomber Command aircraft were able to claim attacks on Bremen.

572 houses were completely destroyed and 6,108 damaged. 85 people were killed, 497 injured and 2,378 bombed out. At the Focke-Wulf factory, an assembly shop was completely flattened, 6 buildings were seriously damaged and 11 buildings lightly so. The Atlas Werke, the Bremer Vulkan shipyard, the Norddeutsche Hütte, the Korff refinery, and two large dockside warehouses were also damaged.

Right: This is a copy of the letter that, Allan Bush Clark received from his eldest brother Alexander Clark, informing him of Ian’s death.

Taking off at 22:30 hrs - the last contact was made at 04:11 hrs when their SOS signal was heard on the transmitter, Sealand stating “that the aircraft was going into the sea at any minute.”. It is thought probable that they were shot down by Oblt. Franz Buschmann (1) of II./NJG2 over the North Sea off Terschchelling.

Three other crews were lost from 24 OTU on this operation, the others:

Whitley V BD266 Flown by 22 year old, Fl/Sgt. Frederick Marsden Cole R/106062 RCAF from Ontario, Canada - missing with 3 other crew, 1 body recovered.

Whitley V Z9441 Flown by 20 year old, P/O. John Allan Preston J/9150 RCAF from Saskatchewan, Canada killed with all 4 other crew.

(1) This was his first claim of the war - he went on to become an ace with 9 claims. The then Htmn. Franz Buschmann was killed on the 27/28th June 1944 in a crash at Bunsbeek after being shot down by Mosquito DD749 from 239 Squadron, piloted by F/O.D. Howard and his navigator, F/O. F. Clay.

Burial details:

F/O. James Brian Monro. Terschelling General Cemetery (Westerschelling). Grave 49. Son of Colin and Mina Isabella Monro of Wellington, New Zealand.

F/O. Gordon Richard Lind. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 110. Son of Henry Martyn and Alice Maud Lind of 80 Windsor Crescent, Mont Albert, Victoria, Australia.

Fl/Sgt. John Storey. Terschelling General Cemetery (Westerschelling). Grave 50. No further details, are you able to assist?

P/O. Ian Patterson Clark. Terschelling General Cemetery (Westerschelling). Grave 52. Born on 9th April 1916 at Craigmills, Strathmartine, Dundee, Angus, Scotland. He was one of 5 brothers (William killed in the 1st World War), Alexander, Allan and George and sisters Lily and Margaret. Ian was aged eight when his mother died and was brought up by his older sister, Lily. He is remembered by his family as having a great sense of fun. He was a member of the despatch room at John Leng and Co, Bank Street, Dundee. Ian was awaiting promotion as he had completed all of his tours of operations and had become an instructor but all personnel were called to take part in the thousand bomber raid on Bremen. On July 18th 1942 he was due to marry Miss May McMahon of Dundee, sadly he was killed a few weeks before. Epitaph reads: “At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Shall Remember Him”.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold Hermon Hudson. Terschelling General Cemetery (Westerschelling). Grave 51. No further details, are you able to assist?

Researched for Aircrew Remembered by Linda Ibrom - May 2017 with additional details supplied by Roy Wilcock. Other sources as quoted. With thanks to David Baird and Dorothy Starling for information on P/O. Ian Patterson Clark.

LI - 16.05.2017

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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