AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.
Our only wish is to honour and respect sacrifices made and to record historical facts: but if in so doing any of our content is inadvertently inappropriate, please contact us via Helpdesk and we will correct the matter.

44 squadron badge
24/25.06.1944 No. 44 Squadron Lancaster I ME628 KM-V Fl/Sgt. Oswald

Operation: Pommerval

Date: 24/25th June 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ME628

Code: KM-V

Base: RAF Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire

Location: Bellencombre, Seine-Maritime, France

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Roy Oswald 1438718 RAFVR Age 20. Missing

Fl/Eng: Sgt. J.A. Hurley 1325774 RAFVR. PoW. No: 24844 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria

Nav: W/O2. A.R. Shoebottom RCAF Evaded capture

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. T.W. White RAFVR Evaded capture

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Arthur John Richardson 910760 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leslie John Harry Hutchinson 1874082 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Hawley Sargent 1624840 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 22:35 hrs to destroy a flying bomb site at Pommerval - a total of 739 aircraft were taking part on this night to bomb various flying bomb locations. The reports regarding the success or not of these raids were becoming increasingly difficult as they had by now been attacked many times and the sites were full of craters.

The operation was carried out on a clear moonlit night and so with the help of the effective searchlight units many aircraft were destroyed by night fighters, 22 Lancasters were lost!

44 Squadron Lancaster's (courtesy I.W.M.)

ME626 was shot down at just after 00:15 hrs by either Oblt. Paul Rokker (1) or Maj. Paul Semrau (2) (both Luftwaffe night fighter aces) with the aircraft crashing in the village of Bellencombre.

44 Squadron also lost another aircraft during this operation:

Lancaster III ND751 KM-J Flown by 23 year old, P/O. Douglas Earl Aiken J/85822 RCAF, killed with all other six crew.

(1) Oblt. Paul Rokker - this was his 33rd confirmed claim of the war. He was to survive the war with a total of 65 confirmed victories (shown above right)

(2) Maj. Paul Semrau - killed on the 7/8th February 1945, with the rest of his crew when his Ju 88G-6, Wnr.620562 from Stab/NJG2 was shot down by Fl/Lt Sleep in a Spitfire at Twente. His final score as a night-fighter ace stood at 46 victories. (shown above left)

Left and above: Bellencombre Communal Cemetery, photographed by our Kate Tame during her visit in 2012. Any relative who would like a higher resolution of these images please don't hesitate to ask.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Roy Oswald. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 221. Son of Frank and Alice Oswald, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England.

W/O. Arthur John Richardson. Bellencombre Communal Cemetery. Collective grave. Son of Arthur and Sarah Ethel Richardson, of Epping, Essex, England. Grave inscription reads: "In Memory Of John, Who Gave His Life For Us All. Gone But Not Forgotten".

Sgt. Leslie John Harry Hutchinson. Bellencombre Communal Cemetery. Collective grave. Son of Edward Leslie and Beatrice Mabel Hutchinson, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England. Grave inscription reads: "There's Some Corner Of A Foreign Field That Is For Ever England".

Sgt. Robert Hawley Sargent. Bellencombre Communal Cemetery. Collective grave. Son of Robert Wilson Sargent, and of Winifred Sargent, of Highfield, Southampton, England. Grave inscription reads: "Greater Love Than This No Man Hath, That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends".

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 5, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'.

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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), 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', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2021
Last Modified: 19 January 2019, 23:47

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor