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23.03.1945 No. 101 Squadron Lancaster I LL755 SR-U Fl/Lt. Reginald Philip Paterson DFC
Operation: Bremen, Germany
Date: 23 March 1945 (Friday)
Unit: No. 101 Squadron - Motto: Mens agitat molem (Mind over matter)
Squadron Badge: Issuant from the battlements of a tower, a demi lion rampant guardant. The battlements symbolise the squadron's pioneering role in the development of power-operated gun turrets, while the lion indicates the unit's fighting power and spirit. Approved by King George VI in February 1938
Type: Avro Lancaster Mark I
Base: RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire
Location: 1 mile south west of Bremen Aerodrome
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Reginald Philip Paterson DFC J.23377 RCAF Age 22 - PoW. Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang - L1 (1)
Fl/Eng: P/O. Kenneth Donald Julian Ward 184083 RAFVR Age 23 - PoW. Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang - L1 (2)
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Maurice Dillon 1623657 RAFVR Age 21 - PoW. Injured and hospitalised, further details not known. (4)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William George Yeomans 1892052 RAFVR AGE 21 - Killed (5)
Air/Gnr (MU): Sgt. Arthur William Greenhough 3041725 RAFVR Age 19 - Killed (6)
Air/Gnr (R): F/O. William Eric Thoroldson J.40556 RCAF Age 28 - Killed (7)
On behalf of Aircrew Remembered, Roy Wilcock would like to thank friend and respected Canadian aviation researcher, David Champion for his significant and invaluable help in the research of this story, especially his kindness in permitting the use of the content of numbers of emails received from Reg Paterson recounting his personal recollections.
Thus the majority of the story of the crew's formation, through to Reg Paterson's ultimate liberation from captivity, appears much as he related it. Written in his own inimitable style, sometimes tragically sad, often hilariously funny but always engrossing: his tale has suffered only the barest minimum of editing.
A CREW IS FORMED
RAF Wymeswold, some 8 miles north east of Loughborough in rural Leicestershire was the home of No. 28 Operational Training Unit, the raison d'être of which was to train night bomber crews on Vickers Wellington medium bombers. Canadian pilot Reg Paterson arrived there on Tuesday 4 July 1944 but before beginning training he needed to address the small matter of gathering together a crew.
"The first night we were at Wymeswold, Wally Nisbet (another Canadian pilot) and I wandered down to a local pub. We were sitting there at an outdoor table enjoying a beer when two other Canadian officers wandered in. They were navigators. We got talking, one to each, in fact we talked for an hour or so and we both realised that we really took to each other.
I said how would you like to be my navigator and Morley Ornstein said yes. As it turned out the same sort of conversation was taking place between the other two.
The next morning I hit up the Squadron Leader in charge and told him I had just run in to my best friend from home and I would like him for my navigator. He said OK. So I went back and told Wally and he was off down the hall and came back all smiles.
That morning they handed out the crews, I got Bill Thoroldson, a Canadian officer (a gunner), another RCAF officer (bomb aimer) and two RAF Sergeants (a gunner and a w/op) [Arthur Greenhough and William Yeomans]
We did the daytime part of the course and had a few days off before starting night flying and my new bomb aimer went to Manchester.
A few weeks before, there had been a signal passed around saying the RAF needed Boston crews and did anyone want to volunteer. I put my name in. They were three man crews and I would take my nav and rear gunner. We were accepted and were just waiting for more information. Anyway, at the end of the short holiday I got a message from Manchester that my man was sick and would be a few days late returning. I didn't want to lose him because although he wasn't much of a bomb aimer he was a good crew member which was important too. So I went to the MO who was friend of mine and told him that I had a bad cold (partially true) and couldn't fly so he put me in the hospital for a couple of days. They wouldn't give me another bomb aimer if he would be back in a couple of days. That day the call came through from the Boston people, and I was in the hospital. So Wally was the back-up pilot and he went in my place. They actually ended up on B25s so I was glad I hadn't gone. So that is how I got Morris [sic] Dillon because the other guy never did come back".
Thus the crew was formed, half Canadian, half British. Captain Reg Paterson 21, hailed from Regina, Saskatchewan whilst Morley Ornstein who was from Winnipeg, Manitoba had enlisted straight from school, 12 days after his 18th birthday; he was still only 19 but already a Flying Officer. Completing the Canadian trio was erstwhile Nickel Miner, Bill Thoroldson, from Kipling Ontario. Aged 27, he was an old man, comparatively speaking.
The British contingent comprised bomb aimer, Maurice Dillon, aged 20 from West Derby, Liverpool. Maurice aspired to be a School Teacher like his elder sister Josephine.
William Yeomans, the wireless operator, was a 20 year old Londoner from Palmer's Green and Arthur Greenhough from Keighley in the West Riding was a proud Yorkshireman and an air gunner. Born in 1925 Arthur was the youngest member of the crew.
At Wymeswold Reg and his crew were on Course No. 44 from 7 July 1944 until 14 September 1944 after which they enjoyed 10 days leave prior to being posted to No. 1668 Heavy Conversion Unit at RAF Bottesford, Leicestershire. Here they were to train on Lancasters but before they could get started they needed an additional crew member in the shape of a Flight Engineer.
"When we got to [the] Con. Unit to check out on Lancs, we didn't have an engineer as we had been flying Wellingtons. So about the second week, we were still doing only ground school, one morning they marched in a bunch of Flight Engineers. They had already been allotted so you took what you got. I asked him [mine] how much experience he had on Lancs and he said he had never flown in one. In fact he had never been off the ground in anything. But he was one of these guys who knew everything and he also had a cockney accent which none of us could understand most of the time. When I went to the Engineer leader and said that I didn't want this guy he told me I was damn lucky, this Sergeant had led the course where they took their training. And I was a student there too so had very little clout. So we just carried on".
At end of training at No. 1668 HCU on 7 November they had another 9 days leave before joining No. 101 Squadron based at RAF Ludford Magna in Lincolnshire on 17 November 1944.
AND SO TO WAR
For the first week or more the crew was engaged on cross countries out of Ludford to get used to the airfield and the area but on returning from an air firing practice on Tuesday 28 November, Reg was told to go to the tower as they had a message for him.
"When I got there they told me that I was on the raid tomorrow. It was a daylight raid. I said how about my second dicky trip? They said they were short of crews so we had to go. Piece of cake they said, it's a daylight raid, just follow the guy ahead of you. Easy for them to say, they weren't going. We went to Dortmund, the flack was intense but nothing hit us. There were no fighters".
That was it, the next day it was Duisberg and on 2 December it was Hagen. On both trips they had an additional crew member on board (Special Duty Operator Fl/Lt. Gandy) to operate the ABC equipment (see abbreviations)
"The special duty operators (German Speaking) sat in a position just behind the W/Op. There would probably be anywhere up to 20 or 30 in the bomber stream, depending on how many 101 put up. They just kept scanning all the German frequencies and as soon as they heard someone speaking, that operator would jam by operating a mike that was situated under the cowling of one of our engines. God knows how effective it was but at least they could hear the fighters talking to each other and tell us if there were any right near us".
It was Karlsruhe on 4 December, Merseburg two days later, Ludwigshaven on 15 December, Ulm on 17 and Bonn on 21, all completed without mishap. But that was about to end on Christmas Eve when the crew was one of six detailed for a raid on Cologne/Nippes and part of a total force comprising 97 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitoes.
Strangely, Reg's crew's involvement in the raid is not recorded in No. 101 Squadron's Operations Record Book. However, Reg Paterson for reasons which shall become clear remembered it well.
"Yes we were on that raid to Cologne. It is certainly one that I shall never forget. When we were about 15 minutes from the target we got hit by about 8 random bursts of flack. We lost three of our engines, the only one remaining was the starboard outer. I immediately dumped our load, as we were over Germany and shoved the nose down to get below the bomber stream. As soon as I got down a couple of thousand feet I turned round and headed back towards France. We were up around 20000 feet so I was trying to get as much distance out of our descent using engine and glide. We were over Luxemburg somewhere at about 5 thou and I asked the bomb aimer what it looked like down below. There was a bright moon so you could see things pretty good. He said that it was heavy forest so I decided not to bail out yet. Then the amazing thing happened. At around 3500 feet the aircraft started to hold height. On one engine with half of the aircraft missing it was holding height. Our airspeed was just barely above the stall. We had the position of an airport in France on a piece of paper that the navigator had stuffed in his pocket and this was the place he was trying to find with very little of his nav equipment working. He finally leaned over my shoulder and said "Well that place is about three minutes dead ahead, or I haven't the faintest idea where it is".
We were all peering ahead and lo and behold there were crossed runways right where he said. I won't bore you with any more details but I managed to get it down and there we were in France on Christmas Eve. So maybe the reason we aren't listed as being on the raid is because we never came back. We had a wonderful Christmas dinner and finally got home a few days later. We were flying Aircraft SR-V2 that night".
It was about this time, following several incidents involving his Flight Engineer that Reg decided that he was no longer happy for him to remain as part of his crew.
"Next morning, I was in the Engineer leader's office and by 10 a.m. my engineer's name was Peter Nelson. He had flown with us one night when the other one called in sick and I liked him, so I asked for him and got him. Peter was Irish and a great fellow. He had been a senior NCO in ground crew so knew his engines inside out. In fact that's all he cared about. As long as his babies were running along he didn't care what the rest of the world was doing. One night we were just over the target just about to drop when he poked me and said, "Will ye have a cup of coffee Skipper?" The whole crew burst out laughing.
Following 7 days leave the crew returned to operations on 5 January 1945. Detailed for a raid by a force of 664 aircraft on Hannover they were to fly Lancaster DV245 SR-S Sugar on its 100th operation.
"When we got back there were quite a few reporters there asking questions. By the time the story got into the Canadian papers they had it that Fl/Lt. Paterson had just completed 100 trips. My Mother was quite surprised".
They flew 4 further operations in January and towards the end of the month the crew was allocated its very own Lancaster - LL755 SR-U Uncle. Reg first flew U-Uncle on the operation to Stuttgart of 28 January: he was to fly it on every operation afterwards bar two, a total of 14 including the last fateful trip to Bremen.
6 more operations in February brought the crew's total to 20.
Reg's time at Ludford Magna had its lighter moments aptly illustrated by the following recollection.
One of the most interesting persons and great fellows at Ludford was Sqn/Ldr. Tomlinson, the officer in charge of the control tower. He was a very portly gentleman and was known as the Squire. He was quite a bit older than most of us but he enjoyed being around the young aircrew and we all liked him. If we weren't flying we used to organized a few crew buses and go into Grimsby for the evening. The Squire was always along. The rule was that we would all meet at midnight on the town square where the buses would be waiting. The first time I went I was quite annoyed when at midnight some Sqn/Ldr was bellowing for people to form up. He called for markers and three fellows immediately took up the positions. Then he ordered fall in. I thought, who the hell does this guy think he is? But everybody was falling in and someone gave me a push and said, just shut up and do as you're told. When we were all smartly formed up this squadron leader announced "we will now sing Illk Le Mir bar tek"* (I don't know how to spell that), which we did. This was what the Squire did every night that we all went to town".
* On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at (On Ilkley Moor without hat) the well known Yorkshire Anthem.
"My best friend at Ludford Magna was George Withenshaw RCAF, he flew Lancaster SR-W (see later) and we shared a dispersal. He chased a ME262 one night and his bomb aimer shot it down from the front guns. His BA was John Drewery, an RCAF F/O. They both got a DFC for that".
Reg and his crew flew 8 more operations in the first three weeks of March 1945 (Manheim, Cologne, Dessau, Kassel, Nurnburg, Hannau Heide and Bruchstrasse (Bochum) on 21/22).
"We were [then] on a couple of days off and Peter had asked me if he could go to a friend's wedding somewhere and stay the night away. So he and someone's gunner went to this wedding."
Another flight engineer with the squadron was Ken Ward about whom Reg recalled:
"That morning when they [the engineers] were paraded into the classroom [at the Conversion Unit] McLeod jumped up and yelled out, "Hey, that one is mine". So of course after a bit of a shouting match they [he and Ken Ward] were united".
In mid March 1945 at now at Ludford:
"Their rear gunner was married and she had rooms not far away Ken's girl friend had some leave from her job so they invited her to come up there for a week to be near Ken".
"The Bremen raid was dreamed up during the night. It was to be a daylight raid. The system was, when there was a daylight raid on, each squadron took their turn leading. It was 101's turn and for the squadron it was C flight's turn. Our flight Commander was on leave so even though I was on a day off I got drafted. I had no engineer, but I [had] told him he could go so don't blame him. They couldn't find an engineer so I said I would go without one".
REASON FOR LOSS
The throbbing roar of 96 engines powering 24 Lancasters filled the early morning air, alerting the local residents to the fact that No. 101 Squadron was once more sending out its young aircrews to carry the war deep into Germany.
The snaking convoy of heavy bombers moving inexorably towards the runway and extending as each Lancaster taxied out in pre-assigned order, the first in line being LL772 flown by New Zealand Flying Officer, Alexander Robert Benton (NZ427564), taking off at 0640.
Near the end of the line of bombers, third from last, was Flight Lieutenant Reg Paterson's Lancaster LL755 U-Uncle which was to the attacking force.
"Next thing I knew my mid upper said, "Hey, the Wingco's car is alongside and he is waving us down". So we stopped and an engineer plus a Mae West, and a parachute, were flung in the rear door.
Ken had been partying with his girl etc., and he was walking merrily home just before daybreak [when] the wing commander spotted him [and] dragged him in his car".
"I was just turning on to the runway as Ken got up to the front, saying, "Where the hell are we going?" I said, "Bremen", he said, "Let me out of here". By then I had the throttles half open and we were on our way. Being a good engineer he got right to work and did his job."
It was precisely 0711.
The 24 bombers of No. 101 Squadron were part of a total force of 122 Lancasters from No. 1 and No. 5 Groups detailed to attack railway bridges at Bremen with an H hour of 1000 hours.
Returning crew later reported that although a smoke screen was in operation bombing appeared accurate in the Target area. Numerous fighters were seen in the Target area and flak was intense and predicted.
The plan was for the force to fly beyond Bremen passing on the south of the city before turning 360° and attacking the specified targets on the way back.
At about 1000 hours the first of the Lancasters made their attack and within the space of seven minutes all those of No. 101 Squadron had completed their task and were heading for home.
Almost immediately after dropping its bombs Reg Paterson's Lancaster was hit by flak. In November 2011 Reg described the event and its aftermath in emails to Canadian researcher Dave Champion.
"I was leading the raid on Bremen and got hit right over the city. The flack [sic] blew my Port wing right off. The Lanc will fly on one engine but not one wing. The bomb aimer [Maurice Dillon] was lying on the hatch of course and he got out right away. I helped the nav [Morley Ornstein] scramble by me and he seemed ok. The engineer [Ken Ward] hadn't put his parachute in the rack and it had taken off down the aircraft. This was all happening in seconds as the aircraft was twisting around like a fiend and was of course coming down. I had no contact with anyone because the wall next to me was damaged and my intercom cord was in that area. So I looked at the roof and saw that it was cracked. The thing that really saved me, was that I was wearing a seat pack so that when I reared up and smashed my fist through the roof then my head and then me it came with me. The screaming wind and noise was unbelievable. I whistled by one of the tail fins by inches and I pulled the rip cord. The chute opened perfectly except that I was rolling head over heels and the chute came up between my legs causing the shroud lines to wrap around one of my legs. In other words my left leg was higher than my head. I was also 50% dozy from the flack [sic] bursting so close to my window. So there I was floating down from about four thousand feet, enjoying the beautiful sunshine and quiet flight when I started to come back to life and realize that I was going to get a hell of a whack on the head in a minute or less. So I grabbed the shroud lines and pulled myself as upright as I could and landed on my shoulders. I found myself in a nice little pasture out back of a barn and some other buildings. So I was laying there wondering if I was all in one piece or not, when I looked up and saw this big German lady heading my way with a pitchfork. She was probably in her 60s and was in good condition as most farm women usually are. In hand to hand combat I would have come in a pretty bad second. I tried to get to my feet but realized that I was completely wound up with nylon lines. That is when I realized that things were getting dicey. So dug around my waistline trying to find my revolver and it took me a while but I finally yanked it out. By this time she was getting pretty close. So I pointed the gun at her and in my best German shouted “ Halt, oder du bist tot" [Stop, or you're dead]. She skidded to a stop and looked at me, then turned around and headed back to the barn hollering some men's names. I forget what they were now. I finally shook off all the ties that bound me and started heading out of there. I could see after one look around that there was nowhere to go. It was flat farm land with the nearest trees 5 miles away.
I saw my two gunners lying side by side and went over to them. They were both dead".
"Then I spotted Ken Ward getting to his feet not too far away and we made for each other.
(Ken later explained that he had watched me go out but as he had no chute he decided that was it and just stayed braced against the wall. Then a parachute came whistling down the aircraft which he grabbed snapped on and dived out through the hole I had made in the roof. I asked him later if he checked the number on the chute to see if it was his?)
Photograph 1 shows wreckage of LL755 looking to the south west of Bremen Aerodrome and photograph 2 of the same wreckage is shown looking north east towards the Aerodrome.
CLICK ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT
CAPTURED - JUST IN TIME
The lady was now just emerging from the barn, followed by two guys each wielding clubs. Obviously you can’t go around shooting German civilians if you want to survive your stay in the country. Just then we saw some German airmen coming across the field towards us. I figured they were the best of two evils, so we dumped our guns into an irrigation ditch and went over towards the guys in uniform. They consisted of a Sergeant and six airmen. None were armed, they were from the ack ack battery that shot us down. The Sergeant said “good morning and how are you?” Now how do you answer that? He had been a wool buyer before the war and had spent a great deal of time in the UK buying wool, so he spoke good English.
They walked us back to where all the big guns were, (the lady and her friends had given up). I wasn’t really hurt at all and Ken looked like he was dressed for the COs parade in his best outfit. But when my side window had blown in I was covered in broken glass. You know, if you cut yourself shaving your face can bleed profusely, well I guess my face had dozens of shaving cuts so it looked really bad. So they all thought I was in bad shape.
In about 30 minutes a pilot showed up pushing a bike. I must admit that I had expected a truck or something would pick us up, but no, we had to walk back to the airport which was about two miles away. It was a lovely day for a walk and he was a very pleasant fellow so it wasn’t too bad. I was starting to feel some of the results of all this excitement and towards the end I was a bit shivery.
The headquarters building so to speak, was under ground, with the hallways used as an air raid shelter. We were taken in to the COs office. He had brought in a mechanic from the hangar who spoke English, to translate. This little guy wasn’t too bright and I don’t suppose in normal circumstances the CO would even speak to him.
So he said to me, “He asks me a question, I ask you the question, you tell me the answer, and I tell him”. In other words, “This is the most important day of my life, don’t screw it up”.
So the CO, who was a tall good looking Lieutenant said to me “What is your name?" in German. So, as I understand German, I told him. Well the poor little interpreter almost cried. After they had some words, the CO threw him out.
Then I discovered that my bomb aimer was in the next room. He wasn’t in too bad shape but they were taking him to a hospital. I never saw him again.
About then I also discovered how my face was all cut up so I told him I wanted to see a doctor. I heard him say to one of his guards, "To hell with him, throw them in the digger [Canadian slang for solitary confinement] and he can see a doctor later". I told him that I was a Canadian Air Force Officer and that I was of higher rank than him and wanted to see a doctor. I don’t know why this worked but there was a doctor and a nurse in there in minutes. The nurse (Anna by name) took me off to a medical room and cleaned [me] up and bandaged my face. They only had paper bandages so I looked a real weirdo.
So off to the guardhouse we went, and were put into separate cells, next door to each other. The windows were on the same wall facing right into the wall of a hangar and there was a pedestrian door there. I was in the corner room so also had a window looking out on to the tarmac. So I could see aircraft that were parked there. It was an ME 109 Squadron. There was a little guy came to the door of the hanger and just sort of stood half in the shadow so he couldn’t be seen very easily. He said "Me nichts Deutsch". He was a pressed worker who was a mechanic. I asked him if he could get me a pair of wire cutters. The windows weren’t barred they just had a very heavy wire screen over them with about 6 inch squares you could put your arm through. He just about wet his pants at this and shouted "Nein nein nein ... Gestapo, Gestapo" and ran in and shut the door. Just then the air raid alarm went off and we were taken back down into the hallway below ground. Shortly after we got there a whole bunch of German pilots came running down the stairs. Very young fellows mostly. They had all been flying around the circuit having a great time for the past couple of hours. When they saw us they came rushing over shouting Englander Flugelmen, and hollering for some fellow named Walter. He arrived, a very handsome blond fellow and said hello and stuck out his hand. He was of German parents who had emigrated to the USA back in the 20s and he was born in New York City. His dad took him back to Germany just before the war started. He was pretty mixed up. He loved flying the fighter planes but when he got up near a B-17 he always wondered if maybe that other pilot might be one of his pals from high school in NY. I said to him, "What are you guys doing down here, there are a lot of Liberators up there?" The answer was "Yeah, there are a lot of Spitfires up there too".
[Even] the man in charge of the guardhouse had lived 25 years in Chicago before returning to Germany.
The next morning we were taken out to a truck and a Cadet Officer and two large paratroopers were there to escort us to the interrogation camp. The young fellow spoke good English and was very friendly. He was very interested in the war ending, because I imagine he was only weeks away from a posting to the Russian front. They took us to a place called Pinneberg just north of Hamburg. We were strip searched on arrival and put into solitary confinement for a week. I was so tired by this time that I think I slept most of the time. There was an American on either side of me and I could hear them pacing up and down for hours. Then came the day and I was taken into an office where there was a Luftwaffe Officer, a Captain. He was a navigator and had been shot down over England and badly wounded. He got back to Germany when there was an exchange of wounded prisoners. He would never fly again but could do this interrogation job. He started off with the usual questions and I gave him the usual answers. Name, Rank and Number. He just laughed and said, "Who cares, this damn war is almost over anyway. Besides I know all about you anyway. You are from 101 Squadron based at Ludford Magna in Lincolnshire, England". He pulled out a book and opened it and handed it to me. On this page was 101 Squadron listing all the people and their positions etc. So he gave me a big grin and said, "Where do you come from in Canada, that can’t possibly be a secret?" So I said, "Regina, Sask." He said, "I have had many a good night there in the Sask. Hotel". It turned out that he had a degree in Agriculture from the University of Sask.
I do meet the most interesting people!
Once we were free from being interrogated we were taken to a large barracks type building and put in a room on the third floor to wait until they had enough for a draft up to the Prison Camp. At that time Ken and I were the only two there. It had a big window that opened, so we were sitting there enjoying the sunshine when a Mustang went roaring past the window shooting at I don’t know what. Three or four of these buildings had POW painted on the roof and that was true for the one we were in but the others were where the German army girls were billeted. Quite a crafty move on their part. There were about 6 Mustangs and they seemed to be having a good time shooting up the place without hitting certain buildings. The last guy who came down between the buildings gave us a wave and away they went.
Next thing there was a knock on the door. We just ignored it, after all we were locked in there so we didn’t feel we should have to answer the door. However the knocking persisted so I finally said,
"What do you want?"
"Let me in," he says.
"We can’t, key is on your side".
"Who has the key?"
"Don’t know, probably the guard".
"Where is he?"
"Don’t know that either".
So he finally buggered off, but soon after he was back and a guard let him in. He was a Corporal by the name of Rose. He was actually a lawyer in Hamburg who had just been drafted to work with POWs because he spoke English. But he really hadn’t spoken a lot of English for some time so he wanted to sit there and talk to us to bring his English up to speed. He turned out to be a real nice little man who had no more idea how to be a German soldier than the man in the moon. We were a little suspicious at first but soon realized he wasn’t a plant. He was about 5ft 2 in height and quite portly. He stayed until after lunch and then more prisoners started rolling in. There was one guard named Albert who was bringing them up one at a time. He was about 30 years old with a mind of around 10. Obviously he was unusable for most of the Army jobs. But he was always happy so we didn’t object. By dark, there were about 50 men in this room that was hard pushed to hold 30. So guys were lying on the benches and on the floor, filling every inch of space. If you needed to go to the washroom you got up and pounded on the door and eventually Albert showed up and you hollered "Pissen" and he took you down to the washroom which was down the hall and down a flight of stairs to the next floor. So this was about a 10 or 15 minute jaunt which was more fun than sitting in this dark smelly room. So, it became a game. After Albert brought a fellow back we would wait until he had time to walk all the way back to the guards room, then another guy would get up and start hammering a hollering "Pissen" all over again.
I don’t know how many miles Albert put on that night, but it was quite a few. But he never stopped grinning. Finally things settled down and most people had dozed off. It was about 2 a.m. when suddenly the door burst open and there was Albert, grin and all, saying, "Pissen Ja? Pissen Ja?" - Every boot in the place flew across the room.
OFF TO CAMP
So, that now we had enough for a draft, we could be taken up to the Prison camp. I was put in charge of the prisoners and told that I would have to swear that no one would try to escape or they would take away our belts and we would have to hold our pants up by hand. They were all Americans except Ken and I and strangely enough very nervous. We knew that the Allies had crossed the Rhine and at night you could hear the guns, but it didn’t seem to be worth the risk trying to make a run for it. Then our escort showed up and guess who, Corporal Rose, Albert and an old guy who could hardly stand up. They each had a rifle. I think it was the first time Corporal Rose had ever seen one. We took a commuter train into Hamburg. There at an outer city station we had to get off our train and catch another train over to Hamburg central where we would catch a main line train up to Sassnitz.
When we got to this first station and got off the train the platform was jammed with well over a thousand people trying to get out of Hamburg. No matter what train came in they all tried to get on, no matter which direction it was pointing. The thought of Corporal Rose commandeering a carriage for us was out of the question. He had only been in the Army a few weeks and was not that kind of a person.
So he said to me, "If we get down off this platform and go up that street we will come to a major street that has street cars running on it. Do you think we should try that?"
I told him that he was the boss to lead on and we would follow. We got to the corner and it was a lovely wide street with large trees along the edge. So along came a street car. It was a street car with two trailers. When the driver saw this motley crowd standing at the stop he took one look, and hit the get up and go lever and off they went in a rush. Along came another one and the same thing happened. So the Corporal tells me that if we walk down this large street for about a mile we will come to a large circle where all the streetcar lines intercept and they all have to stop there. In other words maybe we can ambush one when it isn’t looking. So I told him that we have nothing else to do so we may as well walk. So we took off in a column of threes and marched merrily down the street. We had gone about half a mile when I noticed up ahead standing on a corner, was a German Officer. When we got closer I saw that it was the fellow who had interrogated me. He had the most peculiar look on his face and he roared at the Corporal, "What the hell are you doing?" So I spoke up and said not to blame the Corporal as he was doing his best to get us to our destination. He was in uniform but off duty. He said he had better come with us. "When we get to the circle I will put you on a street car going directly to the station". Just as we enter the circle, the air raid siren went off and he rushed us all down into a underground shelter. So there we were all jammed into this cellar surrounded by German civilians. I told my boys just to sit tight and keep their mouths shut. So we did that and listened to the Lancasters overhead and the bombs bursting around the area. The "all clear" finally sounded and we got out and the Officer went over to one of the stopped cars, stuck his head in the door and shouted "Raus" and all the people got off and we got on and away we went.
NINCOMPOOPS WITH GUNS
We arrived at the Hamburg central station to find that there was a troop train loading there and we were to ride it part way then change to a train going straight up north to Barth. We were met by one of the Regimental Officers who was getting his troops on this train. He put us in an empty car. It was like a Canadian railway car, aisle down the centre with two seats on each side. No compartments, open all the way down. We thought that we would be sharing it with some of their soldiers but no one else came. But there were NCOs and Officers tramping back and forth through the car as they had people on the cars before and behind us. I mention this because as they went through, they were very interested in looking us over.
I was sitting with Corporal Rose and he had his rifle upright between his legs. He was looking at it and said to me, "Do you know how to load one of these things?"
I said,"Of course, I do, but do you mean to tell me that it isn’t loaded?"
So he handed it over to me and said, "No, here, have a look".
I just about jumped out of my skin and shoved it back. I told him that if one of these officer walking through here sees me holding your gun there will be hell to pay. So as he held it I opened the breech and had a quick look. It must have come right out of storage because it had never been cleaned and was full of grease. So I told him to forget it, if he ever tried to fire that gun it would blow his head off. I also told him to check the other two escorts too. So there we were riding on a German train under guard by two nincompoops and a gentleman who had never had a gun in his hand before.
We got to Stralsund, which was where we had to change trains. There were more German troops getting on there. It was a small country station with an open platform. So we were standing around watching these soldiers getting on the train. They were mostly quite elderly fellows and they were carrying huge back packs. Had to be at least 80 pounds. Plus they had rifles and bayonets etc. One old guy couldn’t make it up the steps so one of the Americans went over and gave him a boost. The soldier turned around to thank him and when he saw the fellow was wearing an American uniform he started to laugh, and stuck out his hand, and said, "Danke, Danke, Danke" and we all laughed.
We spent the night in a school room at a nearby school, just sitting on the floor around the wall. Some food was provided but I don’t remember what. There was a bag with some tea leaves, but we had no water. There was an old newspaper in the room so we tore it into smaller pieces and rolled cigarettes with the tea. Then we had to bum a light off the guards outside but we got one and all had a smoke of tea. The guards outside were German Marines so we didn’t want to get into any trouble with them. The next day we took a local train up to Sassnitz which was the end of the line. Some trucks took us the rest of the way (not far) to Barth where Stalag Luft 1 was located.
It was a big place, divided into two parts with 10,000 Yanks in one part and 5,000 British Empire types in the other. We were booked in. Didn’t take us long as the only British guys were Ken and I. Then we had to go before a committee of our own people so they could assure themselves that we weren‘t German plants. We went into a room of 25 people (counting us). On the way they handed us a mattress cover and we stopped beside a pile of straw and filled it up. This would be our bed. Our roommates consisted of mostly RAF types. There were a couple of Canadians and four South African pilots. I had never met any SAAF before. They wore brown uniforms. One of the Canadians had been a cook in a lumber camp in Canada before the war. So he was a real jewel. He could take the meagre food we got and serve fairly tasty meals. Any Red Cross parcels that came were turned over to him. Apparently they hadn’t received any parcels for a few months and it showed. Fortunately a shipment arrived a couple of days after we got there. The Germans gave us a bowl of soup for lunch every day and some German bread in the evening. I don’t think it was because they were mean, I don’t think they had all that much themselves. Things were getting pretty tough in Germany. As long as the Red Cross parcels got through we weren’t too badly off. So for the next couple of months we just sat around on our butts and didn’t do very much. A lot of trading went on. Everything in the parcels had been given a value and if you didn’t smoke for example you could trade them for something else. Cigarettes were worth quite a bit. The big item was the D bars. It was a fairly thick chocolate bar of very solid chocolate. On the American side you could get one of those leather Airforce jackets that the Yank Airforce Officers used to wear, for a bar.
The Kommandant called in our two senior officers, an American Colonel and an RAF Group Captain, one morning and announced that we would be marching out the next day heading west away from the Russians. They just laughed and said that they knew how many men he had left (actually 150) and he knew how many men they had left. Just open the gate and see how far we march. It would be pretty hard to control 15000 men with 150. The Kommandant laughed and stuck out his hand and said "Auf Weidersehen". The next day he rode out the gate on top of the water wagon pulled by a team of horses.
There were hundreds of us at the gate waving and wishing him well. He was very well thought of. (I read in the paper 10 years later that the RAF fellows from that camp held a tenth anniversary party and the guest of honor was the Kommandant.
THE RUSSIAN CONCERT PARTY
Then the Russians came [1 May 1945]. The first was a company of Cossacks on horseback, their CO was a woman Major. By the next day there were Russians all over the place. They shot the Mayor of Barth and other local people. Most of this crowd seemed to be Mongolians and they were a pretty rough bunch. Anything in a bluish uniform was shot. Unfortunately the German air force uniform was a very similar colour to the RAF blue. On the camp was a room with a few hundred American GI uniforms in it. They had been sent over in case fellows had arrived with their clothing tattered and torn. So I took off my RAF battle dress and put on a GI brown uniform.
The Russian had forbidden any Allied aircraft to fly over their territory and two weeks after the end of the war we were still in the prison camp.
One day the Russians had brought in a movie of the Yalta conference for us to see. I had already seen it in England. This was the version taken with Russian cameras, of course. We were in a big room and there were a lot of Russian soldiers sitting around the wall watching the movie too. They of course, were covered in bandoliers with ammunition, and grenades and machine guns. When Churchill's plane landed they played "God save the Queen" and all the British guys stood up then then Roosevelt landed and they played the "Star Spangled Banner" and all the Yanks stood up but none of us knew what the Russian national anthem sounded like so whenever a new piece was played we would leap to our feet. We didn’t want to annoy all these heavily armed men. However it all worked out OK.
The next day they brought in a Russian male voice choir to entertain us. The pre-concert time was filled in by the local regimental band playing a few tunes. They were terrible, but like the rest of the Russians the guys in the band were armed to the teeth too so we cheered everything. The male voice choir was fabulous, almost worth waiting around for. The MC didn’t speak English so they had enlisted an American to interpret. He was from Brooklyn and was of Polish descent. The MC who was dressed in a silk shirt with flowing sleeves would get up and emote with great passion introducing the number, then this Yank would start out,
"Dis guy here says something about a horse. This fellow is leaving and he kisses his horse goodbye, Hmm, maybe it was his girl he kissed".
He obviously knew about as much Russian as the rest of us. However the singing was superb. This concert was out doors and just about everyone was there. In the middle of the concert a British staff car came in through the gate. A Colonel and two huge Sergeants got out, all armed to the teeth as well. The Colonel got up on the stage and stopped the show. You could see that he had no fear of Russians.
He took the microphone and said, "General Montgomery has just heard of your situation here". He then said that General Montgomery had sent a signal to the Russians this morning saying,"Get the men out of there within 24 hours or I am coming in to get them"
A SPRINT FINISH
"The next morning we were told we were marching to the airport which was about 5 miles away. We figured that we would be sitting around there for a few weeks. My hut was almost at the gate so we got out fairly soon. I was marching out in front and they were in threes behind. Everyone was happy just to be doing something. We were about half way when we heard an aircraft engine. As we all looked up, the DC3 flew over us. I will always remember this voice behind me speaking in a broad Lancashire accent
“It's going to be goddamned crowded in that Dak”.
Actually it was an ambulance plane coming to take out any hospital cases. Which in fact was only one man. Not bad eh? 15000 men and all but one could walk at least 5 miles.
We were about a mile from the airport when there was a great roar in the sky and 50 B-17s flew over our heads at about 150 feet in tight formation. Some people think that Bannister was the first man to do the four minute mile. The guys in the front flight started running and soon everyone was nipping right along. They landed. taxied around, put on 25 men and took off. It took them two days to clear the camp. The pilot we were with flew low level all the way across Germany and just by coincidence flew right over what was left of my Lancaster just outside of Bremen.
Film of Airlift of American and British POWs from Stalag Luft 1 Barth Germany May 13 1945 (no sound)
We landed at Chichester [12 May 1945]. They had the canteen all decorated with flowers and all the airwomen were dressed in civilian clothes looking very pretty. There was food and drink aplenty. We Canadians were put on a bus and headed for Bournemouth.
We arrived to a good meal and got telegrams off to our homes telling them we were safe. In my case they never knew that I was a POW so it was something that they were glad to hear. My wife who was my fiancée [see below] at that time was a WREN in the Canadian navy stationed in Halifax. She had got a message saying that I was missing. When this one came her officer called her in and gave her the good news. We were married a few weeks later in Halifax when I stepped off the boat.
[His fiancée was 21468 WREN Eileen M. Smith, stationed at HMCS Stadacona, at Halifax, Nova Scotia. "HMCS Stadacona" was the name of the Canadian Forces Base, Halifax, prior to 1968. In 2015 Reg and Eileen celebrated their 70th wedding anniversay]
In his liberation report Reg Paterson said that his aircraft crashed about 1 mile south west of Bremen Aerodrome and he saw both bodies of the gunners. "Greenhough's chute had not been used [and] Thoroldson did not have a chute on".
Researcher Dave Champion suggests that Bill Thoroldson jumped without his chute because he couldn't reach it. In the crew photo it can be seen that their Lancaster has four .303s in the tail. Had it been equipped with the Rose turret he could have sat in it with his chute and jumped out over the twin .5s. But add the chaos Reg describes and imagine trying to wind your turret to get out and grab your chute. (Dave Champion)
Neither Reg Paterson nor Ken Ward knew anything of the fate of William Yeomans who was not seen anywhere near the crash.
Flying alongside Reg as one of his wingmen had been his best friend on the Squadron, George Withenshaw DFC in NX569 SR-W. The Squadron Operations Record Book states that:
“101/W reported seeing 101/U hit by Flak in the Target area and diving in flames. 3 parachutes were seen to descend”
In his liberation report, Kenneth Ward said that he landed west of Bremen Civil Airport and after being taken prisoner was taken to Dulag Luft at Pinneberg near Hamburg. He said that he was not specially interrogated there but was threatened with being handed over to the Gestapo when he refused to answer questions. He spent five days at Dulag Luft before being taken to Stalag Luft I at Barth on 2 April 1945.
POST WAR INVESTIGATION CONFUSION CAUSED BY ERRORS IN LOSS LETTERS
Two aircraft were lost during the raid, both of them from No. 101 Squadron. The other loss was Lancaster DV245, flying its 119th operation and captained by RCAF F/O. Ralph Robert Little. The aircraft is thought to have been attacked by an ME262 just after leaving the target but whatever the cause, it disintegrated in the air with no parachutes being observed to leave it. It crashed at Stöttinghausen south east of Twistringen. All the crew were killed and are buried at Sage War Cemetery.
Lancasters DV245 and LL755 were the final losses sustained by No. 101 Squadron during the war, the two becoming inextricably linked, not due to that fact but due to errors in the Squadron records.
The Battle Order of 2130 hours on 22 March 1945 and the Squadron Operations Record Book lists Paterson as flying LL755 and Little as flying DV245. However in the loss letters raised by the Squadron on 26 March 1945 the aircraft serial numbers have been transposed to indicate that Paterson was in fact flying DV245 and Little was flying LL755. The error is compounded by the take off times of the two aircraft also being transposed i.e. DV245 shown as taking off at 0711 (actually 0658) and LL755 at 0658 (actually 0711).
The errors were then perpetuated throughout the system resulting in Loss Cards being raised in accordance with the details in the loss letters and ultimately throughout the records of the Missing Research and Enquiry Service.
The ensuing reports and correspondence regarding the investigation carried out after the cessation of hostilities by the Missing Research and Enquiry Service are thus all in error in respect of the of serial numbers of the two aircraft referred to in their documents.
The only wreckage discovered was in the vicinity of Bremen Aerodrome. It was incapable of being identified as either of the two losses but since this was known to be Paterson's aircraft it was assumed to be DV245 in accordance with the erroneous information in the records.
An email from Reg Paterson to Dave Champion in November 2011 confirms that he was in fact flying LL755 on 23 March 1945 as per the Squadron Operations Record Book.
"On the 23 of March I was flying SR-U. That was supposedly my aircraft. But of course with Maintenance scheds., and people on leave, etc., you might be flying any one of the Squadron aircraft. F/O Little was flying SR-S. Those two facts are for sure".
Mystery surround the circumstances of the deaths of navigator Morley Ornstein and wireless operator William Yeomans and the findings of the post war investigation and exhumation reports only exacerbate the situation.
Reg Paterson had helped Morley Ornstein get past him to the front hatch and "he seemed OK". Presumably he baled out after Maurice Dillon but neither he nor Ken Ward knew anything regarding the fate of William Yeomans and they did not see or hear anything of him after landing although in his liberation report Reg states that he was "Not found near or in crash".
As for Morley Ornstein, Reg Paterson was later shown his Identity Card by the Germans and told that he was dead but he had not seen his body and knew nothing further about the circumstances of his death.
The following details given by Reg Paterson are taken from the book, No Prouder Place: Canadians and the Bomber Command Experience, 1939-1945 by David L. Bashow, R. Lowry (ISBN: 9781551250984)
"He [the engineer] pulled his chute and landed on his feet and he was only about 1200 feet above ground when he got out"
"We were at 22000 feet when the whole thing started, and I got out at about 5000 feet".
As stated earlier, according to No. 101 Squadron's Operations Record Book, George Withenshaw and/or his crew reported seeing 3 parachutes descend from Lancaster LL755 as it fell in flames. Since Reg baled at 5000 feet and Ken Ward at 1200 feet it is debatable whether the Withenshaw crew flying at 22000 feet would have been able to see their late exit. The Squadron ORB also refers to a smoke screen being in operation which may also have obstructed the view of the Withenshaw crew.
If they were unable to see Reg Paterson and/or Ken Ward bale out then it is possible that as many as five crew members may have parachuted from LL755. We know that Dillon made it out and survived and that the two gunners got out but did not deploy their parachutes. Which leaves Ornstein and Yeomans as the only other two possible parachutists. None of the survivors knew anything whatsoever of William Yeomans after the aircraft was hit but both Reg Paterson and Ken Ward stated that they had seen Morley Ornstein make his way to the front hatch with his parachute clipped on. There would seem to be no reason why he should not have got out.
There were at least two, as yet unconfirmed reports, from crew members of other aircraft that 3 parachutes were seen to exit the aircraft followed later by one more.
The following is a transcript of an undated document that was rubber stamped 15 September 1945.
"Report of Enquiry into circumstances of death of F/Sgt. Yeomans and Burial Particulars of other members of the crew of Lancaster D.3245 [Sic] (101 Squadron), shot down near Bremen on 23rd March 1945".
1. Enquiries made at Brinkum revealed that a British airman, a sergeant, who baled out during an attack on Bremen in March 1945 was captured near the village, interrogated at the Police Station and taken to Bremen by the Military authorities. The present Burgermeister, a garage-worker Brinkmayer, and a factory proprietor Ellenhausen, were interrogated.
2. No-one at Brinkum could say where the aircraft crashed, though it was thought that two others had baled out and had come down more to the West, in the administrative district of Oldenburg.
3. Enquiries and search in the Mordeich district [of Stuhr] eventually led to the discovery of the remains of a Lancaster aircraft strewn over two fields skirting the road from Mordeich to the southern boundary of the aerodrome. Some children on the spot confirmed that the aircraft had been hit during an attack on Bremen and had broken up in the air. They spoke rather vaguely of four or five bodies, and said one survivor found next day had been shot by civilians.
4. A farmer Finke working close to the aerodrome stated that two survivors were captured in this area and taken to the aerodrome by a Major and an Oberstleutnant.
Farmer Wessels stated that although he was not present when the aircraft crashed he had seen four bodies the next day. Apparently these lay on the spot for a few days under military guard. Farmer Reiners was present when the two survivors surrendered to the Flaktroops, but saw only three bodies which had fallen fairly close together. He was no longer in the district the next day when the fourth body discovered, apparently by the guards.
Both Wessels and Reiners stoutly denied all knowledge of any violence and maintained that had any been done, they certainly would have heard about it. It seems fairly certain that the children's story was imagination and prompted by local rumours originating in the alleged maltreatment of an airman by Bierman, a Nazi official some months previously.
5. A detailed search in the district for the graves yielded nothing, but at Bremen Aerodrome workers were questioned who had been there previous to the capitulation, and it was suggested that an undertaker Stube, who normally had the burial contract, might be able to help. His documents however revealed nothing, but he suggested applying to the Friedhofant [sic] where after some search the necessary information was obtained. Apparently they were all buried in the Ehrenfriedhof at Osterholz cemetery on 16 April. Yeoman's name was entered as Geomaus but on the death certificate it is written correctly. The graves are as yet unmarked but the numbers according to the official records are:
F/Sgt. Yeomans K64
Sgt. Greenough K65
F/O. Thoroldson K65a
F/O. Ornstein K66a
Maurice Dillon was presumably the man captured at Brinkum and the two in the Oldenburg district were Paterson and Ward.
We know that Reg Paterson and Ken Ward only saw the bodies of Greenhough and Thoroldson at the aerodrome and in his liberation report Paterson states that
Farmer Reiners was present when the two survivors surrendered to the Flaktroops, but saw three bodies which had fallen fairly close together. Presumably a third body was found after Paterson and Ward had left and this third body placed with those of Greenhough and Thoroldson.
Farmer Wessels stated that although he was not present when the aircraft crashed he had seen four bodies the next day thus suggesting that a fourth body had been placed beside the others some time after Farmer Reiners had left.
It is strange that the report casts out of hand the children's contention that a "survivor found the next day, was shot by civilians" merely because Wessels and Reiners stoutly denied all knowledge of any violence and maintained that had any been done, they certainly would have heard about it.
Surely another body, apparently having appeared the day after the crash, alongside the other three crew members, might have alerted the investigator's suspicion that there might have been some element of truth in what the children had said.
DISCREPANCIES IN THE EXHUMATION REPORT OF MOREY ORNSTEIN
Turning to the exhumation report, there are major unexplained discrepancies in that of Morley Ornstein. In the report he is decribed as being 5 feet 6 inches (1.68m) tall of thin build with dark brown hair. He was also naked and had head wounds.
His height at enlistemnt is recorded as 71½ (5 feet 11½ inches or 1.82m) in fact his enlistment photograph shows him to be 6 feet 2 inches but presumable wearing shoes. So at least 6 inchs or so taller than recorded in the Exhumation Report.
Reg Paterson is quoted as having said of Morley Ornstein:
"My navigator was a Jewish boy from Windsor, Ontario, Flying Officer Morley Ornstein. He was a big fellow with an even bigger appetite. He would dig into those sandwiches and grin all around, saying, “I don’t know where they get their chickens from around here, but they sure are good.” As a navigator, he was superb..."
Judging by the crew photograph he was a man of good size and not thin by any stretch of the imagination. Compare his size to that of Reg Paterson who would perhaps fit the desciption of being thin.
Yet "thin" is how Morley is described in the Exhumation Report
Perhaps an easy mistake to make so perhaps not worthy of discussion but Morley had black hair, the Exhumation Report says dark brown.
WAS MORLEY ORNSTEIN MURDERED?
Morley Ornstein was a former student of the Harbord Collegiate Institute in Toronto. In 2004 whilst making a donation to the Harbord Charitable Foundation to help in the restoration of the War Memorial Morley S. Wolfe QC wrote the following letter which was subsequently published in the Collegiate Newsletter, the Harbodite.
"My parents were close friends of Morley's parents, Ben and Esther Orenstein [sic]. Ben was in the rug and carpet business, smoked cigars, and went under the business sobriquet of "Ormsby". Ben was the only person we knew who owned a car. We were often invited by the Orenstein's on short automobile excursions, for picnics etc. Morley, his older brother Robert, their parents, my parents and I crowded into the car, which was filled with talk of war, politics, the economy and religion. Both Morley and Robert were quiet in nature but both had a sweet sense of humour. Morley went into the Royal Canadian Air Force and became a navigator in a bomber crew. Robert joined the army. My recollection of events as related to me by my mother was that Morley was in a bomber shot down over German territory, managed to parachute out, but landed in a tree. While hanging helplessly in his 'chute straps, German troopers or Gestapo shot him.
Word of this horror devastated his mother, and the family was never quite the same afterwards. I too have always had a warm place in my heart for Morley".
On 11 July 1945 Mrs Ornstein had written to the National Defence for Air in Ottawa
"...the Pilot is now safely back in Canada, and he has informed me by mail of all the details of that last fateful flight. I do not know whether I am violating a confidence, but I think you will understand that I am anxious to find out what happened to my son, regardless of how I go about it".
Clearly the words of a very determined lady. What she eventually discovered is no doubt in accordance with the details contained in Morley S. Wolfe's letter but what was the source of Mrs Ornstein's information?
If you have any further information concerning the death of Morley Ornstein or anything else concerning this story please contact our helpdesk
On 15 December 2020 we were contacted by Frank Trebert who informed us that:
'A few years ago I accompanied a team from a state ordnance disposal team. The crash site of a Lancaster bomber was opened about one kilometre south of the Bremen airport searching for remains of ordnance. It must have been the: Lancaster bomber I LL 755 SR-U Fl/Lt. Reginald Philip Paterson DFC. which crashed on 03/23/1945 near the Bremen airport. I was able to ensure a well-preserved alternator for an engine (see pictures).'
Frank told us that even 76 years after its final flight, 'the alternator was still in good condition for its age and the shaft inside could still be turned'.
Frank later sold the alternator to a Swiss enthusiast and very kindly donated the proceeds of the sale to Aircrew Remembered.
Aircrew Remembered would like to thank Frank Trebert for bringing this to our attention and providing the above photographs.
In July 2021 Frank Trebert sent us the following video received from the alternator's new owner who had made the alternator not only turn but generate electricity once more.
BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS OF THE CREW
(1) Fl/Lt. Reginald Philip Paterson DFC CDwas born on 22 November 1922 at Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada the son of Frederick James Paterson and Ellen Murdock Paterson nee Philip. He had a half sister Katrine Isabel Paterson (1907-2001)
Before enlisting in the RCAF Reg worked as a Transport Driver
After training at No. 2 Initial Training School at RCAF Regina Saskatchewan, No. 8 Elementary Flying Training School at RCAF Vancouver British Columbia and No. 7 Service Flying Training School at RCAF Macleod, Alberta (Course No. 37 3 January 1942 to 7 May 1942), he was awarded his Flying Badge and promoted to Sergeant.
He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in December 1942.
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross effective 23 October 1945 as promulgated in the London Gazette of 30 October 1945 and AFRO 1822/45 of 7 December 1945.
RECOMMENDATION dated 2 June 1945 when he had flown 29 sorties (189 hours 15 minutes)
Flight Lieutenant Paterson, a Canadian, is a pilot of outstanding ability who has carried out 28 successful sorties against the enemy. On many occasions the targets which he attacked offered severe opposition from flak and fighters, but this in no way deterred this officer's firm intention to strike the enemy as hard as possible.
On his 29th sortie whilst leading an attack on Bremen, his aircraft was struck by flak over Bremen. He encountered very heavy flak but pressed home his attack in spite of the fiercest opposition. His aircraft was hit by flak and he had to abandon his aircraft. He has now been repatriated from a prisoner-of-war camp.
This officer at all times displayed a very high order of personal courage and combined with cheerful confidence and an unconquerable spirit of determination, which has resulted in the completion of a splendid record of achievement.
It is recommended that Flight Lieutenant Paterson's fine offensive spirit and sustained bravery in the face of the enemy be recognized by the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Flight Lieutenant Paterson has proved himself to be a pilot of outstanding ability during many successful sorties against the enemy. On many occasions he has encountered severe opposition from anti-aircraft fire and enemy fighters but he has always pressed home his attacks with great courage and coolness. On one occasion, whilst leading an attack on Bremen, his aircraft sustained severe damage while over the target. Despite the fierceness of the opposition, Flight Lieutenant Paterson completed the attack and later was forced to abandon the crippled aircraft. He has always displayed outstanding gallantry and determination.
On 21 June 1945 Reg married Eileen Moina Smith at Halifax, Nova Scotia. They went on to have four children together.
"I spent 30 years in the Air Force (Equipment Officer in postwar RCAF) then I was an Air Traffic Controller for another 20 in civvy street, so I kept around aircraft for quite a few years".
Reginald Philip Paterson died on 29 November 2017 at Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, when he was 95 years old.
Reg Paterson's obituary, including many family photographs, can be seen by clicking the following link.
(2) P/O. Kenneth Donald Julian Ward was born on 2 September 1921 at Bakewell, Derbyshire the son of Thomas J. Ward and Lilian Ward. He had one sibling: Gwendoline A. Ward, born Bakewell 1920.
In 1939 the family lived at Fair hill, Chesterfield Road, Matlock. Thomas and Lilian were both Directors of a Hosiery and Knitted Outwear Manufacturing Business and Kenneth Ward was a Junior Manager in the business. On the outbreak of war he volunteered as an ARP Despatch Rider until enlisting in the RAFVR on 17 July 1940.
1181208 Sgt.Kenneth Donald Julian Ward was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 5 September 1944 (London Gazette 17 October 1944). He was confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) on 5 March 1945 (London Gazette 20 April 1945)
In 1945 he married Olga Gibbs at Bakewell, Debyshire (marriage registered June quarter 1945)
He died on 10 March 1978 (death registered at Bakewell Derbyshire June quarter 1978)
(3) F/O. Morley Ornsteinwas born on 16 September 1924 at Winnipeg Manitoba Canada the son of Rumanian born father Benjamin Reubin Ornstein (a Sales Manager) and Russian born mother Esther Freda Ornstein nee Kaplan
One sibling Pte Robert Ornstein - Lab Chorley Park Military Hospital Toronto in 1945. The family lived at 563 Euclid Avenue Toronto. They later moved to Apt. 11 139 Sandwich Street East, Windsor Ontario
Morley Ornstein attended Clinton School Toronto from 1930 to 1937 and Harbord Collegiate Institute from 1937 to 1941. He represented the college at Hockey, Basketball and Volleyball.
His hobblies and pastimes were photography, outdoor sports, hiking, music, checkers, rugby, baseball, swimming and ping pong.
He was an Assistant Scoutmaster with the 59th Toronto Boy Scout Group.
Morley wanted to join the RCAF at the earlies opportunity but before being accepted, the RCAF required him to undertake a 12 weeks pre ITS Course at Hamilton Teachers Training College. This he did successfully and he enlisted at Toronto on 28 September 1942, 12 days after his 18th birthday. At that time he was described as being 5'11½" tall weighing 154 lbs with a dark complexion brown eyes and black hair.
After training at No. 4 Wireless School at RCAF Guelph, Ontario, No. 1 Initial Training School at RCAF Toronto and No. 1 Air Observer School at RCAF Malton, Ontario he was awarded his Air Navigator Badge, promoted to Sergeant and commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 23 December 1943.
On 15 Janusry 1944 he was posted to No. 2 Aircrew Graduate Training School at RCAF Quebec.
On 10 April he embarked for the UK and on arrival was posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre at Bournemouth before being posted to No. 2 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Millon in Cumbria on 30 May. He was on Course No. 290 from 6 June 1944 to 3 July 1944 having been promoted to Flying Officer 23 June 1944.
He was posted to No. 28 Operational Training Unit at RAF Wymeswold, Leicestershire on 4 July 1944 and on 24 September to No. 1668 Heavy Conversion Unit at RAF Bottesford, Leicestershire and on 17 November to No. 101 Squadron at RAF Ludford Magna in Lincolnshire.
(4) Fl/Sgt. Maurice Dillon was born on 19 August 1923 at West Derby, Lancashire the son of John Dillion (an Insurance Agent) and Elizabeth Dillon nee Mullins. He had two siblings: Josephine Dillon (a Schoolteacher) born 1916 and Mary Dillon born 1920.
In 1939 the family lived at 160, North Hill Street Liverpool.
Reg Paterson said, "I finally got in contact with him a few years after he war. He was teaching school in Liverpool."
Maurice Dillon died in October 1979 at Liverpool.
(5) Fl/Sgt. William George Yeomanswas born in 1924 at Edmonton, Middlesex the son of William S Yeomans (a Clerk Cashier and Vegetable Salesman) and Edith L Yeomans nee Stranks. He had two siblings Muriel J. I. Yeomans born 1913 and Frank S. Yeomans born 1916.
In 1939 he was living alone with his parents at 26 Munster Gardens, Palmer's Green, Middlesex, his two siblings having married.
(6) Sgt. Arthur William Greenhoughwas born in 1925 at Keighley, West Riding of Yorkshire the only child of William John (a Club Steward) and Elizabeth Greenhough nee Gazeley, of Keighley, Yorkshire.
In 1939 he was living with his parents at 1, Ann Street Keighley
(7) F/O. William Eric Thoroldson was born on 23 February 1917 at Kipling Ontario (Nipissing District) Canada the son of Norwegian born father Eric William Rosene (a Farmer) and Swedish mother Mary Rosene.
At birth however he was placed with Hans Thoroldson and Hulda Thoroldson (sister of William Eric Rosene) and purportedly adopted by them although no legal adoption documents appear to have ever been made.
Both adoptive parents were dead before 8 Oct 1942 and William Eric Thoroldson names Eric William Rosene (his birth father but who he describes as his uncle) as his nok.
He attended Kipling Public School from 1925 to 1931. Aged 14 he went to work at Siscoe Gold Mines, Quebec as a Diamond Driller from 1931 to 1939 and then at the Kerr Addison Gold Mines at Virginiatown Ontario as a Miner from 1939 to 1941. From 1941 until enlisting in the RCAF he was employed as a Miner at the Falconbridge Nickel Mines in Ontario and lived at 121, College Street, Sudbury Ontario.
He enlisted at North Bay Ontario on 16 November 1942 and was given service number R.200018. He was 6' tall weighing 155 lbs with a fair complexion grey eyes and light brown hair and enjoyed skating and skiing.
After attending No 9 Pre Aircrew Training Education Detachment at McGill University, Montreal 30 July - 10 September 1943 he trained as an Air Gunner at No. 13 Service Flying Training School at RCAF St. Hubert, Quebec and No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Mont Joli, Quebec. He was awarded his Air Gunner Badge promoted to Sergeant and commissioned Pilot Officer all on the same day, 14 January 1944.
On 30 January 1944 he was posted to No. 3 Aircrew Graduate Training School at RCAF Three Rivers until 2 June 1944 when he embarked for the UK where he disembarked on 10 June and was posted to No. 3 Personnel and Reception Centre at Bournemouth.
On 4 July he was posted to No. 28 Operational Training Unit at RAF Wymeswold, Leicestershire on Course No. 44 from 7 July 1944 to 24 September 1944.
He was promoted to Flying Officer on 14 July.
On 24 September he was posted to No. 1668 Heavy Conversion Unit at RAF Bottesford, Leicestershire and on 17 November to No. 101 Squadron at RAF Ludford Magna in Lincolnshire.
BURIAL DETAILS, MEMORIALS AND EPITAPHS
(3) F/O. Morley Ornsteinwas originally buried at Osterholz Cemetery, Bremen, Germany re-interred at Becklingen War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany on 13 November 1946 - Grave Ref: 22. B. 14
(5) Fl/Sgt. William George Yeomanswas originally buried at Osterholz Cemetery, Bremen, Germany re-interred at Becklingen War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany on 13 November 1946 - Grave Ref: 11. B. 7
His epitaph reads:
God takes our dear ones
From our homes
But never from our hearts
(6) Sgt. Arthur William Greenhoughwas originally buried at Osterholz Cemetery, Bremen, Germany re-interred at Becklingen War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany on 13 November 1946 - Grave Ref: 22. B. 12
His epitaph reads:
His sacrifice - his life;
His reward- eternal life
(7) F/O. William Eric Thoroldsonwas originally buried at Osterholz Cemetery, Bremen, Germany re-interred at Becklingen War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany on 13 November 1946 - Grave Ref: 22. B. 13
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - July 2019
With thanks to the sources quoted below.
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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), 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.
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