07/08.08.1944 630 Squadron Lancaster I LM262 Flt Sgt. George V.B. Patterson
Operation: Secqueville, France
Date: 7th/8th August 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: 630 Squadron, 5 Group, Bomber Command
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire
Location: Montreuil-en-Auge, France
Pilot: Flt Sgt. George Vernon Bentley Patterson 421525 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
Flt Eng: Sgt. Raymond Arthur White 1626053 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 645 *
Nav: Fg Off. Athol Albert Thomas 424569 RNZAF Age 22. PoW No. 8600 **
Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Leslie Bertram Hewitt 1320539 RAFVR Age? Survived/Killed (1)
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Henry East 1811467 RAFVR Age? Evader (2)
Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. Ernest Nelson Watson 1271554 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Dennis Wilkinson 2220135 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
* Stalag Luft 7 Bankau near Kreuzburg O.S." (O.S. standing for Oberschlesien, Upper Silesia). Today called Bąków near. Kluczbork (Poland).
** Stalag Luft 1 Barth-Vogelsang, today situated in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
REASON FOR LOSS:
LM262 took off from RAF East Kirkby at 21:05 hrs and joined thirteen other Lancasters from the Squadron on a night bombing attack against German troop concentrations in front of the Allied troops at Secqueville, France.
LM262 was claimed by Hptm. Heinz Rökker, his 35th Abschuss and the first of three victories this night, from 2./NJG2 around 20-30 km NE of Le Havre at 2.500 m at 23:29 hrs.(Nachtjagd Combat Archive (24 July 1944 - 15 October 1944) Part 4 - Theo Boiten).
Hptm. Rökker, the Kapitän of 2. Staffel, shot down all three victims with the ‘Schräge Musik’ guns (2 x upward firing 30mm cannon) on his Ju88 G-1 4R+WK.
Sgt. Watson and Sgt. Wilkinson the mid-upper and rear gunners respectively were killed when the German night fighter opened fire from below the Lancaster. Flt Sgt. Patterson ordered the crew to bailout but he himself died when the aircraft crashed.
The aircraft crashed and exploded on impact at the farm of Monsieur Cholet at Montreuil-en-Auge, France.
(1) An unconfirmed report claims that an injured Sgt. Hewitt successfully bailed out of the aircraft and landed in a field known as “Les Bryeres” at La Roque Baignard on the estate of the David family. According to a Monsieur Maertent, the estate gamekeeper, Sgt. Hewitt was killed overnight by a German patrol and buried by them near where he fell, on the edge of the field. The circumstances leading to his death are unknown.
It is not known if an investigation, if any, was carried out or if anyone was apprehended for this alleged crime.
(2) No information has been found regarding the circumstances of the successful evasion and return to Allied lines of Sgt. East.
Above grave marker for Flt Sgt. Patterson (Credit: International Wargraves Photography Project) and Sgt. Hewitt (Credit: Len - FindAGrave)
Flt Sgt. George Vernon Bentley Patterson. St. Valery-en-Caux Franco-British Cemetery Coll. Grave B. 11-1. Born on the 5th January 1921 in Levuka, Central Fiji. Son of George Henry and Leonard Zillah Margaret (née Bentley) Patterson, of Levuka, Central Fiji, Fiji.
This was his first operation. Posthumously commissioned and promoted to Plt Off.
His brother, Flt Sgt. Thomas Crawford Bentley Patterson along with his crew were posted missing on a mission to Emden on the the 15th November 1941. His aircraft, Wellington Ic L7873 from 99 Sqn was on its return leg when in was claimed by 5./M. Flak Abt. 246 battery at Terschelling-West and crashed in the sea at 21:47 hrs. He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 63.
Sgt. Leslie Bertram Hewitt. He was recovered from an unmarked grave near to La Roque Baignard, identified and reinterred at the Saint Desir War (Department du Calvados, Basse-Normandie) Cemetery Plot III, Row A, Grave 14. Possible birth record 1st Qtr 1924 in Watford, Hertfordshire. Possible father and mother: Bertram W. and Dorothy G. (née Edney) Hewitt. No further details.
Above grave markers for Sgt. Watson and Sgt. Wilkinson (Credit Aircrew Remembered)
Sgt. Ernest Nelson Watson. St. Valery-en-Caux Franco-British Cemetery Coll. Grave B. 11-13. Son of Hannah Mary Elizabeth Watson, and stepson of William Kent; husband of Barbara Lily (née Keane) Watson, of Addington, Buckinghamshire, England.
Sgt. Dennis Wilkinson. St. Valery-en-Caux Franco-British Cemetery Coll. Grave B. 11-13. Inscription reads: “IN OUR HEARTS YOU ARE ALWAYS NEAR, LOVED, STILL MISSED AND EVER DEAR”. Born in the 1st Qtr 1925 in east Retford, Nottinghamshire. Son of Frederick and Millicent (née Scott) Wilkinson, of Retford, Nottinghamshire, England.
Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with additional thanks to Traugott for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.