14/15.03.1945 No 57 Squadron Lancaster I NG398 DX-N F/O. Claude D. Pauline
Date: 14/15th March 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: 57 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF East Kirkby
Location: Ettlingen 4 miles South East of Karlsrhue, Germany
Pilot: F/O. Claude Desmond Pauline AUS/423007 RAAF Age 26. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Davies 2211499 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Clifford Frederick John Hole 1322482 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Gordon Cartwright 1489925 RAFVR Age ? Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Raphael Michael Cocozza 1890967 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Quinn Rafferty 2219105 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Frederick Shearon 1897280 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 17:00 hrs from RAF East Kirkby in Lincolnshire to bomb the synthetic oil plant at Wintershall (2). 244 Lancasters with 11 Mosquitoes from 5 Group taking part in what has been described as a “moderately successful operation, although some 18 Lancasters were lost.
The bomber stream approached the target from the south west with the Luftwaffe night fighters hunting the stream - 7 Lancasters and Fortress were shot down.
During the homeward bound trip they attacked again, shooting down a further 6 aircraft with Lancaster NG398 being claimed as a ‘probable’ by Hptm. Gerhard Friedrich (1) of Stab I./NJG6 at 23:24 hrs. (Others being claimed by the fierce anti-aircraft batteries)
(1) This was Hptm. Gerhard Friedrich’s 29th claim of the war. He went on to claim a total of 30 kills before he was himself killed on the 16/17th March 1945 near Stuttgart after a collision with a 576 Squadron Lancaster PB785 UL-L2. See Kracker Archive on this site.
The pilot of that aircraft Fl/Lt. Frank Dotten J/12642 RCAF and all 7 crew were also killed. (6 Canadians and 1 British)
(2) 2016: Wintershall Holding GmbH is Germany's largest crude oil and natural gas producer. The company is based in Kassel, Germany. Wintershall is a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF, based in Ludwigshafen.
The name Wintershall is derived from the surname of the enterprise co-founder Carl Julius Winter and the Old High German word for salt (hall) together. The company made a profit of 2.4 billion euros in 2011. In 2012, the company had 2164 employees worldwide. The Chairman of the board of Executive Directors is Mario Mehren.
F/O. Claude Desmond Pauline. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 9.H.11. Born on 11th August 1918 in Paddington, New South Wales Australia, the son of George William and Esther Hannah Pauline, of North Bondi, New South Wales, Australia.
Sgt. John Davies. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 9.H.12. Son of John and Beatrice Davies, of Monsall, Manchester, England.
Fl/Sgt. Clifford Frederick John Hole. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.13-15. Son of Christopher Peter Fred and Edith Ellen Hole, of Sutton, Surrey, England.
Fl/Sgt. Gordon Cartwright. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.13-15. No further details - are you able to assist?
Fl/Sgt. Raphael Michael Cocozza. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.13-15. No further details - are you able to assist?
Sgt. Charles Quinn Rafferty. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.13-15. Son of James and Catherine Rafferty, of Willington, Northumberland, England.
(Left: Courtesy: Andy Plant) Sgt. James Frederick Shearon. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.13-15. Son of James Shearon, and of Catherine Shearon, of Leadgate, Co. Durham, England. Note: some publications have his name spelt Shearron and Sheardon.
Researched for Lucia Gartland, niece of Sgt. James Sharon. Page dedicated to all the relatives of the crew. Sources as quoted below. We recommend reading Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol 2', where a full description by one of the Luftwaffe pilots who took part, is described. With thanks to our David Franklin for Cemetery photograph.