20/21.02.1945 No. 156 Squadron Lancaster III PB701 GT-Q Fl/Lt. Andrew D. Pelly DFC
Date: 20/21st February 1945 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: No. 156 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Upwood, Cambridgeshire.
Location: Target area, Dusseldorf, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Andrew Desmond Pelly DFC 152035 RAFVR - Injured - PoW. No further details as yet (1) (2)
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. R. Morgan RAFVR - Injured - PoW No further details as yet (2)
Nav: F/O. David Forster Sinfield DFC 153833 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Arthur James MacLeod J/35524 DFC RCAF - Injured - PoW No further details as yet (1) (2)
Air/Bmr: Sgt. J.D. Routledge RAFVR - Injured - PoW. No further details as yet (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. William G. Pearce RAAF PoW No. 11454 Camp: Nürnberg and Moosberg
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Eric Cecil Bangs 1399979 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Stanley Carr 1155863 RAFVR Age ? Killed
We would like to invite any relatives of the crew to contact us with the view that they may wish to add further information.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 22.42 hrs. from RAF Upwood to mark the Rhenania Ossag oil refinery in the Reisholz district. 514 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes took part in this final operation of the war on Dortmund. The object was to destroy the southern part of Dortmund which according to Bomber Command was achieved. No reports are available from the local archive on the damage caused.
Above left and centre: Fl/Sgt. Eric Cecil Bangs with right, mother and sisters.
Lancaster PB701 was shot down by Walter Telsnig - although we are unable to locate a claim for him on this operation.
W/O. William G. Pearce RAAF at the National War Memorial 2011
The interview held on the 16th May 1945 with Bill Pearce, reports that:
‘The trip went very well except we had to make up a bit of time so increased the airspeed for a while and cut a bit off at the corner turning on for the run-up onto the target. We were due at +8 with raid to open at 01.20 hrs. The skipper reported the first Target Indicators going down in front of us and that we were well in the centre of the stream, very shortly after we were hit by approximately ten shells. The skipper had also mentioned fighter attacking planes in front of us. The fighter came in from the starboard below firing into our tanks as he passed under to port (pilot’s observation). The skipper gave the order to bale out a minute or so later when he saw the extent of the fire. The Bomb Aimer and Engineer baled out in front of myself with the Navigator following me.’
(1) DFC citations from London Gazette 1st March 1946 reads:
These officers have completed numerous operations against the enemy in the course of which they have invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty.
(2) No PoW details as they were all hospitalised until liberation, returning home to the United Kingdom on 11th May 1945,
Above left: Walter Telsnig with right: W/O. Bill Pearce
On July 7th 2008, the courier mail of Australia reported that W/O. Bill Pearce finally met the night fighter pilot who shot the aircraft down:
'World War II veteran Bill Pearce had no hard feelings when he finally met the German airman who shot him down over Dusseldorf 63 years ago. Mr Pearce and his one-time enemy Walter Telsnig phoned and wrote to each other for eight years, since a third party in Britain put them in touch. And last week they met for the first time since their fateful encounter in February, 1945 over Dusseldorf. The Brisbane-based veteran, who travelled to the Austrian town of Salzburg for the meeting, said it was an emotional time.
"I was excited and more or less felt that I'd achieved something to have at last got here," he said. "It was a great feeling." The two men spent hours chatting in Salzburg, swapping stories about their wartime experiences.
Mr Pearce was the wireless operator on a bombing mission when his Lancaster bomber was hit by spurt of 20mm cannon fire, fired by Mr Telsnig's Messerschmitt, about 6km over Dusseldorf.'
One of four survivors from the crew of seven, Mr Pearce spent five days sleeping by day and trying to find allied lines by night.
He was eventually captured by a civilian in a paddock near Cologne and handed over to the Luftwaffe, before one of the tanks of flamboyant US General George S. Patton crashed through his prison gates and liberated him a few months later. But even though Mr Telsnig had tried to kill him, Mr Pearce said they were now "mates". "At the time it was war and he was doing what he was supposed to be doing and was trained to do and so was I," he said.
F/O. David Forster Sinfield DFC. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 11.A.14. Further information: Son of William Panter and Mary Elizabeth (nee Forster) Sinfield of Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, England. Exhibitioner of Bedford Modern School (where he is remembered on the Roll of Honour) and at 19 one of the youngest decorated navigators to lose his life on bombing operations. Previously trained with No. 20 EFTS, No. 9 SFTS and No. 1 AOS.
Fl/Sgt. Eric Cecil Bangs. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 11.D. 1. Son of Henry Cecil and Rose Bangs of Enfield, Middlesex, England. The eldest of 16 children. Eric Cecil 1923 - 1945, Henry Gilbert 1924 - 2009, father to Wendy Sawyer), Robert Peter 1925 - 1951 (known as Peter), Sheila M 1926 - 2008, Bernard John 1927-1996, Donald C 1928, Freda M 1929, Roger A 1932, Cynthia V 1933, Gerald David 1935, Leslie G 1938, Stanley C 1939, Linda 1940, Barbara L 1942-1944, Edward R 1944, Christine H 1945. Member of 3rd Enfield Boy's Brigade when he was younger.
Fl/Sgt. Thomas Stanley Carr. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 11.A.15. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Special thanks to Wendy Sawyer, niece of Fl/Sgt. Eric Bangs, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’
, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'
. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission. London Gazette.