03/04.04.1944 No. 150 Squadron Wellington X LN858 JN-Y Sgt. Pemberton
Operation: Manfred Weis Armaments factory
Date: 03/04th April 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 150 Squadron
Type: Wellington Mk.X
Base: RAF Amendola, Italy
Location: Keszthely, Lake Balaton, Hungary
Pilot: Sgt. George Gordon Pemberton 1388192 RAFVR - Survived - injured (1)
Nav: Sgt. Lawrence London Taylor 1507789 RAFVR - Survived, uninjured PoW No: 3526 Stalag Kopernikus
Air/Bmr: Sgt. W.R. Bennett 1603385 RAFVR - Survived, uninjured PoW No: 3527. Stalag Kopernikus
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Harry Cadwallader Redpath AUS/410285 RAAF Survived, injured PoW No: 53124 Stalag Lamsdorf (2)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Anthony Patrick McTeer 1676580 RAFVR Survived, injured PoW No. 53123 Stalag Luft Bankan (3)
With many thanks to Nigel McTeer for providing all this information and photographs of this loss.
He would very much like the family of Sgt. Bennett to contact him to complete the story.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Amendola, Italy at 20:44 hrs. to bomb the Manfred Weis Armaments factory in Budapest. 79 Wellingtons took part on this operation together with 8 Liberators. 5 Wellingtons were lost during this first night operation on Budapest.
The Americans were to bomb the railway stations just prior to the Wellingtons. They missed their target but hit the Fanto oil refinery close by which lit up the area. Civilian casualties were high, over 600 killed.
Above and below Wellington LN858 after the amazing ditching by the seriously injured pilot, Sgt. Pemberton which saved the lives of the remainder of the crew. No posthumous award was made, which many regard as quite incredible!
Above, Sgt. Lawrence Taylor with Sgt. W.R. Bennett on his right, after capture by the Germans, already changed into other clothes after ordeal in the water.
Above, recovery of Wellington LN858 in 1946
Above: Sgt. Anthony McTeer in a Budapest hospital after the operation to re-attach his ear. He remained deaf on that side.
Right: Sgt. Pemberton, seen in the cockpit of his aircraft.
Attacked by 24 year old, Oblt. Hans Krause of 6./NJG101 at 23.46 hrs over Keszthelyi-öböl with forward firing guns (the last time his Luftwaffe unit used these - they changed to the very effective ‘Schrag-waffen’ or upward firing guns. (Also known as Schräge Musik’). (See Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site)
The Luftwaffe pilot has since been in contact with Nigel and explained the actions on this night:
‘Oblt. Hans Krause had been based at Parnsdorf Austria, he was flying a Dornier Do 217N 9W+ZO. Hans told me that my Dad's aircraft was his last kill with Nose Guns as he then flew a Junker JU88. He said that he attacked LN858 from the rear but was caught in the propeller back wash, causing him to use more ammo on this occasion than on any other.
The personal mount for Hans Kraus - used to shoot down Wellington LN858
He hit the Port Engine and he waited for it to cause the aircraft to crash which he said happened more often that not, but the fire in the engine died out and all he could see was a red glow, he wanted to attack again but because of the hills all around Budapest he decided against this.
The Luftwaffe crew: Hans Krause - Otto Zinn BF - Friedrich Specht BM
During the action he was hit several times by the rear gunner but no serious damage was caused. He claimed an abschüss but the Luftwaffe Command declined as there was no proof. The next day he and his crew took off to have a look, and sure enough he saw LN858 in the water.’
(1) The pilot, Sgt. Pemberton, had been hit in the leg during the attack, despite this he managed to execute a perfect ditching on Lake Balaton - he suffered injuries to his chest from the control column, he died shortly afterwards through loss of blood.
(2) Fl/Sgt. Redpath was hit during the engagement in the eye, hospitalised at a Jewish concentration camp in Budapest for a week before moving after two weeks to a specialist eye hospital at Lazarett where he received treatment from a Scottish opthalmic surgeon Mjr. David L. Charters RAMC - captured in the Greek campaign in 1945. The eye could not be saved and a glass eye was fitted.
(3) Sgt Andrew McTeer had his ear shot off before the bullet lodged in his head. He was treated in hospital but the bullet remained in his head until the day he died.
Actual scene of the operation on Budapest on the 3/4th April 1944
Above: Nigel McTeer commission a painting of the incident from Mike Bailey and arranged a framed copy to be presented by Paul Pemberton (son of the pilot) to the Brooklands Museum in 2012.
Other aircraft lost to night fighters were a 37 Squadron Wellington LN853 LF-Z at Dunapentele-Tiborszállás, south of Budapest 00:08hrs flown by 27 year old, SqLdr. Heathcote Huia Butler Beale DFC and bar NZ41465 RNZAF who died of his injuries later, 3 others killed with two taken PoW.
104 Squadron Wellington LN925 EP-G at Mercegfalva, south west of Budapest 00:16hrs. Flown by 26 year old, P/O. Eric William Green AUS/421871 RAAF (taken PoW with 2 of his crew, sadly 2 killed - both claimed by Fw. Herbert Ludwig also from 6./NJG101.
Lt. Charles Davie 328545v SAAF Flying Wellington LN976 LF-M, killed with all 4 other crew. No details of location but thought to have been over Yugoslavia.
The final aircraft lost was 40 Squadron Wellington JA511 BL-Y flown by 19 year old, Fl/Sgt. Leo John Redden AUS/416786 RAAF, hit by flak but on return trip lost an engine and they were forced to ditch off Termoli. All 5 crew were rescued by an ASR Walrus. The pilot suffered a broken arm and concussion.
Notes: Sgt Taylor : Next of Kin - sister, of 31 Queens Road, Southport, Lancashire, England. Sgt. Bennett: Next of Kin - father, Mr. Bennett of 40 Carpole, Lambeth, London. Fl/Sgt. Redpath: Next of Kin - father, Mr. B.P, Redpath of 38 Summerhill Road, Brighton 6, Victoria, Australia. Sgt. McTeer: Next of Kin - mother, Mrs. McTeer of 15 Harold Street, Scotswood, Newcastle 5, Northumberland, England.
Sgt. George Gordon Pemberton. Budapest War Cemetery. Grave 1.A.10. Husband of Mrs. F.A. Pemberton, Beech Cottage, Harp Hill, Cheltenham, Gloucester, England. Son of Capt. J.D. Pemberton c/o. PoW Camp Harwell, Aylesbury, Bucks, England.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Nigel McTeer, son of rear gunner Andrew McTeer for extensive information and photographs, Hans Krause, Hungarian researcher - Mr. Csaba Becze,
Also thanks to Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. The author, Martin Bowman who put Nigel together with Hans Krause.
Left: Grave of Sgt. Pemberton at the Budapest War Cemetery.
Oblt. Hans Krause in Me 110G.