04/05.12.1944 467 Squadron Lancaster I PB740 PO-O Fg.Off. John B. Plumridge
Date: 4th/5th December 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: 467 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Waddington
Location: Meimsheim, Germany
Pilot: Fg.Off. John Bithel Plumridge 428353 RAAF Age 20. Killed
Flt.Eng: Sgt. John Leslie Wood 1894948 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: Fg.Off. George Frederick Sinden 432361 RAAF Age 23. Killed
Air/Bmr: Flt.Sgt. John Ernest Penman 428930 RAAF Age 23. PoW No: 1299 Camp: Bankau (Bakow, Poland), near Kreuzburg (Klucsbork, Poland) (L7)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fg.Off. George Dudley Rawson 424797 RAAF Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Charles Leslie George 430654 RAAF Age 19. Killed
Air/Gnr: Flt.Sgt Geoffrey Hayman 433207 RAAF Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 16:42 hrs from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire to join a total force of 292 aircraft to bomb Heilbronn, which took place between 19:26 hrs and 19:47 hrs. Only a small portion of units from II./NJG6 were airborne in time to intercept the bomber stream over the target.
From 19:30 hrs the Luftwaffe night fighters amounting to no more than 20 aircraft clashed with the allies over the target area. The night fighters were assisted by the bright lights from the target area already suffering fierce fires from the bombing. Most of the attacks took place within 5 minutes between 19:30 - 19:35 hrs. Despite these attacks the bombers succeeded in destroying some 82% of the built up areas of Heilbronn with over 7,000 people killed on the ground.
Some reports state that Lancaster PB740 was hit and brought down by anti-aircraft fire but hit is claimed that they were shot down by the Luftwaffe ace, Lt. Peter Spoden (1) of Stab II./NJG6 at 19:33 hrs.
The body of one of the crew, Fg.Off. George Frederick Sinden was recovered from a river on the 7th December and initially buried at the Laffin Cemetery - identity discs recovered at the time identified him.
Recovered identity plate for Gyro Unit Mk VI from PB740 (Courtesy Joerg Mezger)
(1) Peter Spoden survived the war with a total of 25 confirmed kills (this was his 15th) and contributes to many research publications.
The remains of the crew were buried at Meinsheim Cemetery on the 8th December 1944 at 17:00 hrs. The burial plot was marked with a simple white cross inscribed “Hier Ruhen 5 Englische Flieger” (Here rests 5 English Airman)
Fg.Off. John Bithel Plumridge. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 9.A.8. Born on the 05th March 1924 the son of Arthur John and Lily Plumridge, of 2 Riley Street, Murrumbeena, Victoria, Australia.
Sgt. John Leslie Wood. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.A.10-12. Son of William Ernest and Alice Wood, of Romford, Essex, England.
Fg.Off. George Frederick Sinden. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 9.A.7. Born on the 21st September the son of Charles Edward and Nellie Clarissa Sinden, of Guildford, New South Wales, Australia.
Fg.Off. George Dudley Rawson. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.A.10-12. Born on the 10th March 1924 the son of George Thomas Rawson and Eleanor Annie Rawson, of 414 Liverpool Street, Enfield, New South Wales, Australia.
Flt.Sgt. Charles Leslie George. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.A.10-12. Born on the 15th January 1925 the son of Arthur Leslie and Natalie George, of 29 Queens Road, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Flt.Sgt Geoffrey Hayman. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 9.A.9. Born on the 03rd February 1925 the son of Walter and Stella Janie Hayman, of 28 St. George’s Street, Haberfield, New South Wales, Australia.
Researched for Kye Hayman who contacted us in June 2016 - page dedicated to all the relatives of the crew. Thanks to Joerg Mezger for the correction of the crash site and image of recovered wreckage. Sources as quoted below.