22/23.04.1944 No. 218 Squadron Stirling III EH842 HA-M Sq/Ldr. Poulter
Operation: Laon (Marshalling yards)
Date: 22/23rd April 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 218 Squadron (Gold Coast)
Type: Stirling III
Base: RAF Woolfox Lodge, Leicestershire
Location: 19 km. South West Soissons, Northern France
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Cecil Wardman Poulter MiD 39755 RAF Age 30. Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt Harry Bossick Serial No? RAFVR Age? Evaded capture
Nav: F/O. Hugh Dowling Thomas CANJ/21187 RCAF Age 20 Evaded capture
Air/Bmr: W/O 2. Archibald James McPhee CANR/130527 RCAF Age 29 Evaded capture
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Harry H.J. Fisher Serial No? RAFVR AGE? Evaded capture
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Walter Lambert 1387055 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Lawrence (Larry) N. Clay 1575438 RAFVR Age? Evaded capture
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 22.03 hrs from Woolfox Lodge, Leicestershire to bomb the railway yards at Laon. A bomber stream made up from 181 aircraft including 69 Halifax's, 52 Lancaster's, 48 Stirling's and 12 Mosquitoes. The raid caused massive destruction after the attack had been made in 2 waves.
A total of 9 aircraft were lost on this operation and 46 crewman were killed with a further 3 mad PoW, 15 managed to evade capture and return to England.
Hugh Dowling Thomas and Archibald James McPhee both managed to get to Gibraltar and sailed from there on the 10 July 1944 arriving in the United Kingdom on the 11 July 1944
Archibald James McPhee died 18 February 1986 and is buried in Edmonton Municipal Cemetery, Alberta, Canada
218 Squadron Stirlings at Downham Market (courtesy IWM)
Stirling EH942 HA-M was attacked by a night fighter from Stab./NJG1 flown by Lt. Otto Fries. The combat took place at 5.000 Mtrs. and the Stirling came down at between 23.38 hrs. and 23.58 hrs. (Not as reported in other publications by Oblt. Dietrich Schmidt).
Lt. Otto Fries (already an 'ace') at the time of this combat went on to claim a total of 14 kills and survive the war, despite being shot down 4 times!
A booklet has been printed by the last surviving member of this crew regarding his escape, this is now 'available'. A donation to Bomber Command Memorial Fund would be appreciated.
(courtesy Pam Bossick and Harry Fisher)
Harry H.J. Fisher died April 22, 2014 aged 93
Vivieres Communal Cemetery, Aisne, France (courtesy Pam Bossick)
Vivieres Communal Cemetery holds only the crews of this Stirling and the crew of 90 Squadron crew Stirling III EF159 WP-B that were also shot down on the same operation.
Sq/Ldr. Cecil Wardman Poulter MiD and Fl/Sgt. Frederick Walter Lambert (courtesy Barry Cuttell via WW1 Cemeteries)
Sq/Ldr. Cecil Wardman Poulter MiD. Vivieres Communal Cemetery Grave 1. Son of Thomas Henry and Edith Poulter; husband of Amy Freda Poulter, of Bedford Park, Middlesex, England. (1) P/O C W Poulter was involved in a flying accident in 1938. For further details click (here)
Fl/Sgt. Frederick Walter Lambert. Vivieres Communal Cemetery Joint Grave 8. Son of Walter and Jessie Julia Frances Lambert, of West Byfleet, Surrey, England.
For Pam Bossick and relatives of the crew. With thanks to the following for providing valuable additional information, Pam Bossick and family, Harry Fisher, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 5, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives', WW1 Cemeteries