12.01.1945 No. 617 Squadron Lancaster I PD233 KC-G Fl/Lt. Pryor
Date: 12th January 1945 (Friday)
Unit: No. 617 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire.
Location: Lille Landon, Austrheim, Norway
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Henry John Pryor RAFVR Age. 27. Survived PoW
Fl/Eng: W/O. A.L. Winston RAFVR Survived PoW
Nav: F/O. H. Ellis DFC. RAFVR Survived PoW
Air/Bmr: Fl/Lt. George Aldred Kendrick 135033 RAFVR Age 24. Injured (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. A. Hepworth RAFVR Survived PoW
Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. E.N. Armstrong RAFVR Survived PoW
Air/Gnr: W/O. E.C. Temple DFM. RAFVR Survived PoW (2)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 08:40 hrs armed with the 'Tallboy' (3) bomb to attack the 'U' Boat pens at Bergen. 32 Lancasters from 9 and 617 Squadron were to take part in the attacks on both the pens and shipping in Bergen harbour.
The 'Tallboy' and left the pilot: Fl/Lt. Henry John Pryor
Local reports state that 3 'Tallboy' bombs had penetrated the 3.5 metre thick roof of the pens causing severe damage. 2 U- Boats were damaged and the 3,347 ton cargo ship Olga Simers was 'damaged' and had to be beached.
617 Squadron also lost another aircraft on this operation, Lancaster III Flown by F/O. Ross - all crew killed. Probably as a result of flak in the area. Further details here.
Different reports state different dates on which Fl/Lt. George Aldred Kendrick died. The CWGC state his death as 12th January, other reports say that he died on the 15th January after being found lying in deep snow with severe head and back injuries (no parachute deployed!) We will keep this open until, if ever, a confirmed report is received.
(1) Fl/Lt. Kendrick survived an earlier incident when Lancaster III, flown by Fl/Lt. O'Shaughnessy crashed at Snettisham in Norfolk on 20th January 1944. Pilot and 2nd pilot killed. Further details here
(2) W/O. Temple also survived an earlier incident when Lancaster III ED765 AJ-M flown by Fl/Lt. Kellaway DSO and bar, crashed in the New Forest on the 5th August during a training exercise.
(3) The Tallboy or 'Bomb, Medium Capacity, 12,000 lb', was an earthquake bomb developed by the British aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis and deployed by the RAF in 1944. It weighed five tons and, carried by the Avro Lancaster, was effective against hardened structures against which earlier, smaller bombs had proven ineffective.
The PoWs were released on or about the 1st April 1945.
Fl/Lt. George Aldred Kendrick. Bergen (Mollendal) Church Cemetery Grave D.5. Son of Archibald and Sarah Alice Kendrick, of Erdington, Birmingham, England. Grave inscription: 'Now Called To Higher Service. He Fought The Fight, He Kept The Faith'.
Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks to Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol's 5 and 6, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.