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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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15 squadron
24/25.07.1944 No. 15 Squadron Lancaster I LM142 Fl/Lt. Reynolds and crew all lost

Operation: Stuttgart

Date: 24th/25th July 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 15 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: LM142

Code: LS-A

Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk

Location: North west Orleans, France

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Thomas George Reynolds 174153 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. "Jim" Eric George Houghton N/Z421511 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Patrick Guy 1617737 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: F/O. Gerald Tipping 151365 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Ernest Henry Harrison 141544 RAFVR Age 31. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. George William Wheeler 1552002 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Geoffrey Walter Whiting 1893009 RAFVR. Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Frederick Crowe 1824369 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 21:41 hrs from RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, joining 461 Lancasters and 153 Halifaxes to Stuttgart. This was the first of 3 heavy raids on Stuttgart in 5 nights and the only report available is a composite one for the 3 raids.

Fl/Sgt. "Jim" Eric George Houghton (front centre) with an earlier crew.

The 3 raids caused the most serious damage of the war in the central districts of Stuttgart which, being situated in a series of narrow valleys, had eluded Bomber Command for several years. They were now devastated and most of Stuttgart's public and cultural buildings were destroyed. The second of the 3 raids, on the night of 25/26 July, was the most successful.

Left: Sgt. Robert F. Crowe Right: The very touching valentines day card sent by Sgt. Robert Crowe to his girlfriend. (courtesy David Layne)

"On this bright day I think of you, Of joys and happiness we knew. And when the peace day dawns anew, I'll walk the road of life with you"

Understood to have been shot down, just after midnight, by either Maj. Paul Semrau (1) of Stab./NJG2 or Hptm. Hubert Rauh (2) of Stab./NJG4.

A friend and ex fellow crew member Gerald McPherson described him as frantically looking for his lucky charm, his 'Tiki' (3), despite searching for over an hour it could not be found. He went on to say that he had a premonition that he would not return, sadly, this indeed was the case.

(1) On the 7/8th February 1945, Maj. Paul Semrau died with the rest of his crew when his Ju 88G-6, Wnr.620562 from Stab/NJG2 was shot down by Fl/Lt Sleep in a Spitfire at Twente. Major. Paul Semrau was buried with his crew with full military honours. His final score as a night-fighter ace stood at 46 victories.
(2) Hptm. Hubert Rauh survived the war with a total of 32 abschüsse.
(3) 'Tiki' - a wooden carving taking the shape of a human.

Above left: Maj. Paul Semrau Right: Hptm. Hubert Rauh (courtesy Tom Kracker) See Kracker Archive on this site

Memorial to the crew of Lancaster LM142

Burial details:


Fl/Lt. Thomas George Reynolds. St. Desir War Cemetery Collective grave VII. C. 1-8. Son of George William and Florence Evelyn Reynolds, of Earlsdon, Coventry, England.

Fl/Sgt. Eric George Houghton. St. Desir War Cemetery Collective grave VII. C. 1-8. Son of Edward Pryce Houghton and Veronica Houghton, of Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand.

Sgt. John Patrick Guy. St. Desir War Cemetery Collective grave VII. C. 1-8. No further information as yet.

F/O. Gerald Tipping. St. Desir War Cemetery Collective grave VII. C. 1-8. Son of William C. and Rosannah Tipping, of Ribbleton, Preston, Lancashire, England.

F/O. Ernest Henry Harrison. St. Desir War Cemetery Collective grave VII. C. 1-8. Son of Ernest Arthur and Emily Amy Harrison; husband of Lydia Helen Harrison, of Sidcup, Kent, England.

Fl/Sgt. George William Wheeler. St. Desir War Cemetery Collective grave VII. C. 1-8. Son of Ernest James Wheeler and Alice Gertrude Wheeler, of Duns, Berwickshire, England.

Sgt. Geoffrey Walter Whiting. St. Desir War Cemetery Collective grave VII. C. 1-8. Son of Walter and Mabel Whiting of West Molesey, Surrey, England.

Sgt. Robert Frederick Crowe. St. Desir War Cemetery Collective grave VII. C. 1-8. Son of Magnus McKay Crowe and of Mary Forbes Crowe, (nee Huband), of Dundee, Scotland.

With thanks to Gerald and Fay McPherson, David Layne, the great people on ww2talk.com, Also to John Whiting for information on Sgt. George Whiting. Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 5", Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - "Nightfighter War Diaries Vol. 2", Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - "Bomber Command War Diaries", Commonwealth Graves Commission, Tom Kracker archives.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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