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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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101 Squadron Crest
30/06-01/07.1944 No. 101 Squadron Lancaster I ME616 SR-B P/O. Dan C. Rippon

Operation: Vierzon

Date: 30th June / 01st July 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 101 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ME616

Code: SR-B

Base: RAF Ludford Magna

Location: Chateaudun, France

Pilot: P/O. Dan Carrigan Rippon 172870 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Ronald Alfred Smith 158911 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Richard William Snell 1321695 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Francis John Lynham 152007 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Spec/Op: F/O. Harold Herbert King J/35114 RCAF Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Barry Whitehead 1515878 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Desmond Stack 2206324 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Thomas Robert Hunter 633310 RAF Age 25. Killed

The relative of Fl/Sgt. Snell would very much like to make contact with other relatives of the crew - please contact us in the first instance and your details will be forwarded to Graham Parsons.


118 Lancasters from 101 Group were sent to attack the railway yards at this small town 60 km. south of Orleans. A very important target as it was being used to transport troops and equipment to counteract the Normandy landings that had taken place earlier on the 6th June. 

The regular crew of Lancaster ME616. L-R: Rear - Sgt. Stack, Sgt. Whitehead, Sgt. Smith, Sgt. Hunter. Front - F/O. Lynham,   P/O. Dan Carrigan Rippon, Fl/Sgt. Snell - the specialist operator F/O. King is not in the studio photograph. (courtesy Graham Parsons)

Taking off from RAF Ludford Magna at 22.15 hrs, with 10 others from 101 Squadron, the bomber force enjoyed great success with highly accurate bombing taking place with good visibility with excellent target marking carried out by the group rather than relying on the Pathfinder Squadrons. 

The operation destroyed nearly all the railway lines and most of the rolling stock. Most of the sheds were rendered destroyed and considerable damage to other commercial premises.

Fl/Sgt. Richard William Snell shown 2nd row, extreme right - probably taken during his training days. A very happy bunch of lads at an unknown railway station - do you recognise any of the others? (courtesy Graham Parsons)

Another reason for the success of this operation was that the 101 Squadron Lancasters carried the new ’Top Secret’ ABC (airborne cigar was the  electronic jamming sets, which is why, their Lancasters carried 8 crew members rather than the usual 7. 

A total of 14 Lancasters were lost. 101 Squadron lost 3 aircraft this night, the others:

Lancaster I DV301 SR-Y Flown by 23 year old, P/O. James N. Brown 173626 RAFVR from, West Hartlepool, Co. Durham, England. Killed with all 7 other crew members.
Lancaster I LL863 SR-M Flown by P/O. H. Taylor who managed to evade capture. Sadly the other 7 were killed.


Above: Richard William Snell during training (courtesy Graham Parsons)

It is understood from the latest edition of the Nightfighter War Diaries (see credits) that it was shot down by a nightfighter, 3 are listed as possibles:

Oblt. Franz Brinkhaus 6./NJG2 at 01.36 hrs. - near Chateaudun. His 11th abschüsse of the war. (Survived WW2 - 18 Claims)
Hptm. Heinz-Hosrst Hissbach 5./NJG2 at 01.38 hrs. - 30 km North West Chateaudun. His 20th abschüsse of the war. (Killed on the 14/15th April 1945 by Americans A/A fire during ground strafing sortie - 30 claims recorded)
Lt. Von Tettenborn 3./NJG4 at 01.38 hrs. - 10-20 km south Chateaudun. His 1st abschüss of the war. Thought to have survived WW2, no other claims)

Pure speculation, but the claim by Oblt. Brinkhaus seems to fit the area concerned. None of the bombers were hit before the attack had commenced such was the effectiveness of the ABC system.

Fl/Sgt. Richard William Snell with his girlfriend, Joyce Phillips on his right. (courtesy Graham Parsons)

Graham Parsons has sent many details of log book entries, showing ages during training and many with this his regular crew. This page id the final entry.



Crew graves at Chateaudun Eastern Cemetery (courtesy Graham Parsons)

During a visit in 2007 by a friend of Graham Parsons, a poignant card was found at the grave of the pilot - signed by a friend, Dorothy, or perhaps a sister?

Burial details:

P/O. Dan Carrigan Rippon. Chateaudun Eastern Cemetery. Plot 2. Grave 596. Son of Charles Edward and Ethel Rippon, of Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England.

Sgt. Ronald Alfred Smith. Chateaudun Eastern Cemetery. Plot 2. Coll. Grave 599-601. Son of Herbert and Dorothy Smith, of Enfield, Middlesex, England.

Fl/Sgt. Richard William Snell. Chateaudun Eastern Cemetery. Plot 2. Grave 598. Son of William Henry and Alice May Snell, of Catherington, Hampshire, England.

F/O. Francis John Lynham. Chateaudun Eastern Cemetery. Plot 2. Grave 595. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Sgt. Barry Whitehead. Chateaudun Eastern Cemetery. Plot 2. Coll. Grave 599-601. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

F/O. Harold Herbert King. Chateaudun Eastern Cemetery. Plot 2. Grave 597. Son of the Revd. William James King and Edith Lola King, Newdale, Manitoba, Canada.

Sgt. Ronald Desmond Stack. Chateaudun Eastern Cemetery. Plot 2. Coll. Grave 599-601. Of Square Lane, Burscough, Lancashire, England. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information? Also Commemorated on St John The Baptist Church Memorial, Burscough. Shown above right, with insert (courtesy Graham Parsons)

Sgt. William Thomas Robert Hunter. Chateaudun Eastern Cemetery. Plot 2. Grave 602. Son of William James Hunter and Margaret Hunter, of Lowestoft, Suffolk, grandson of Mr. W.J. Hunter, of Lowestoft, Suffolk, England.

For further details our thanks to the following, Graham Parsons, relative of Fl/Sgt. Richard William Snell, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and  2', 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), 'Paradie Archive'. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Further information from these titles/organisations are available from us, just use the 'help' button on the main page above or 'add info' button also shown on this page.

Left: Medals awarded to Fl/Sgt. Richard William Snell (courtesy Graham Parsons)

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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