23/24.08.1943 No. 102 Squadron Halifax II JD407 DY-R Fl/Sgt. George S. Roadley
Date: 23/24th August 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 102 Squadron (Ceylon)
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Pocklington
Location: North Sea
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. George Stephen Roadley 1232122 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Edward Bert Woodrow 1448727 RAFVR Age 22. Missing
Nav: Fl/Sgt. William George Jennings 1318565 RAFVR Age 21. Missing
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Frank Roberts 1301559 RAFVR Age 22. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Chalkley 1330438 RAFVR Age 22. Missing
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Norman George Webb 1153676 RAFVR Age 31. Missing
Air/Gnr: P/O. Eric Kirk 149830 RAFVR Age 19. Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 20.26 hrs from RAF Pocklington to attack the heart of Germany - Berlin. Part of a huge raid which 710 Lancasters, Halifaxes and Stirlings took part, plus a further 17 Mosquitoes. A total of 56 Aircraft failed to return, 31 came down over the target area. 4 claimed by German Flak and 51 claimed by the German night fighters. We have not been able to identify any Luftwaffe night fighter for this loss.
Only the body of the pilot Fl/Sgt. Roadley was recovered and taken to Coltishall before being taken to his home town, Loughborough.
JD407 Crew: Fl/Sgt. William George Jennings, Sgt. Norman George Webb, Sgt. Edward Bert Woodrow,P/O. Eric Kirk, Sgt. John Chalkley, Fl/Sgt. George Stephen Roadley and Fl/Sgt. Ronald Frank Roberts. (see credits below)
L-R: Fl/Sgt. George Stephen Roadley, Sgt. Edward Bert Woodrow, The newly refurbished Holt Memorial in Norfolk. Insert showing Annie's Uncle's name - below (courtesy Annie and Paul Corlett)
(1) George Stephen Roadley, a native of Loughborough, Leicestershire, commenced pilot training at No. 4 E.F.T S. at Brough in October 1941 and, having attended similar establishments in the U.S.A., joined No. 24 O.T.U. back in the U.K. before being posted to No. 102 (Ceylon) Squadron, a Halifax unit based at Pocklington, Yorkshire, in May 1943. Completing his first mission on the night of 23rd-24th, a strike on Essen, he and his crew also attacked targets in Essen and Wuppertal in the same month, while in July, after a month free of operations, they flew against targets in Aachen, Cologne, Essen, Gelsenkirchen and Hamburg thrice, these latter as part of the famous 'firestorm' raids, in addition to a trip to Mont Bielliard, during which latter sortie Roadley was compelled to land at Harwell ('Pilot hatch blew open'). Indeed on his very next operation - against Nuremburg on the night of 10-11 August - he was forced to land at Ford, his Halifax's starboard outer engine having been hit and set on fire. Roadley's penultimate sortie was the famous strike against the enemy rocket research establishment at Peenemunde on the night of 17-18 August 1943, when he piloted Halifax JD-176, but, as stated above, he was killed in action while returning from a raid on Berlin a few nights later.
Fl/Sgt. George Stephen Roadley, Loughborough (Leicester Road) cemetery. Comp.379. Grave 17. Son of Leon Leeson Roadley and Gertrude Amy Roadley, of Loughborough, England.
Sgt. Edward Bert Woodrow. Runnymede memorial Panel 170. Son of Frederick and Grace Hyldon Woodrow of Holt, Norfolk, England..
Fl/Sgt. William George Jennings. Runnymede memorial Panel 137. Son of Arthur William and Amy E. Jennings, of Herne Hill, London, England..
Fl/Sgt. Ronald Frank Roberts. Runnymede memorial Panel 138. Son of Reginald and Clarressa Victoria Roberts, of Hayes End, Middlesex, England..
Sgt. John Chalkley. Runnymede memorial Panel 145. Son of John and Elizabeth Chalkley, of Luton, Bedfordshire, England..
Sgt. Norman George Webb. Runnymede memorial Panel 169. Son of Thomas James Webb, and of Zara Janet Webb, of Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, husband of Doris Webb, of Hebden Bridge, England.
P/O. Eric Kirk. Runnymede memorial Panel 132. Son of Robert William and Edith Kirk, of Levenshulme, Lancashire, England.
Researched for Annie Corlett, niece of the flight engineer, Sgt. Edward Bert Woodrow. With thanks to Michel Beckers via Kevin Mitchell from the Loughborough Roll Of Honour- other sources used as shown below.