24/25.06.1943 No. 7 Squadron Stirling III EF392 MG-N Sq/Ldr. John R. Savage
Date: 24/25th June 1943 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 7 Squadron
Type: Stirling III
Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire
Location: North Sea - exact location unknown
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. John Ronald Savage AUS/402882 RAAF Age 26. Missing
Pilot 2: P/O. Frederick John Haines 149607 RAFVR Age ? Missing
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Godfrey Hippesley Cox 569405 RAF Age 23. Missing
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Sidney James Barnes 656215 RAF Age 23. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Sydney Arthur Errington 1507631 RAFVR Age ? Missing
W/Op: Sgt. Arthur Ashton Caley 1377873 RAFVR Age 27. Missing
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Norman Robert Morrison R/140004 RCAF Age 19. Missing
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Derek Richard Spanton 1323191 RAFVR Age 21. Missing (1)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 23.28 hrs. from RAF Oakington to attack the Elberfeld half of Wuppertal, the Barmen half of the town having been devastated at the end of May. The Pathfinder marking was accurate and the Main Force bombing started well but the creep-back became more pronounced than usual. 30 aircraft bombed targets in more western parts of the Ruhr (Wuppertal was at the eastern end of the area).
A total of 171 factories and businesses were destroyed and another 53 seriously affected. It is recorded that an estimated 18.000 people lost their lives.
Believed to be shot down by Lt. Heinz Strüning (2) 2./NJG1 at 03:02 over the Dutch coast, crashing into the North sea. The body of Fl/Sgt. Barnes was eventually washed ashore and is buried in Bergen General Cemetery, the others have no known graves.
One of three 7 Squadron Stirlings lost on this operation:
Stirling R9281 MG-V flown by F/O. Arthur J. Davis killed along with his 6 other crew members.
Lancaster ED595 MG-Q flown by W/Cmdr. Robert G. Barrell DSO. DFC. and bar, killed with 2 other crew members with a further 3 made PoW, another escaping capture. 3 DFM's and 2 DFC's held by members of this crew. Note: the squadron in the process of converting to Lancasters at this time. With thanks to Jack Brook for this additional information - September 2015.
Left: Sq/Ldr John Ronald Savage (courtesy Australian War Memorial) Right: Lt. Heinz Strüning (archives)
7 Squadron Stirling - 'bombing up' (archives)
(1) Sgt. Derek Richard Spanton had survived a previous incident when, on the night of 08/09th March 1943 on an operation to Nuremberg. During the return trip, Stirling I BK610 MG-V the pilot, 23 year old P/O. Lionel L.V. Toupin J/17295 RCAF from Quebec, Canada, ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft. All the crew did just that, except Sgt. Spanton who never heard the order. By the time he realised what was happening, all the crew had jumped over the sea off Dungeness and were lost - he then jumped, but lucky as the aircraft was over land, he survived only to lose his life on this operation just 5 months later!
(2) This was the 12th abschüsse by the ace Oblt Heinz Strüning. (shown above) He went on to make a further 5 kills before being shot down by a Mosquito from 157 Squadron - flown by Sq/Ldr. Doleman and Fl/Lt. Bunch DFC, over Referather woods near Bergisch-Gladbach, Germany, he baled out of his aircraft which was on fire, but hit the tail of his Bf110 and killed.
Bergen General Cemetery (courtesy Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
Left: Runnymede Memorial
Sq/Ldr. John Ronald Savage. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 187. Son of William and Daisy Louise Savage, of Balgowlah, New South Wales, Australia, husband of Wilhelmina Eugenie Savage, of Tullibegerri, New South Wales, Australia.
P/O. John Frederick Haines. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 131. N.o.K details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
F//Sgt. Godfrey Hippesley Cox. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 135. Son of Austin Bernard and Kathleen Cox, of Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales.
Fl/Sgt. Sidney James Barnes. Bergen General Cemetery. Plot 2. Row C. Grave 9. Son of Henry James Barnes and Louisa Elizabeth Barnes, of Greenford, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. Sydney Arthur Errington. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 148. N.o.K details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
Sgt. Arthur Ashton Caley. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 144. Son of Arthur Henry and Gladys Violet Caley, husband of Mary Maxima Caley, of Shilton, Oxfordshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. Norman Robert Morrison. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 185. Son of Norman Morrison, and of Gladys E. Morrison, of Vulcan, Alberta, Canada.
Sgt. Derek Richard Spanton. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 165. Son of Richard and Dorothy Ellen Spanton, of Copnor, Hampshire, England.
Researched by Mike Harrison and dedicated to relatives / friends of the crew. For further details our thanks to the following, Clive Smith, researcher and author of ‘Lancaster Bale Out” (See below
). Also to Jack Brook for additional information. Other sources as quoted.
Right: “Lancaster Bale Out”.
“Lancaster Bale Out” written by Clive Smith ISBN No: 978-1-907516-26-9 Published by Tucann Ltd 2013. The story about the Uncle of Clive Smith and his RAF service during WW2 with 106 Squadron. Lancaster III ED720 ZN-R.