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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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51 Squadron Crest
18/19.03.1944 No. 51 Squadron Halifax III LK750 MH-Y2 Fl/Sgt. C.R. Seaman

Operation: Frankfurt

Date: 18/19th March 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 51 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LK750

Code: MH-Y2

Base: RAF Snaith, Lincolnshire

Location: Baumholder, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Charles Roland Seaman 1484103 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. William Powell 1589940 RAFVR PoW No. 3203 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria

Nav: Fl/Sgt. William A. Robson 1576137 RAFVR PoW No. 3204 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Edward Andrew Glover AUS/426086 RAAF Age 29. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert H. Pickford 1330795 RAFVR PoW No. 3205 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Louis Henderson Gulliver 635576 RAFVR PoW (Badly Injured - see separate report)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leslie Harold Baldwin 1825182 RAFVR Age ? Killed


"I saw this website and contacted the Webmaster. I sent him the photograph and story of my father and those who flew with him on the night they were shot down. I am very surprised and pleased the story has been received and treated with such respect. It has taken around 13 years to finally trace the last surviving crew member, Fl/Sgt William Robson (Navigator). It has been a long and rewarding journey, during which I have been fortunate to meet the families and survivors. I have also met many aircrew who flew with 51 Squadron during World War 2. To me, they are all heroes. Once again, thank you for all you are doing to keep their memories alive. Regards, Peter H. Gulliver.


REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 19:32 hrs from RAF Snaith in East Lincolnshire to bomb the German city of Frankfurt. 846 aircraft taking part: 620 Lancasters, 209 Halifaxes with 17 Mosquitos as support. During the raid 22 aircraft were lost (12 Halifaxes, 10 Lancasters) 20 were claimed to have been shot down by the Luftwaffe night fighters with a further two by flak over the target.

Above L-R: F/Sgt. Charles Seaman, Sgt. William Powell, F/Sgt. William Robson, F/Sgt. Edward Glover.

Above L-R: Sgt. Robert Pickford, Sgt. Leslie Baldwin, Sgt. Louis Gulliver

Halifax LK750 was hit by flak and then attacked by Oblt. Hans-Georg Birkenstock at a height of 6.000 mtrs. at 23:05 hrs. over Baumholder, who was also shot down by return fire from LK750 - he and his two other crew members bailed out and survived, the aircraft, a Bf110 G-4 of Stab1/NJG/5 crashed near to Halifax LK750. (Oblt. Hans-Georg Birkenstock:- Total of 7 claims before being killed on the 19/20th May 1944 in a crash following air combat at Vossenack/Eifel)

The report from surviving crew members is that the Bf110 rammed the Halifax after being hit.

The Halifax broke into 3 pieces and Sgt. Louis Gulliver came down in the centre section of the aircraft and dropped 23,000 ft without exiting the aircraft and although very badly injured, survived.

Left: Oblt. Hans-Georg Birkenstock

The raid destroyed 5,495 houses, 99 Industrial buildings, 412 smaller industrial units, 56 public buildings. 421 civilians were killed and 55,000 people were without homes.

A military train was also hit and 20 soldiers killed with another 80 wounded although the report from Frankfurt states that this was shot up by cannon fire and may have been attacked by RAF Fighter Command Intruder aircraft.

The usual Mid upper gunner, Fl/Sgt. Stan Walton DFM did not take part in the operation that night.

Notes on the fate of the Luftwaffe Nachtjäger crew:

Aircraft: Bf 110 G4. After combat and subsequent collision with enemy aircraft. Halifax III LK750 MH-V 51 SquadronOblt. (Oberleutnant) Hansjörg Birkenstock, baled out-wounded (Later killed in action 19.05.1944)Bordfunker (Wireless Operator): Uffz. Walter Welz, baled out-wounded (Believed to have survived the war)Bordschütze (air gunner): Ogfr. Kurt Maciejewski, baled out-wounded (Later killed in action - 27.05.1944)

Above left: F/Sgt. Stan Walton DFM (Mid-Upper gunner) usual crew member who did not fly on this operation. Right: Sgt. Louis Gulliver on his wedding day July 1945 to Ruth Juniper (He refused crutches when the pictures were taken and also when he walked down the aisle)

Above L-R: Robert Pickford 2001, Louis Gulliver - died 07th October 1996, age 78, William Powell - died 21st October 2007, standing with Peter Gulliver.

Sgt. Louis Gulliver was again seriously injured in a car accident in 1958 when once again he had to have major surgery on his legs. During these operations he had his knee cap removed and for the first time since LK750 was shot down he could actually bend his knee.

His son Peter, told us another snippit from his childhood days with his father:

"When I was very small, he always walked with a stiff left leg. After the car smash, he had a big operation on his left leg, where they removed the knee cap, moved a few bits about, and he was able to bend his leg again, and walk properly for the first time in years. He kept working until he was 69, until he had a couple of bad falls, and knew it was time to pack it in.

His medical statement from Germany said all the fractures were closed, but he had holes and scars to both legs. I asked him when I was very small once when we were both in the garden at home (and when he was wearing a pair of shorts) why he had holes in his legs. He just looked at me, smiled, and said he fell out of an aeroplane when he was a young man, and I of course just laughed and walked off. Little did I know what had really happened, but obviously now I do. He said very little about it in his lifetime, but he did say once that he was one of the lucky ones, because he came home, and three other young men didn't."

Peter Gulliver with a painting presented to him at the 51 Squadron reunion April 2009.

The boys who never returned, buried at Rheinberg War Cemetery.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Charles Roland Seaman. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave: 9.L.23. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Edward Andrew Glover. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave: 9.L.25. Son of Edward John and Phoebe Glover, husband of Kathleen Alice Glover, of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Sgt. Leslie Harold Baldwin. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave: 9.L.24. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?

Article information and photographs of crew submitted by Peter Henderson Gulliver - proud son of Sgt. Louis Henderson Gulliver.

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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