21/22.06.1944 No 463 Squadron Lancaster I DV280 JO-S Fl/Lt. Eric A.L. Smith
Date: 21/22nd June 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 463 Squadron (RAAF)
Type: Lancaster 1
Base: RAF Waddington
Location: 5 kms NNE of Oss
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Eric Alfred Leith Smith AUS/415280 RAAF Age 22. Killed
Pilot 2: F/O. Arthur Bennett Gossip AUS/411262 RAAF Age 23. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Derek Colin Sykes 1653469 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: F/O. Kenneth Forth 171196 RAFVR PoW No: 52460 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagen and Belaria (1)
Air/Bmr: F/O. Harry Frederick Raynham 151064 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Percival Henry Minton Jones DFM. 1390870 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Henry Hollis 1866571 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Ernest Fittall 1897158 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from Waddington, Lincolnshire at 23:05 hrs. Part of a force of 123 aircraft to attack the synthetic oil plant in the Ruhr valley. The original force of 256 aircraft split up over Tilburg area - 133 Lancasters split to attack the synthetic oil plant at Wesseling. They both flew over the Dutch coast with no enemy intercepts. At around 01:00 hrs the Nachtjägar attacked.
DV280 was shot down at a height of 16,000 ft over the Uden-Heimond area by Uffz. Johann Werthner from 7./NJG2 (This kill making him an ace). He also went on this night to claim another Lancaster from 57 Squadron, NN696.
On the 25th January 1946 the London Gazette published details of the DFM. awarded to Fl/Sgt. Percival Jones. It is also reported that F/O. Forth was admitted to hospital having broken his pelvis after a heavy landing.
DV280 crew photo back row left to right: F/O. Raynham, Sgt. Hollis, Fl/Lt. Smith and Sgt. Pike (1) Front row left to right: Sgt. Tench (2), Sgt. Sykes and F/O. Forth (courtesy Janet Robinson via Linda Ibrom) note: This photo was taken on 18th April 1944. Sgt's. George Pike, rear gunner and James Tench, wireless operator were not on the crew at the time of loss due to illness.
(1) Sadly Kenneth Forth, the only survivor of this crew died in 1956 from Polio. His wife died in 2008.
(2) James Tench sadly died in December 2006.
DV280 "Bombing up" on an earlier mission (courtesy Jan Ruijs of the Netherlands)
Letter sent from Kenneth Forth to the mother of Fl/Sgt. Jones in 1945 (courtesy Jan Ruijs of the Netherlands)
Memorial today at RAF Waddington and Uden Cemetery.
Fl/Lt. Eric Alfred Leith Smith. Uden War Cemetery. 5.B.8. Son of Horatio Joseph and Janie Parks Smith, of Mount Lawley, Western Australia.
F/O. Arthur Bennett Gossip. Uden War Cemetery. 5.B11. Son of Harold Edwin and Millicent Gossip, of Wamberal, New South Wales, Australia.
Sgt. Derek Colin Sykes. Uden War Cemetery. 5.B.7. Son of Douglas H. and Dorothy A. Sykes, of Bridgend, Glamorgan, Wales.
F/O. Harry Frederick Raynham. Uden War Cemetery 2.F.7. Son of Harry Lucas Raynham and Johannah Louisa Raynham, of Lobatsi, Bechuanaland, South Africa. Further information: Sgt. Harry Frederick Raynham was born on the 27th March 1919 at “The Fort”, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, the son of Harry Lucas and Johanna Louisa Mosenthal Raynham (nee Gers). Harry, known to family and friends as “Freddie” was the last of four children, his father having left England as a young man and married Johanna, a local girl from Graaf-Reinet, South Africa in 1903. According to the family, Harry served in the Merchant Navy before volunteering for the air force. He is remembered on the roll of honour for Jeppe High School, Johannesburg, Dr William Raynham and his wife, close cousins of Harry visited his grave at Uden War Cemetery in 1956.
Fl/Sgt. Percival Henry Minton Jones D.F.M. Uden War Cemetery. 5.B.12. Son of Humphrey and Hilda Alice Jones, of Welling. Kent, England. Brother Ronald Gordon Minton (1926 to 1993). Both brothers born in Abergel, Denbighshire. Moved from Wales with their mother to Welling in Kent when they were young. Percival attended the Rhyd y Foel School.
Sgt. John Henry Hollis. Uden War Cemetery. 5.B.9. Son of Walter and Annie Hollis, of Meriden, Warwickshire, England. (Born in Coventry)
Sgt. Ronald Ernest Fittal. Uden War Cemetery. 5.B.10. Son of Edwin James Fittall and Kate Fittall, of Martin, Kent, England.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. With thanks to the following: Janet Robinson for photos of John Hollis and the possible crew photo, special thanks for photos of F/O. Raynham to Dr. William Raynham, cousin and Robert Raynham, Dotty Minton Jones and to Ian Minton for information and photo of Fl/Sgt. Jones, and for his continued updating information thanks to Jan Ruijs. Thanks also to sources as quoted below.