18/19.11.1943 No. 90 Squadron Stirling III ED996 WP-H Fl/Lt. Leonard A. Smith
Operation: Ludwigshafen-am-Rhein, Mannheim, Germany
Date: 18/19th November 1943
Unit: No. 90 Squadron
Type: Stirling MkII
Base: RAF Wratting Common, Cambridgeshire
Location: Fußgönnheim near Ludwigshafen, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Leonard Anthony Smith AUS/416521 RAAF Age 29. Killed
2nd Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John Stuart Selby Fleming NZ/421038 RNZAF Age 27. Killed
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Edward Northard 1697726 RAFVR PoW No: 263499 Camp: Stalag 4B
Nav: P/O. Jack William Snook 161695 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. John Hampton 136895 RAFVR Age 28. Killed (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Stuart Edward Simpson NZ/421995 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
Mu/Gnr: Sgt. Denis Reginald Bailey 1395673 RAFVR Killed
R/Gnr: Sgt. John Wilson Richardson 1300201 RAFVR Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Wratting Common in Cambridgeshire at 17:10 hrs to bomb Ludwigshafen-am-Rhein near Mannheim - some 395 aircraft taking part in a simultaneous raid with 444 other aircraft bombing Berlin. The first time during the war that two large scale attacks made on the same evening.
The bombers commenced their drop at 20:21 hrs - completing it 7 minutes later - the bombers then turned for home which is when Stirling EH996 was attacked by Ofw. Erich Becker (2) of 2./NJG6. He claimed this Stirling at 20:56 hrs, his third claim of the war.
90 Squadron lost another crew during the operation:
Stirling III LK379 WP-F Flown by 22 year old, P/O. Ross McCulloch Simpson AUS/415279 RAAF, from Sydney, Australia - killed with all other 6 crew.
(1) The family of F/O. Hampton lost another son just one month later: 23 year old Sgt. George Hampton 1131389 RAFVR - killed whilst serving as a W/Op/Air/Gnr. with 78 Squadron on Halifax II LW338 EY-Q during an operation to Frankfurt. Al the crew lost their lives.
(2) Ofw. Erich Becker was killed on the 24th February 1944 at Marlow near Warnemünde during air combat. (3 night, 1 day claims)
Crew initially buried at Fußgönnheim - reinterred in CWWG at end of the war.
Fl/Lt. Leonard Anthony Smith. Rheinberg War Cemetery Rheinberg Germany. Coll. grave 20. A. 28-31. Born on the 17th February 1914 at Port Augusta, South Australia, the son of Albert Augustine and Jean Helena Smith, of Ceduna, South Australia.
Fl/Sgt. John Stuart Selby Fleming. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20. A. 28-31. Son of John Stuart Fleming, and of Norah Fleming (née Hearn), Wellington City, New Zealand.
P/O. Jack William Snook. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20. A. 28-31. Son of William Morgan Snook and Ada Charlotte Snook, husband of Joan Snook, of Scarborough, Yorkshire, England.
F/O. John J Hampton. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20. A. 28-31. Son of Thomas and Clara Ann Hampton, of Fazakerley, Liverpool, England. Husband of Mildred Molly Hampton. His brother George is buried at Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave 6.A.15-21.
Fl/Sgt. Stuart Edward Simpson. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20. A. 28-31. Son of James Wensley Simpson and Mercy Grace Simpson, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Sgt. Denis Reginald Bailey. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20. A. 28-31. No further details - are you able to assist?
Sgt. John Wilson Richardson. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20. A. 28-31. No further details - are you able to assist?
Researcher Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered August 2016. With thanks to Steve Heason for Fl/Sgt. Stuart Simpson photograph, Harry Hunn for P/O. Jack Snook photograph - others from the Michel Beckers collection.