19/20.02.1944 No 156 Squadron Lancaster III JA921 GT-Q W/O. Ramsey Stanners
Date: 19/20th February 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 156 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire
Location: South East Eemnes, Netherlands
Pilot: W/O. Ramsey Stanners 1554370 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Royce Prankett 1131229 RAFVR Age 29. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Ernest Hopcraft 1577726 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. J.S. Kingston J/22365 RCAF PoW No: 2068 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagen and Belaria
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. ‘Taffy’ Humphrey Watkin Hughes 1066930 RAFVR Age 29. Missing
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ainsley Charles George Merces 1602737 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. Thomas James Brewer J/93177 RCAF Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 00:23 hrs from RAF Warboys in Cambridgeshire to attack the city of Leipzig, together with 822 other aircraft (561 Lancasters, 255 Halifaxes. 7 Mosquitoes)
A tragic operation for Bomber Command - they had though that the German controllers would send their night-fighter to the diversionary raid on Kiel Bay, but when this bomber stream crossed the Dutch coast they were met by a larger force of the night fighters (some that had left for the Kiel diversionary raid returned) They were then under attack all the way to the target.
The winds had not been as forecasted and a number of the bombers had to circle the target waiting for the pathfinders during this period they lost 4 aircraft in collisions and a further 20 from the heavy flak.
The target was cloud covered and the pathfinders had to use the sky-marking technique. No details regarding the effect of the bombing were available.
Shot down by Ofw. Heinz Vinke (1) of 11./NJG1 his 51st abschüsse of the war at 6,000 mrs 05:08 hrs.
Also lost from 156 squadron on this operation:
Lancaster III ND358 GT-Y Flown by Sq/Ldr. Anthony Douglas Saunders DFC. 111991 RAFVR, from Forest Gate Essex - killed with all 6 other crew.
Uffz. Heinz Vinke and his W/Op/Gnr. Karl Schödel (courtesy Kracker archives)
(1) 23 year old, Ofw. Heinz Vinke went missing on the 26th February 1944 some 15 km. north west of Dunkirk after being shot down by two typhoons from 198 Squadron (Fl/Lt. Cheval L'Allemand and F/O. George Hardy) Born 22nd May 1920 - Luftwaffe night fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
W/O. Ramsey Stanners. Amersfoort General Cemetery (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 9. Joint grave 176. Son of James and Sarah Stanners, of Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, Scotland.
Sgt. Royce Prankett. Amersfoort General Cemetery (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 9. Joint grave 178. Son of William and Gertrude Prankett, of Selby, Yorkshire, England.
Sgt. Ernest Hopcraft. Amersfoort General Cemetery (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 9. Joint grave 176. Son of Ernest Albert and Ada Alice Hopcraft, of Bordesley Green, Birmingham, England.
Sgt. Humphrey Watkin Hughes. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 231. Son of the Revd. Richard Rhys Hughes and Ann Lloyd Hughes, husband of Catherine Hughes, of Llanllechid, Caernarvonshire, Wales.
Sgt. Ainsley Charles George Merces. Amersfoort General Cemetery (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 9. Joint grave 178. Son of Eric J. and Aileen R. Merces, of Micros, Mill Lane, Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, England.
P/O. Thomas James Brewer. Amersfoort General Cemetery (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 9. Grave 177. Son of Thomas R. and Ella J. Brewer, of Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia, Canada.
Thanks to Ernest Doders of the Netherlands who is undertaking further research into this loss. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.