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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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27/28.08.1943 No. 149 Squadron Stirling III EE877 OJ-E Fl/Sgt. Steer

Operation: Nürnburg

Date: 27/28th August 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 149 Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: EE877

Code: OJ-E

Base: RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk.

Location: Köln (Cologne), Germany.

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Geoffrey Sturtridge Steer 1316139 RAFVR Age 20. Missing

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Philip Henry Johnson 1583490 RAFVR Age 20. Missing (1)

Nav: Sgt. George Victor Cook 1319564 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Harry Reginald Jack Richardson 1376652 RAFVR Age 33. Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Walter Crampton Havercroft 1243203 RAFVR Age 23. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Victor Alfred Deacock 916898 RAFVR Age 25. Missing

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Donald George Booth R/172874 RCAF Age 19. Killed (2)

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 21.33 hrs. from Lakenheath, Suffolk on route to Nürnberg with another 673 bombers. 33 were lost on this attack. Weather for the raid was clear with a starlit sky - not good so far as attacks from the German night fighter were concerned. 

However to assist the Allied bombers, as soon as the first wave hit Nürnbeg, "window" was dropped to jam the commentary by the German controllers on the ground, and in addition the RAF sent four PPF Mosquitoes to make a harassing raid on Duisberg. This was timed badly as the Mosquitoes dropped their bombs some two hours before the main force attacked. 

Most of the bombers that did not return were attacked during the run in and five were lost on the return trip. Ten German night fighters were shot down during a fierce battle over the bombing area which lasted over thirty minutes.

                   

This Stirling EE877 OJ-E may have been taken down with flak as no Luftwaffe claim can be identified as a positive claim. It crashed between Langel and Weiss.

                      

                      Final log book page for Sgt. Walter Crampton Havercroft (courtesy Ella Kathleen)

           

(1) Sgt. Philip Henry Johnson was a former pupil of Moseley Grammar school (Now secondary/grammar school. We have worked very closely with the school's historians to remember all the ex pupils who died whilst serving with the RAF and recorded on the school memorial.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Geoffrey Sturtridge Steer. Runnymede Memorial Panel 139. Son of Ernest Stafford Steer and Evelyn Alice Steer.

Sgt. Philip Henry Johnson. Runnymede Memorial Panel 155. Son of Maurice Frederick and Dorothy Johnson, of Hall Green, Birmingham, England.

Sgt. George Victor Cook. Runnymede Memorial Panel 146. Son of Charles Stephen and Gertrude Laura Cook, of Wembley, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. Harry Reginald Jack Richardson. Runnymede Memorial Panel 163. Son of Harry Robert Richardson and of Ethel Richardson (née Webb), husband of Everal Frances Richardson.

Sgt. Walter Crampton Havercroft. Runnymede Memorial Panel 152. Son of Pte. John Crampton Havercroft (who fought in WW1) and Florence Rose Mercy, of Barton-On-Humber in Lincolnshire, England.

Sgt. Victor Alfred Deacock. Runnymede Memorial Panel 147. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Victor Deacock, of Oxted, Surrey, husband of Florence Sara Deacock, of Wallasey, Cheshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Donald George Booth. Rheinberg War Cemetery 2.J.1. Son of John Oliver and Sarah Ellen Booth, of Fort William, Ontario, Canada.

Acknowledgments: Keith Townsend historian of Moseley Secondary/Grammar school memorial records, Ella Kathleen, relative of Sgt. Walter Havercroft.  With thanks to the following: Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses", Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt "Bomber Command War Diaries", the C.W.G.C.


(2) Booth Island in northern Ontario is named after Fl/Sgt. Booth

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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