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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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28/29.07.1944 No. 426 Squadron Halifax M VII LW202 OW-P Fl/Lt. Thompson

Operation: Hamburg

Date: 28/29th July 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 426 Squadron (R.C.A.F.)

Type: Halifax M VII

Serial: LW202

Code: OW-P

Base: Linton-On-Ouse, Yorkshire

Location: Lasbek, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. M. L. Thompson RCAF PoW - No further details

Pilot 2: F/O. J. Peter Heron PoW No: 6948 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Thomas Lock 937648 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Nav: F/O. Charles Woodrow Hostetler J/24035 RCAF Age 27. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Roland Walter John Cuff J/27394 RCAF Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. G.H. Fewtrell PoW No: 2089 Camp: Stalag Muhlhausen

Air/Gnr: P/O. Cecil Glen Merritt J/90073 RCAF Age 20 Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Leslie Alfred Tarpley J/88729 RCAF Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 22.43 hrs from Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire to attack Hamburg along with 306 aircraft made up with 187 Halifax's, 106 Lancaster's and 14 Mosquitoes. The first heavy raid on the city for over a year. Bombing was not concentrated and the main area bombed had already been devastated in the previous bombing in 1943. However, 265 people on the ground were killed and a further 17,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes damaged during this raid.

The attackers were heavily hit by both flak and the night fighters from the Luftwaffe. 22 Aircraft were lost. Resulting in the death of 145 crew members and a further 28 being made P.O.W.

Above L-R: F/O. Roland Walter John Cuff, P/O. Cecil Glen Merritt (courtesy Sue, relative) F/O. J. Peter Heron (courtesy Kelly Heron)

This Halifax LW202 is thought to have been hit by flak on the homeward bound flight and then shot down by night fighters at 01.15hrs. at Lasbek some 8 km. South of Bad Oldesloe.

Another 426 Squadron Halifax was also lost on this raid, LW208 OW-U flown by 23 year old Canadian P/O. Philip B. Eagles all his crew of 7 were killed.

Glen Merritt took up residence with his Aunt, Mrs Ellis Smith R.R.R Mount Pleasant in 1941 coming to the Newport community from Fort William where he was born in 1924. He soon established himself in the activities of the Newport United Church and Young People's Society and made many friends. He enlisted in the R.C.A.F. in January 1942 and was trained as an air gunner, graduating at Mont Joli in Quebec in October 1943. He had completed 29 air operations over enemy territory when reported missing on this mission.

Ohlsdorf Cemetery at Hamburg Germany (courtesy C.W.G.C.)

Burial details:

Sgt. Thomas Lock. Hamburg Cemetery 10A.E.11. Son of Thomas Albert and Sarah Emily Lock, of Coventry, England.

F/O. Charles Woodrow Hostetler. Ohisdorf Cemetery, Hamburg. 10A.E.8. Son of Harry and Roxie Hostetler, of Baden, Ontario, Canada.

F/O. Roland Walter John Cuff. Ohisdorf Cemetery, Hamburg. 10A.E.9. Son of William John and Elfreda Cuff, of Humbermouth, Newfoundland, Canada.

P/O. Cecil Glen Merritt. Ohisdorf Cemetery, Hamburg. 10A.E.10. Residing with Mrs Ellis Smith, R.R.1, Mount Pleasant, Canada. (Originally from Fort William)

P/O. Leslie Alfred Tarpley. Ohisdorf Cemetery, Hamburg. 10A.E.7. From Willowdale, Ontario, Canada. N.o.K. details not available as yet.

Notes regarding F/O, Heron as supplied by Kelly Heron (Sept 2013): Joined the RCAF in 1943 trained in Canada and UK for one year. Posted to Linton in July 1944. This one operational flight as second "dicky" with Thomson and his crew at the end of July - Spent ten months as a pow until the end of the war. Discharged from the airforce in 1946. After that he raised four sons and had a good life.

Researched for relatives of P/O. Merritt, the son of P/O. Heron and all the crew. With thanks to the following for further information, Kelly Heron, Les Allison and Harry Hayward - 'They Shall Grow Not Old', Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 5, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Oliver Clutton-Brock - 'Footprints On The Sands Of Time', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'.

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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