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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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50 Squadron Crest
30/31.03.1944 No. 50 Squadron Lancaster III EE174 VN-A Fl/Sgt. Waugh

Operation: Nurnberg

Date: 30/31st March 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 50 Squadron (motto: Sic fidem servamus - 'Thus we keep faith') (1)

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: EE174

Code: VN-A

Base: RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire

Location: Mauschendorf, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Garth Alexander Waugh 1042277 RAFVR PoW No: 3439 Camp: Stalag 357 Kopernikus, Poland (Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug, Memelland (now Šilutė in Lithuania), Stalag 20a, Thorn/Toruń, Poland, Stalag 9b Fallingbostel, Germany)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. George C. Prince 1890064 RAFVR PoW No: 3445 Camp: Stalag 357 Kopernikus, Poland (Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug, Memelland (now Šilutė in Lithuania), Stalag 20a, Thorn/Toruń, Poland, Stalag 9b Fallingbostel, Germany)

Nav: Sgt. Dennis Alfred Chaston 1578591 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Denis C. Lynch 987749 RAFVR PoW No: 3440 Camp: Stalag 357 Kopernikus, Poland (Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug, Memelland (now Šilutė in Lithuania), Stalag 20a, Thorn/Toruń, Poland, Stalag 9b Fallingbostel, Germany)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. R. Jack Dunn RAFVR 1585004 PoW No. 3444: Stalag 357 Kopernikus, Poland (Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug, Memelland (now Šilutė in Lithuania), Stalag 20a, Thorn/Toruń, Poland, Stalag 9b Fallingbostel, Germany)

Air/Gnr: P/O. Donald Leslie Sehlin J/90143 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Roy Frederick Thibedeau J/90043 RCAF Age 23. Killed


A memorial is in the early stages of planning for the crew lost. Art Osborne, nephew of the rear gunner P/O. Roy Thibedeau is requesting contact from relatives. Contact us and details will be forwarded.


REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Skellingthorpe in Lincolnshire at 22:07 hrs. Part of a huge raid of over 795 aircraft, mainly Lancasters and Halifaxes - one of the costliest in the history of Bomber Command in a single operation with 105 aircraft lost (including accidents on take off and landing) with over 500 aircrew killed!

Above: Location of crash site - details courtesy Art Osborne

The Squadron lost 4 aircraft during this operation, the others:

Lancaster I W4933 Flown by 33 year old, Fl/Sgt. Geoffrey Charles Bucknell AUS/421311 RAAF - During take off suffered a tyre burst and skidded out of control. Although all the crew escaped uninjured the aircraft was later struck off charge.

Top left: Fl/Sgt. Geoffrey Charles Bucknell.

W4933 had been purchased as part of the 'Wings To Victory' campaign and had completed 47 operational sorties. Sadly both he together with 6 other crew were killed, another evading capture. At that time he was with 97 Squadron and flying Lancaster III ND840 OF-J hit by ant-aircraft fire on an operation to Bois de Cassan.

Centre: Fl/Lt. Maldon Ulisse Robinson.

Lancaster III LM394 VM-E Flown by 26 year old, Fl/Lt. Maldon Ulisse Robinson NZ/39579 RNZAF - Killed with all 7 other crew after being shot down by a night fighter.

Lower: Fl/Sgt. Donald G. Gray.

Lancaster III R5546 VN-T Flown by Fl/Sgt. Donald G. Gray 1282892 RAFVR - Held as a PoW No. 43390 at Stalag Luft Bankau. 2 other crew also made PoW, but 4 others were killed.

EE174 is very likely to have been shot own by the Luftwaffe nightfighter ace Uffz. Bruno Rupp (2) of 4./NJG3 his 8th claim of the war.

Right: Uffz. Bruno Rupp - courtesy Kracker archives.

He, together with his crew of Hans Eckert and Albert Biel intercepted and shot down the Lancaster at 01:08 hrs with the aircraft coming down in woodland, south west of Mauschendorf.

Burial details:

Sgt. Dennis Alfred Chaston. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 6.H.19. Son of Robert G. Chaston and C. E. Chaston, of Coventry, England. Grave inscription reads: "Good Night And God Bless You. Mum And Dad"

P/O. Donald Leslie Sehlin. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 6.H.20. Son of Henry Idan Sehlin and Mabel Elizabeth Sehlin, of Millet, Alberta. Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends".

P/O. Roy Frederick Thibedeau. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 6.H.21. Son of Fred and Ruby Thibedeau and husband of Vera Thibedeau, of Echo Bay, Ontario, Canada.

Thibedeau Lake, which is North of Caribou Lake, Manitoba was named after P/O. Roy Frederick Thibedeau in 1995.

(1) The Squadron undertook 7,135 operational sorties during the war, losing some 176 aircraft. After the war it reformed flying the Canberra and then the Vulcan taking part on 'Operation Black Buck' during the Falklands war in 1982. At the time the raids at nearly 6,600 nautical miles and taking some 16 hrs for the trip were the longest bombing raids in history. The Squadron was finally disbanded at RAF Waddington in March 1984.

(2) Uffz. Bruno Rupp went on to claim a total of over 15 claims - he survived the war. Information from the Kracker Archives on this website.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Art Osborne for crash location and to sources as shown. Thanks also Ian Dunn, the son of Sgt. R. Jack Dunn, for the corrections his details and to the locations of the four PoWs.

RS 21.01.2019 - Correction to Aircraft code

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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), 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', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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