02.01.1945 No. 100 Squadron Lancaster I LL898 HW-L Fl/Lt. Verrell Weatherley
Date: 02nd January 1945 (Tuesday)
Unit: No: 100 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Grimsby, Lincolnshire
Location: The Wash, Norfolk
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Verrell Weatherley NZ/415804 RNZAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Dubois 570597 RAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed
Nav: F/O. Walter Stanley Cameron 153621 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Reginald Warwick 154741 RAFVR Age 29. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Share 1867637 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr (mid upper): Sgt. George Horace Thirkettle 1160188 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Grimsby at 09:50 hrs on a bombing and Air to Sea firing practice. Crew were then instructed from the range at Wainfleet not to bomb because the results could not be plotted due to poor ground visibility.
Lancaster LL898 dived into the sea at 10:03 hrs. from 5,500 feet after leaving the range. All six crew members lost their lives and are commemorated on the Runnymede memorial. Fl/Lt. Weatherley had over 1,400 hrs of flying recorded in his log book (57 of them solo on the Lancaster), he had completed some 9 operations.
No reason can be found for this loss.
Above: Verrell Weatherley on left. Taken at New Orleans on route to the UK in 1942. (courtesy Tony Fleming)
Fl/Lt. Verrell Weatherley. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 284. Son of John and Lillian Weatherly and brother of Brenda, Edna, Ngaire and John of Petone, Wellington, New Zealand.
Sgt. John Dubois. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 274. Son of Alex John and Dorothy Phyllis Dubois (nee Steggall) of Shrewsbury, Salop, England. Further information: John was the second of four children, Eve, Peter, and Desiree who were all born in Cornwall where John’s father owned a tin mine. John’s father, Alex, an Australian settled in England after he had lost a leg in WW1 and fell in love with Dorothy who had helped him recover in London after his leg was amputated. John and Peter both attended public school in Shrewsbury where the family had moved to in the late 1920’s, building a bungalow called “Fourways” near the village of Longdon. In 1942, Dorothy died and all four children had left home to serve in the war effort, John in the RAF, Peter in the army in India, Eve in the ATS and Desiree as a state registered nurse.
From an early age John was very keen on flying and as a child built model aeroplanes and flew them from “Fourways” where both he and his brother Peter would chase them across the countryside on their bikes. Originally hoping to become a pilot, a slight sight impediment made him change his course and he became an engineer on Hurricanes.
He was an apprentice at RAF Halton before his time serving as a Flight Engineer with 100 squadron.
After the war Peter married and raised a family living at “ Fourways”, and caring for his father until Alex’s death in 1954. Alex and Dorothy are buried in the churchyard at Longdon where Peter’s ashes now rest in the same grave. John is remembered both at the entrance to Longdon church and the Runnymede Memorial.
F/O. Walter Stanley Cameron. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 274. Son of Walter Thompson and Gertrude Amy Cameron of Harrogate, Yorkshire, England.
F/O. Reginald Warwick. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 268. Husband of Thelma Edith Warwick of Streatham Vale, London, England.
Sgt. Peter Share. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 276. Son of Joseph and Ethel Share and elder brother of David of Erdington, Birmingham, England. Further information: Sgt. Share attended King Edwards School, Aston and Birmingham where he is commemorated on a plaque to their war dead.
Sgt. George Horace Thirkettle. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 277. Son of Horace B and Lily Marion Thirkettle and brother of Maurice of “Acorns”, Stock Road, Billericay, Essex, England. George was the eldest of five children, three boys and two girls. He was educated at the Buttsbury Junior School till he was eleven and then Billericay Senior School leaving aged fourteen. After difficulties finding a suitable job, he enlisted in the RAF in 1938 and when war broke out, he was posted to a British Flying Training school in Canada as ground staff. In 1942, hearing that his brother Maurice had volunteered as a pilot in the RAF George returned to England, leaving behind a girlfriend, Margery. He then joined the R.A.F. on a short gunnery course on the 30th of January 1944 to the 24th March 1944, on No 76 Course, at No 2 AGS Dalcross- a comment at the end of the page in his log book stating that ” Very disappointing result. Tries very hard but lacks confidence”. He qualified as an air gunner and continued his training attending No 30 O.T.U. at Seighford flying under Flight Lieutenant Weatherley, 30 OTU at Hixon, 1481 Gunnery flight at Ingram, 1662 HCU at Blyton, No1 LFS at Helmswell before joining 100 Squadron on 13th November 1944 as a fully fledged rear gunner at Waltham, Grimsby.
His operational missions as rear gunner for Fl/Lt. Weatherley include:-
21st November 1944 Schaffenburg Marshalling Yards
27th November 1944 Freidburg
29th November 1944 Dortmund
6th December 1944 Leuna oil refinery
21st December 1944 Bonn (Marshalling yards)
28th December 1944 Munchen Gladbach marshalling yards (pilot Fl/Lt. Hoyle)
Researched by: Linda Ibrom on behalf of Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to Graeme and John Weatherley, Maurice Thirkettle, Howard Thirkettle, Jacqueline Oldman and Chris Dubois and all relatives of the crew who we welcome to submit any further information/photographs and to place them in contact with other relatives - subject to permission gained. Tony Fleming for photo in New Orleans and further information. (Verrell Weatherly was a close friend of my late father, Fl/Lt Edward Greer Fleming, and they travelled together to the UK, onboard the Boissevain, in May 1942.)