22/23.03.1944 No. 35 Squadron Lancaster III ND649 TL-C Fl/Sgt. John C.K. Webb
Date: 22/23rd March 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 35 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Graveley, Huntingdon
Location: Eschborn 16km NW from the centre of Frankfurt
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John Cameron Keith Webb 1498781 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Kenneth Ephraim Harris 1584722 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Nav: Sgt. Edwin Gordon Fidler 139610 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Wallace Rose 1481165 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Frederick Martin 1079614 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Marriott 1398464 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. William McKenna Smith 1368230 RAFVR Age ? Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Graveley at 18.55 hrs. to attack Frankfurt (The third attack on this City in a week). Part of a huge force of 816 aircraft, made up from 620 Lancasters, 184 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos. To create confusion an indirect route was employed, crossing the Dutch coast north of the Zuider Zee, then flying due south to Frankfurt.
The city suffered another heavy blow with half of the city left without gas, water and electricity for what is described as a "long period". In this raid 948 people were killed on the ground, 346 seriously injured and 120,000 people were without homes..
It is thought possible that ND649 was shot down by the Luftwaffe ace Hptm. Gerhardt Raht (1) of 4./NJG3 at 21.48 hrs. (shown left) See Kracker Archive on this site.
35 Squadron lost another crew on this operation, that of Sq/Ldr. Rowe flying ND645 TL-O. He was taken PoW with another crew member, the remaining 5 crew lost their lives.
(1) This was the 26th abschüsse for Hptm. Raht who went on to claim a total of 60 aircraft by war end. He survived the war and died in January 1977 at Reinfeld, Germany.
Fl/Sgt. Webb had started his operational tour of duty with 158 Squadron in October 1943 and flew at least five sorties before being posted to PFF. During a raid on Frankfurt the previous December, his oxygen tube became detached and he lost consciousness. His life was saved, and those of his crew, by the prompt actions of Fl/Sgt. Rose who controlled the aircraft until his skipper had fully regained his senses. It is believed the crew were engaged on their fifth PFF operation.
Durnbach War Cemetery - The quality of these photographs shown here can not be fully appreciated when the size is reduced for the web page. (courtesy David Franklin - David has kindly provided us with permission to release high definition copies to relatives)
Above: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Marriott, grave and Christmas menu 1943
Fl/Sgt. John Cameron Keith Webb. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 7.K.14-19. Son of John Alexander and Anne Hull Webb of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Kenneth Ephraim Harris. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 7.K.14-19. No further information currently available, are you able to assist?
Sgt. Edwin Gordon Fidler. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 7.K.13. Further information: Only son of Walter Edwin and Lily Agnes Fidler of Edmonton, Middlesex, England. Born on December 22nd 1922 and worked as a shipping clerk in the City of London. Engaged to a girl called Nina. (Grave headstone being renovated at the time)
Fl/Sgt. Wallace Rose. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 7.K.14-19. Husband of Mary Rose of Shipley, Yorkshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. William Frederick Martin. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 7.K.14-19. Son of William Fredrick and Elizabeth Martin and husband of Ellen Vera Martin of Trimdan, Co.Durham, England.
Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Marriott. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 7.K.14-19 Son of George and Jessie Julia Marriott of Hounslow, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. William McKenna Smith. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 7.K.14-19. No further information currently available, are you able to assist?
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Photo credits to Rosemary Wilson and Mrs Winnie Austin. Also to Brian Wooldridge for the photo of his Uncle, Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Marriott. Timothy Croft contacted us in February 2017 - his father in law, who also served in the RAF as a pilot in Bomber Command, was a very good friend of Fl/Sgt. Martin.