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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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RAF crest

Wellington LP204 Attack on Pardubice Refinery

Notes

During the attack on the Pardubice Refinery on the night of 21-22 July, the 205th Bomb Group RAF lost three Wellington aircraft. Two crashed in southern Moravia, one landed at Pardubice. In total, this group lost six bombers, but not one single bomber hit, so the action may be called a fiasco.

During the Second World War Pardubice was damaged by air strikes of the Allies. The Fanto Werke refinery at Pardubice was repeatedly bombed during the Oil Campaign of World War II,

One of the aircraft that this bomber group lost was Wellington Mk. X, serial number LP 204 labeled JN-L. The machine was attacked by a German night fighter south of Jihlava and was badly damaged (Claim by Oblt Hans Krause 6/NJG101 at 0015). There was a fire after which the crew attempted an emergency landing. The plane fell about 1.5 kilometers east of Nemčičky village. Shortly after the impact, one of the bombs exploded on the deck and swept the parts of the machine into a wide area. The crew died on the spot. The site was guarded by the gendarmerie, and three days after the crash, the remains of the machine were torn by German troops. The remains of the five fallen pilots were transported by the Germans to the Znojmo town cemetery, where a burial took place on 26 July 1944. Only three of the pilots were identified. Flt.Sgt. Palmer, Flt.Sgt. Jones and Sgt. Owen. In 1947 the pilots were transported from Znojmo to Prague-Olšan, where they are still resting.

In 1990 Mikulovice and Němčičky were unveiled a monument commemorating the tragic event of the summer of 1944. The monument is located a few hundred meters from the crash site.

The event is dealt with in detail in Jan Mahar's book 'Memories of Unknown Airmen' / 2011 /

205 (Heavy Bomber) Group was a long-range, heavy bomber group of the Royal Air Force (RAF) established on 23 October 1941 by boosting No. 257 Wing to Group status. During the North Africa Campaign in Egypt and Libya, 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group under Air Commodore Alan P. Ritchie was coordinated successfully with No. 201 (Naval Co-operation) Group under Air Vice Marshal Hugh Lloyd, and Air Headquarters (H.Q.) Western Desert under Air Vice Marshal Arthur Coningham.

This model which separated the command into strategic, coastal, and tactical air forces was presented to the Casablanca planners by Tedder who along with primarily Ritchie, Lloyd, and especially Coningham, implemented and developed the tri-force model in Egypt and Libya during 1942. No. 205 Group contributed significantly to these developments.

At the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and their staffs reorganized the Allied air forces in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations on this model. The result of this reorganization was the Mediterranean Air Command commanded by Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder and its major sub-command, the Northwest African Air Forces (NAAF) under Lieutenant General Carl Spaatz, was structured according to the tri-force model.

205 Group units were part of the attempted resupply of the Polish Home Army during the Warsaw Uprising Airlift.

SY 30 May 2017. 20 April 2021 Added 205 Group Information, added map, added information on Refinery

RS 25.07.2019 - inclusion of fighter claim (John Jones)

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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), 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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