25/26.08.1944 No. 626 Squadron Lancaster I LM140 UM-O2 F/O. Whetton
Date: 25/26th August 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 626 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Wickenby
Location: Possibly East of Bingen, Germany
Pilot: F/O. Leonard Whetton 172971 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Harry William Brotherhood 1892203 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Nav: F/O. Derrick Laycock 152935 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Sidney Brown 152997 RAFVR Age ? PoW No: 5854 Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang (L1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Herbert Walter Douglas 1685113 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Corrigan 1087422 RAFVR Age 30. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Stanley Lowson 1594991 RAFVR Age 33. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
The target for this operation - the Opel Works in Rüsselsheim - 412 Lancasters taking part from 1, 3, 6 and 8 Group. Taking off from RAF Wickenby at 20:29 hrs.
Bombing, which lasted some ten minutes had been reported as accurate with the forge and gearbox plants put out of action for several weeks. Some 179 people were killed on the ground.
Reported that it was possible that they were shot down by Uffz. Rudnik of 9./NJG3 at 01:08 hrs East of Bingen. This was his 2nd abschüsse of the war from which he survived. F/O. Sidney Brown managed to bail out of the stricken Lancaster and arrested the following morning, spending the rest of the war as a PoW.
626 Squadron lost another aircraft and crew during this operation, Lancaster PA989 UM-U2 flown by F/O. R.L. Harris RCAF taken PoW with three other crew members. Three crew were killed.
Note: Aircraft ordered from Armstrong Whitworth in April 1942 - delivered to 626 Squadron from 300 (P) Squadron on the 2nd June 1944. When lost had only 199 hours flying. On this day 25th August 1944, Paris was surrendered by the German forces.
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) Scroll to foot of the page to see a sample of the quality!
F/O. Leonard Whetton. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.B.11-14. Son of William Henry and Elizabeth Ann Whetton; husband of Marjorie Whetton, of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England.
Sgt. Harry William Brotherhood. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.B.11-14. Born in Bromley in the June 1906 Qtr. He was the son of Henry William and Alice (née Turrell) Brotherhood of Bromley. Sgt Brotherhood married Dorothy Freshwater in Croydon in the December 1930 Qtr. They had two children.
F/O. Derrick Laycock. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.B.11-14. Son of Frank Joseph and Elizabeth Woodburn Laycock, of Davyhulme, Urmston, Lancashire, England.
Sgt. Herbert Walter Douglas. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.B.11-14. Son of Thomas and Lily Douglas, of Aintree, Liverpool, England.
Sgt. Peter Corrigan. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.B.11-14. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Denis Corrigan, of Sacriston, Co. Durham, England.
Sgt. George Stanley Lowson. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.B.11-14. Born in the December 1910 Qtr, he was the son of George and Hannah (née Race) Lowson of Auckland, Co. Durham, England.
For further details our thanks to Janet Eilbeck, daughter of F/O. Sidney Brown. To Dave Champion who continues to update our information - further sources as quoted below.