11/12.05.1944 No. 103 Squadron Lancaster III JB733 PM-K P/O. Whitley
Date: 11/12th May 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 103 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire
Location: Hallaar, Belgium
Pilot: P/O. Richard Whitley 173057 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Keith Lund Ramage 1863365 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: P/O. James Alexander Carter J/85969 RCAF Age 27. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Bennett Webb 658394 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Neller Crutchfield 1324786 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John William Smith 1583360 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Mark Martin 1873541 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 21.58 hrs from RAF Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire to bomb the rail yards at Hasselt. One hundred and eleven aircraft took part in the raid made up from ninety six Halifaxes, twenty Lancasters and four Mosquitoes.
Above left - bomb crater damage and right area of JB733 crash
Some of the crew Left to right: P/O. Whitley, Sgt. Ramage, P/O. Carter, Fl/Sgt. Webb, Sgt. Crutchfield and Sgt. Martin.
Not classed as a successful raid as the majority of the bombs missed the target and landed in open fields - a few hit the railway yards. Eight Halifax's and one Lancaster were lost. The bomber force did not encounter many enemy attacks on the outward leg.
Attacks came after the raid and on their home run. A total of forty one crew members were killed, seven were made P.O.W's and a further six evaded capture and returned. Two Aircraft in this total crashed on either take off or landing with three crew members injured.
Bomb damage at Hasselt
Left:: Hptm. Werner Baake
Lancaster JB733 was shot down by Oblt. Werner Baake of 2./NJG1 at 00.43 hrs over North East Antwerp with the aircraft coming down in Hallaar, Belgium.
Hptm. Werner Baake survived the war with a total of fourty one abschüsse and became a flight captain with Lufthansa. He was killed in an car accident at Heilsbronn on the 15th July 1964.
The wonderful memorial erected - with relatives in attendance
P/O. Richard Whitley. Schoonselhof Cemetery Coll. Grave IVa. E. 47 - 49. Son of Robert John and Mary Whitley, of Woodsmoor, Stockport, Cheshire, England.
Sgt. Keith Lund Ramage. Schoonselhof Cemetery Coll. Grave IVa. E. 47 - 49. Son of James Lund Ramage and Hilda Lund Ramage, of Dartford, Kent, England.
P/O. James Alexander Carter. Schoonselhof Cemetery IVa. D. 1. Son of Robert Alexander Carter and May Carter, of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Fl/Sgt. Ronald Bennett Webb. Schoonselhof Cemetery Coll. Grave IVa. E. 47 - 49. Son of Lionel and Ethel Webb, husband of Maisie Webb, of Chiswick, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. Peter Neller Crutchfield. Schoonselhof Cemetery Joint Grave IVa. E. 50. Son of Aruther and Edith Crutchfield, of Hayes, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. John William Smith. Schoonselhof Cemetery Joint Grave IVa. D. 30. Son of Samuel and Edith Annie Smith, husband of Doris May Smith, of Wyken, Warwickshire, England.
Sgt. Kenneth Mark Martin. Schoonselhof Cemetery IVa. D. 2. Son of Clifford Arbor Martin and Muriel Edith Martin, of Thorpe Bay, Essex, England.
Page of Remembrance dedicated to relatives of the crew. With thanks to the following: Steven Volckaerts from Belgium - for his extensive research into this as well as the supply of the majority of the photographs, City of Hasselt Fire Department.
Also thanks to Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 5", Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt "Bomber Command War Diaries", Commonwealth Graves Commission.