25/26.08.1944 No. 300 Squadron Lancaster III JB561 BH-B F/O. Whyte
Date: 25/26th August 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 300 Squadron (Polish)
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Faldingworth, Lincolnshire.
Location: Rüsselsheim, Germany.
Pilot: F/O. Gordon Gambley Whyte 175620 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Wladyslaw Jagiello 780009 PAF Age 30. Killed (1)
Nav: Sgt. Albert Clayworth 1621688 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Maurice John Robertson 1397798 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Billie Sellers 2206501 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (2)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Herbert Moule 1853428 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles William Taylor 1880883 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 20.17 hrs from Faldingworth, Lincolnshire. Thought to be hit by flak and one of two from this squadron to be lost this night.
Believed to be the original crew with F/O. Gordon Whyte. We know that Sgt. Billie Sellers is third from left rear row. Sgt. Ernest Rees, 2nd from left at rear. Are you able to ID the other members? The niece of Sgt. Moule contacted us in June 2016 and identified her uncle as rear row, extreme right. (courtesy John Sellers)
The other, a Lancaster I flown by DFC holder F/O. Richard N. Hansell was killed, along with all other six crew members over the target area.
A total of 412 Lancasters took part in this raid, over 17 were lost in fierce battles over the target area several German night fighters were also lost. The Pathfinder marking was accurate and the raid was successfully completed.
The crew of JB561 about to embark (courtesy Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945)
An official German report says that the forge and the gearbox assembly plant were put out of action for several weeks, but 90% of the machine tools in other departments escaped damage. The assembly line and part of the press works were able to re-commence work 2 days later and lorry assembly was not affected because of considerable stocks of ready made parts. 179 people were killed in the raid but their nationalities were not recorded
(1) Fl/Sgt. Jagiello was a replacement for the usual Flight engineer Ernest Rees who was grounded for this flight my the Medical Officer. He wrote to the family of Sgt. Billie Sellers at a later date. We are pleased to write that the Grandson of Sgt. Rees contacted Aircrew Remembered in August 2014. We hope to have further information from him shortly.
Taken during training Sgt Billie Sellers on extreme right with Eric Garforth in the centre - can you place a name to the chap on the left? (courtesy John Sellers)
(2) Please note this is the correct spelling for his name - as advised by his family. Others have it as Sellars. During training Sgt. Sellers trained with his mate, a Sgt Garforth. Tragically and totally by coincidence he was killed the same night, on the same operation but with 75 Squadron.
This Lancaster was built by AV Roe from Chadderton, Lancashire in the latter part of 1941. Initially fitted with the Merlin 28 engine later fitted with the Merlin 38s.
Durnbach War Cemetery (courtesy David Franklin - David has kindly provided us with permission to release high definition copies to relatives)
F/O. Gordon Gambley Whyte. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave. 1.H.13. Son of Mr. and Mrs. D. L. Whyte, of Liverpool, England.
Fl/Sgt. Wladyslaw Jagiello. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave. 1.H. 9. Warsaw, Poland.
Sgt. Albert Clayworth. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 227. From Highfields, Doncaster. Next of Kin details not known as yet.
Sgt. Maurice John Robertson. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave. 1.H.10. Son of Alfred Maurice and Hilda Florence Robertson, of Welling, Kent, England.
Sgt. Billie Sellers. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave. 1.H.11. Son of Stanley and Lena Sellers of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England.
Sgt. John Herbert Moule. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave. 1.H. 8. Son of Herbert Stanley Moule and Jessie Nora Moule, of Clevedon, Somerset, England.
Sgt. Charles William Taylor. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave. 1.H.12. Son of Charles Edward and Florence Taylor, of Battersea, London, husband of Marie Eleanor Taylor, of Battersea, London, England.
With thanks to the following: John Sellers for information on Sgt Billy Sellers (Nephew), Sgt. Simon Rees RAF (Grandson of Sgt. Ernest Rees), also contacted us in August 2014. Rita Atyeo, niece of Sgt. Moule contacted us in June 2016. David Franklin for Durnbach Cemetery photograph, Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol 3", Theo Boiten - "German Nightfighter War Diaries Vol 2", Martin Middlebrook "Bomber Command War Diaries" The Commonwealth Graves Commission.