08/09.10.1943. No. 429 Squadron Halifax II JD323 AL-S Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Williams
Date: 8/9th October 1943 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 429 Squadron (Bison)
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire.
Location: Siebenhofen, south west of Blomberg, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Williams 1394555 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Leslie Ronald Head 1603770 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Ernest Harrington Chapman 1585448 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Ronald William Henry Board 1319146 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Valentine Richard Bucksey 1199615 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Maurice Walter Hitchin 1890009 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Walter Kozicki R/16600 RCAF Age 20. Killed (1)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 22.45 hrs from RAF Leeming. Joining a force of 504 aircraft (282 Lancaster, 188 Halifaxes, 26 Wellingtons and 8 Mosquitoes, the final operation that Wellingtons took part in Bomber Command operations. 119 of these were sent to Bremen as a diversionary operation.
The conditions over the target were described as clear and the pathfinders were able to mark the city centre accurately. Thought to have been the worst attack on hannover of the war with extensive damage to the telephone and electricity systems. Huge fire storms swept through the city as the mains water supply had been broken.
Left: Sgt. Valentine Richard Bucksey with his wife, Margaret (courtesy Sandra and Margaret Mitchell)
On the ground 1,200 people were killed, 3,345 injured. Up to 8,000 people suffered eye injuries due to the heat and smoke. Damage to buildings amounted to 3,932 completely destroyed with a further 30,000 damaged. The Continental tyre factory and the Hanomag machine works were also badly hit.
The bomber force was intercepted over the target area by the Luftwaffe night fighters that had to return from Bremen thinking that was the main target. Most of the bombers had already dropped their bombs but some 35 allied aircraft lost on this operation. 161 crew members killed with a further 55 taken PoW.
This was the only aircraft from 429 squadron to be lost this night, crashing at 01.50 hrs. at Siebenhofen some 2 km south west of Blomberg. No night fighter claims have been identified to this loss.
(1) Some publications spell his name as Kozocki.
All were transferred to Reelkirchen for burial although their graves are now in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.
Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Williams. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 19.D 1-7. Son of John and Lily Williams of Orpington, Kent, England.
Sgt. Leslie Ronald Head. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 19.D 1-7. Son of George and Mabel Frances Head of High Wycombe Bucks, England.
Sgt. Ernest Harrington Chapman. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 19.D 1-7. Son of Frederick Charles and Gladys Muriel Chapman of Raynes Park, Surrey, England.
Sgt. Ronald William Henry Board. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 19.D 1-7. Husband of Joan Pamela Board of Crownhill, Plymouth, England.
Sgt. Valentine Richard Bucksey. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 19.D 1-7. Further information: Son of Alfred James and Alice Mary Bucksey of Caversham, Reading and husband of Margaret Annie of Caversham, Reading, England. Sergeant Bucksey worked as a wages clerk at the aerodrome at Sonning, Berkshire before enlisting, married his wife on February 13th 1943.
Sgt. Maurice Walter Hitchin. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 19.D 1-7. Son of George and Alice Maud Hitchin of Tottenham, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. William Walter Kozicki. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 19.D 1-7. From Fort William, Ontario, Canada
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. With thanks to Sandra and Margaret Mitchell for photographs. Further information supplied by Les Allison and Harry Hayward - ‘They Shall Grow Not Old’, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', 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 (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission.