30/31.03.1944 No. 7 Squadron Lancaster III ND433 MG-L Sq/Ldr. Colin H. Wilson DFC
Date: 30/31st March 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 7 Squadron RAF
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire.
Location: Ober-Moos, Freiensteinau, Germany
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Colin Howard Wilson DFC 75996 RAF Age 38. Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Wycliffe Jenkins 1865677 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Joseph Stevens 1456987 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. James Stewart Ferrier J/23366 RCAF Age 23. Killed (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Geoffrey Francis 1387022 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Burgess Liddle 1357726 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Tilden Fuller 1804809 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
This Pathfinder Lancaster ND443 took off at 22.08 hrs to join a further 795 aircraft, mainly Lancasters, a really enormous bomber force - also one of the costliest in the history of Bomber Command with 105 aircraft lost and over 500 aircrew killed!
During the outbound run of this operation the Lancaster was intercepted and shot down at 00.45 hrs. Some publications state that the Luftwaffe pilot responsible was Oblt. Martin Drewes however, according to the latest editions of the Luftwaffe Night fighter diaries it seems that it was more probable that either Lt. Gunther Wolf (3) of 9./NJG5 or Fw. Klaus Möller (4) of 12./NJG3 shot it down. It is impossible to say for sure which pilot has the positive claim for this as it is also possible that another aircraft (5) that was shot down at the same time, in the same area was the other one shot down by one of these pilots.
The actual raid on Nürnberg was classed as a failure with many bombers missing the target area.
Sgt. Jenkins, Fl/Sgt. Hamby, Sgt. Fuller, Sgt. Stevens, Sgt. Francis, F/O. Ferrier, Sgt. Liddle
Sgt. Liddle, F/O. Ferrier, Sgt. Jenkins, Sgt. Francis, Sgt. Fuller, P/O. Hamby, Sgt. Stevens
Above left to right: Sq/Ldr. Wilson DFC, Sgt. Jenkins, Sgt. Stevens, F/O. Ferrier, Sgt. Francis and Sgt. Fuller (see credits)
(1) Sq/Ldr. Wilson D.F.C. gazetted on 11th February 1944 whilst with 97 Squadron.
P/O. Peter H. Hamby was the usual pilot for this crew. Sadly on the 15/16th March 1944, he flew as a second pilot to P/O. Douglas A. Carter RAAF on an operation to Stuttgart. All 8 crew on this Lancaster III ND557 MG-F were killed.
(2) F/O. James Ferrier knew and went to the same school as F/O. Earl Underhill of 166 Squadron - also killed, but earlier on the 24/25th March 1944 see "HERE". We are in contact with the relatives of F/O. Ferrier and they would be interested in hearing from other relatives of this crew. They plan to visit the graves and place memorial wreathes in the near future. We understand that F/O. James Ferrier was very good friends with P/O. Peter H. Hamby.
(3) Lt. Gunther Wolf survived the war with 4 confirmed kills.
(4) Fw. Klaus Möller survived the war with 12 confirmed kills.
(5) Lancaster I 166 Squadron ME686 AS-V Piloted by Fl/Lt. Gordon Procter - killed along with all other 7 crew members.Nürnberg166 Squadron lost 6 aircraft on this raid alone.
In May 2011 and again in June 2012 16 relatives of this crew attended laying wreaths at the fine memorial erected and maintained at the crash site by local communities in the area. A further memorial service is planned for June 2014.
The hospitality provided by their German hosts has been described as overwhelming. The idea of the memorial was initially proposed by Martin Oechler who personally chose the natural local stone on which the plaque, also designed and made by him, has been placed.
"To show future generations that the war also created victims (of other nations) in our homeland"
Initially the crew were buried in Ober-Moos. After the war they were reburied in the British Military Cemetery in Hanover-Ahlem.
Sq/Ldr. Colin Howard Wilson DFC. Hanover War Cemetery Collective grave 6.E. 3-7. Son of William and Annie Wilson; husband of Joyce H. Wilson (née Essam), of Bowdon, Cheshire, England.
Sgt. Wycliffe Jenkins. Hanover War Cemetery Collective grave 6.E. 3-7. Son of Benjamin Thomas William Jenkins and of Susannah Evangeline Jenkins (née Thomas).
Sgt. Joseph Stevens. Hanover War Cemetery Collective grave 6.E. 3-7. Son of John Wilfrid Stevens and Ellen (née Culshaw) Born on the 7th June, 1923
F/O. James Stewart Ferrier. Hanover War Cemetery Collective grave 6.E. 3-7. Son of Gordon J. and Eulilie S. Ferrier, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Sgt. Kenneth Geoffrey Francis. Hanover War Cemetery Collective grave 6.E. 3-7. Son of Joseph Herbert and Dorothy Emily Francis, of Tottenham, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. Thomas Burgess Liddle. Hanover War Cemetery Collective grave 6.E.2. Son of Thomas and Olive May Liddle, of Forest Hill, London, England.
Sgt. Frank Tilden Fuller. Hanover War Cemetery Collective grave 6.E.1. Son of Harold Walter and Ina Margery Fuller, of Sidley, Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex., England.
Researched for and thanks to the following for information and photographs: Gordon Hurley (cousin of Jim Ferrier), Alan Baldwin (cousin of Kenneth Francis), Bill Wilson (Son of Colin Wilson), Paul Stevens (brother of Joseph Stevens),Terry Jenkins (nephew of Wycliffe Jenkins), Colin Brown, and all the relatives and friends of this crew. Also to Martin Oechler, Ralf Gressmann, Carsten Eigner and the great number of German people in the community who assisted in this fine memorial and its upkeep for future generations.
Relatives are still searching for relatives of Sgt. Thomas Burgess Liddle - if you are able to assist, please contact us.
For further details our thanks to the following, 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', Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Fred Paradie - 'Paradie Archive'. Commonwealth War Graves Commission.