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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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102 squadron Crest
16/17.06.1944 102 Squadron Halifax III MZ642 DY:U Plt Off. Adam John M. Barr

Operation: Sterkrade, Germany

Date: 16th/17th June 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit No: 102 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: MZ642

Code: DY:U

Base: RAF Pocklington, Yorkshire

Location: Luur, Netherlands.

Pilot: Plt Off. Adam John McDowall Barr 177680 RAFVR Age? KiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. Joseph Bender 1867969 RAFVR Age 38. KiA

Nav: Sgt. John Frederick Tweed 744733 RAFVR Age? PoW No: 635 *

Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Alan Milne Duggleby 418928 RAAF Age 22. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Hubert Jack Wakeford 1397471 RAFVR Age 20. KiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. Wifred Chapman 1498555 RAFVR Age? PoW No: 209 *

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Fred Bowman 1594409 RAFVR Age 31. KiA

* Stalag Luft 7 Bankau nr. Kreuzburg O.S." (O.S. standing for Oberschlesien, Upper Silesia). Today called Bąków nr. Kluczbork (Poland).

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 23.12 hrs from RAF Pocklington part of a 321 aircraft raid on Sterkrade synthetic-oil plant in Northern Germany. 162 Halifaxes, 147 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes left to find the target area covered by a thick cloud and the markers dropped by the pathfinders very quickly disappeared. The main bomber force could do very little but bomb the demising glow of the markers through the cloud.

Allied photographic reconnaissance and the German reports agree that the bombing was scattered, although some bombs did hit the oil plant. This had little effect on production. 21 Germans were killed on the ground and a further 6 foreign workers. 18 Houses were destroyed.

The loss to the allies was huge with a total of 21 bombers shot down by the German night fighters and another 10 by flak. This amounted to 159 aircrew being killed, 53 being made PoW.

MZ642 was claimed by Hptm. Adolf Breves, his 6th Abschuss and 3rd of the night, from Stab IV./NJG1 over Steenderen, 9 km south of Zutphen at 3.600 m. at 01:59 hrs.

Hptm. Breves survived the war with 17 confirmed Abschüsse . He died in the 28th March 1993

A dreadful night for Bomber Command losing some 36 aircraft. 173 crew members being killed, 53 being made PoW and 9 evading capture. 102 Squadron was devastated by this operation losing no less than 5 aircraft.

LW192 DY:H Piloted by 22 year old Flt Sgt. Eric Braddock 177675 RAFVR from Northwood, London, all seven crew KiA.
MZ292 DY:C Piloted by 23 year old Flt Sgt. James Kelso 1795060 RAFVR from Antrim, Northern Ireland, all seven crew KiA.
MZ301 DY:M Piloted by 21 year old Sqn Ldr. David Fisher DFC, DFM. 125430 RAFVR from Tonbridge, Kent, all seven crew KiA.
MZ652 DY:Z Piloted by Fg Off. Austin Maxwell J25924 RCAF, all seven crew KiA.

Burial details:

Plt Off. Adam John McDowall Barr. Steenderen Cemetery, Netherlands. Coll. Grave 3-4. Born in Glasgow. No further details

Remembered on the Roll of Honour on the Scottish National War Memorial.

Sgt. Joseph Bender. Steenderen Cemetery. Coll. Grave 3-4. Son of Isaac and Ann Bender; husband of Jane Bender, of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada.

Flt Sgt. Alan Milne Duggleby. Steenderen Cemetery. Coll. Grave 3-4. Inscription: "STILL LIVING, STILL LOVING, STILL OURS". Born on the 12th January 1922 at Leongatha, Victoria, Australia. Son of the Revd. John Taylor Duggleby and Helen Eliza Duggleby, of 70 Richardson Street, North Essendon, Victoria, Australia. He trained as a teacher prior to joining RAAF.

Sgt. Hubert Jack Wakeford. Steenderen Cemetery. Coll. Grave 3-4. Born in 1st Qtr of 1924 in Petworth, Sussex. Son of Thomas James Whittington and Ethel May Wakeford of Petworth, Sussex, England.

Sgt. Fred Bowman. Steenderen Cemetery. Coll. Grave 3-4. Inscription: "FATE LIES HID BUT NOT THE DEEDS THAT BRAVE MEN DID." Son of Fredrick and Jessie Oxley Bowman, husband of Kitty May Bowman, of Pocklington, Yorkshire, England.

Researched for Phil Robertson and for the relatives / friends of the crew. Thanks to Karl Lusink for the corrections to the narrative (Nov 2022).

Other sources listed below:

RS 25.11.2022 - Corrections and update to narrative

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Acknowledgements
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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