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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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101 squadron badge
No. 101 Squadron Lancaster III DV276 SR-R P/O. Batten-Smith D.F.C.

Operation: Nürnberg

Date: 30/31st March 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: 101 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: DV276

Coded: SR-R

Base: RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire.

Location: Röthenbach, Germany

Pilot: P/O. 'Batt' John Batten-Smith DFC 171042 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert Armstrong 1567337 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: P/O. Graham Harries Williams 173444 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Spec/Op: P/O. Howard Ernest Beer 172469 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/OP/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Russell Roberts 1341705 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Allan Henry Ross 1344679 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Hugh Fleming McClenaghan 1822320 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Haynes 1454945 RAFVR Age 21. Killed (1)

We would very much like to find any further details of the pilot and crew, in particular any photographs that relatives or others may have. A friend of ours, Mr. Dave Kirby has taken a great interest in this crew, visiting the graves at Durnbach. It is known that the pilot, P/O. John Batten-Smith had a WAAF girlfriend at the time (Patricia Bourne). When he left for this operation, he kissed her, asking her to think of him at 01.00 hrs. He was killed shortly after this time! Mr David Franklin also visited the graves and took high resolution photographs for us - available to all relatives.

Following this appeal relatives of the pilot have since contacted us!


Took off from RAF Ludford Magna at 22:05 hrs. Part of a huge raid of over 795 aircraft, mainly Lancasters and also one of the costliest in the history of Bomber Command in a single operation with 105 aircraft lost (including accidents on take off and landing) with over 500 aircrew killed. 7 lost from this squadron alone. They began their bombing run at around 01:28 hrs. on the morning of the 31s. March over Nuremberg.

The others from 101 Squadron lost:
Lancaster I LL832 SR-K2 Flown by 22 year old Fl/Sgt. Gerald Tivey 1217960 RAFVR from Melbourne, Derbyshire, killed with all 7 other crew.
Lancaster I LL861 SR-B Flown by 26 year old P/O. Donald J. Irving AUS/420950 RAAF, from Bondi, NSW, Australia, killed with all 7 other crew.
Lancaster I ME618 SR-J Flown by 26 year old P/O. Clyde R. Hanish J/87477 RCAF, from Hubbards, Nova Scotia, Canada, killed with 3 other crew, 4 taken PoW.
Lancaster III DV264 SR-L Flown by F/O. William I. Adamson DFC, 148447 RAFVR, killed with 4 other crew, 2 taken PoW with 1 other evading capture.
Lancaster III DV290 SR-X Flown by 26 year old Fl/Sgt. Edwin R. Thomas 527424 RAF, from Forest Gate, Essex, , killed with all 7 other crew.

Above L-R: P/O. Batten-Smith DFC, Fl/Sgt. Allan Henry Ross, Sgt. Robert Roberts, Sgt. Hugh Fleming McClenaghan, P/O. Graham Harries Williams. (courtesy Jane Crossley) On the rear of the photo right, it is written ’To Jock, Wake him up navigator’ Signed Miffy’

Lancaster DV276 was claimed by Oblt. Helmuth Schulte (2) of II./NJG5 at 01:25 hrs near the autobahn at Röthenbach which was 16 km East North East of Nürnberg.

Final log book entry and right Newspaper article on the pilot (Interesting as states 'of Arbroath) (courtesy Jane Crossley)

Left: A detailed account of this operation has been described in Martin Middlebrooks publication ‘The Nuremberg Raid’ ISBN-13: 978-1844158751 (Also available in softcover)

Right: Oblt. Helmuth Schulte (courtesy of Robert Wenman)

Units who lost aircraft/crews on the Nürnburg operation: (537 airman killed, 157 taken PoW, 11 evading capture) 7 Squadron losing 3 Lancasters, 9 Squadron losing 1 Lancaster, 10 Squadron losing 1 Halifax, 12 Squadron losing 2 Lancaster, 44 Squadron losing 2 Lancasters, 49 Squadron losing 2 Lancasters, 50 Squadron losing 3 Lancasters with 1 other written off on take off, 51 Squadron losing 6 Halifaxes, 61 Squadron losing 2 Lancasters, 76 Squadron losing 4 Halifaxes, 78 Squadron losing 3 Halifaxes, 97 Squadron losing 2 Lancasters, 101 Squadron losing 7 Lancasters, 103 Squadron losing 2 Lancasters, 106 Squadron losing 3 Lancasters, 115 Squadron losing 2 Lancasters, 156 Squadron losing 4 Lancasters, 158 Squadron losing 4 Halifaxes, 166 Squadron losing 4 Lancasters, 207 Squadron losing 2 Lancasters, 408 Squadron losing 1 Lancaster, 424 Squadron losing 2 Halifaxes, 425 Squadron losing 1 Halifax, 426 Squadron losing 2 Lancasters, 427 Squadron losing 3 Halifaxes, 429 Squadron losing 2 Halifaxes, 432 Squadron losing 2 Halifaxes, 433 Squadron losing 3 Halifaxes, 460 Squadron losing 3 Lancasters, 467 Squadron losing 2 Lancasters, 514 Squadron losing 6 Lancasters, 550 Squadron losing 2 Lancasters, 576 Squadron losing 1 Lancaster, 578 Squadron losing 3 Halifaxes, 619 Squadron losing 1 Lancaster, 622 Squadron losing 2 Lancasters, 625 Squadron losing 1 Lancaster, 625 Squadron losing 1 Lancaster, 630 Squadron losing 3 Lancasters, 635 Squadron losing 3 Lancasters, 640 Squadron losing 3 Halifaxes.

(1) Arthur's brother, 20 yr. old Denis was also killed just 9 days later whilst serving in the 2nd Btn. Suffolk Regiment. (see below)
(2) Helmuth Schulte survived the war with 23 victories with usual crew: W/O: Herbert Myer and Gnr: Friedrich Fischer. He passed away on the 09th July 1982.

Grave photographs of the crew kindly taken especially for Aircrew Remembered by David Franklin. David has provided permission to supply these (high resolution) free of charge to any relative who would like them.

Left: Original grave marker for P/O. Batten-Smith (courtesy Jane Crossley)

Burial Details:

P/O. John Batten-Smith DFC. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 8. B.15. Son of John Batten-Smith, and of Kathleen Beulah Batten-Smith, of Fernhill, Nilgiris, India. (Previous NCO service number: 1553366)

P/O. Howard Ernest Beer. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 8. B.20-25. Son of Douglas Howard Beer and Hilda Beer, of Mutley, Plymouth, England. (Previous NCO service number: 1583366)

Sgt. Robert Armstrong. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 8. B.16. Son of James and Agnes Armstrong, of Auldgirth, Dumfriesshire, Scotland.

P/O. Graham Harries Williams. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 8. B.17. No further details as yet. (Previous NCO service number: 149622)

Sgt. Robert Russell Roberts. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 8. B.20-25. Son of John and Annie McGregor Roberts, of Stenhousemuir, Stirlingshire, Scotland. Husband of Margaret Roberts.

Fl/Sgt. Allan Henry Ross. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 8. B.20-25. Son of Henry J. G. Ross, and of Mary J. Ross, of Edinburgh, Scotland. Further information: Allan Henry Ross was born in 1922 in Rothesay and moved to Edinburgh as young boy, died on the night of 30th March 1944, whilst on the infamous Nuremberg raid. He joined up in Edinburgh February 1942 - eventually was attached to 101 Squadron as Fl/Sgt. (Air Bomber)

Sgt. Hugh Fleming McClenaghan. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 8. B.18. Son of John and Sarah McClenaghan, of High Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Left: newspaper coverage of the loss of Sgt. Roberts (courtesy Robert Wenman)

Fl/Sgt. Arthur Haynes. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 8. B.19. Son of Wilmot and Ann Haynes, of Foxton, Cambridgeshire, England.

(1) Pte. Denis Haynes. Imphal War Cemetery. Grave 8. C.21. Imphal is on the border of Northern India and Burma.

Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks to the following for further information, Jane Crossley - niece of the pilot, Robert Wenman for photo of Schulte - January 2018. Roberts mother had been married to Sgt. Roberts. Liz Turner - relative of Sgt. Ross. Other sources as quoted below.

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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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