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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 Crest
01/02.02.1945 No 101 Squadron Lancaster I ME863 SR-K Fl/Lt. Robert D. Boyd

Operation: Ludwigshafen

Date: 01/02nd February 1945 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: 101 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ME863

Code: SR-K

Base: RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire

Location: Sorneville, France

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Robert Douglas Boyd AUS/419026 RAAF Age 24. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John McAllister Johnston 1826329 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Kenneth Redfern Moore 1805235 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Desmond Henry Widdows 1399743 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op. Special duties: F/O. Kenneth Gordon Fenske J/45367 RCAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Edward Thomas Summerson AUS/432903 RAAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James O’Donnell 1795363 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Walter Hodder 1899122 RAFVR Age ? Killed


Taking off from RAF Ludford Magna in Lincolnshire at 15:57 hrs to bomb Ludwigshafen, with the attack due to commence at 19:15 hrs.

382 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes took part from which 6 Lancasters were lost (3 from 101 Squadron alone) a total of 56 crew members killed, 3 more being made PoW.

The raid destroyed or damaged 900 homes but also the railway yards were seriously damaged and one of the Rhine bridges was hit by 2 bombs and was temporary closed. 25 people were killed on the ground and a further 6 injured. The lack of casualties on the ground suggest that the town had been evacuated or were well protected with shelters.

For additional details of this loss, please see the loss page for the other Lancaster III JA715 SR-C involved in this tragic mid air collision.

Apart from these two Lancasters lost from the squadron on this operation a further Lancaster crew from 101 was also lost:

Lancaster III PB256 SR-P - Flown by 27 year old, F/O. Robert John Clark NZ/4210919 RNZAF from Auckland City, New Zealand - killed with all 7 other crew.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Robert Douglas Boyd. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.1. Son of James and Gladys Pearl Boyd, of Finley, New South Wales, Australia.

Sgt. John McAllister Johnston. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.5. Son of John and Elizabeth Johnston, of Killeonan, Campbeltown, Argyllshire, Scotland.

Sgt. Kenneth Redfern Moore. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.3. No further details - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Desmond Henry Widdows. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.6. No further details - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Edward Thomas Summerson. Sorneville Communal Cemetery (Only CWWG) Born on 20th September 1924, the son of John Shepherd Summerson and Frances May Summerson, of Thornleigh, New South Wales, Australia. Enlisted on the 30th January 1943.

F/O. Kenneth Gordon Fenske. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.7. Son of David and Alma Fenske, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Sgt. James O’Donnell. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.4. No further details - are you able to assist?

Sgt. John Walter Hodder. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.2. No further details - are you able to assist?

Compiled with research by Jack Squires - May 2016. Other sources as quoted below.

KTY 11.05.2016

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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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