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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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156 squadron badge
13/14.09.1942 156 Squadron Wellington III BJ600 Plt Off. Brough

Operation: Bremen

Date: 13th/14th September 1942 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit No: 156 Squadron

Type: Wellington III

Serial: BJ600

Code: GT:?

Base: RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire.

Location: Loozen, Netherlands.

Pilot: Plt Off. George Valentine Brough 39082 RNZAF Age 21. KiA

Pilot U/T: Sgt. Phillip Stevenson Hammond 1331531 RAFVR Age 19. KiA

Obs: Sgt. William Chippendale Massey 1031306 RAFVR Age 31. KiA

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Jack Herring 1213839 RAFVR. Age 21. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Cuthbert Dewar 988654 RAFVR Age 30. KiA

Air Gnr: Sgt. William Herbert 644484 RAF Age 21. KiA


Taking off at 22:45 hrs with eleven other aircraft from the squadron to join 332 other aircraft on an operation to bomb Bremen.

LAC. Brough taken during aircrew training and his Medals (Courtesy Phillip Brough)

Observer for Wellington BJ600 Sgt. Jack Herring (courtesy Liz Hampton)

It is reported that the raid was heavy with 848 houses destroyed and Bremen industry suffering considerable damage with the Lloyds dynamo works put out of act for some two weeks and various parts of the Focke-Wulf factory for up to 8 days. 5 nearly completed aircraft were destroyed and 3 more damaged. 70 people on the ground were killed and a further 371 injured.

15 Wellingtons, 2 Lancasters 1 Halifax, 1 Hampden, 1 Stirling and 1 Whitley were lost, with 87 aircrew killed, another 28 being made PoW.

Above and below what is believed to be some of the crew and aircraft from the Squadron. Top left: Sgt. Phillip Stevenson Hammond with who we believe to be Sgt. Thomas Cuthbert Dewar. Right: Sgt. Phillip Stevenson Hammond with who we believe to be Sgt. William Chippendale Massey - perhaps you can assist? (courtesy Paul Stevens)

BJ600 was claimed by Uffz. Rudolf Frank, his 7th Abschuss, from 1./NJG3, 10 km north-east of Herdenburg at 03:10 hrs.

Note: This is the same claim as Maj. Hülshoff and flak 03:13 hrs. The victory for Uffz Frank was confirmed on the 19th June 1944. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (30 May - 31 December 1942) The Early Years Part 3 - Theo Boiten)

Final letter home from Sgt. Jack Herring (courtesy Liz Hampton)

Above: Taken at RAF Aberystwyth in August 1941. No. 2 Squadron, 'C' Flight. (Sgt Herring is highlighted below)

Rear Row: Duncan, Howarth, Blee, Keeble, Chessells, Harrison, Jones, Carpenter, Wood, Smith, Brown, Hill, Howe, Sundrey, Coupland. Centre: Knight, Murray, Cave, Hill, Nash, Skea, Dyson, Highsted, Denslow, Chalmers, Davies, Craddock, Young, Whitley, Baxter, Ashcrofts, Day. Seated: Chambers, Huntley, Young, Pomroy, Perry, Brownhill, Sgt. Williams, Plt Off. Gillings, Flt Lt. Coaten, Sgt. J. Herring, Gosden, Morris, Lewis, Pullen, Holloway, Anderson. Front Row: Hebden, Williams, Bailey, Stephens, Stanley, Jarman, Oldfield, Williams.

Above left, Sgt. Massey prior to operational service and right, his wedding to Leila at Thorner near Leeds, 1934. (courtesy Nigel Dedross)

Further information supplied by Nigel Dedross: "A farmer buried him near their cottage and wrote to our family, adding they would place fresh flowers on his grave regularly. After the war the body was exhumed and taken to Gramsbergen General Cemetery for re-burial.

The two photos are of him in his uniform and him (right) with my father, Jack and his parents George and Selina (née Chippindale) Massey. My father, who has now passed away also, was very close to his Aunt Selina and Cousin Will." Prior to service worked as a milkman, his father worked at Leeds Post Office.

Burial Details:

Niece of Sgt. Herring, Geraldine Beaumant, visiting his and crews graves. Geraldine recalls remembering Jack throwing her in the air as a child! (courtesy Liz Hampton)

Plt Off. George Valentine Brough. Gramsbergen General Cemetery. Plot 3. Coll. Grave 5-7. Son of Louis Brough and of Myrtle Brough (née Page), of Takaka, Nelson, New Zealand. 365 flying hours logged and on his 17th operation.

Sgt. Phillip Stevenson Hammond. Gramsbergen General Cemetery. Plot 3. Coll. Grave 5-7. Son of Dudley Victor and Simone Margueite Hammond, of Newdigate, Surrey, England.

Sgt. William Chippendale Massey. Gramsbergen General Cemetery. Plot 3. Grave 8. Son of George Henry and Selina Massey, of Leeds, Yorkshire, England. Husband of Leila Annie Massey, (née Skinner) of Leeds, England.

Sgt. Jack Herring. Gramsbergen General Cemetery. Plot 3. Coll. Grave 5-7. Son of Ernest and Edith Annie Herring, of Sandal, Wakefield, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Thomas Cuthbert Dewar. Gramsbergen General Cemetery. Plot 3. Grave 9. Son of James Mcl. C. Dewar and Annie Kempie Cuthbert Dewar. Stepson of Susan R. W. Dewar.

Sgt. William Herbert. Gramsbergen General Cemetery. Plot 3. Coll. Grave 5-7. Son of William and Elsie Clemantina Herbert, of Wakefield, Yorkshire, England.

Researched by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Liz Hampton, relative of Sgt. Herring, also to Paul Stevens, nephew of Sgt. Phillip Hammond who contacted us in January 2017. Paul was born to his sister in 1952. Also to Nigel Dedross, relative of Sgt. William Massey who contacted us in April 2017. Thanks to Phillip Brough for the images of his Great Uncle, Plt Off. George Valentine Brough (Apr 2020). Update to German night-fighter claim by aircrew remembered (Mar 2023).

Other sources as quoted below:

RS 01.03.2023 - Update to German night-fighter claim

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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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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