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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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75 Squadron Crest
29/30.05.1943 No. 75 Squadron Stirling III EH881 AA-Z Fl/Sgt. John H.R. Carey

Operation: Wuppertal  Germany

Date: 29/30th May 1943 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: 75 Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: EH881

Code: AA-Z

Base: R.A.F. Newmarket, Suffolk

Location:  Aachen-Eilendorf, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John Henry Roy Carey NZ/414242 RNZAF Age 27. Killed

Fl/Eng: W/O. Thomas Edward Beaver 1276184 RAFVR  Age 21. Injured Prisoner of War (PoW) (1)

Nav: Sgt. John L. Roberts RNZAF PoW No: 236 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Percy G. Knight RNZAF PoW No: 192 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Maurice Brady RNZAF PoW No: 79 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Alfred Owens 1250494 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr:  Fl/Sgt. Norman Alexander MacLeod NZ/404079 RNZAF Age 26. Killed


719 aircraft attacked the town of Wuppertal, the home of the Goldschmitt firm which produced Tego-Film, a wood adhesive used in the production of the HE162 and TA154.

Around 1000 acres was destroyed in the firestorm that followed - 211 industrial buildings and nearly 4,000 houses were totally destroyed. A figure of 3,400 fatalities on the ground has been recorded. 

Bomber Command did not escape lightly on this operation losing some 36 aircraft. 75 Squadron losing 4 aircraft alone:

Stirling I EF398 AA-A Flown by F/O. Richard B. Vernazoni, killed with all other 6 crew members.
Stirling III BF561 AA-O Flown by Fl/Sgt. Sydney R. Thornley, killed with all other 6 crew members.
Stirling III BK776 JN-B Flown by P/O. Raymond F. Bennett, killed with 4 other crew with the remaining 3 captured.

EH881 took off at 23.40 hrs from RAF Newmarket. On the return home the aircraft was attacked by a German fighter (2) and shot down over the Aachen area of Eilendorf, near the German border with Holland. 

Of the seven-man crew, three were killed, two evaded capture for some time and another was interned fairly quickly.


Left to right: Fl/Sgt. John Carey, Fl/Sgt. Norman MacLeod and W/O. Thomas Beaver

(1) When Tom Beaver baled out he operated his parachute, but as it opened, it hit him under the chin, forcing his head back and rendering him unconscious. 

He came to in a field, but he could not move, he had broken his neck, remaining in pouring rain for two days. Eventually discovered by three German nurses, taken to the nearby hospital at Aachen, where they operated on him. After his recovery he was transferred to Dulag Luft (an air force transit camp) at Frankfurt-am-Main, for interrogation. He was then transferred east across Germany to Stalag Luft VI, at Heydekrug, East Prussia, on the Baltic coast. Later transferred back across Germany to Stalag Luft III at Sagan (now in Poland), scene of 'The Great Escape'. However, before that event he had already been transferred to the town of Annaberg-Buchholz, on the Czech border. From there he was transferred to Stalag Luft I at Barth, on the Baltic coast. He was then taken to nearby Rostock and transported by sea to Gothenburg in Sweden for repatriation. 

He arrived back in England August 1944. Re-categorised as 'safe in the UK', he was admitted to Weston hospital, near Bristol, on September 15, 1944. Thereafter transferred to the 2nd ACD on October 31, 1944, he was finally discharged on May 18, 1945. He died in 1989 from bone marrow cancer at Ilkeston Community Hospital aged 66 years.

Left: Lt. Johannes Hager of 6./NJG1 (archives)

(2) Lt. Johannes Hager of 6./NJG1 intercepted EH841 at 4,400 mtrs. at 02.28 hrs on the Sunday. His aircraft was hit by return fire from the Stirling and all three of the crew were injured. His flight engineer Ofw. Günther Meinel baled out of the Dornier 217 N-1 over Heimbach during the return to Florennes. 

Lt. Hager although regularly losing conscious through lack of blood managed to return and land at 02.57 hrs. When the Aircraft bust into flames on touch down, killing his wireless operator, Uffz. Fritz Leda. Hager managed to scramble clear, but spent a few weeks in Namur recovering from head injuries.

He survived the war as a top ace with over 48 confirmed claims. Died, September 2nd 1993, age 72.


Burial Details:

Fl/Sgt. John Henry Roy Carey. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 6.A.11. Son of Thomas Carey and of Ivy Carey (nee Dimmick), of Westport, Nelson, New Zealand

Fl/Sgt. William Alfred Owensy. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 6.A.13. Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Owens, of Gelli, Glamorgan; husband of Edna Mary Owens, of Gelli, Glamorgan, Wales.

Fl/Sgt. Norman Alexander MacLeody. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 6.A.12. Son of Norman Alexanda MacLeod, and of Grace MacLeod (Nee Bell), of Hinakura, Wellington, New Zealand.

Researched by Michel Beckers with assistance from Shane Beaver for Aircrew Remembered. Further information added to this remembrance page by the webmaster. Dedicated to all the relatives of the crew. With thanks to 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', Tom Kracker for the  Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and to the work of the Commonwealth Graves Commission.

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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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