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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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107 Squadron
27.04.1942 107 Squadron Boston III Z2194 Sgt. Kenneth N. Carpenter

Operation: Sequedon power station, Lille, France

Date: 27th April 1942 (Monday)

Unit No: 107 Squadron

Type: Boston III

Serial: Z2194

Code: OM:?

Base: RAF Massingham, Norfolk

Location: Near Bourbourg, France

Pilot: Sgt. Kenneth Nicholas Carpenter 1283712 RAFVR Age 20. PoW No. 225 * (1)

Obs: Plt Off. John Francis Williams MiD 106173 RAFVR Age 26. PoW No. 992 ** / Murdered (2)

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Gordon Samuel Gay Black R65165 RCAF Age 21. PoW No. 222 *** (1)

* Stalag 357 (Stalag 11b), Fallingbostel, Lower Saxony, Germany.

** Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria).

*** Stalag Luft 6, Heydekrug, Memelland (now Šilutė in Lithuania)

Note: The US AAF designation for the Boston III was Douglas A-20B Havoc


Z2194 took off from RAF Massingham at 14:22 hrs on the 27th April 1942 to join eleven other Bostons from the Sqn which were detailed to attack, with a fighter escort, the power station at Sequedon on the outskirts of Lille in France.

On the run up to the target the formation was attacked by enemy Fw190s and four of the Bostons were hit. Bombs burst amongst buildings and a railway line of a factory 1½ miles SSW of the power station.

Z2194 dropped out of formation and was seen going down under control. In return the Sqn claimed one Fw190 destroyed and four damaged. An extremely intense barrage of flak was put up and most of the Bostons were hit and damaged by flak. Z2194 was the only aircraft that failed to return.

Z2194 was claimed by Hptm. Johannes Seifert, the Kommandeur of Stab I./JG 26, and was his 30th confirmed Abschuss, near Bourbourg between 15:50 and 16:00 hrs. (The Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL) (German Air Force High Command) fighter claims for the Reich, West & Südfront).

Maj. Seifert was awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold and the Ritterkreuz. On the 25th November 1943 flying a Fw190 he collided with a P-38 from the 55th Fighter Group. Both Seifert and Lt. Manuel J. Aldecoa were killed. Maj. Seifert was credited with 55 confirmed Abschüsse from 439 combat sorties. (Luftwaffe ACES - Biographies and Victory Claims (Mathews and Foreman) - Volume 4)

The crew of three successfully baled out and were captured by German forces. The aircraft cashed near Bourbourg, France.

(1) Sgt. Carpenter and Sgt. Black were promoted to Warrant Officer (WO) and WO Class 2 (WO2) respectively whilst as PoWs.

(2) After the prerequisite visit to Dulag Luft Oberursel Flt Lt. Street was transferred to Stalag Luft 3.

Flt Lt. Williams earned for himself or was selected on an early position in the line of two hundred hoping to escape from the north compound of Stalag Luft 3.

On the night of the 24th-25th March 1944, 76 officers escaped from the north compound of Stalag Luft 3 which, at that time, held between 1000 and 1500 RAF PoWs. The escape was made by the means of a tunnel. At about 05:00 hrs on the 25th March the 77th PoW was spotted by guards as he emerged from the tunnel.

An overview of the German response to the escape and the subsequent British prosecution of those responsible for the murder of fifty of the escapees is summarised in the report entitled “The Fifty - The Great Escape”.

After he exited the tunnel he was one of a party of officers assembled by Flt Lt. Bethell who was the forty-sixth out of the tunnel. The party started walking west though the woods for about 2km and then split up into smaller groups. It is not known with whom Flt Lt. Williams travelled with if anyone. (Ref 1. p 195)

Flt Lt. Richard Anthony Bethell 120413 RAFVR, PoW No. 858 was returned to Stalag Luft 3.

Fg Off. Bethell was shot down by flak on a Rhubarb over Holland on the 27th December 1942 flying Mustang I AP212 from 268 Sqn.

What is known from the trial transcript is that he was captured at or near Sagan. He was one of a number of recaptured officers who were killed by persons unknown some time after the 4th April 1944 and cremated in Breslau. The other officers were:

Flt Lt. A.D.M. Gunn, Plt Off. W.J. Grisman, Lt. C.A.N. McGarr, Flt Lt. H.J. Milford and Fg Off. D.O. Street.

No one was formally charged with the actual murder of Flt Lt. Williams or the other five officers. The bodies of this group were cremated at Breslau and their urns returned to Stalag Luft 3.

Burial Details:

Memorial to “The Fifty” near to Żagań (Credit: CSvBibra - Own work, Public Domain)

Above: Grave marker for Flt Lt. Williams (Courtesy of TWGPP)

Flt Lt. John Francis Williams MiD. Poznan old Garrison Cemetery 8.C.3. Inscription: “I HAVE FOUGHT A GOOD FIGHT, I HAVE FINISHED MY COURSE, I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH.” Born on the 7th July 1917 in Lambeth. Son of John and Bertha Ada Jane Williams of Ewell, Surrey, England.

Plt Off. Williams was promoted to Fg Off. on the 13th September 1942. London Gazette 20th April 1943 and then to Flt Lt. on the 13th September 1943. London Gazette 5th November 1943.

Flt Lt. Willliams was Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) recognizing his conspicuous bravery as a PoW because none of the other relevant decorations then available could be awarded posthumously. Promulgated in the London Gazette on the 8th June 1944.

Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with additional thanks to Traugott for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.

Thanks to ‘The War Graves Photographic Project for their great work.

Other sources listed below:


1. Stalag Luft III - An official history of the “Great Escape’ PoW Camp - Published by Frontline Books - ISBN: 978-1-47388-305-5.

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