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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 Crest
27/28.07.1943 156 Squadron Lancaster III JA709 Fg.Off. L.R. Crampton

Operation: Hamburg

Date: 27/28th July 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: 156 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JA709

Code: GT-?

Base: RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire

Location: off Vollerwik, Germany

Pilot: Fg.Off. Leonard Robert Crampton 124479 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Flt.Eng: Sgt. James Lionel Leader 919585 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav: Fg.Off. John William Crowley J11953 RCAF Age 27. Killed Age 22. Killed

Air Bmr: Plt.Off. Everett Victor Lee J22569 RCAF Age 22. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. George Law Campbell 1366510 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Alexander Suttie Scott 948645 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Hugh William Woodsend 129042 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (1)


Took off from RAF Warboys in Cambridgeshire at 21:57 hours as part of a group of 787 aircraft - 53 Lancasters, 244 Halifaxes, 116 Stirlings and 74 Wellingtons - on one of the raids against Hamburg known as ‘Operation Gomorrah’. This was the night of the firestorm, which resulted from a combination of unusually dry and warm weather, the concentration of the bombing in one area and firefighting limitations.

A total of 2,326 tons of bombs were dropped. In the period following the raid, approximately 1,200,000 people fled the city in fear of further raids.

Above Left to Right: S.L.T. Brett (no other details other than a note on the back of the photograph "Brett later flew Typhoons and survived") and Fg.Off. Crampton during 1941 at No.1 British Flying Training School (BFTS) in Terrell, Texas, USA. The aircraft is a Boeing Stearman PT-17. (Courtesy Tess Walker)

Above: Fg.Off. Leonard Robert Crampton and this fiancé Cicely Gradden (Courtesy Mrs Daphne Jackson)

Above and below: Fg.Off Hugh William Woodsend (courtesy Hugh Woodsend - nephew)

Left: Maj. Günther Radusch (Kracker Archives)

At 00:26 hrs the aircraft was shot down south of Vollerwick, easy of St. Peter by the Luftwaffe nightfighter ace Maj. Günther Radusch of Stab II./NJG3 - his 31st claim of the war. Nachtjagd Combat Archive (23 June - 22 September) 1943 Part 2 - Theo Boiten

Maj. ‘Flips’ Günther Radusch survived the war with 66 claims. He passed away in Nordstrand, Schleswig-Holstein on the 29th July 1988, aged 75.

Another from 156 Squadron was lost: Lancaster III EE178 Flown by Flt.Sgt. G.W. Wilkins 1332786 RAFVR (the only crew member to survive). The aircraft was hit by flak and crashed at Glinstedt at 01:55 hrs (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (23 June - 22 September) 1943 Part 2 - Theo Boiten)

(1) Hugh William Woodsend is listed as Sergeant in the Squadron Operations Order Book for this mission but as a Flying Officer on the CWGC website. With thanks to Hugh Woodsend for pointing this out - November 2017.

Burial details:

Initially buried at No. 1 Square, New Cemetery, Tönning on the 30th July and later reinterred at the Ohlsdorf Cemetery.

Fg.Off. Leonard Robert Crampton. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Collective grave 4A.H.1-7. Son of Frederick and Edith Crampton, from Hythe in Kent. Grave inscription reads: "At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them".

Sgt. James Lional Leader and his initial grave marker (Courtesy Ken Hoing)

Sgt. James Lionel Leader. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Grave 4A.H.9. Son of William John and Louisa Sophia Leader, of Lane End, Buckinghamshire, England.

James volunteered for the Royal Air Force in early 1940 as a member of the Ground Crews. Later he was selected to train as a Flight Engineer/ Second Pilot. After training, he converted to Lancaster Bombers with the elite Path Finder Force (PFF) Squadrons, and flew with 156 Squadron based at RAF Warboys, Huntingdonshire. He received his PFF Badge from Air Commodore Bennett.

Fg.Off. John William Crowley. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Collective grave 4A.H.1-7. Born 13th August 1916, Westmount, Quebec. Son of William Joseph and Anita Mosley Crowley, of Dundas, Ontario, Canada.

Plt.Off. Everett Victor Lee and initial grave markers for five of the crew from his Service File

Plt.Off. Everett Victor Lee. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Collective grave 4A.H.1-7. Born 28th April 1916, Winkeler, Manitoba. Son of Edwin Cornelius and Molly (Née Helmer) Lee of Timmins, Cochrane district, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. George Law Campbell. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Collective grave 4A.H.1-7. Son of Mrs. J. Spiers, of Ayr, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: "Sweet Are The Memories Silently Kept Of One We Loved And Will Never Forget".

Sgt. Alexander Suttie Scott. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Collective grave 4A.H.1-7. Son of David and Barbara Suttie Scott, of Lochgelly, Fife, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: "Loved, Remembered, Longed For Always".

Fg.Off. Hugh William Woodsend. Hamburg Cemetery (Ohlsdorf) Collective grave 4A.H.1-7. Son of Robert Noel and Griselda Sarah Woodsend, of Catterick, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Went The Day Well? We Never Knew But Well Or Ill, Freedom, We Died For You".

Researched by Marcus Kroll for Aircrew Remembered - April 2017. Also thanks to Hugh Woodsend nephew of Fg.Off. Woodsend who contacted us in December 2017 with further photographs. Thanks to Mrs Daphne Jackson, the niece of Fg.Off. Crampton for his photographs. Thanks also to Nick Mayne, the Grandnephew of Fg.Off Crampton, for his Next of Kin details. Thanks to Tess Walker for the No.1 BFTS photograph. Thanks to Ken Hoing for the images and information for Sgt. Leader. Page dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown below.

RS 14.06.2020 - Addition of images for Sgt. Leader and Plt.Off Lee and updated information

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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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