27/28.06.1941 No. 102 Squadron Whitley V T4297 Sgt. J.M. Cullen
Date: 27/28th June 1941 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: 102 Squadron
Type: Whitley V
Base: RAF Topcliffe, Yorkshire
Location: Reported to be Hipstedt, Germany
Pilot: Sgt. J.M. Culley 903431 RAFVR PoW No: 39168 Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang (L1)
Observer: Sgt. ‘Bob’ Bertram Robert Wallace 920388 RAFVR PoW No: 39169 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus (357) (notes)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. W.M. Featherstone 1000712 RAFVR PoW No: 14 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus (357)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.N.D. Bailey 922923 RAFVR PoW No: 39166 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus (357) (notes)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. B.N. Booth 994583 RAFVR PoW No: 39167 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus (357)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 22:31 hrs from RAF Topcliffe, Yorkshire to attack Bremen. The bomber Command force of 73 Wellingtons and 35 Whitleys braved storms and heavy icing during this raid and the majority of the bombers attacked Hamburg by mistake.
Thought to be possibly the crew of the Whitley - Sgt Bob Wallace shown centre front - pilot not shown.
This raid cost the allies dear with the heaviest losses of the war to date with 14 aircraft failing to return. This was also the first raid of the war in which Bomber Command recorded "intense night fighter activities". Hamburg was very well defended with a superb series of searchlight units working well with the night fighters.
The son of Sgt. Bob Wallace informed us that the publication “Aces Of the Luftwaffe - described it as being shot down at Hipstedt. We dont feel that this is correct - the aircraft lost was that of Whitley V T4179 from 10 Squadron flown by Sgt. John Shaw. We are open to any new evidence of course.
Further evidence from AR81/7197 record that the crew baled out over Meldorf South of Hemmingstedt with no Nachtjagd claims.
Additionally, Theo Boiten in Nachtjagd Combat Archives Part 1 1941 has this aircraft as a probable by Uffz Wilhelm Benning 1/NJG3 - SE Ahaus at 00:57. Ahaus is south of Enschede.
Postcard marked Stalag Luft 3 (‘Geprüft 45’ - translated ‘checked’) with Sgt. Bob Wallace shown 5th from right at the rear.
The Squadron lost 4 aircraft on this operation:
Whitley V T4269 Flown by 25 year old, Sgt. Albert Philip Nicoll 969415 RAFVR from Dundee, Scotland - killed with all 5 other crew.
Whitley V Z6572 Flown by 29 year old, Sq/Ldr. William Condie McArthur DFM 43694 RAF from Ashtead, Surrey, England - killed with all 4 other crew.
Whitley V Z6759 Flown by 20 year old, Sgt. Garrick David Jackson 927080 RAFVR from Rayleigh, Essec England - killed remaining 4 crew PoW.
On the 19th April 1945 4 RAF Typhoons strafed a column of PoW’s mistaking them to be German reinforcements at Gresse near Hamburg. Tragically nearly 30 airman lost their lives with 30 others wounded (other figures show far more casualties) - Sgt. Bailey was one of the more seriously injured, but survived the war.
The photographs sent home by Bob Wallace had been marked Stalag Luft 3 - we dont have details of his time in this camp - although of course possible that he had been transferred at a later date.
(1) Oberst (Posth) Helmut Lent went on to claim 102 night fighter kills and a further 8 kills before on the 7th October 1944 he died after suffering injuries sustained during a crash landing on the 5th October 1944 at Paderborn Airfield following engine failure and subsequent collision with a high tension cable. His crew were rescued - injured from the crash. Walter Kubisch (radio operator) and Hermann Klöss (2nd radio operator) died the same day, Werner Kark (War correspondent and Air/Gnr) died the next morning.
None - all crew survived the war.
Page placed with the assistance of Ian Wallace, son of Sgt. Bob Wallace. Thanks to John Jones for the additional information regarding an alternative German claim. Sources as quoted below.