Date: 18/19th July 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: No. 207 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Spilsby, Lincolnshire
Location: Between Margerie-Hancourt and Lignon
Pilot: F/O. Jesse Gray Dallen 174550 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. William Shaw 1823003 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: P/O. Albert John Williamson J/88424 RCAF Age 23. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Leonard Aitkin 1219321 RAFVR Evaded capture
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Bertie Woodward 1510808 RAFVR Age 32. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Francis Bertram Smith 1584152 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Wensley 1592743 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Lancaster ME814 took off at 22:51 hrs from RAF Spilsby in Lincolnshire taking part on operations to bomb the railway junctions at Revigny and Aulnoye in France, 253 Lancasters with 10 pathfinder Mosquitoes on the operation.
Reports state that both targets were hit with the railway lines to the front severed. Huge losses were taken by Bomber Command, with 24 Lancasters shot down by the intensive night fighter activity during the operation.
It is understood that Lancaster ME814 was hit by flak and crashed between Margerie-Hancourt and Lignon. The pilots body was never recovered and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
The Squadron lost 2 other aircraft during this operation, the others:
Lancaster I PD210 EM-C - Flown by 20 year old, F/O. William Ross McNaughton 176729 RAFVR from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire - killed with 5 of his crew, 1 evading capture.
Lancaster I ME681 EMT - Flown by 21 year old F/O. Norman Lennox Weeks 173310 RAFVR from Nairobi, Kenya - killed with all 6 other crew.
F/O. Jesse Gray Dallen. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 205. Son of John Robert and Adelaide Dallen, of Moordown, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.
Sgt. William Shaw. Margerie-Hancourt churchyard. Son of Thomas Campbell Shaw and Mary Shaw, of Kirkcaldy, Fife and husband of Lizzie Shaw, of Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: “Beloved Husband Of Lizzie Mortimer. Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Dearly Loved”.
Above and left crew graves (courtesy Alexander Davis)
P/O. Albert John Williamson. Margerie-Hancourt churchyard. Son of Robert and Annie Williamson, of Little Current, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “Sleep On, My Son, And Take Your Rest, We Loved You Well But Jesus Loved You Best”.
Sgt. Bertie Woodward. Margerie-Hancourt churchyard. Son of Jack E. Hannah Woodward and Jane Woodward and husband of Lilian Woodward, of Pendlebury, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads: “His Wife Lilian Died 1947. Both Sadly Missed By Loving Son Ronnie. "Rest Eternal”.
Sgt. Francis Bertram Smith. Margerie-Hancourt churchyard. Son of Bertram and Mary Elizabeth Smith, of Kirk Langley, Derbyshire, England. Grave inscription reads: “He Gave That Which He Loved Most, For He, Too, Loved Life”.
Sgt. Douglas Wensley. Lignon Churchyard. Grave 12. Son of Ralph and Clara Wensley and husband of Lenora Wensley, of Hopton, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: “R.I.P”.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as Alexander Davis (RAF retired) who visited the crew graves at Margerie-Hancourt churchyard in September 2017. Other sources as quoted below.
KTY - 18.09.2017
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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