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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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50 Squadron Crest
22/23.03.1944 No. 50 Squadron Lancaster III DV384 VN-V F/O. Joseph L. Dobbyn DFC

Operation: Frankfurt

Date: 22/23rd March 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 50 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: DV384

Code: VN-V

Base: RAF Skellingthorpe

Location: Obermelbecke, Germany

Pilot: F/O. Joseph Lloyd Dobbyn DFC J/18666 RCAF Age 22. Killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Edward James Cave 1671657 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Norman Jennings 1576042 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. John Robert Jackson 1459023 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Greenwood Gee Ridyard 654713 RAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. David Garnet Duncombe AUS/422459 RAAF Age 30. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Lloyd Mason 1816001 RAFVR Age 19. Killed


Taking off from RAF Skellingthorpe at 18.59 hrs to bomb the city of Frankfurt together with a force of 816 aircraft (620 Lancasters, 184 Halifaxes and 12 Mosquitoes)

Photograph of the crew - submitted by Christine Dawson December 2015. Christine is the niece of Sgt. John Robert Jackson.

Air Bomber for Lancaster DV384 - Sgt. John Jackson (courtesy Joan Beaumont via Diane Gollop)

Using an indirect route to confuse the Luftwaffe controllers, crossing the Dutch coast north of the Guider Zee, then due south to Frankfurt. This did confuse the Germans for a short period into thinking the target was Hanover with only a few night fighters making contact.

The city was bombed with great accuracy - half of the city was left without gas, water and electricity with severe damage to the industrial areas west of the city. 948 people were killed on the ground, 346 seriously injured with 120,000 bombed out of their homes.

The allies lost some 26 Lancasters and 7 Halifaxes during the operation. Another 50 squadron Lancaster was also lost this night:

Lancaster I ME578 VN-K, Flown by 21 year old P/O. Ronald Charles Thornton DFC from Horsforth, Yorkshire, killed with 5 crew, 2 taken PoW. Crew also buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.

Taken from the MREU and Loss Card for DV384:

At approximately 21:00 hrs. the bomber stream was attacked by German night fighters near Grevenbruek. One of the bombers was hit and it immediately jettisoned a number of incendiary bombs (estimated at 80). Shortly after this the bomber crashed near the village of Obermelbecke, 3 km NNE of Grevenbrueck. The aircraft must have had a considerable bomb load, as the explosion resulting from its impact with the ground was felt and heard at a distance of several kilometres and a very large crater was made in the earth where it struck.
All of the crew were killed and were buried on March 28th in Evangelic Cemetery in Grevenbruck. The aircraft was 95% destroyed and the wreckage was salvaged on the 23rd March 1944 and taken to the Luftwaffe airfield at Werl.

Understood to have possibly been shot down by Lt. Hermann Stock (2) of 12./NJG3 at 22.05 hrs. Although some reports state that Oblt. Martin Becker of 2./NJG6 was responsible. (Location of his claim was Paderborn, so unlikely)

DFC Citation: 'This officer has flown on operations against such well defended targets as Berlin, Hanover, Leipzig and Stuttgart. On three occasions, his aircraft has been attacked by enemy fighters whilst making the bombing run but each time, F/O. Dobbyn, undeterred, resolutely pressed home his attack. At all times he has displayed outstanding skill, courage and devotion to duty.'

(1) Dobbyn Lake Northwest of Granville Lake, Manitoba, Canada was named after him in 1947.
(2) This was the 3rd of 4 abschusse for Lt. Hermann Stock. It is understood that he survived the war - no further details.

Burial details:

Initially buried on the 28th March 1944 at the Evangelical Cemetery in the district of Olpe, Germany. Later reinterred at the Reichswald War Cemetery after the end of the war.

F/O. Joseph Lloyd Dobbyn DFC. Reichswald War Cemetery. Grave 27.A.9. Son of Joseph Milton Dobbyn and Helen Dobbyn of Melita, Manitoba, Canada.

Sgt. Edward James Cave. Reichswald War Cemetery. Grave 27.A.11. Son of John Edward and Mary Cave, of Walton, Liverpool, England.

Fl/Sgt. Norman Jennings. Reichswald War Cemetery. Grave 27.A.8. Son of Harold and Alice Maud Mary Jennings, of Tividale, Tipton, Staffordshire, England.

Sgt. John Robert Jackson. Reichswald War Cemetery. Grave 27.A.10. Son of Tom and Annie Jackson of Draytons Farm, Old Goole, England.

Sgt. Greenwood Gee Ridyard. Reichswald War Cemetery. Grave 27.A.13. Son of Reginald Ridyard, and of Dora Maud Ridyard, of Kearsley, Lancashire, England.

Fl/Sgt. David Garnet Duncombe. Reichswald War Cemetery. Grave 27.A.7. Son of David Goldsmith Duncombe and Ada Mary Duncombe, of ‘Lorindi’ Quirindi, New South Wales, Australia, brother of Mr Horace Michael Dubcombe of Ellerston, Scone, New South Wales, Australia. This was his 24th operational sortie of the war. Born on the 5th April 1913, enlisted on 22nd May 1942.

Fl/Sgt. Ronald Lloyd Mason. Reichswald War Cemetery. Grave 27.A.12. Son of Henry Charles and Emma Mason, of Yardley Wood, Birmingham, England.

For further details our thanks to the following, Diane Gollop for bringing this loss to our attention, it is understood that the ‘Goole Times’ were seeking further information for the relative of Sgt. John R. Jackson. Thanks also to Christine Dawson for the crew photo submitted in December 2015. Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), 'Paradie Archive'. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Also thanks to the 12’oclock high forum, National Archives of Australia. Further information from these titles/organisations are available from us, just use the 'help' button on the main page above or 'add info' button also shown on this page. Also thanks to Robert J. Southam for NoK details correction on pilot - December 2015.

Copy of Christmas letter home from Sgt. Jack Jackson, 1943 (courtesy Joan Beaumont via Diane Gollop)

KTY - 01.12.2015 Photo of crew added, courtesy Christine Dawson.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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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