Date: 28/29th August 1942 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 115 Squadron
Type: Wellington III
Base: RAF Marham, Norfolk
Location: Prüm, Germany
Pilot: PO. J.H. Duffy 115705 RAFVR PoW No: 642 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan (L3)
Obs: Sgt. Lawrence Lovelady 657979 RAFVR PoW No: 26840 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. C. Brennan 657436 RAFVR PoW No: 26814 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Ronald Gibson 48816 RAFVR PoW No: 646 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan (L3) (note)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.G. Martin 1126833 RAFVR PoW No: 26835 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344)
We are indebted to Oliver Koehler of the ‘Dambusters’ website in Germany for providing the photographs of the crashed aircraft to Aircrew Remembered in July 2017 - see link shown below to their well researched website. They, as do we, honour people lost on both sides of the conflict.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Marham in Norfolk at around 20:30 hrs to bomb Nürnberg.
The 159 aircraft sortie was comprised of 71 Lancasters, 41 Wellingtons, 34 Stirlings and 13 Halifaxes. Twenty three aircraft failed to return; a staggering loss rate of nearly 15%. The Wellingtons were particularly hard hit losing over a third of their total.
Crews were ordered to make a low level attack with Pathfinders marking the targets with indicators which, reportedly, were accurately placed. However, later reconnaissance showed that the number of bombs actually dropped on Nuremberg suggested that only approximately fifty aircraft actually made it over the target.
The city suffered relatively light damage although 137 people in Nuremberg were killed and a further four from bombs dropped on Erlangen ten miles away from the target.
Wellington X3464 is understood to have been damaged by flak -but the pilot executed a near perfect crash landing with the crew managing to destroy sensitive (secret) radar and communications equipment carried within the aircraft, prior to their capture.
Also lost on this operation from the Squadron:
Wellington III BJ688 KO-R Flown by 24 year old, P/O. Clifford Wilbert Pafford J/8215 RCAF from Ontario, Canada - killed with all his crew of 4.
Wellington III Z1607 KO-T Flown by P/O. J.W. Berry survived a crash landing at 04:38 hrs at Barton Bendish in Norfolk - all crew reported to have survived with no serious injuries.
Wellington III X3675 KO-D Flown by 23 year old W/O. John George Smith 742471 RAFVR from Tickenham, Somerset, England - killed with 2 other crew, 1 evaded capture and 1 taken PoW. Time of loss recorded as 23:05hrs.
Wellington III X3647 KO-A Flown by 21 year old, Fl/Sgt. William Stansfield Allen 1126560 RAFVR from Whitefield, Lancashire, England - killed with 3 other crew,1 taken PoW.
Above: Whitley P4951 crew: Fl/Lt Frank Aikens, Sgt Nicholas Palmer Simmons, Sgt Ronald Gibson, Sgt. Frederick Young, Sgt. G.H. Cawte or Dawte. (courtesy Janice Betson)
Note: The then Sgt. Ronald Gibson 633366 survived an earlier incident on the 02nd July 1940 whilst attacking the German battleship Scharnhorst. A further page is to be added to our website following contact by a relative of the 2nd pilot of that aircraft. See here for further details.
None - all crew survived as PoW until their release from the Russians late in 1945 after the “Long March” by the retreating Germans during January 1945.
Left: ‘Dambusters’ website.
Right: 'Yorkshire Aircraft' website.
For further details our thanks to Oliver Koehler of the ‘Dambusters’ website, Lamsdorf website and for details on Ronald Gibson to the great Yorkshire Aircraft website. Also to the following sources:
KTY - 03.08.2017
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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