Operation: Szombathely, Hungary
Date: 22/23rd November 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 37 Squadron (motto: 'Wise without eyes'), 231 Wing. 205 Group
Type: Wellington X
Base: Tortorella Landing Ground, Foggia, Italy
Location: Pördefölde, Hungary
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Jack Harrison Emmott Aus/422905 RAAF Age 20. Killed
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Leonard Roy Young Aus/424815 RAAF Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Robert Charles Chesterman NZ/425763 RNZAF Age 34. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Wilfred Carter 1622293 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Charles Havill Cockram 1852445 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 17:10 hrs to bomb the Szombathely Marshalling yards in Hungary.
Understood to have been shot down by a night fighter at 21:00 hrs on the return trip. According to locals the aircraft exploded in the air and the wreckage was scattered over a square km. at Kuriapuzta farm, 1 km south east of Pördefölde.
The Missing Research Enquiry Unit identified the crew bodies through markings on the uniforms. They also discovered the wreckage and identified the aircraft from the engine numbers.
Six aircraft were lost during the operation with another struck off charge, the others:
37 Squadron Wellington X LP547 LF-S flown by 28 year old, F/O. John Henry Sutcliffe NZ/415036 RNZAF - killed with 2 other crew, 2 taken PoW. Further details here, with comprehensive operation details.
40 Squadron Wellington X LP732 BL-O flown by 21 year old, P/O. Arthur Julian Moody Starr 188412 RAFVR - killed with all 4 other crew.
34 Squadron Liberator EW235 EG-M flown by 23 year old, Lt. Edward Alfred Van Zyl 205895v SAAF - killed with 6 other crew 1 taken PoW.
34 Squadron Liberator KH204 EG-C clown by 33 year old, Lt. William George Alexander Pitt 206450v SAAF - killed with 6 other crew, 1 taken PoW.
614 Squadron Halifax II JP323 flown by 23 year old, P/O. John Leonard Nicholson 179800 RAFVR - killed with 5 others taken PoW.
614 Squadron Halifax II JP321 flown by F/O. H. Weldon - all crew safe despite several attacks by a Ju88. The pilot successfully flew it back to the Squadron's base at Celone, Italy, but was struck off charge as a result of the damage. (some reports state that most damage was caused by exploding ammunition when the cases caught fire, others report it was from splinter damage caused by a rocket that had recently been brought into service).
The photographs above show the damage caused and the testimony of the resilience of the Wellington.
Initially buried by the Germans at Pördefölde Cemetery, reinterred in 1945.
Fl/Sgt. Jack Harrison Emmott. . Budapest War Cemetery. Grave IV.B.10. Born on the 17th January 1924. Emmott enlisted in the army in March 1942 but was discharged on the 22nd May 1942. Enlisted in the RAAF on the 10th March 1942 at Canberra. Worked as a stores clerk. Son of William Harrison Emmott (died 24th October 1949) and Esme Gertrude Emmott (nee Griffith - died 06th September 1976) of Balgowlah, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription: 'His Duty Performed And He Nobly Fell. Ever Remembered'.
Fl/Sgt. Leonard Roy Young. Budapest War Cemetery. Grave IV.B.9. Born on the 24th August 1922 at Waedell, New South Wales. Enlisted on the 09th October 1942. Son of Herbert Martin Young (died 20th August 1983) and Cora Young (died 20th June 1944), of Emmaville, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription: 'His Duty Performed And He Nobly Fell. Ever Remembered'.
Fl/Sgt. Robert Charles Chesterman. Budapest War Cemetery. Grave IV.B.8. Born on the 27th July 1910 at Hokitika. Worked as a dairy assistant on his fathers farm at Kanieri. Enlisted on the 29th May 1942 at Ohakea. Embarked for Canada on the 02nd October 1942. No. 3 Wireless School, in Winnipeg, ManitobaAir gunner badge awarded and promoted to sergeant on the 28th June 1943. Embarked for England on the 22nd October 1943. Son of Thomas Richard Chesterman (died 09th February 1951, age 76) and of Elizabeth Frances Chesterman (nee Meharry - died 04th February 1972, age 91), of Kanieri, Westland, New Zealand and husband of Linda Evelyn Maud Chesterman (née McElhinney - died in 1995, age 85), of 64 Oxford Steet, Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand. brother of Olive Sidwell McGlashan (née Chesterman - died 09th August 2002, age 90) and Richard Kennedy Chesterman (died 15th March 2001, age 87). A total of 278 flying hours logged and on his 8th operational sortie, 5 of these whilst with 32 Operational Training Unit during training in Canada.
Sgt. Wilfred Carter. Budapest War Cemetery. Grave IV.C.9. Son of John William and Elsie Carter, of 98 Thornton Road, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription 'I Bare You On Eagles' Wings, And Brought You Unto Myself'.
Fl/Sgt. Charles Havill Cockram. Budapest War Cemetery. Grave IV.C.10. Also remembered on family grave in Cullompton Cemetery, Cullompton, Devon. Son of Charles Havill Cockram (died 15th August 1985, age 85) and Elsie May Cockram (died 17th January 1985, age 99), of Cullompton, Devon. Born in Barnstaple, Devon. Grave inscription: 'We'll Meet Again Perhaps Today, The Dear Ones Who Have Passed Away'.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, National Archives Australia, other sources as quoted below:
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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