Operation: Merseburg (Leuna synthetic oil refinery)
Date: 04/05th April 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: 186 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Stradishall, Suffolk
Location: At base RAF Stradishall
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Edgar Leonard Field DFC 179542 RAFVR - Survived
Fl/Eng: Sgt. W.J. Enwright RAFVR - Survived - Injured
Nav: Fl/Sgt. P.A. Epson RAFVR - Survived
Air/Bmr: F/O. G.W. Littleboy RAFVR - Survived
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Cyril John Morris 1739556 RAFVR - Survived
Air/Gnr: Sgt. W.R. O’Connell RAFVR - Survived
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Charles Frederick Turner 1042292 RAFVR Age 22. Survived - Injured
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 18:43 hrs from RAF Stradishall in Suffolk to bomb the Leuna synthetic oil refinery situated on the south east side of the city - 327 Lancasters with 14 Mosquitoes as bomber support taking part.
Once over the target they came under intense anti-aircraft fire and were hit in the port outer engine. Despite this the pilot managed to nurse the crippled aircraft home.
On return and during trying to align the aircraft with the runway the port inner engine cut out, overshoot procedures were followed, however the Lancaster crashed at 03:00 hrs on an adjoining field to the airfield.
Two members were injured, and taken to RAF hospital in Ely. Fl/Eng. Sgt. Enright sustained various fractures, the rear gunner, Fl/Sgt. Turner was thrown some 50 feet from the aircraft and suffered fractures to the left foot and ankle, femur, skull with other facial injures. He was not expected to survive, but after 14 months made an almost full recovery.
Another aircraft was lost from the squadron this day:
Lancaster I NA533 AF-P Flown by 24 year old, F/O. James Arthur Gordon Beck DFC AUS/408434 RAAF from Launceston, Tasmania, Australia - killed with 5 other crew, the Navigator, P/O. Bartlett survived, injured after colliding with a Lancaster I HK555 KO-E from 115 squadron. The pilot of that aircraft, Fl/Lt. Thomas Anthony O’Halloran 183181 RAFVR and all 7 other crew were killed.
Note: Charles Turner DFM passed away on the 06th November 1996 age 74. The pilot, Fl/Lt. Field received a bar to his DFC for this action, Fl/Sgt. Morris received a DFM on the 25th September 1945 with Fl/Sgt. Turner receiving his DFM on the 26th October 1945.
None - all crew survived.
With thanks to Ian and Barbara Turner for information - we hope to be able to expand on this page in time. 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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