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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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RAF Bomber Command Crest
20/21.10.1943 619 Squadron Lancaster III EE114 PG:P Plt Off. C. Firth

Operation: Leipzig

Date: 20th/21st October 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit No: 619 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: EE114

Code: PG:B

Base: RAF Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire.

Location: Between Orrel and Langwedel, 7 km (4½ mls) SW of Rotenburg

Pilot: Plt Off. Christopher Firth 146984 RAFVR Age 22. KiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. George Myron Weighell 567856 RAF Age 24. KiA

Nav: WO2. Charles Notley Dawson Wright R131827 RCAF Age 21. KiA

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Douglas Demaine 157592 RAFVR Age 20. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. George Walter Dillnutt 1078529 RAFVR Age 32. KiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. Myrddin Jones 1602070 RAFVR Age 21. KiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Alfred George Osborne 1613719 RAFVR Age 20. KiA

REASON FOR LOSS:

The crew left RAF Woodhall Spa at 17.18 hrs. to attack the very distant German city of Leipzig. This was the first serious raid with 358 Lancasters taking part.

Five of the crew of Lancaster EE114 (courtesy Keith Evetts). Note: It is probable that this was the five crew members that were training together at 14 OTU between the 2nd February 1943 and 18th June 1943 prior to going onto 1654 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU) where there would have been joined by Flight Engineer, Sgt. Weighell and Mid-Upper Gunner, Sgt Jones.

Standing left to right: Sgt. Wright, Plt Off. Firth, Sgt. Demaine; front left to right: Sgt. Osborne, Sgt. Dillnutt

Above left to right: Sgt. Wright from his service record, Sgt. Dillnutt (courtesy Dorothy Baker)

The weather conditions at the time were described as ‘appalling’ which resulted in very scattered bombing.

At 20:30 hrs EE114 was lost in a collision with a Bf110-G4 Werk No. #720037 which was on a Luftbeobachter (Air Observer) sortie. Stabfeldwebel (Stfw = Sgt, 1st Class) Gerhard Herzog, of 4./NJG6 and his Bordschütze (Air Gunner) Unteroffizier (Uffz = Cpl) Johann (Hans) Weiker were killed when their Bf110 crashed near Kettenburg. EE114 crashed between Oerel and Langwedel, 7 km (4½ miles) SW of Rortenburg. The weather conditions were listed as very poor. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (23 September - 31 December) 1943 Part 3 - Theo Boiten).

Stfw. Gerhard Herzog was credited with 12 confirmed Abschuss and one probable in Poland. (Luftwaffe ACES - Biographies and Victory Claims (Mathews and Foreman) - Volume 2).

No reports were available form Leipzig regarding damage done but the cost to the allied was huge with 16 Lancaster's lost. This was regarded as an acceptable loss rate for this type of mission.

A further 5 crashed or were damaged during landing on return.

The following information sent by Mr. Keith Evetts, a relative of Sgt. Demaine, by way of a communique from the Air Ministry dated 6th December 1945:

The Germans reported that the aircraft dropped incendiaries at Wittingen and that they understood that the crew were in the process of jettisoning other gear to lighten the aircraft. The Lancaster crashed very suddenly between Orrel and Langwedel. They reported that death must have been instantaneous as the steepness of the decent is clear by the undamaged pine trees behind the point of impact.

Burial details:

The crew were initially buried at a civil cemetery in Langwedel prior to re-internment at Hanover after war end.

Above: Hanover War Cemetery and Grave marker for Plt Off. Firth (courtesy BobP - FindAGrave)

Plt Off. Christopher Firth. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 6.G.14. Grave Inscription: “AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER THEM”. Born on the 28 July 1921. Son of Stephen and Elizabeth (née Pattinson) Firth. Husband of Audrey (née Jones) Firth of Dunston, Gateshead, Co.Durham, England.

Audrey was pregnant and when the baby girl was born she was christened Christine after the father who never saw her. Chris' brother Tom married Audrey and brought Christine up as his own. She remarried to his Brother John Thomas Firth in 1949

Sgt. George Myron Weighell. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.G.10-12. Grave Inscription: “AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER THEM”. Born on the 20th August 1919 in Cucq, Pas De Calais, France. Son of George and Julie Leonie Flore (née Sailly) Weighell. Husband of Margaret Joan Weighell of Lavenham, Suffolk, England.

George junior married Margaret Joan Deacon in Leeds in 1942, he enlisted as an apprentice in the 31st entry at Halton, 1935-37.

WO2. Charles Notley Dawson Wright. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.G.10-12. Grave Inscription: “NOBLE SON, TRUE FRIEND, LOYAL CITIZEN, FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH HE FOR EVER LIVES”. Born on the 2nd December 1921 in Vermillion, Alberta. Son of The Reverend John Lord and Anne Margaret (née Ross) of The Manse, Donalda, Alberta, Canada.

John was the Pastor of the Vulcan United Church in Vulcan Alberta, Charles had been an Apprentice Aero mechanic at 5 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) High River.

Sgt. Douglas Demaine. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.G.10-12. Born on the 30th April 1923 in Birmingham. Son of Charles Clayton and Alice (née Bartle) Demaine of Birmingham, grandson of Mrs F. Demaine of Hall Green, Birmingham, England.

Sgt. George Walter Dillnutt. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 6.G.13. Grave Inscription: “HE DIED FOR THOSE HE LOVED AND THOSE HE LOVED REMEMBER”. Born on the 11th April 1911 in Camberwell, London. Son of William Charles and Emma Jane (née Taylor) of Camberwell. Husband to Elsie (née Stubbs) Dillnutt, they were married in December 1936, of East Moss Side, Manchester.

His mother predeceased him in March 1927. His father remarried in May 1928 to Elizabeth May Wright becoming George's stepmother, they lived in Shrewsbury. George Walter Dillnutt was a tea salesman at that time.

Sgt. Myrddin Jones. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 6.G.9. Grave Inscription: “A DAY TO REMEMBER, SAD TO RECALL; WITHOUT FAREWELL HE LEFT US ALL”. Born on the 17th October 1922 in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. Son of John and Mary Jones of Gwargeddi, Coed Salem, Penrhyncoch, Cardiganshire, Wales.

Sgt. Alfred George Osborne. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 6.G.8. Grave Inscription: “HIS MEMORY TO US IS A TREASURE, HIS LOSS A LIFELONG REGRET”. Son of Robert George and Grace Kathleen Osborne of Ipswich, Suffolk, England.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Photo credit of Sergeant George Dillnutt to Dorothy Baker (Niece). Also thanks to Keith Evetts, relative of Sgt. Douglas Demaine for crash details (copy of this report is held in our records). Thanks to the nephew of Plt Off. Firth for the additional Next of Kin information (Oct 2019). Thanks to Graham Wallace for his research and information and additional details for the this crew and its loss (Oct 2023).

Other sources listed below:

RS 31.10.2023 - Updated detail to narrative

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Acknowledgements
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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Last Modified: 31 October 2023, 08:52

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