07/08.03.1945 192 Squadron Halifax III MZ932 DT:Z Flt Lt. Bernard Ford DFC
Date: 7th/8th March 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit No: 192 Squadron
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Foulsham, Norfolk
Location: Force landed at Toul-Rosières airfield, Rosières-en-Haye, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France
Pilot: Flt Lt. Bernard Ford DFC 144787 RAFVR Age? Safe, no injuries
Flt Eng: Sgt. J.J. Carter RAFVR Age? Safe - Injured and hospitalised
Nav: Plt Off. Frank Wallace Lovick DFC 56324 RAF Age? Safe - Injured and hospitalised
Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Leslie Robson RAFVR Age? PoW, no further details
WOp/Air Gnr: Fg Off. Donald Joseph Coates DFC 169608 RAFVR Age? Safe - Injured and hospitalised
Spec. Op: Flt Sgt. Henry Joseph Carley 195101 RAFVR Age 28. Killed (1)
Air Gnr (Mid Upper): Flt Sgt. Geoffrey Grundy 1675341 RAFVR Age? Safe, no injuries
Air Gnr (Rear): Fg Off. Gallagher RAFVR Age? PoW, no further details
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 17:25 hrs from RAF Foulsham in Norfolk - another large operation consisting of 526 aircraft from 4, 6 and 8 Groups. A devastating raid on this new target in Eastern Germany.
During the homebound leg MZ932 was attacked by a night fighter at about 20:30 hrs hitting the port inner engine. The nose of the Halifax was also badly damaged making the navigation instrument and oxygen system unserviceable. It also proved impossible for the pilot to feather the engine causing them to lose speed and height. 3 of the crew baled out, Flt Sgt's. Carley and Robson and Fg Off. Gallagher. All of them landed safely in the area of Külte. Flt Sgt. Carley landed further away from the other two.
The reduction in weight enabled the pilot to keep the aircraft level and succeeded in landing at Toul-Rosières airfield.
Because of the pilot's actions and the assistance of seriously wounded Fg Off. Coates they were both awarded the DFC.
London Gazette, 24th April 1945:
'These officers were pilot and wireless operator respectively in an aircraft detailed to attack Dessau. During the operation the aircraft was badly hit when attacked by an enemy fighter. The nose of the bomber was severely damaged. The port inner engine was put out of action. The inter-communication and the oxygen systems were rendered unserviceable and some important equipment was destroyed. Flying Officer Coates was wounded in both legs and about the face, the navigator also was wounded. The aircraft dived out of control. Coolly and skilfully, Flight Lieutenant Ford succeeded in levelling out and headed for allied territory. Although deprived of the services of the navigator, he flew the badly damaged aircraft to an airfield and effected a safe landing. This officer displayed exceptional skill, coolness and courage in most trying circumstances. Flying Officer Coates also proved himself to be a courageous and resourceful crew member. In spite of much physical distress he remained at his post to co-operate splendidly with his pilot throughout the return flight. His example was worthy of high praise".
London Gazette, 25th September 1945:
Plt Off. Frank Wallace Lovick (22 January 1917- Mar 1999) was subsequently awarded the DFC for his efforts in assisting the pilot in navigating back to a safe forced landing in France, despite his injuries. That was his 31st sortie and marked the end of his first tour.
(1) Otfried Hellwig an SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lt Col), Walter Kellermann and Karl Henkel both SS-Oberscharführers (Sgts) picked up Flt Sgt. Carley despite protests that he should be a prisoner of the Luftwaffe and took him back to the camp at Arolsen.
Later, after their arrest for war crimes at a trial in Hamburg, they made statements (independent of each other) that Flt Sgt. Carley had tried to escape which is why he was shot. All three were acquitted and released. A Dr. Louis Erich August Baatz was also charged and it is understood and was acquitted despite falsifying the death certificate.
Flt Sgt. Henry Joseph Carley. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 5.K.18. Grave inscription: "THE DEAREST HUSBAND, THE NICEST DADDY. ALWAYS REMEMBERED. MARY, PETER AND ANNE". Son of Henry and Ellen Susan Carley and husband of Mary May Carley, of Whetstone, Middlesex, England.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Traugott Vitz for information (Feb 2018). Also to 'Plodd In The Square Mile' for some details on Henry Carley - Henry, prior to service, was a serving policeman. Thanks to John Lovick, the son of Plt Off. Frank Wallace Lovick for information regarding the award of the DFC (Apr 2019). Corrections by Traugott Vitz (Jan 2021).