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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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149 Squadron Crest
13/14.05.1943 No. 149 Squadron Stirling III BK726 OJ-Z P/O. Forsyth

Operation: Bochum Germany

Date: 13/14th May 1943 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 149 Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: BK726

Code: OJ-Z

Base: RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk

Location: 1/2 Miles S.W of Immerath Germany

Pilot: P/O. Harold Earl Forsyth J/17672 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. James Joseph Ryan 614624 RAF Age 22. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Donald Francis McDonald R/93881 RCAF Age 25. Killed

Air/Bmr: W/O.II Yvon Jean Baptiste Guepin R/108356 RCAF Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Donald Ernest Sharpe 144690 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Laurence Philip Barnett 1319840 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William McCall 651839 RAF Age 21. Killed


Taking off at 00.05 hrs to join 441 aircraft made up from 135 Halifaxes, 104 Wellingtons, 95 Stirlings and 10 Mosquitoes.

The raid did start well but the bombers were drawn away by decoy markers made by the Germans. It is reported that 394 buildings were destroyed, a further 716 seriously damaged with 302 people killed on the ground.

29 allied aircraft were lost on this raid with total crew killed - 102, PoW - 54. Just a single Crew member evading capture.

149 Squadron lost another aircraft and crew on this operation.

Stirling III BF479 OJ-E Flown by F/O. Leslie Cyril Martin 124513 RAFVR, killed with all other 7 crew.

Shot down by German Nightfighter Ofr. Fritz Schellwat of 5/NJG1 with his Bordfunker (radio/op) Ofr. Lüdecke at 02:02 hrs - his 9th claim of the war. He went on to survive the war with 17 claims, despite being shot down and wounded on the 15th June 1943 in his Bf110.

Burial details:

P/O. Harold Earl Forsyth. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 2.F.20. Son of J. H. Forsyth and Edith S. Forsyth, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Sgt. James Joseph Ryan. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany Collective grave 2.G.1-12. Son of Leonard and Mary Agnes Ryan, of Birch Vale, Derbyshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Donald Francis McDonald. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany Collective grave 2.G.1-12. Son of George E. McDonald and Julia E. McDonald, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

W/O.II Yvon Jean Baptiste Guepin. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 2.F.21. Son of Francis and Anne Guepin, of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada.

P/O. Donald Ernest Sharpe. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 2.F.22. Son of Ernest William and Florence Mary Sharpe, of Hinckley, Leicestershire, England.

Sgt. Laurence Philip Barnett. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 2.F.23. Son of Maurice and Julia Barnett. No further details - are you able to assist?

Sgt. William McCall. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany Collective grave 2.G.1-12. Son of Ogilvie and Georgina McCall, of New Hartley, Northumberland, England.

Researcher: Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered April 2017. With thanks to Des Philippet for grave photographs, James Marlen for photograph of Sgt. McCall, others the collection of Michel Beckers.

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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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