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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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156 Squadron Crest
28/29.01.1945 No. 156 Squadron Lancaster III PB186 GT-A Fl/Lt. J.H. Freeman

Operation: Stuttgart

Date: 28/29th January 1945 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No.156 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: PB186

Code: GT-A

Base: RAF Upwood, Cambridgeshire

Location: Vaihingen, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. James Harold Freeman J/85875 RCAF Age 26. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Raymond Breaks 2202497 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Nav: F/O. David Watson J/35230 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Nowell Percy Hibbert DFC 151844 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Joseph George Shaw 1802925 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James Raymond Wood 1604157 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Joseph Frank Kaviza J/95377 RCAF Age 20. Killed


Left RAF Upwood at 20:20 for an operation to Stuttgart.

The Lancaster crashed at Vaihingen in the SW suburbs of Stuttgart. Of the eight Lancasters from 156 Squadron taking part in this Stuttgart raid, this was the only one lost.

It is "probable" that the night fighter pilot who shot PB186 down was either Ofw. Günther Bahr (1) or Ofw. Heinrich Schmidt. (2)The interception took place between 4,500 mts and 5,600 mtrs with the Lancaster crashing between 23:32 hrs and 23:46 hrs.

(1) 37 confirmed kills by Ofw. Gunther Bahr, surviving the war - no further details.

(2) A total of 15 claims by Ofw. Heinrich Schmidt were confirmed - he also survived - no further details.

Grave photographs kindly taken and submitted by David Franklin who has provided us with permission to release any at the high resolution that he used - please contact us.

Burial details:

All were originally buried in the local Friedhof, later being reinterred in Durnbach War Cemetery.

Fl/Lt. James Harold Freeman. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 4K.26. Further information: Son of Cecil C. and Florence Freeman of Fleming, Saskatchewan, Canada. Had completed over 30 operational trips and this being his second tour of operations. Grave inscription reads: ‘At Rest.’

Sgt. Raymond Breaks. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave G4 J26-28. Son of Christopher and May Breaks of Bideford, Devon. Grave inscription reads: In The Light And In The Darkness We’ll Not Forget Dear. Mum, Dad, Christine, Ernest.’

F/O. David Watson. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave G4 J26-28. From Toronto, Canada, no n.o.k. details.

F/O. Nowell Percy Hibbert DFC. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave G4 J26-28. Further information: Son of Major John Percy Maghull Hibbert MC. and Olive Helen (nee Kershaw) Hibbert of the Hermitage, Kenilworth. Brother of Tom Hibbert. Nowell Hibbert born on the 25th April 1923 and having volunteered for the Air Force, read Mathematics at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, for a year, and then went to Canada for training, becoming a Pathfinder Marker. His DFC was gazetted on 27th March 1945. Completed 48 Sorties. Grave inscription reads: ‘ I Am Ready on the Threshold Of A New Day. To Serve Thee Bravely And Joyfully.’

Fl/Sgt. Joseph George Shaw. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective grave G4 J26-28. Son of Joseph Charles and Fanny Shaw and husband of Agnes Shaw of Barking Essex. Grave inscription reads: ’It’s Not The Words, They Are But Few, It’s The Loving Memory We Keep Of You, Joe.’

Fl/Sgt. James Raymond Wood. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 4K.2. Son of Raymond and Emma Wood of Windsor, Berks. Grave inscription reads: ‘Treasured Memories Of Our Dear Son, Mam And Dad.’

Fl/Sgt. Joseph Frank Kaviza. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 4K.28. Further information: Son of Joseph and Nancy (nee Ketz) Kaviza of 149, York Street, Hamilton, Ontario. Born on the 5th of February 1924 in France to a Czechoslovakian father and Hungarian mother, he changed his name by naturalisation from Josef Kaviza to Joseph Frank Kaviza.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered volunteer, researcher and genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Photo credits and family information on Flying Officer Hibbert to Tom Hibbert (brother) and Vaughan Hawker. Other sources as quoted below. David Franklin for visiting the graves and photographing them for relatives.

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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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