AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.
Check our Research databases: Database List


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.

75 squadron
20.11.1944 No. 75 Squadron (RNZAF) Lancaster I PB689 F/O. Gordon Loss of all crew

Operation: Homberg, Germany.

Date: 20th November 1944 (Monday)

Unit: No. 75 Squadron (New Zealand)

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: PB689

Code: AA-X

Base: RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire

Location: Moers, Germany

Pilot: F/O. Ronald Gordon 185116 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Carl Robert Freeman 189608 RAFVR Age 33. Killed

Nav: F/O. John Robson Bell 173943 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Albert John Weston 1115103 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Louis David Sampson 186413 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Sidney George Hone 2221190 RAFVR Age 35. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Leonard Forrester 3010665 RAFVR Age 19. Killed


Took off at 12:49 hrs from RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire to bomb the oil plant at Homberg, Germany. 183 Lancasters took part but the weather was extremely stormy and many of the bomber stream were not able to maintain formation with the G-H (Radar bombing aided aircraft) on the bombing run and the bombing was believed to have been scattered.

All aircraft are thought to have been brought down by anti aircraft fire (flak) as no claims are recorded by Luftwaffe aircrew.

5 Lancasters were lost on this raid (3 from 75 Squadron, 1 from 18 Squadron, 1 from 514 Squadron) with the loss of 27 crew killed and a further 8 being made Prisoners of War.

75 Squadron flew 8,017 sorties - losing 193 aircraft in operations, (a further 8 destroyed in crashes), and represented the third greatest tonnage of bombs dropped during WW2 (21,600 tons of bombs and a further 2,344 mines) and suffered the highest casualties in Bomber Command.

Crew of Lancaster PB689 (courtesy of Jean Mitchell and Techie Serivces for restoration) Left - Right: P/O. Louis Sampson, ? ground crew, F/O. Ronald Gordon, ? ground crew, ? crew, ? crew, ? ground crew, ? Sgt. Carl Freeman. Front L - R: Sgt. Sidney Hone, F/O. John Robson Bell taken we think whilst at Heavy Conversion Unit prior to operations. (Not positive identification - so if you know differently, please contact us - thanks to the son of Sgt. Freeman who confirmed him in the photo.)

Burial details:

F/O. Ronald Gordon. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 29. B.1-16. No further details available as yet - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Carl Robert Freeman. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Grave 25. G.5. Son of Charles Lewis Freeman and Anne Freeman, husband of Rosa May Freeman. of Streatham, London, England.

Sgt. James Leonard Forrester medals shown right (courtesy Michael Holden)

F/O. John Robson Bell. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 29. B.1-16. Son of Harry and Mary Bell, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, husband of Jean Doreen Bell, of Jesmond, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.

Fl/Sgt. Albert John Weston. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Collective grave 29. B.1-16. No further details available as yet - are you able to assist?

P/O. Louis David Sampson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Cemetery Grave 25. C.2. P/O. Louis David Sampson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Cemetery Grave 25. C.2. Husband of Gwen Hart and father to Patricia and Philip David Sampson.

Sgt. Sidney George Hone. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Cemetery Grave 25. G.14. Husband of Ivy Bessie Hone, of Ward End, Birmingham, England.

Sgt. James Leonard Forrester. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Cemetery Grave 25. G.3. Son of James Edward and Gladys Forrester, of Bootle, Lancashire, England.

Researched with thanks to Jean Mitchell for providing the photo of the crew and for Aircrew Remembered's technical services for restoring the image as much as was possible. Thanks also to Michael Holden for other information and photograph. To the son of Sgt. Carl Freeman who contacted us in August 2015. Also to Helen Park who contacted us in January 2017 - Helen is the Granddaughter of P/O. Louis Sampson.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2024
Last Modified: 30 January 2017, 21:01

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor