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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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77 Squadron Crest
23/24.09.1943 No. 77 Squadron Halifax II JD301 KN-L Sgt. William J. Grant

Operation: Mannheim

Date: 23/24th September 1943 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 77 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: JD301

Code: KN-L

Base: RAF Elvington, Yorkshire

Location: Not known - Target area?

Pilot: Sgt. William Joseph Grant 1388923 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. George Bown 1042659 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Nav: F/O. J.R. Coombs RCAF PoW No: 2608 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria

Air/Bmr: Sgt. I.P. Murty PoW No: 605 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leonard Francis Manley 1210634 RAFVR. Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. R.R.A. Little PoW No: 365 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankau-Kreuzburg (Klucsbork, Poland)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Cecil Dickinson 629625 RAF Age 22. Killed


Took off at 20.43 hrs. as part of a force of 628 aircraft (312 Lancaster,s, 193 Halifaxes , 7 Wellington,s, 8 Mosquitoes and 5 B-17's from the 8th USAAF) to destroy the northern part of Mannheim.

A total of 927 houses, 20 industrial premises, 11 schools, 6 public buildings and a church were destroyed in this raid. 25,000 people were bombed out of their homes, 102 people on the ground were killed and a further 418 injured.

77 Squadron Halifax KN-R at RAF Elvington (courtesy I.W.M.)

There were more than 2,000 fires started. It is also reported by local records that during the later part of the bombing stages the bombers hit the northern part of Ludwigshafen where the I.G. factory was severely damaged and also smaller outlying towns of Oppau and Frankenthal were also hit with 47 people killed and 260 injured.

A total of 8,000 people were bombed out of which 4,289 were foreign workers. The centre of Frankenthal was completely burnt out and a further 38 people were also killed.

During this raid 32 aircraft were lost. (18 Lancasters, 7 Halifaxes and 7 Wellingtons) A german nightfighter force of 153 x Bf110's, 17 x Ju88's and 16 x Do217's were scrambled to intercept them. 7 of the bomber force were shot down before they reached the target zone and another 20 were shot down over the target area by this force. During the many engagements 7 German night-fighters were shot down.

This Halifax JD301 is also thought to have been intercepted by a night fighter but no record can be found for a claim and nothing was heard from the aircraft.

Rheinberg War Cemetery (archives)

Burial details:

Sgt. William Joseph Grant. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 21.B.4-10. Son of William Joseph and Caroline Grant, of Mottingham, Kent, England. Husband of Elenor A. Grant.

Sgt. George Bown. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 21.B.4-10. Son of Harry and Mary Kate Bown, of Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England.

Sgt. Leonard Francis Manley. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 21.B.1. Born on 9th February 1921. This is understood to be only his second operation. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Sgt. Cecil Dickinson. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 21.B.4-10. Son of R. F. Dickinson and Nellie Dickinson, of Leeds, Yorkshire, England.

Researched for Mark Manley and relatives of this crew. For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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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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