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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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7 squadron Crest
7 Squadron Lancaster III PB466 MG:Q Ft Lt. Wilson DSO, DFC, DFM

Emden, Germany

Date: 6th September 1944 (Wednesday)

Unit No: 7 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: PB466

Code: MG:Q

Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire

Location: Bansmeer, Germany

Pilot: Flt Lt. Granville Wilson DSO, DFC, DFM, 141094 RAFVR Age 23. KiA

Flt Eng: Fg Off. Alfred Wood 159891 RAFVR Age 32. PoW * (1)

Nav: Sgt. Dennis Jones 1583686 RAFVR Age 19. MiA

Specialist Operator: Flt Lt. Peter Henry Cutchey DFC and Bar 118608 RAFVR Age 22. PoW * (2)

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Edward Ronald Brunsdon 1587881 RAFVR Age 20. MiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Fg Off. Percy Frederick Christopher DFC 156784 RAFVR Age? PoW No: 5479 * (3)

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): WO. Joseph Anthony Fagan DFM 1077128 RAFVR Age 25. PoW No: 775 ** (4)

Air Gnr (Rear): Flt Lt. Hector Joseph Smith MBE, DFC and Bar 45592 RAF Age 25. PoW No: 5479 * (5)

* Stalag Luft 1 Barth-Vogelsang, today situated in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

** Stalag Luft 7 Bankau nr. Kreuzburg O.S." (O.S. standing for Oberschlesien, Upper Silesia). Today called Bąków nr. Kluczbork (Poland).

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Lancaster PB466 took off from RAF Oakington at 16:18 hrs. for an operation on Emden. Part of a large bomber force of 105 Halifaxes and 76 Lancasters that took off that day. These aircraft were escorted by Spitfires and American Mustangs.

The weather over the target area was cloudy, but visibility was good. The aircraft encountered moderate flak and the operation almost completely destroyed Emden with the loss of nearly 80% of the buildings and the town was seen to be a mass of flames. Black smoke from the bombing was so severe that it could be seen from 100 miles away.

At 18:39 the Master Bomber (Sqn Ldr. A.J.L. Craig) spoke to Flt Lt. Wilson to say he was leaving the area and received a reply. Nothing further was heard from Flt Lt. Wilson who was the Deputy Master Bomber for this operation and a roll he had carried out on many occasions.

Lancaster PB466 was hit by flak over the target area killing the pilot, navigator and bomb aimer instantly. The remaining crew parachuted to safety, but were soon captured.

The aircraft crashed near Bansmeer, 6 km east of the town centre. This was the last Bomber Command raid of the war on Emden.

Map of the area of the crash site of Lancaster III PB466

Lancaster III aircraft and the H2S radar system which was the first airborne, ground scanning radar system. Lancaster PB466 was fitted with the system and was operated by Flt Lt. Cutchey

(1) Fg Off. Alfred Wood. On the 20th January 1944 he was confirmed as Plt Off. and then promoted to the rank of Fg Off. and on the 14th August 1944 he was promoted to Flt Lt.

(2) Flt Lt. Peter Cutchey DFC and Bar. The following came from Peter's recollections of what happened on the night of the 6th September 1944 as told to Mike Read in July 2013.

“Peter said that he could see the ground based spotters following his aircraft across the sky on their first run in to the target so he asked the pilot if he could drop just one single bomb on them, to which the pilot said No, mark the target only to avoid any confusion. On the second run in over the target at 10 000 feet, the Lancaster was hit from the front below the cockpit area killing the Pilot and the two Navigators instantly.

The aircraft still flew on, with the glass nose section completely blown out as well the headwind which was absolutely ferocious. Peter managed to reach back into the fuselage to grab his parachute and somehow managed to put it on and launch himself against the airflow out of the remaining broken glass, but had forgotten to disconnect his oxygen and electrical leads which obviously snapped when the tension became too much. His time in the chute was uneventful just watching the aircraft flying away from him. Upon landing a German soldier was stood there, with his rifle and said the favourite words “for you the war is over” just like in the movies

Peter continued "Whilst in the POW camp he was nominated as the Red Cross officer and would detail who would receive the parcels from England, which is where he managed to obtain the card/paper from which he had the cartoon paintings drawn on these adorned his bed space in the barrack block. Each picture cost him 200 cigarettes (the camps unofficial currency) but Peter was lucky as he had managed to keep his wristwatch hidden from his captors all this time and this earned him the sum of 20 000 cigarettes, and also he was quite good at poker for 200 cigarettes a go.

Webmaster note: He kept these sketches for the rest of his life and his wishes were that they be presented to a museum in Poland. These were drawn by his best friend in the PoW camp, Sqn Ldr. Bohdan Stanisław Arct P-1090 PAF. Bohdan was also shot down on the same day. In April 2018 these were handed over to Aircrew Remembered in order that they could fulfil Peters wishes. The Aviation Museum in Krakow are delighted that we have chosen them to display the collection and plans are underway to travel to Krakow.

After being released by the Russians from the POW camp he walked into the local town with 2 other aircrew and a German guard. They sat drinking with the locals (vodka mixed with a mystery ingredient). When the German guard was asked to go outside he was never seen again. Once back in allied hands he was stripped, washed and deloused and given a clean RAF uniform and remembers that he was interrogated as to how he had been treated. He remembers seeing an airfield full of ME262 jet fighters around this time and area" Peter spoke of a few other small things but became more distant as the hour wore on and there were tears in his eyes which I shall remember for a long time"

On the 28th March 1942 1330087 LAC. Peter Henry Cutchey was appointed to a commission and promoted to 118608 Plt Off. On the 1st October he was promoted to Fg Off.

On the night of the 17/18th August 1943 Fg Off. Cutchey, 7 Squadron was one of the Bomb Aimers on the Peenemunde operation to bomb the V2 rocket site where they were being built and tested. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) while serving with 7 Squadron (London Gazette 7th September 1943).

On the 28th March 1944 Fg Off. Cutchey was promoted to Flt Lt. with effect the 5th October 1944. He was awarded a Bar to his DFC promulgated in the London Gazette 29th December 1944: Citation reads:

"Flight Lieutenant Cutchey has completed many successful sorties since the award of the DFC. He has continued to display outstanding enthusiasm and determination as a bomb aimer. His reliability, courage and devotion to duty have always inspired confidence in his crew"

Ft Lt. Cutchey extended his service on the active list by four years on the 8th August 1946. On the 1st July 1965 he was transferred to General Duties (Ground) Branch, Supplementary List and on the 11th August 1966 he retired from the Royal Air Force. Sadly Peter passed away on the 15th April 2017, age 94.

(3) Fg Off. Percy Frederick Christopher DFC, was appointed to commission as Plt Off on probation on the 27th July 1943 and was awarded the DFC while serving with 199 Squadron (London Gazette 7th December 1943). He was confirmed as Plt Off. and promoted to Fg Off. with effect the 27th January 1944. He was posted to 7 Squadron on the 13th August 1944.

He was held as a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft 1 until his release in 1945.

In 1946 he extended his service by four years on the active list and was promoted to Flt Lt. on the 27th January 1947 and his service was extended to eight years. He transferred to the Technical Branch on the 1st October 1950.

Ft Lt. Christopher was promoted to the rank of Sqn Ldr. on the 1st July 1955 and was awarded the MBE (London Gazette 2nd June 1961).

Sqr Ldr Christopher MBE, DFC, MIERE retired from the Royal Air Force on the 29th June 1968. Percy Frederick Christopher DFC died on the 25th August 1997 and is buried in Corfe Mullan Parish Council Cemetery.

(4) WO. Joseph Anthony Fagan. DFM. 1077128 Flt Sgt. Joseph Anthony Fagan was awarded the DFM while serving with 7 Squadron ( London Gazette 29th October 1943). Citation reads:

"One night in September 1943, this airman was the rear gunner of an aircraft detailed to attack Hanover. During the bombing run, the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire which wounded Flight Sergeant Fagan and rendered his turret unserviceable. Shortly afterwards the bomber was attacked by a fighter. in spite of his wounds, Flight Sergeant Fagan refused to leave his turret and played his part determinedly in frustrating the attacker. Displaying great fortitude and devotion to duty, this gallant gunner steadfastly held to his post until his aircraft was clear of the enemy coast. His example was most inspiring"

Joseph Anthony Fagan is on the left of this picture with Flt Lt. Granville Wilson in the centre, and 23 year old, Flt Lt. William Ford Watson Porteous DSO. DFM and bar 171282 (KiA on the 20th May 1944 over France - in April 2018 we made contact with his family)

(5) Hector Joseph Smith enlisted in the Royal Air Force in 1940 and was posted to 7 Squadron on the 13th August 1944. Born in Ireland. Joseph Anthony Fagan was held as a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft 7 until his release in 1945.

Hector Joseph (Eddie) Smith (courtesy Jacqui Stickland)

Flt Lt. Hector Joseph (Eddie) Smith. DFC. 612433 Sgt. H.J. Smith was appointed a commission and promoted to 49952 Plt Off. on probation with effect the 24th October 1942. He was awarded the DFC while serving with 7 Squadron on the 19th May 1944 (London Gazette 16th May 1944).

He was was held as a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft 1 until his release in 1945.

Fg Off. H.J. Smith transferred to the Physical Fitness Branch in 1947 and was promoted to the rank of Flt Lt. on the 30th July 1947.

He was appointed to a permanent commission as Flt Lt. on the 12th March 1952, and was awarded the MBE which was promulgated in the London Gazette 31st December 1954 for services during the Malaysian Campaign, where he was a Parachute Instructor. He devised a method of release from trees in the jungle and coaching members of the SAS.

Flt Lt Smith MBE DFC transferred to the Catering Branch on the 1st October 1956 after suffering a fracture in his neck and retired from the Royal Air Force on the 15th February 1961.

Hector Smith MBE DFC sadly passed away on the 16 April 2009 aged 90.

Burial Details

Sage War Cemetery and the Runnymede Memorial

Flt Lt. Granville Wilson. DSO, DFC, DFM. Sage War Cemetery, Oldenburg, Germany. Grave Ref: 3. D. 13. Son of Samuel and Sarah Wilson of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Above: Flt Lt. Granville Wilson DSO DFC DFM (courtesy Peter Croft)

1062387 Flt Sgt. Granville Wilson was appointed to a commission and promoted to 141094 Plt Off. on probation with effect the 17th January 1943. He was awarded the DFM (London Gazette 14th May 1943).

He was promoted to Fg Off on the 30th July 1943.

Whilst serving with 7 Squadron Plt Off. Granville Wilson DFM was awarded the DFC. London Gazette 3rd September 1943. Citation reads:

"One night in July 1943, this officer piloted an aircraft detailed for an operation against Hamburg. Whilst over the target area his aircraft was hit in several places by anti-aircraft fire and, whilst taking evasive action one of the propellers was shot away. Despite this, Pilot Officer Wilson regained his bombing run and attacked the target successfully. On the return flight a second engine became defective but Pilot Officer Wilson succeeded in flying the damaged aircraft to base. The following night en route to another objective 1 engine of his aircraft became useless but Pilot Officer Wilson continued to the target and bombed it. This Officer has completed many sorties and has always endeavoured to press home his attacks with vigour. His skill and courage have set a commendable example"

He was awarded the DSO on the 5th November 1943 whilst with 7 Squadron (London Gazette 2nd November 1943).

Flt Lt. Granville Wilson DSO, DFC, DFM is also remembered on the Belfast War Memorial.

Sgt. Dennis Jones. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 232. Son of Harry Norris and Jessie Jones of Chilwell, Nottinghamshire.

Sgt. Jones was posted to 7 Squadron on the 23rd August 1944.

Sgt. Edward Ronald Brunsdon. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 226. Born on the born on the 3rd October 1923. Son of Sidney George and Edith Nellie Brunsdon of Gloucester.

He was educated at the Crypt School. Ron (Nipper) was brilliant on the cricket field.

Ron joined the RAFVR in December 1942 as a LAC and September 1943 was posted to No. 1 Central Navigation School, Rivers, Manatoba, Canada

Above: Sgt. Edward Ronald Brunsdon's Flying Log Book and below his Certificate of Qualification and Ron (second right) with his crew mates in Minneapolis January 1944 (courtesy of the Brunsdon family)

Between 9th December 1943 and April 1944 he had completed 105 hours flying as a navigator in a Avro Anson aircraft. Ron qualified as a Navigator on the 21st April 1944. Returning to the UK in July 1944 Ron continued his training at No. 2 Observer Advanced Flying Unit, RAF Millom and then in August 1944 Pathfinder Force Navigation Training Unit at RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire. He was then posted to 7 Squadron on the 23rd August 1944

Edward Ronald Brunsdon is also Remembered on the Gloucester War Memorial.

Researched by Kate Tame, Aircrew Remembered, for all the relatives and friends of the crew. Special thanks to Peter and Joan Cutchey for their contribution to this page of remembrance and to Mike Read for his notes of Peter's memories, Jacqui Stickland daughter of Flt Lt. Hector Joseph (Eddie) Smith. MBE, DFC. Bob Brunsdon nephew of Sgt. Edward Ronald Brunsdon, Dave Cheetham, 7 Squadron Archivist for the crew photographs and Maren Klose - Emden. Also thank you to the nephew of the pilot, Mr. Peter Croft who contacted us in February 2017. Reviewed and updated by Aircrew Remembered (Oct 2023)

Other sources listed below:

RS 03.10.2023 - Reviewed and updated

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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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