Operation: Hanover (Hannover) Germany
Date: 5th/6th January 1945 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit No: 635 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Downham Market, Norfolk
Location: Zuidvelde, Netherlands
Pilot: Flt Lt. Ivor Brian Hayes 48827 DFC RAF Age? PoW * (1)
2nd Pilot: Flt Lt. J.A. Hendry 412691 RNZAF Age? PoW *
Flt Eng: Flt Sgt. Arthur Richard Hall 1522487 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 7725 **
Nav: Flt Lt. William Mungo Douglas DFC 151153 RAFVR Age? Evader (2)
Bomb Aimer: Flt Lt. James Nisbet Steel DFC 182373 RAFVR Age? PoW * (3)
WOp/ Air Gnr: WO. Richard Barton Warner DFC 1431279 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 150024 *** (4)
Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Flt Sgt. Jack William Emms DFM 1604689 Age? PoW ** ( 5)
Air Gnr (Rear): WO. Arthur Digby Clayton DFC 1869599 RAFVR Age? Evader (6)
* Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria).
** Stalag Luft 1 Barth-Vogelsang, today situated in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.
*** Stalag 3a and work camps (Also Oflag 3-6) Luckenwalde (was originally interrogation centre) Brandenburg, Prussia.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Downham Market, Norfolk to attack the city of Hanover, Germany
This was the largest raid on Hanover since 1943 with 664 aircraft taking part – 14 Mosquitoes, 340 Halifaxes and 310 Lancasters.
Above L-R: Flt Lt. I.B. Hayes DFC, Flt Lt. W.M. Douglas DFC, Flt Lt. J.N. Steel DFC, WO R.B. Warner DFC, Flt Sgt. J.W. Emms DFM, WO. A.D. Clayton DFC, Flt Sgt. McMaster.
The bombing was reported as widespread over the city with 3605 apartments/flats destroyed, 250 people killed on the ground. The fatalities included 229 foreigners or PoW. Over 200 tons of bombs were dropped.
Above: Devastation of Hanover in 1945.
As an important railroad and road junction and production centre, Hanover was a major target for strategic bombing during WW2. Targets included the AFA (Stöcken), the Deurag-Nerag oil refinery(Misburg), the Continental plants (Vahrenwald and Limmer), the United light metal works (VLM) in Ricklingen and Laatzen (today the Hanover fairground), the Hanover/Limmer rubber reclamation plant, the Hanomag factory (Linden) and the tank factory MNH Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen (Badenstedt).
Forced labourers were sometimes used from the Hanover-Misburg sub-camp of the Neuengamme concentration camp.
Residential areas were also targeted, and more than 6000 civilians were killed by the Allied bombing campaign. More than 90% of the city centre was destroyed in a total of 88 bombing raids.
After the war, the Aegidienkirke was not rebuilt and its ruins left as a war memorial.
The allied ground advance advanced into Germany reached Hanover in April 1945. The US 84th Infantry Division captured the city on the 10th April 1945.
The Allied losses were huge, mainly due to night fighter attacks but also heavy flak. 33 aircraft were lost this night, 111 aircrew killed, 85 made Pow, 7 evading capture and a further 5 injured.
PB564 was claimed by Lt. Otto Fries, his 14th Abschuss , from 2./NJG1, 5 to 30 km east or SE of Groningen at 18:50 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January 1945 - 3 May 1945) Part 6 - Theo Boiten)
(1) Flt Lt. Hayes was awarded the DFC whilst with 635 Sqn. London Gazette 14th November 1944.
(2) Flt Lt. Douglas was awarded the DFC whilst with 635 Sqn. London Gazette 16th January 1945. Liberated on or about the 15th January 1945 and arrived back in England in April 1945.
(3) Flt Lt. Steel was awarded the DFC whilst with 635 Sqn. London Gazette 19th January 1945.
(4) WO. Warner was awarded the DFC whilst with 635 Sqn. London Gazette 13th April 1945.
(5) Flt Sgt. Emms was awarded the DFM whilst with 635 Sqn. London Gazette 23rd March 1945.
(6) WO Clayton was awarded the DFC awarded whilst with 635 Sqn. London Gazette 18th September 1945. Liberated on the 15th April 1945 by polish tank crews and arrived back in England in April 1945.
None – All the crew survived
Researched by Aircrew Remembered for Christine Merritt, niece of Flt Sgt. Emms, and dedicated to the relatives of the crew. Thanks to Stephen McMaster for the correction to his fathers name (Sep 2019). Archive report reconstituted and updated crew information and nightery fighter claim details. (Nov 2022)
Other sources listed below:
RS 27.11.2022 – Reconstituted with update to crew information and fighter claim
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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 - 2023 Last Modified: 28 November 2022, 11:58