7 Squadron Stirling I R9266 Fl/Lt. Clarence Desmond Ince DFC bar
Date: 21/22nd June 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 7 Squadron PFF (motto: er diem, per noctem - 'By day and by night')
Type: Stirling I
Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire
Location: Gladbacher Strasse, Büttgen
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Clarence Desmond Ince DFC bar 110952 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Frederick Clive Fray DFM 568506 RAFVR PoW No: 137 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus
Nav: Fl/Lt. Herbert Alan Winfield DFC 120538 RAFVR PoW No: 1511 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Ernest Davenport 237998 RAFVR PoW No: 109 Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. James William Roch 50736 RAFVR PoW No: 1727 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan
Air/Gnr: F/O. Arthur George Collings 137117 RAFVR PoW No: 1492 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan (note)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Allcock 1059878 RAFVR Pow No: 55 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus (note)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 23:42 hrs to join 704 other bombers detailed to bomb the town of Krefeld in the Ruhr Valley. The target being the Deutsche Edelstahlwerke combine, which has produced nearly 200,000 tons of special high-grade steel a year for use in Krupp and other great arms works. It is also a centre of the textile and silk manufacturing industry, with many firms making fabric for parachutes.
Above: Krefeld after this mombing operation and right 88mm German Flak Unit.
The weather was reported to be good to moderate visibility with a 3/4 moon. The Luftwaffe night fighters took advantage of the favourable weather conditions accounting for 42 allied bombers who failed to return, a further 3 fell foul of the German heavy anti-aircraft flak units.
R9266 was hit by 2./schw. Flak Abt. 475, 4./schw. Flak Abt. 407 and 4./schw. Flak Abt. 405 at 01:37hrs. with the Stirling crashing at the location shown. The pilot remained with the aircraft keeping it steady whilst the crew were ordered to bale out. He was the only casualty from the crew.
The squadron was hit heavily with four aircraft lost, the others:
Above: P/O. Charles Henry Gerrard Redwood, Fl/Sgt. Frank Hugo, Fl/Sgt. Leslie E. Ellingham, F/O. Robert Bruce Meiklejohn, Fl/Sgt. Jack Kilfoyle, Sgt. William E. Cole, W/O. Edgar A. Brown and ground crews.
Stirling III EF366 MG-L Flown by F/O. Robert Bruce Meiklejohn Aus/413222 RAAF from Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia killed with his navigator 31 year old, F/O. Charles Henry Gerrard Redwood NZ/414679 RNZAF from Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. five crew took PoW. Shot down by Hptm. Siefreis Wandam of 1./NJG5 at 01:45 hrs.
Stirling III EF387 MG-D Flown by SqLdr. Colin Arthur Hughes 63428 RAFVR taken PoW with six others, air gunner killed. Shot down by Major Werner Streib of Stab1./NJG1 at 01:30hrs.
Stirling I R9272 MG-W Flown by Fl/Lt. James Stanley Watt DSO. DFC. 110643 RAFVR from Buenos Aires, Argentina, killed with four other crew, two taken PoW. Shot down by Hptm. Walter Milieus of Stab1./NJG3 at 01:14hrs. Further details here.
Fl/Lt. Ince DFC bar Citation 12th March 1943:
'One night in February 1943, this officer captained an aircraft which attacked Cologne. Whilst crossing the enemy coast on the outward flight, the bomber was attacked by an enemy fighter. The port wing and tailplane were damaged, while the port petrol tanks were pierced and the petrol control cock cables were severed, the electrical system also sustained damage. Despite this, Flying Office Ince pressed on to his target which he bombed successfully. Displaying great skill and determination he then • flew his damaged aircraft to base where he made a safe landing. Flying Officer Ince set a fine example, of courage and devotion to duty throughout'.
His DFC awarded on the 06th November 1942 for service whilst with 214 squadron.
Sgt. Fray DFM Citation 12th May 1943:
Having completed 50 operational sorties whilst with 7 squadron.
Fl/Lt. Herbert Alan Winfield DFC Citation 11th June 1943
Having completed 50 operational sorties whilst with 7 squadron
(note) Neither of these crew members are listed on the operation record book - but they also show only 5 crew, clearly a mistake. Bill Chorley does list them, however. Footprints on the sand of time do list these two crew as being members of the crew.
Read the article written by Erin Johnson
for 'Stuff National' on the occasion of the 100th birthday for Ernest Davenport.
Fl/Lt. Clarence Desmond Ince. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 119. Son of Clarence Winston Ince (died 21st January 1961, age 70) and Isa Elaine Ince (died 17th November 1960, of Barbados, British West Indies.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire in New Zealand, Erin Johnson of 'Stuff National' of NZ, RSA Memories of Service, New Zealand Cenotaph, Theo Boiten ' Nachtjgad Combat Archives, Kracker Archive, National Archives.
Above Courtesy Returned Services Association of New Zealand
Other sources as quoted below: