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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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103 Squadron crest
12/13.06.1943 No.103 Squadron Lancaster III ED916 PM-J P/O. Guy D.J. King DFC

Operation: Bochum, Germany.

Date: 12/13 June 1943 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 103 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ED916

Code: PM-J

Base: RAF Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire.

Location: Nieuweroord, Drenthe, Holland

Pilot: P/O. Guy Desmond John King DFC. 144648 RAFVR PoW No.1501 Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria - L3 (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Charles Sidney King 575917 PoW No.49 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug - L6 (2)

Nav: F/O. Rowland Hemingway 120477 PoW No. 1499 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria - L3 (3 )

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Francis Norman Jay 1319877 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (4)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. G.W. Backhurst 1375609 PoW No. 23. Camp: Stalag Kopernikus - 357 (5)

Air/Gnr (M/U): F/O. Guy Benedict Milner J/10210 RCAF Killed (6)

Air/Gnr (R): Fl/Sgt. Barry Mathews Godden R/99277 RCAF PoW No. 149 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus - 357 (7)

We welcome contact from any relatives in order to add any further information/photographs.

Reason For Loss:

Took off from RAF Elsham Wolds at 22.23hrs to bomb Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. This aircraft was armed with 1 x 4000 GP, 40 x 4 IB, 48 x 30 IB, 1 x 4.5 Flash. Route as per the Bomber Command Night Operations Report: N of Texel - 5200N 0711E - Bochum-Turn Left - 5210N 0730E – N of Texel.

The bombing raid on Bochum was carried out by a force of 503 aircraft comprising 11 Mosquitoes, 325 Lancasters and 167 Halifaxes. ED916 was one of 25 aircraft of 103 Squadron designated to take part in the raid. After Mosquitoes had marked the approach and aiming point the attacking force bombed in eight waves with the best crews in the first two waves. P/O. King and his crew were in the second wave.

All crews were ordered to fly at maximum height on the return journey to reduce the effectiveness of controlled fighters. There was little cloud over the target and with bright moonlight, visibility was good. Bombing commenced at 01.15hrs and continued until 02.00 hrs. 430 aircraft reported attacking the target, 6 reported attacking the alternative target and 43 for various reasons were forced to abort the mission. 24 aircraft failed to return. With the bright moonlight helping the enemy fighters at least 11 of the missing aircraft were lost to their attacks, 6 more were due to flak whilst 2 collided. The reasons for the other 5 losses was not known.

Despite some errors in target marking, the majority (at least 65%) of the attacking aircraft bombed the correct concentration of markers with later reconnaissance revealing great destruction in the centre of the town where 130 acres were devastated and 9 industries sustained severe damage 3 of them being of first priority. Military installations and transport facilities were also destroyed. The bombing was estimated to have killed 400 with a further 400 injured.

Lancaster ED916 completed its bombing run and turned for home. Pilot Officer Guy King and his crew were on the final trip of their tour and no doubt relishing the thought of a lengthy respite from operations. In his report P/O. King said ‘we were five minutes from the Dutch coast – homebound. The aircraft made 2 attacks from port quarter and astern below, damage being done in first attack. First burst killed Bomb Aimer (Sgt. Jay) entering nose of front turret, all canon fire. I was rather shaken to have been taken by surprise and realised what a powerful weapon it is. If you see him first you’re OK. R/G didn’t see him hit first burst, came up fuselage and shattered throttle box and panel. Jay was killed at front guns and fire started in one of main tanks. Dodged second attack – both from port quarter to astern but damage done. I knew aircraft would blow up if I stayed. About ten seconds after I left s/board main tank blew up’. Navigator stated that after landing he was arrested by Dutch police. There is no information regarding how and when Mid Upper Gunner Sgt. Milner was killed. W/Op. Sgt. Backhurst is reported to have suffered a broken arm whilst Flight Engineer Sgt. King had been hit by canon splinters.

Lancaster ED916 was intercepted at 01.50 hrs and shot down by Oblt Werner Rapp of 7/NJG1 in Messerschmitt Bf110 G9+AR. The Lancaster is reported to have crashed at 02.30hrs at Nieuwerood 6km east of Drente, Holland.

103 Squadron Lancaster at Elsham Wolds. (The coning of searchlights as shown was used to measure cloud base - IWM)
(1) P/O. Guy Desmond John King. Born 27 February 1923. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 13 July 1943 “For gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”. The citation reads ‘ This officer has been employed as captain of aircraft since December 1942. On many occasions he has secured outstanding photographs. P/O King has taken part in sorties against Spezia, Dortmund, Essen and Berlin’.
A pupil of Framlingham College, Framlingham, near Woodbridge, Suffolk from 1934 to 1938 he is commemorated by The Society of Old Framlinghamians on the roll of decorated officers who had distinguished themselves in the service of their country.
He remained in the RAF after the war being promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 15 May 1947 with seniority from 7 March 1944 (per Supplement to the London Gazette 12 August 1947) and on
1st July 1954 his promotion to Squadron Leader was announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette. Squadron Leader G.D.J. King D.F.C retired from the RAF on 27 February 1966 his retirement being announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette 8 March 1966. After leaving the RAF he worked as a commercial pilot. He died in 1991 at Marlow in Buckinghamshire, England.
(2) Sgt. Charles Sidney King – nothing further known.
(3) F/O. Rowland Hemingway. Possibly born 9 April 1913 Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, died 1985 Blackpool, Lancashire
(4) Sgt. Francis Norman Jay. Born 1923 Romford, Essex. Son of George Randolph and Jessie Louise Jay of Clapham Common, London.
(5) Sgt. G.W. Backhurst – Possibly born 7 September 1914 Wandsworth, died 1973 Southend, Essex.
(6) F/O. Guy Benedict Milner. F/O Milner had two brothers, also killed whilst serving with the RCAF during the Second World War. P/O. Evan Milner C/88331 Killed on the 29th January 1944 whilst serving with 419 Squadron on an operation to Berlin on aHalifax ii JP119 VR-O - all 8 crew lost. W/O. Joseph Emmett Milner R/79162 RCAF whilst serving with 15 Squadron - Killed on 01st September 1943 on an operation to Berlin piloting Stirling III EE912 LS-U - all 7 crew lost.
(7) Oblt. Werner Rapp,- 18 confirmed abschüsse of the war from which he survived, no further details.

Burial details:

Sgt. Francis Norman Jay. Westerbork General Cemetery, Holland. Plot 33. Grave No.1. Son of George Randolph and Jessie Louise Jay, of Clapham Common, London, England.

Fl/Sgt. Guy Benedict Milner. Westerbork General Cemetery, Holland. Plot 33. Grave No.2. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Milner of VanKleek Hill, Ontario, Canada.

Milner Lake, Kenora, Ontario is named after Fl/Sgt. Guy Benedict Milner

Researched by Roy Wilcock for Aircrew Remembered - January 2015. Sources: RAF Loss Card, Bomber Command Night Operations Report, Commonwealth Graves Commission, Bomber Command Database, The Society of Old Framlinghamians, The London Gazette, Tom Kracker – Kracker Luftwaffe Archives. New Zealand War Graves for Cemetery photo. IWM for 103 Squadron Lancaster III at Elsham Wolds Photo.

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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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