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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
16/17.06.1944 No. 103 Squadron Lancaster I LM173 PM-M P/O. Maurice Lambert

Operation: Sterkrade

Date: 16/17th June 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 103 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: LM173

Code: PM-M

Base: RAF Elsham-Wolds, Lincolnshire.

Location: Brielle, Oostvoorne, Holland

Pilot: P/O. Maurice Lambert NZ/425579 RNZAF Age 28. Missing

Fl/Eng: Sgt. David Lumgair Whamond 575752 RAF Age 22. Missing

Nav: Sgt. Douglas John Lawler 623480 RAF Age 24. Missing

Air/Bmr: Sgt. George James Ware 1387736 RAFVR Age 20. Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John McMinn 1144727 RAFVR Age 23. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick Ralph Hardy 647883 RAF Age 23. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Roland Fitchett 1583115 RAFVR Age 20. Missing


Taking off at 23:22 hrs. from RAF Elsham-Wolds, Lincolnshire, joining 320 aircraft raid on the Sterkrade synthetic-oil plant in Northern Germany.

162 Halifaxes, 147 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes left to find the target area covered by a thick cloud and the markers dropped by the pathfinders very quickly disappeared. The main bomber force could do very little but bomb the demising glow of the markers through the cloud.

Above and below, 103 Squadron at Elsham Wolds (courtesy IWM)

RAF photographic reconnaissance and the German reports agree that the bombing was scattered, although some bombs did hit the oil plant. This had little effect on production. 21 Germans were killed on the ground and a further 6 foreign workers. 18 Houses were destroyed.

The loss to the allies was huge with a total of 21 bombers shot down by the German night fighters and another 10 by flak. This amounted to 159 aircrew being killed, 53 being made PoW. Flak batteries reported that a total of 14,244 rounds were fired at the bomber stream.

Although some records show that Lancaster I LM173 was lost without trace it is also reported that it is 'possible' that it was shot down by Fw. Wilhelm Morlock (1) an ace at this time with 6 abschüsse from 3./NJG1 - combat taking place at 4,500 mts., the Lancaster crashing at 01.14 hrs at Brielle, Oostvoorne.

Target: Sterkrade Synthetic Oil plant (courtesy IWM)

(1) On the 4/5th November 1944 Fw. Morlock was killed in a crash near Ibbenbüren after being shot down by a Mosquito. (total of 16 night abschüsse)

Burial details:

P/O. Maurice Lambert. (pictured right) Runnymede Memorial Panel 263. Son of Apostle and Annie Lambert, husband of Veronica Lambert, of Plimmerton, Wellington, New Zealand.

Sgt. David Lumgair Whamond. Runnymede Memorial Panel 240. Son of James and Jane Amn Kydd Whamond.

Sgt. Douglas John Lawler. Runnymede Memorial Panel 233. Son of Patrick and Nellie Lawler, husband of Stella Zoe Lawler, of Ipswich, Suffolk, England.

Sgt. George James Ware. Runnymede Memorial Panel 239. Son of George Anthony and Alice Emma Ware, of Bromley, Kent, England.

Sgt. John McMinn. Runnymede Memorial Panel 233. Son of John and Ada Annie McMinn, of Carlisle, England.

Sgt. Frederick Ralph Hardy. Runnymede Memorial Panel 231. Son of Fred and Ethel Hardy, born in Nottinghamshire, England.

Sgt. Roland Fitchett. Runnymede Memorial Panel 229. Son of Percy and Violet Fitchett, of Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England.

Researched for Stewart McCallum relative of the flight engineer Sgt. David Lumgair Whamond and dedicated to all relatives of the crew. With thanks also to Andrew Macdonald, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - "Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2", Weekly News for photo of the pilot, 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’.

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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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