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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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578 Squadron
15/16.03.1944 No. 578 Squadron Halifax III LW495 LK-C P/O. Lerl

Mission: Stuttgart

Date: 15/16th March 1944

Unit: No. 578 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LW495

Code: LK-C

Base: RAF Burn, Yorkshire

Location: Selby, Yorkshire

Pilot: P/O. Frederick William Lerl J/19296 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Stanley Hugh Jenkins 1262364 RAFVR Age 32. Killed

Nav: P/O. J. R. Coleman Injured

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Keith George Redford 656698 RAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. D. F. White Injured

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Harry Davis 1606693 RAFVR Age 28. Killed (1)

Air/Gnr: P/O. Harold Copeland Bell J/86232 RCAF Age 22. Killed


Halifax LM495 took off at 18:52hrs from RAF Burn for a night raid on Stuttgart. On returning from the raid this aircraft crashed at 03:35 into the brickworks at Selby, Yorkshire.

863 aircraft took part in this night raid 617 Lancasters, 230 Halifaxes and 16 Mosquitoes.

Clear weather with adverse winds caused the delayed opening of the attack and the same winds may have caused the Pathfinder marking falling well short of the target. Early bombing fell in the centre of Stuttgart, but most of the bombing fell in open ground south-west of the city. 37 aircraft were lost that night - 27 Lancasters and 10 Halifaxes

Frederick Lerl Wickham War Memorial Frederick Lerl

P/O. Lerl Sgt. Jenkins Fl/Sgt. Redford Sgt. Davis P/O. Bell

Burial details:

P/O. Frederick William Lerl. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, Yorkshire. Sec. F. Row C. Grave 20. Son of Joseph and Ketura B. Lerl. From Riley, Albert, Canada.

Sgt. Stanley Hugh Jenkins. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, Yorkshire. Sec. F. Row C. Grave 18. Son of Walter Hugh and Elizabeth Jane Jenkins of Plumbstead, London, England.

Fl/Sgt. Keith George Redford. Epson Cemetery, Surrey. Sec. N. Grave 257. Son of Osbert Henry and Amelia Redford of Ewell, Surrey, England.

Sgt. John Harry Davis. Wickham (St. Nicholas) Churchyard, Wickham, Hampshire. New part, N. E. of church. (1) John died of his injuries on the 17th March 1944. Son of Harry and Ada Elizabeth Davis of Wickham. Husband of Dolores Victoria Ruby Davis of Southsea, Portsmouth, England. His brother Robert Edgar also died in service on 14th October 1939 while serving on HMS Royal Oak.

P/O. Harold Copeland Bell. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, Yorkshire. Sec. F. Row C. Grave 19. Son of Norman and Mary Bell. Husband of Dorothy Rose Bell of Fort William, Ontario, Canada.

Researched by: Kate Tame for aircrewremembered and for all the relatives of the crew. With thanks to Andrew Milne for details on pilot - March 2018.

With thanks to Jack Brook for correction of aircraft serial number 12.09.2015.

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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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