Date: 21/22nd June 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 49 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Fiskerton, Lincolnshire
Location: Julich-Mersch, Germany
Pilot: W/Cmdr. Malcolm Crocker DFC and Bar 124256 RAFVR Age 27. Killed
Fl/Eng: Fl/Lt. Albert Edward Anderson Matthews DFC 156039 RAFVR Age 30. Killed
Nav: P/O.Leslie Bernard Benson DFM 177992 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Kenneth Dutton 151020 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. James Worthington DFC 156272 RAFVR Age 30. Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. Allan David Creighton DFC J/19870 RCAF Age 26. Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. David Hounsell Carr DFM 177718 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Pass: Mr Kent Stevenson of Winnipeg - BBC War Correspondent Age 36. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Lancaster LL900 left Fiskerton at 23:17hrs. on an operation to bomb the oil refinery works at Wesseling along with 132 other Lancasters and 6 Mosquitoes.
P/O.Leslie Bernard Benson DFM
Right: Lt. Hans Schäfer (Kracker Archives)
On the outbound journey, shot down by a night fighter probably Lt. Hans Schäfer (1) of 7./NJG2 at 0133 hrs. and crashed in the general area of Julich-Mersch. All of the crew including Mr. Kent Stevenson, a British Broadcast Correspondent who joined the BBC in 1941, were killed and were buried at Julich-Welldorf before being re interred and laid to rest in Rheinberg War Cemetery. It is thought that P/O. Creighton had previously served in 619 Squadron. Both DFM. recipients had their awards published on 25th January 1946.
Although the weather forecast was clear the bomber stream encountered very low cloud over the target area.
Bombing was thought not to have been successful with only slight damage to the plant according to the post-raid reconnaissance. However it later transpired from German Secret reports that the bombing did in fact cause a 40% loss of production. 15 Germans, 5 foreign workers and a pow were killed in the surrounding area.
The allies lost a huge amount of aircraft with 38 Lancasters not returning. The loss of life from crew members totalled 207 killed. 42 being made pow's and 8 evading capture.
This operation cost 49 Squadron dear, with 6 losses suffered on this night.
Lancaster I ME675 EA-R Flown by Fl/Lt. John R. Hill, killed with all 6 other crew.
Lancaster I ME808 EA-D Flown by Sq/Ldr. Leonard E. Cox, killed with all 6 other crew.
Lancaster III MD683 EA-K Flown by P/O. Albert W. Shinn D.F.C., killed with all 6 other crew.
Lancaster III ND695 EA-B Flown by P/O. Alexander R. Ross, killed with all 6 other crew.
Lancaster III NE128 EA-J Flown by F/O. Leslie N. Simpkin, killed with 1 other crew member, remainder taken PoW.
(1) This was the 8th of 12 abscüsse for Lt. Hans Schäfer 7./NJG2. He survived the war but we have no further details.
W/Cmdr. Malcolm Crocker DFC. and Bar. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 14.B.13. Son of Samuel E.M. and Gladys T. Crocker of Boston, Massachussetts, USA
Fl/Lt. Albert Edward Anderson Matthews DFC. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 14.B.8. Son of Albert Edward and Gertrude Sarah Matthews, husband of Edith Mary of Brecon.
P/O.Leslie Bernard Benson DFM. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Joint grave 14.B.11-12. Further information: Son of George and Ada Benson and brother of Edith, Mabel, Ann, Lillian, Stanley, Arthur, Edna, Elsie and Irene Benson of Harrogate, England. Leslie Benson lived at 43, Strawberry Dale Avenue, Harrogate, Yorkshire and was educated at Harrogate Grammar School, and before enlisting worked in the Harrogate Borough Councils Treasurers Office. Remembered on the roll of honour for Harrogate Council. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal on the 25th January 1944 (gazetted on the 21st June 1944). Flown 28 sorties with 172.40 flying hours.
“This N.C.O. has carried out 28 well executed operational sorties over the most heavily defended parts of enemy territory. He has flown as Navigator with experienced and inexperienced captain alike. His ability, courage and determination have often been of the greatest help to the captain in carrying out a difficult task. He has always been keen to help the new man and has never hesitated to carry out the last detail to any duty assigned to him. I recommend that Flight Sergeant Benson be awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal”
F/O. Kenneth Dutton. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 14.B.14. No further information currently available, are you able to assist?
F/O. James Worthington DFC. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 14.B.7. Son of Ernest and Bridget Worthington of Southport, Lancashire, England.
P/O. Allan David Creighton DFC. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Joint grave 14.B.11-12. Son of David and Jean Allan Creighton of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
P/O. David Hounsell Carr DFM. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Joint grave 14.B.10. No further information currently available, are you able to assist?
Mr. Kent Stevenson. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Joint grave 14.B.19. Of Winnipeg, Canada. Further information: Kent Stevenson had joined the BBC in March, 1941 and transferred to the War Reporting Unit when it was established in 1943. Like his fellow correspondents, he underwent rigorous training in military survival techniques and how to work in battle conditions. The war correspondents were issued with revolutionary new lightweight recording devices known as 'midget disc recorders', which had been specially developed by BBC engineers. Because the correspondents recorded their despatches straight onto disc, they had to learn the art of 'instant censorship'.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Photo credits to Diane Walker.
KTY - 22.10.2015 Serial numbers updated, courtesy Jack Brook.
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