23/24.08.1943 No. 149 Squadron Stirling III EE894 OJ-R Fl/Sgt. Arthur E. May
Date: 23/24th August 1943
Unit: 149 Squadron
Type: Stirling III
Base: RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk
Location: Near Hannover, Germany.
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Ernest May 656422 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed
Nav: Sgt. Jack Allen Hobbs 1600365 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. W.A. Long 752386 RAFVR PoW No: 222527 Camp: 4b - Stalag Mühlberg-Elbe
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Herbert John French 1337669 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed
W/Op: Sgt. Frederick William Robert Day 1333356 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas James Lucy 1812408 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Richard Albert Freeman 1389597 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from Lakenheath at 20:35 hrs. Part of a huge raid on Berlin on which 710 Lancasters, Halifaxes and Stirlings took part plus a further 17 Mosquitos.
149 Squadron Stirling III EE894 OJ-R on a refuelling and service stop.
A total of 56 Aircraft failed to return, 31 came down over the target area. 4 claimed by German Flak and 51 claimed by the German night fighters.
EE894 was shot down by one of these night fighters, Lt. Erwin Ernst in his Bf110 G-4 G0+FT of 9./NJG1. However it was also coned by 15 Flak Brigade, 'Reserve Flak Scheinwerfer Abteilungen'. It seems that one of the air gunners from EE894 had also hit his Bf110 and that it caught fire. The Luftwaffe crew managed to bail out before it crashed some 20 km North East of Hanover at 00:25 hrs. The Luftwaffe crew remarkably never filed a claim for the loss.
EE894 crashed 500 metres North West of Kückenmühle at 00:20 hrs. all but one of the crew were listed as missing, with the flight engineer, Sgt. Long bailing out to became a PoW.
149 Squadron lost another crew during this operation, Stirling III BK765 OJ-F, flown by Sq/Ldr. John Jennings Edward Mahoney 40182 RAFVR. Six crew including the pilot taken PoW, the only fatality being the Fl/Eng. Sgt Charles Burton 1199686 RAFVR who remained in the aircraft (probably killed during the Luftwaffe attack).
Fl/Sgt. Arthur Ernest May. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 138. Son of Sidney Henry Julian and Louisa, husband of Doris Maud, of Canonbury, London, England.
Sgt. Jack Allen Hobbs. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 153. Son of Henry Charles and Eva Hobbs, of Twickenham, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. Frederick William Robert Day. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 147. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Thomas, of Belvedere, Kent, husband of E. E. Day, of Belvedere, England.
Fl/Sgt. Herbert John French. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 136. Son of Albert Ernest and Ada Matilda, of Wokingham, Berkshire, England.
Sgt. Thomas James Lucy. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 157. Son of Thomas J. and Mary Lucy, of Islington, London, England.
Sgt. Richard Albert Freeman. Runnymede War Memorial. Panel 150. Son of Richard C. T. and Annie E. Freeman, of East Ham, Essex, England.
Information on the loss details courtesy of Dr. Theo Boiten Nachtjagd Combat Archive 2018. Publication can be purchased direct from Wing Leader Publications.