Date: 31/01st June 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 115 Squadron (motto: 'Despite the elements'). 3 Group
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Witchford, Cambridgeshire
Location: Chandelles, France
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Alastair Mcrae Mclachlan NZ/422299 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. James Graham 1825076 RAFVR Age? Killed
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Alexander George Partridge NZ/426619 RNZAF Age 20. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Paul Jameson Hamilton 1335338 RAFVR Age? Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Edward Crumpler 1464302 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Brian O'Brien NZ/426142 RNZAF Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Neville Lloyd Sorensen Aus/413678 RAAF Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 00:04hrs to bomb the rail yards at Trappes near Paris - 219 aircraft were taking part. Four failed to return, the others:
15 Squadron Lancaster I LM121 LS-C Flown by P/O. Peter Charles Lewis Dombrain AUS/410150 RAAF - all 7 crew killed. Shot down by Hptm. Fritz Söthe of 4./NJG4 at 01:50 hrs. coming down West of Lormaison. His first of two this night, he also shot down a 622 Squadron Lancaster some four minutes later.
622 Squadron Lancaster I LL782 GI-H Flown by 1st Lt James E. Braithwaite O-886224 USAAF taken PoW along with one other, 2 evaded capture whilst 3 others were killed. Night fighter attack - see above.
622 Squadron Lancaster III ND926 GI-D Flown by Fl/Lt. Francis Reginald Randall 135720 RAFVR - killed along with 5 other crew, the rear gunner was blown out of his turret and managed to evade capture.
LL936 was hot down by either Hptm. Hubert Raugh of Stab II./NJG4 or Oblt. Ernst-Georg Drünkler of I./NJG5 at 02:05 hrs.
Fl/Sgt. Alastair Mcrae Mclachlan. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Joint grave 7. Born on the 24th July 1920 in Paisley, Scotland. Enlisted on the 04th April 1942 at Rotorua. Son of Matthew McLachlan, and of Mary McLachlan, of 5 Surrey Crescent, Grey Lynn, Auckland City, New Zealand.
Sgt. James Graham. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 8. No further details - are you able to assist?
Fl/Sgt. Alexander George Partridge. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Joint grave 7. Born on the 01st November 1923 in Adelaide, South Australia. Enlisted on the 11th July 1942 at Rongotai. Son of Frederick Walter Partridge, and of Margaret Hyslop Partridge, of Wellington City, New Zealand.
Fl/Sgt. Paul Jameson Hamilton. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 9. No further details - are you able to assist?
Sgt. George Edward Crumpler. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 10. Enlisted on the 17th April 1943, aged 21. Son of Albert George and Beatrice Alice Crumpler and husband of Betty Winifred Crumpler, of St. Marylebone, London, England.
Fl/Sgt. Brian O'Brien. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 12. Born on the 03rd August 1921 in Otautau. Enlisted on the 29th May 1942 at Ohakea. Son of Denis Haldane O'Brien and of Margaret O'Brien (née Casey), of Lillburn Road, Orepuki, Southland, New Zealand
Fl/Sgt. Neville Lloyd Sorensen. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 11. Born on the 26th October 1922 in Katoomba, New South Wales. Son of Paul Edwin (died 12th September 1983, age 91)and Anna Ernestena Sorensen (died 18th July 1996, age 104), of Leura, New South Wales, Australia. His brother, Fl/Sgt. Derrick Ralph Sorensen 1313849 RAFVR also killed on the 07th August 1943. Wellington VIII HX774 with 1 Torpedo Training Unit - Turnberry, Ayrshire, Scotland. Epitaph: 'Stranger! Go, Live Up To Those Ideals For Which We Fought And Died'.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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