12.12.1944 149 Squadron Lancaster I HK653 OJ-Y Fg.Off. Kenneth A.W. Miller
Date: 12th December 1944 (Tuesday)
Unit: 149 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Methwold, Norfolk
Location: Not known, target area?
Pilot: Fg.Off. Kenneth Archibald Willison Miller 186702 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Flt.Eng: Sgt. Donald Ward 1893108 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed
Nav: WO. Glyn Norman Bury 415758 RAAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed
Air Bmr: Flt.Sgt. Jeremy Aubrey Cass 1586515 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Charles Murray Hanna 605539 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Herbert Leslie Richman 1895705 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Middleton 1881082 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
140 Lancasters of 3 Group taking part on the bombing of the Ruhrstahl steelworks. HK653 took off at 11:30 hrs from RAF Methwold in Norfolk on this daylight operation. It was the first major raid of the war with the steelworks escaping damage. Bombs fell all over the town with 134 people killed, 64 missing with another 345 injured. The bomber stream were intercepted by Luftwaffe fighters over the target area - 9 of the Lancasters failed to return, 45 aircrew were killed, 4 taken PoW. a further 14 escaped injuries during 1 crash landing and 1 ditching.
(above & below: Courtesy of Nigel Cass). The reverse of the photograph has the signatures of those depicted on the image but the names cannot be associated with individual airmen.
No. 8 Initial Training Wing (ITW) was based in Newquay, Cornwall. Here aircrew trainees undertook approximately 10 weeks of training. This included drill, PT, maths, navigation, signalling and other related subjects. On passing out the candidates were promoted to Leading Aircraftman (LAC).
Photograph of Sgt. Cass (Courtesy of Nigel Cass).
LAC Cass’ letters home, Courtesy of Nigel Cass, can be read here:. His letters and training are summarised as follows:
The newly minted LAC Cass was posted to Trenton, Ontario, Canada, under the Commonwealth Air Training Plan and then onto No. 3 British Flying Training School (BFTS) in Miami, Oklahoma. In his own words he "washed out" of basic flying training. He was then regraded to the role of Air Bomber and posted to No. 5 Bombing & Gunnery School, at Dafoe, Saskatchewan. He received his "B" brevet on the 26th November 1943 and promoted to Sgt.
He was then posted to No 4 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit (No.4 (O) AFU), RAF West Freugh, Scotland and was there over Christmas 1943.
Above: Course 68 WOp/Air Gunner Course 6th November 1943. Front L-R: J.A. Cullen, G.A. Dunkelman, C.M. Hanna, A.S. Hassell, T. Jenken, R.L. Jane. Rear: J. Kulchyk, W.K. Krew, J. McKay, T. Little, R.A. Lemieux, T.K. Ness, V. Pope, J.A. Robertson R207764, A. Smith. The names on the original photograph are not clear, but we have tried to decipher what has been written. We think that Dunkelman is Plt.Off. George Amos Dunkelman J95289 RCAF Killed on the 6th November 1944 whilst with 50 Squadron.
No details on where this Lancaster crashed - listed as without trace. These were the first losses from the squadron since converting to Lancasters some five months previously - a remarkable record. Another from the squadron was also lost:
Lancaster I HK645 OJ-R Flown by 22 year old, Fg.Off. Edmund Henry Stephen Dorey 183947 RAFVR of North End, Portsmouth - missing, believed killed with 4 other crew, 2 made PoW.
Above: several images of Sgt. Hanna, also showing his joking attitude and as a young boy. (courtesy Mary Molisso - relative who contacted is in May 2018)
Fg.Off. Kenneth Archibald Willison Miller. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 208. Son of William W. and Daisy Miller, of Plains, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
Sgt. Donald Ward. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 239. Son of Lewis and Hilda Ward, of Huddersfield, England.
WO. Glyn Norman Bury. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 259. Son of George Ebenezer and Theresa Elizabeth Bury, of Carlisle, Western Australia. Born on 11th March 1918 at Nembudding, Western Australia.
Flt.Sgt. Jeremy Aubrey Cass. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 216. Son of Richard Aubrey and Evelyn Mary Cass, of Ilford, Essex, England.
His father was a Sgt, D/10060, in the British Army based at RAF Brize Norton, Oxford.
Sgt. Charles Murray Hanna. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 230. Born on the 02nd May 1924 in Scotland, the son of William and Mary F. Hanna, of 56 West Market Street, Newark, New Jersey, USA.
Sgt. Herbert Leslie Richman. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 237. Son of Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Richman, of Cathays, Cardiff, Wales.
Sgt. Ronald Middleton. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 234. Son of Harold William and Gladys Muriel Middleton, of Garston, Hertfordshire, England.
With thanks to Kay Prosser, relative of Sgt. Richman. Also to Mary Molisso who contacted us in May 2018. Thanks to Nigel Cass the nephew of Flt.Sgt. Cass for the information and photographs. Sources as quoted below.