08/09.04.1942 No 57 Squadron Wellington III X3757 DX-? P/O. Morse
Date: 08/09th April 1942 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No: 57 Squadron (motto: Corpus non animum muto 'I change my body not my spirit'). 3 Group
Type: Wellington III
Base: RAF Feltwell, Norfolk
Location: 20 km North of Vlieland, North Sea (note)
Pilot: P/O. Noel Percy Morse NZ/404397 RNZAF Age 27. Missing
Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. James Edward Linehan 934056 RAFVR Age 20. Missing
Obs: Fl/Sgt. George Hillary Vogan NZ/404577 RNZAF Age 23. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Graham Lakeman 1307040 RAFVR Age 22. Missing (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Norman Joseph Naylor 916232 RAFVR Age 23. Missing
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Roland Geoffrey Richards 1113440 RAFVR Age 19. Missing (2)
A great deal of information has been supplied by Nicola Gaughan, who has prepared a photographic book with all proceeds to the Bomber Command Memorial. Please support her efforts here. We welcome contact from any family member of the crew.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 22:05 hrs from RAF Feltwell, Norfolk to bomb the German city of Hamburg. A total of 272 aircraft took part in this raid, 177 Wellingtons, 41 Hampdens, 22 Stirlings, 13 Manchesters, 12 Halifaxes and 7 Lancasters.
Above: Fl/Sgt. James Edward Linehan taken during his period flying Spitfires (courtesy Nicola Gaughan and the Linehan family)
Weather for the raid was described as "severe icing with electrical storms", although 188 aircraft managed to bomb the target the raid was classified as a failure. According to Hamburg records only the equivalent of 14 aircrafts bombs fell on the city. The damage was 8 fires erupting, no buildings destroyed, 17 people killed on the ground with a further 119 injured.
The RAF lost 5 aircraft with 24 aircrew killed, 6 being made p.o.w. Wellington X3757 was intercepted and shot down at 02.07 hrs by Ofw. Paul Gildner (2) from 5./NJG2. The combat took place over the North Sea 20 km north of Vlieland.
(1) Sgt. Sgt. Graham Lakeman was the Uncle of the English folk singer, Seth Lakeman.
(2) Sgt. Ronald Geoffrey Richards - We have since been informed by Nicola Gaughan who has researched this crew for several years, that he lied about his date of birth in order to join up, (enlisted on the 8th July 1940, real age just 17!) his former name was also Roland Geoffrey Cheetham, but changed the family name to Richards in the 1930's by deed poll. The CWGC has name listed as Ronald. This was just his 12th operation.
(3) This was the 31st abschusse for Ofw. Paul Gildner who went on to claim a total of 42, before he was killed on the 24/25th February 1943 in a forced landing near the Gilze-Rijen airfield after suffering engine failure.
Note: Nicola Gaughan believes that the aircraft actually came down over Germany, near Wilhelmshaven - further research continues with this theory. Currently, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie provide the loss details as described.
Runnymede Memorial - visited several times by Aircrew Remembered
Burial and personal details:
P/O. Noel Percy Morse. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 116. Born on the 14th October 1914 at Brisbane. A radio engineer for Radio Corporation of NZ. Enlisted on the 24th November 1940 at Levin. Pilots badge and promoted to sergeant on the 03rd May 1941. Son of Percy Algernon and Beatrice Morse (née Wilson), of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. 356 flying hours logged and on his 17th operational sortie.
Fl/Sgt. James Edward Linehan. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 75. Son of William Daniel and Ada Louisa Linehan, of Putney, London, England.
Fl/Sgt. George Hillary Vogan. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 117. Born on the 16th June 1920 at Duvauchelle. Prior to service worked as a farm worker on his father's farm at Duvauchelle. Enlisted at Levin on the 24th November 1940. Awarded his observers badge and promoted to sergeant on the 23rd June 1941. Son of William George and Martha Mary Vogan (née Hillary), of Spreydon, Canterbury, New Zealand. 304 flying hours logged and on his 18th operational sortie.Sgt. Graham Lakeman. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 87. Son of Sidney H. and Florence Lakeman, of Plymouth, England. It seems that Graham was the Uncle of the English folksinger, Seth Wakeman
Sgt. Norman Joseph Naylor. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 90. Son of Joseph Claude and May Naylor.
Sgt. Roland Geoffrey Richards. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 92. Son of Horace Victor and Ivy Richards (née Lythgoe), of Wakefield, Yorkshire. It seems that the family changed their name by deed poll from Cheetham to Richards during the 1930's. Date of birth 14th May 1923 - he lied about his age to enable him to join up!
Researched for relatives/friends of the crew. With thanks to the following: Nicola Gaughan (relative of Fl/Sgt. James Edward Linehan) and family, - Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses" Vol. 3, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt "Bomber Command War Diaries", Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. With additional details from Aircrew Remembered own archives.