21/22.06.1944 57 Squadron Lancaster III LM573 DX:U Plt Off. Norman Carr
Date: 21st/22nd June 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: 57 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire.
Location: Between Vlijmen and Nieuwkuijk, 6 km West of the Dutch town of s'Hertogenbosch
Pilot: Plt Off. Norman Robert Carr 415507 RAAF Age 21 PoW No: 4899 (1)
FltEng: Sgt. Ernest Edward James Harris 1582210 RAFVR Age 21. Killed (2)
Nav: Plt Off. Ronald George Odden 179200 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Bomb Aimer: Fg Off. Angus John Black J24704 RCAF Age 22. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Plt Off. Samuel Ewart 179609 RAFVR Age? Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Jacky Ratcliffe 2209639 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Thomas Robbins 1852263 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Lancaster LM573 took off from RAF East Kirkby on an operation to bomb the oil refinery works at Wesseling along with 132 other Lancasters and 6 Mosquitoes.
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 and 8 evading capture.
In addition to LM572 being shot down, 57 Squadron lost another 5 on this operation:
LM115 DX:M Flown by Flt Lt. Alan Bailey killed with 2 other crew members, 2 made pow and 2 evading capture.
NN696 DX:H Flown by Flt Lt. Ronald Beaumont DFC. killed along the rest of the crew of 6.
JB526 DX:D Flown by Plt Off. Weightman (3) pow with the remaining 6 crew killed.
LM580 DX:L Flown by Plt Off. Guilyn Guy killed with 3 made pow and the remaining 3 evading capture
ND471 DX:A Flown by Plt Off. A. Nicklin - ditched in North Sea off Gt. Yarmouth and all crew rescued by ASR launch RML514 out of Gt. Yarmouth.
It is thought 'possible' that this Lancaster was shot down by Ogefr. Hans Mäckle (4) of 7./NJG2 with combat taking place at 01:10 hrs. over the Tilburg - Helmond area. The aircraft is also thought to have exploded 'after' the attack, throwing the pilot clear.
(1) Plt Off. Carr is understood to have tried to evade but was captured (We are unable to confirm this). He was originally believed to be have been incarcerated in Stalag Luft 3, however, a document and a letter received confirms that her was held in Stalag Luft 1. He was repatriated in 1945 and left the RAAF in the December of the same year. He then returned to University where he obtained his B.Sc. rejoining the RAAF shortly afterwards as a Wg Cdr specialising in armaments and worked his way up the the rank of Air Commodore. It is understood that he left the service in 1968. Enlisted 9th November 1941 - lived in Mt. Lawlet, Western Australia.
(2) Sgt. Ernest Edward James Harris was a former pupil of Moseley Grammar school (Now secondary/grammar school). We are working very closely with the school's historians to remember all the ex pupils who died whilst serving with the RAF and recorded on the school memorial.
(3) It is thought that Plt Off. Weightman was blown out of the aircraft, as it was reported to have exploded during a fighter attack.
(4) Ogefr. Hans Mäckle. This was his only kill of the war. On the 12/13th July 1944 it is thought that he lost his bearings and landed his Ju88 4R+UR at RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk and taken PoW.
(5) Black Bay on the north west shore of Melvin Lake was named after him in 1989.
Sgt. Ernest Edward James Harris. Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery Grave. 4.B.3. Son of William James Harris and Ellen Rosina Harris, of King's Heath, Birmingham, England.
Plt Off. Ronald George Odden. Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery Grave. 34.B.12. Son of Ernest George and Daisy Emma Lauretta Odden, of Dursley, Gloucestershire, England. B.A. (Lond)
Fg Off. Angus John Black. Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery Grave. 27.B.5. Born on the 25th April 1923, the son of Joseph Alexander and Catherine Mary (nee Permontier) Black. From Carman, Manitoba, Canada.
Plt Off. Samuel Ewart. Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery Grave. 24.A.1. Next of kin details not available, are you able to assist?
Sgt. Jacky Ratcliffe. Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery Coll. Grave. 24.A.1. Son of James and May Ratcliffe, of Billinge, Lancashire, England.
Sgt. Kenneth Thomas Robbins. Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery Coll. Grave. 24.A.1. Son of Charles Henry and Matilda Robbins, of Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England.
With thanks to the following: Keith Townsend historian of Moseley Secondary/Grammar school memorial records. Also our thanks to Peter Hakze for pointing out the correct area of the crash. 'Find A Grave' for additional details on Fg Off. Black. Thanks to John Jones for the correction to the PoW camp for Plt Off. Carr. (Apr 2021)