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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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115 Squadron
06/07.05.1942 115 Squadron Wellington III X3466 Flt Lt. Nathaniel Paterson

Operation: Stuttgart, Germany

Date: 6th/7th May 1942 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: 115 Squadron

Type: Wellington III

Serial: X3466

Code: KO:N

Base: RAF Marham, England

Location: In the vicinity of Laon, Hauts-de-France, Northern France

Pilot: Flt Lt. Nathaniel Paterson 36261 RAF Age 25. Killed

Observer: Plt Off. Patrick Henry Francis William Leland 403965 RNZAF Age 27. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Edward Smith 1184107 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 443 * (1)

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Bernard Arthur Ramsbottom 1165659 RAFVR Age 22. PoW No. 83 * (1)

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Edward ‘Jock’ Callander DFM, MiD, 1061420 RAFVR Age 25. PoW No. 38 ** (2)

* Stalag 357, Thorn (Toruń) in Poland. Moved in September 1944 to the loosely named Stalag 357 Fallingbostel, Lower Saxony, Germany. Officially the designation was Stalag 357 (Oerbke).

** Stalag Luft 6, Heydekrug, Memelland (now Šilutė in Lithuania) / Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria) / Oflag XXIb, Szubin a few miles SW of Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Above: Plt Off. Leland (Courtesy of Michel Beckers - Aircrew Remembered)


This report concentrates on the loss of the aircraft and the fates of the crew and more specifically upon the murder of WO. Callander. The life story of Edward Callander has been researched and published in the book Fighter! Fighter! - The story of Edward Callander DFM, Croix de Guerre hero of two Nations by John Brenan and Richard Frost. ISBN 978-0-9534529-0-3.

Fourteen aircraft, including X3466, took off from RAF Marham between 21:01 and 22:20 hrs on the 6th May 1942 to attack targets at Stuttgart and Nantes. One aircraft had engine trouble and was forced to return to base. The thirteen aircraft attacking Stuttgart found weather over the target to be good but with a ground haze. Their bombs were dropped at heights between 9,000 and 15,000 feet and two bursts were seen in the target area.

City records showed that on 6th May 1942, between 01:51 and 01:53 hrs there was a raid by 77 bombers of which just one reached the city. The bombs actually fell mainly in woods (Kräherwald) to the west of the city (Today this area is no longer a woods but covered with comparatively new houses) and the number of victims were reported as zero.

X3466 was one of two aircraft that failed to return from the mission.

X3466 was claimed by Oberleutnant (Fg Off) Kurt Fladrich 9./NJG4, his 1st Abschuss, 1½ km NW of Montigny-le-Franc, 4,000m at 01:47 hrs. The aircraft crashed in the vicinity of Laon (Aisne). (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (13 July - 29 May 1942) The Early Years Part 2 - Theo Boiten).

Hauptmann (Capt) Fladrich became the last Staffelkapitän of 9./NJG5, holding this post until the surrender. He finished the war with 16 confirmed Abschüsse. He passed away in 1995. (Luftwaffe ACES - Biographies and Victory Claims (Mathews and Foreman) - Volume 1).

The other was Wellington III X3591, KO:E, piloted by Flt Lt. John Arthur Sword DFC, AFC (84698). It was reported that all of the crew successfully bailed out but because of parachute failure the pilot and Sgt. Harry Willan Batty (986627) were killed. The four other crew became PoWs.

X3591 was claimed by Leutnant (Plt Off) Heinz-Martin Hadeball 8./NJG4, his 4th Abschuss, over Siefersheim, SE of Kreuznach at 01:58 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (13 July - 29 May 1942) The Early Years Part 2 - Theo Boiten).

Hauptmann (Capt) Hadeball became Staffelkapitän of 3./NJG10 and surrendered to American forces. He was handed over to the Russians who imprisoned him until 1946. He finished the war with 26 Abschüsse, 3 of which were unconfirmed. He passed away in 1996. (Luftwaffe ACES - Biographies and Victory Claims (Mathews and Foreman) - Volume 2).

(1) Sgt. Smith and Sgt. Ramsbottom were promoted to Warrant Officer (WO) whilst being held as PoWs.

(2) The following narrative is based upon WO Callander’s PoW personal details and PoW card.

Note: There are numerous documents from different sources and personal accounts from other PoWs that depict a different timeline and the circumstances of his capture, incarceration and death. These are described in the book by John Brenan and Richard Frost referenced above. For the purposes of this report we have followed the most logical timeline and the best assessment as to what occurred.

After bailing out Flt Sgt. Callander was captured on the 7th May at Laon in France and arrived at Dulag Luft, Frankfurt am Main, on the 8th May 1942. After the obligatory period of interrogation he arrived at Stalag Luft 3 on the 28th May 1942. On the 16th September 1942 he was transferred to Oflag XXIb. This was probably as part of a purge of the most troublesome 100 officers and 15 NCOs from Stalag Luft 3.

Above: PoW Card for Flt Sgt. Callander

However, on the 8th April 1943 he was sent back to Stalag Luft 3 when Oflag XXIb was cleared of all PoWs and on the 12th July 1943 he was transferred to Stalag Luft 6. He escaped on the 20th August 1943 and was on the run for a number of days before being recaptured and returned to the camp. Here he was sentenced to 14 days in the ‘cooler’ from 30th August to 13th September 1943. As a result of another attempted escape or for some other infraction to the rules was given a further 14 days in the ‘cooler’ from 30th October to 12th November 1943.

It is recorded that he escaped for a third time on the 21st February 1944, was recaptured on the 2nd March 1944 and held at the German Naval Arrest Facility at Memel (Klaipėda) in Lithuania.

In the trial of United States vs Hans Altfuldisch et al, (Staff of the Concentration Camp Mauthausen) held at Dachau, Germany during the period from 29th March to the 13th May 1946 the following evidence was given:

“Flt Lt. [sic] Edward Callender [sic] born in Dumfries 7th March 1917 who was believed to have escaped from a prisoner of war camp was arrested by the Gestapo in Oppeln from where he was sent to Mauthausen and hung during November 1943 or the 17th May 1944”.

Note: The date of November 1943 cannot be correct as he was being held in Stalag Luft 6 so his death may have occurred on the 17th May 1944 but for official purposes it was presumed to have been 7th March 1944.

It has been speculated, given the later date of his death on or about the 17th May 1944, that WO. Callender may have been on the run when the ‘Great Escape’ occurred and that he was unlucky because of the heightened search for the escapees from Stalag Luft 3.

No particular individual was held accountable for the murder of WO. Callander. However, sixty of the accused before the court were found guilty of the charge of killing, beating, torture, starvation, abuses and indignities in the vicinity of the Concentration Camp Mauthausen, of citizens of numerous countries and members of the armed forces of nations then at war with the German Reich, who were then and there surrendered and unarmed PoWs in the custody of the then German Reich. The exact names and numbers of many persons being unknown, but aggregating many thousands.

Fifty-seven of the accused were sentenced to death by hanging and three to imprisonment for life. Upon review nine of those sentenced to death had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. The final disposition of the twelve imprisoned is unknown.

Those sentenced to death were executed on the 27th and 28th May 1947 at Landsberg/Lech in Bavaria, Germany.

Burial details:

Flt Lt. Nathaniel Paterson. Runnymede Memorial Panel 66. Born in the 1st Qtr of 1917 in Dunedin, Otago. Son of Henry Louis and Enid Meade Paterson, of Roslyn, Dunedin, Otago. Husband of Barbara Olivia Paterson of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand.

Also remembered at the Anderson Bay General Cemetery, Dunedin City Council, Block 65, Plot 95.

Plt Off. Patrick Henry Francis William Leland. Laon (St. Just) Communal Cemetery, Aisne, France, Grave 15. Born on the 17th March 1915. Son of Thomas Arthur and Annie (née Clark) Leland, of Mount Eden, Auckland. Husband of Elizabeth M. (née Grant) Leland (Married during the 1st Quarter of 1942) resident in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and later in Pakuranga, Auckland, New Zealand.

WO. Edward Callander DFM, MiD. Runnymede Memorial Panel 213. Born on the 7th March 1917 in Dumfries, Scotland. Son of Edward and of Isabella (née Bryden) Callander. His father predeceased him in 1930 and his mother was committed to the Crichton Royal Institution in Dumfries in 1918.

DFM was awarded to Sgt. Edward Callander which was promulgated in the London Gazette on the 2nd September 1942. The medal was awarded whilst with 75 (New Zealand) Sqn. The joint citation for the airmen who were involved in the following operations reads: “In July, 1941, large-scale attacks were made on German warships at Brest and La Pallice (including the ‘‘Gneisenau’’ “Scharnhorst’’ and “Prinz Eugen’’). A smaller attack was made on Cherbourg. The operations were carried out in daylight and extremely heavy and accurate anti-aircraft fire and fighter opposition were encountered by all aircraft when approaching the targets, which at Brest was protected by a balloon barrage. The air crews engaged succeeded, nevertheless, in securing direct hits on their objectives and in inflicting very severe damage in the target area. During the combats with enemy fighters 21 hostile aircraft were destroyed and others were severely damaged. The precise timing of attack by the various formations of aircraft and their correct approach to and accurate bombing of the objectives in the face of such powerful opposition; demanded great skill and high courage. The great success of these operations was largely due to the bravery, determination and resource displayed by the following officers and airmen, who participated in various capacities as leaders and members of the aircraft crews”.

Note: Sgt Callander was credited with the destruction of a Bf-109 on this mission. He was also credited with the probable destruction of a Ju-88 on an earlier mission.

At some point, unknown at this time, he was promoted to Warrant Officer (WO).

WO. Edward Callander was Mentioned in Dispatches (MiD) which was posthumously awarded and promulgated in the London Gazette on the 13th June 1946.

Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. Thanks also to Traugott Vitz for his work on the VitzArchive database.

Other sources as quoted below:

RS & TV 24.02.2022 - Initial upload

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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