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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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100 Squadron Crest
12/13.03.1943 No. 100 Squadron Lancaster III ED544 HW-Q Sgt. Peake

Operation: Essen

Date: 12/13th March 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 100 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ED544

Code: HW-Q

Base: RAF Grimsby, Lincolnshire

Location: Unknown - probably in vicinity of Essen

Pilot: Sgt. Ronald Moseley Peake AUS/408871 RAAF Age 21. Killed

Flt/Engr: Sgt. Harold Jowitt 945644 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Roger Fisher Rowe Sides AUS/412850 RAAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Ernest Hodgson 1506082 RAFVR Age 32. Killed

W/Op/Air Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Reece Roberts AUS/407909 RAAF Age 27. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Eric Chamberlain 1476619 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O Douglas Invicta Arthur 50778 RAF Age ?. Killed


Airborne at 19:37 hours, Lancaster HW-Q was one of 457 aircraft that were dispatched that night targeting the giant Krupps industrial complex at Essen. ‘Oboe’ target marking had become operational just three months earlier and this raid proved how deadly accurate the system was. Although the weather that night was clear with a bright moon overhead, the ground below was somewhat obscured by smoke from the factories and later, during the raid, from a defensive smoke screen drifting across the target area.

The target indicators dropped by the Pathfinders were well concentrated and photographic reconnaissance the next day confirmed that the works had been severely damaged. 500 houses were also destroyed and 198 people, mostly civilians, were killed. In addition, German records show that one third of the bombs fell on the outskirts of Essen killing 39 people in the town of Bottrop about 8 miles to the north west.

The attack force was comprised of 158 Wellingtons, 156 Lancasters, 91 Halifax’s, 42 Stirlings and 10 Mosquitoes from various RAF and RCAF squadrons. In all, 23 aircraft were lost; 8 Lancasters, 7 Halifax’s, 6 Wellingtons and 2 Stirlings. The target area was heavily defended and very intense and accurate flak was encountered in conjunction with searchlights operating in large and small cones illuminating the bombers.

Although the exact location is unknown, in all likelihood, ED544 was a victim of the flak barrage and fell in the vicinity of Essen as the remains of the crew were buried on the 18th March in the Hauptfriedhof (Am Gottesacker) in neighbouring Dortmund, 20 miles to the east, before being transferred to the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.

Burial Details:

Sgt. Ronald Moseley Peake. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Collective Grave Ref. 3. C. 11-12. Born on the 17th August 1921 at Ringwood, the son of Arthur and Lilian Minnie Peake, of Mitcham, Victoria, Australia. Enlisted 20th June 1940.

Sgt. Harold Jowitt. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Grave Ref. 3 B 17. Son of John and Florrie Jowitt, of Sandal, Wakefield, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Roger Fisher Rowe Sides. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Collective Grave Ref. 3. C. 11-12. Born on the 19th March 1919 at Summer Hill, the son of George Frederick and Gertruge Evelyn Sides, of Cootamundra, New South Wales, Australia.

Sgt. Ernest Hodgson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Collective Grave Ref. 3. C. 11-12. Son of Barraclough and Ruth Hodgson, of Bradford, Yorkshire, England. Husband of Doris Hodgson, of Bradford, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Arthur Reece Roberts. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Grave Ref. 3 C. 10. Born on the 24th December 1915 at Adelaide, the son of James Rees Roberts and Jeanne Roberts, of Henley Park, South Australia. Husband of Dorothy Roberts.

Sgt. William Eric Chamberlain. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Grave Ref. 3 C. 13. Son of John William and Ellen Bertha Chamberlain, of Middleton, Manchester, England.

P/O Douglas Invicta Arthur. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Grave Ref. 3 C. 14. Next of kin details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew.

CHB 24.03.2010

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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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