Date: 18/19th July 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: 115 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Witchford, Cambridgeshire
Location: Laplaigne, Belgium
Pilot: Fg.Off. Robert Everard Pellew 417229 RAAF Age 21. Killed
Flt.Eng: Sgt. Albert Edward Morton 2220632 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Nav: Plt.Off. Eric Ronald Tibbits 426444 RAAF Age 32. Killed
Air/Bmr: Plt.Off. Fraser Clarke Hollenback J/92611 RCAF Age 20. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edward Vivian Wakeman 1579920 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Mid Upp. Gnr: Sgt. Henry John William Simmonds 1605077 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Rear Gnr: Sgt. Frederick Allen 1853859 RAFVR Age 29. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 22:28 hrs from RAF Witchford near Ely in Cambridgeshire to support the Allied landings at Normandy.
253 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitoes from 1,3,5 and 8 Group to attack railway junctions at Aulnoye and Revigny. Both targets were hit with the result that the railway lines to the front were cut. 2 Lancasters lost on the Aulnoye operation but due to German night fighters that had already been alerted some 24 Lancasters were shot down on the Revigny raid.
Various operations were taking part on this night, in fact some 972 sorties with 36 aircraft lost from the RAF.
The Nachtjagd War Diaries Volume 2 (April 1944 - May 1945) - Dr Theo E.W. Boiten & Roderick J. Mackenzie records two Nachtjagdt crews each claimed an unconfirmed Abschuss on the night of the 18/19 July 1944.
The unconfirmed claims were for two 4-mot aircraft, LL943 and 75 Sqn LL921, west of Mons-Maubeuge at 2,500 m at 01:05 hrs & 01:06 hrs. The Nachtjagdt crews were:
Ofhr. Wolfgang Rinker from 1./NJG4, his only claim. He survived the war,
Hptm. Josef Krahforst from 2./NJG4, his 9th claim. He and his crew, Rad/Op Uffz. Karl Heinz Hertel and Air Gnr. Alfred Back, were KiA on the 28th September 1944 after being shot down by a Mosquito over Somborn. He was an 11 victory ace and the Kapitän of 2./NJG4.
On the 12th December 1946 the grave of Sgt. Simmonds was exhumed by Captain Parry-Jones of No. 2 Missing Research and Enquiry Unit in order to verify the crew member. It was discovered he was buried with three members of resistance who had been shot by the Germans. On the 26th March 1946 the other crew member graves were also identified.
Ff.Off. Robert Everard Pellew. Valenciennes Communal Cemetery (St. Roch). Plot 1. Row A. Collective grave 16-17. Born on the 21st May 1923 in Adelaide, the son of Clarence Everard and Inez Lander Pellew, of Edwardstown, South Australia. Epitaph reads: "Loved Son Of Mr. And Mrs. C.E. Pellew Of South Australia. R.I.P."
Sgt. Albert Edward Morton. Valenciennes Communal Cemetery (St. Roch). Plot 1. Row A. Collective grave 16-17. No further information, are you able to assist?
Plt.Off. Eric Ronald Tibbits. Valenciennes Communal Cemetery (St. Roch). Plot 1. Row A. Collective grave 16-17. Born on the 12th July 1912 in Brisbane, the son of Richard and Mary Josephine Tibbits and husband of Kathleen Theresa Tibbits, of Hampton, Victoria, Australia. Epitaph reads: "Jube, Domine, Benedicere". (Translation: Pray Sir, a blessing)
Plt.Off. Fraser Clarke Hollenback. Valenciennes Communal Cemetery (St. Roch). Plot 1. Row A. Grave 15. Son of Harry Clarke Hollenback and Mary A. Hollenback, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Epitaph reads: "If We Live In The Hearts Of Those We Leave Behind, We Will Not Have Died".
Sgt. Edward Vivian Wakeman. Valenciennes Communal Cemetery (St. Roch). Plot 1. Row A. Collective grave 16-17. Son of William and Rose Emily Wakeman, of Netherton, Dudley, Worcestershire, England. Epitaph reads: "In Memory Of Eddie. "Love Him, Dear Lord, As We Loved Him, With Thy Love Divine".
Sgt. Henry John William Simmonds. Laplaigne Communal Cemetery. South-east corner. Son of Henry Joseph and Lily C. M. Simmonds, of Morden, Surrey, England. Epitaph reads: "Our Dearest Son, "Dinkie" Your Life Was Short Your Task Is Done Sleep On, Beloved". Grave as shown above (courtesy David Wakeman)
Sgt. Frederick Allen. Valenciennes Communal Cemetery (St. Roch). Plot 1. Row A. Collective grave 16-17. Son of John Henry and Bertha Allen, of Newquay, Cornwall, England. Epitaph reads: "In Silence We Remember. With All Our Love. Jack, Pop And Ber".
Researched for David Wakeman - relative of Sgt. Edward Vivian Wakeman and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown.
RS 28.02.2020 - Editorial and update to Night fighter claim
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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