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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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166 Squadron Crest
26/27,03.1944 No. 166 Squadron Lancaster III LL749 AS-J2 Fl/Sgt. Perry

Operation: Essen

Date: 26/27th March 1944 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 166 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: LL749

Code: AS-J2

Base: RAF Kirmington, Lincolnshire

Location: Not known

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Victor Leonard Perry 1392734 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Joseph McInroy 1820970 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Lionel Valentine Woodfield 963539 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. A. Coney 1530452 RAFVR PoW No: 3505 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Maldwyn David Howell Williams AUS/410761 RAAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alfred William Gowland 1818907 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Warrington Harris 1397160 RAFVR Age ? Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

705 Aircraft taking part in another operation against Essen - 476 Lancaster, 208 Halifaxes and 22 Mosquitoes. It took the German controllers by surprise with the allies making a sudden switch to a target just over the border - consequently the allies lost very few to Luftwaffe night fighters. The target was covered in cloud but the Mosquitoes marked the target well and the operation was considered a success.

48 industrial buildings were seriously damaged with 1,756 houses destroyed - 550 people were killed on the ground with a further 49 missing and 1,569 injured. Amazing in that a breakdown of the casualties are available:

192 German women, 155 German men, 27 children, 6 soldiers,4 policemen, and 2 Hitler Youth. A further 74 forced labour foreigners and 1 PoW. The remaining 138 casualties were mixed German and foreign concentration camp prisoners - most of whom worked in German factories.

Lancaster LL749 took off at 19:45 hrs and was not heard from again. No night fighter claims have been found for the loss so probably taken down by anti-aircraft fire.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Victor Leonard Perry. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 1.J.3. Son of John William and Ada Ann Perry, of Deptford, London, England. Grave inscription reads: "He Gave The Greatest Gift Of All, His Own Unfinished Life".

Sgt. John Joseph McInroy. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 1.J.3. Son of James and Annie G. McInroy, of Dunblane, Perthshire, Scotland.

Fl/Sgt. Lionel Valentine Woodfield. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 1.J.3. Son of Herbert Henry and Lily Rose Woodfield, of Winchmore Hill, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "Always Happy And Kind: A Friend To All Who Crossed His Path. Sadly Missed".

Fl/Sgt. Maldwyn David Howell Williams. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 1.J.3. Son of Edward Howell Williams and Margerita Ernard Gladys Williams, of 32 Hall Street,L Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "They Shall Mount Up With Wings"."Underneath Are The Everlasting Arms".

Sgt. Alfred William Gowland. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 1.J.3. Son of George Washington Gowland and Ada Gowland, of Radford, Coventry, England. Grave inscription reads: "Without Farewell He Fell Asleep Leaving Memories We'll Always Keep".

Sgt. Warrington Harris. Choloy War Cemetery. Collective grave 1.J.3. No further details - are you able to assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown.

KTY - 27.03.2018

Acknowledgements: 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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', 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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