Operation: Münster Viaduct
Date: 21st March 1945 (Wednesday)
Unit: No. 75 (NZ) Squadron (motto: Ake ake kia kaha - 'For ever and ever be strong'). 3 Group
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire
Location: Haus Spital, Münster, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Jack Plummer DFC. NZ/42451 RNZAF Age 29. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Maurice Fell RAFVR PoW Camp XIB Westlager/Fallingbostel
Nav: F/O. 'Tiny’ Arthur Leonard Humphries DFM. NZ/428244 RNZAF PoW No: 65026 Camp: Stalag Bocholt and Fallingbostel
Air/Bmr: F/O. Edgar John Holloway NZ/429923 RNZAF Age 29. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. ‘Joe’ Joseph James Wakerley 1325219/169159 RAFVR PoW details not known
Air/Gnr: F/O. Russell James Scott NZ/428984 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alexander Malcolm Macdonald NZ/426070 RNZAF Age 24. Evaded
REASON FOR LOSS:
Bomb load: 1x4000 lb, 13x500 lb. Weather: clear with little cloud.
A total force of 160 aircraft was detailed to bomb the railway yards and a railway viaduct at Münster, Germany in order to prevent German reinforcements from hampering the allied push into Germany.
75 squadron sent 21 aircraft, losing three. The others:
Lancaster I RA564 AA-P Flown by F/O. Derek Singleton Barr 190947 RAFVR - Killed with all 6 other crew.
Lancaster III LM773 AA-E Flown by F/O. Alfred Errol Brown NZ/429139 RNZAF - Killed with 1 other, 5 taken PoW.
NG449/T - took off at 09:45 hrs. and shot down over the target area, blew up I'm the air and crashed near Haus Spital,
Sgt. Maurice Fell was blown out of the aircraft and landed in a forest. He was quickly caught and beaten by German civilians, until being rescued by German Soldiers. Having been captured he was taken to Fallingbostel where his face was stitched by a Serbian Major,16 stitches being given without anaesthetic. A gash to his hand, a broken ankle and jaw were not treated. After liberation by the American army, he was treated by Sir Archibald McIndoe subsequently on return to the UK, from the 25th of April 1945, firstly at RAF Hospital Wroughton and then to Cosford, Halton.
Fl/Sgt. Alexander Malcolm Macdonald was also blown out of the aircraft, despite suffering burns to his face he managed to evade capture.
Above front; (L-R) Fl/Sgt. Alexander Macdonald, F.O. Edgar Holloway, F/O. Arthur Humphries, Fl/Lt. Jack Plummer. Door; F/O. Russell Scott, Sgt. Maurice Fell. (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand, )
Fl/Lt. Arthur Leonard Humphries DFM. QSM. Born on the 15th of June 1922 in Invercargill. Passed away on the 25th of September 2010, age 88. His wife Doreen Lucy Humphries QSM, passed away on the 24th May 2010, at the age of 92. Both Eastern Cemetery, Invercargill, 3 SA Ashes, Plot 153A.
Fl/Sgt. Alexander Malcolm Macdonald. Born on the 19th of June 1921 Return to the United Kingdom on the 07th of April 1945. Passed away on the 18th September 2001, are 80. His wife, Alison Mary Macdonald passed away on the 30th of April 1998, at the age of 76. Both Greenpark RSA Cemetery, Dunedin, Otago. Block 1A, Plot 204.
The dead were initially buried in the PoW Cemetery in Haus Spital - reinterred after war end.
Fl/Lt. Jack Plummer. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 12.G.10. Born on the 20th of January 1916 in Wellington. Worked as a clerk for the Land and Income Tax Department Enlisted at Levin on the 11th of January 1942. Trained in Canada. Pilot badge awarded on the 09th October 1943 and commissioned. Son of Horace Howell Plummer (died 17th January 1932, age 64) and Ethel Beatrice Plummer (died 27th June 1963, age 80), of Wadestown, Wellington City, New Zealand. A total of 1323 flying hours logged and completed 30 operational sorties.
F/O. Edgar John Holloway. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 12.G.12. Born on the 25th of October 1915 in Onehung. Worked as an attendant at Sea View Mental Hospital, Hokitika. Enlisted at Nelson on the 24th of August 1942. Trained in Canada and awarded Air Observer badge and commissioned on the 01st October 1943. Son of John Noel and Beatrice Marie Louise Holloway (née Brind), of Hokitika, Westland, New Zealand;.Husband of Margaret Catherine Holloway (née Hughes) and father of two daughters, of Christchurch, New Zealand. A total of 337 flying hours logged and completed 27 operational sorties.
F/O. Russell James Scott. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 12.G.11. Born on the 24th of November 1921 in Dunedin. Worked as a linoleum layer for Christie and Son of Wellington. Enlisted at Masterton on the 01st August 1942. Trained in Canada Air Gunner badge awarded on the 23rd December 1943 and commissioned. Son of Edward Russell Victor Scott and of Gladys Victoria Scott (née Mcdowell), of Morington, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, New Zealand Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Air-27-648-5/6 National Archives, the great 75 (NZ) Squadron website.
Other sources as quoted below:
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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