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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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103 squadron
103 Squadron Lancaster III LM682 PM-O P/o. Rimmington

Operation: Dresden

Date: 13/14th February 1945 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: 103 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: LM682

Code: PM-O

Base: RAF Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire

Location: Winterkasten, Germany

Pilot: Plt.Off. Dugald Geoffrey Rimmington AUS/428413 RAAF Age 21. Killed (1)

Flt.Eng: Sgt. George Turner 1594612 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Nav: Sgt. George Ross Gilfillan 1626440 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Flt.Sgt. Edward Voster Staples 1622882 RAFVR Age ? killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Albert Harry Pettman 1892292 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Henry Swan 1895002 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Alfred Rushworth 3006069 RAFVR Age 19. Killed


After take-off at 21:40 from the base at RAF Elsham Wolds, on an op to Dresden, as part of "Operation Thunderclap". A massive raid on what was probably not an important target as far as German War Industries were concerned and not thought that it was of any strategic importance at this stage of the war. A controversial raid during which over 25,000, mostly German civilians were killed.

Over 4,000 tons of bombs and incendiaries were used on arguably a city that was already on its knees. The allies defended the operation as the target was a major transportation and communication centre.

Lancaster LM 682 was the first aircraft to be lost. It was hit by a Flak battery based at Heppenheim in the district of Bergstraße. LM682 carried on for a further 10 km. before crashing 200 Mts East of Winterkasten, some 12 km ENE of Bensheim at 00:20 hrs. killing all the crew.

(left photograph) Sgt. Turner on left and Plt.Off. Rimmington on the right, whilst training as aircrew. (right photograph) Sgt. Turner: Flight Engineer (credit: Nick Turner)

Above left: Sgt. Pettman on the right with a friend. Do you recognise his friend? Above right: Newspaper report. Above: Cutting from the Southern Railway Magazine August 1945 reporting Sgt. Pettman's death as he was employed before the war by Southern Railway (courtesy: Colin Jeffreys).

(1) Plt.Off. Dugald Geoffrey Rimmington had an older brother, 23-year-old Fg.Off. Colin Arthur Rimmington 400821 was killed in a take-off accident out of Gibraltar on the 22nd August 1942 whilst with 202 Squadron.

Above on extreme right Sgt. Pettman with friends - can you identify them?

Above grave photographs taken in 2012 by David Franklin for Aircrew Remembered - any relative who would like a higher resolution copy please don't hesitate to drop us a line. Also shown on left the original grave marker. Grave of F/O. Rimmington in Gibraltar is also shown.

Burial details:

Plt.Off. Dugald Geoffrey Rimmington. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 2. H.1-7. Son of Dugald Cameron Rimmington and Bertha Lucy Elizabeth Rimmington, of Alphington, Victoria, Australia. Epitaph: 'Resting where no shadows fall'.

Sgt. George Turner. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 2. H.1-7. Son of Joseph and Hannah H. Turner, of Oldham, Lancashire, England. Epitaph: 'Worthy of everlasting remembrance'.

Sgt. George Ross Gilfillan. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 2. H.1-7. Son of George Eastwood Grundy Gilfillan and Eleanor Gilfillan. Born in Newcastle in 1923, also had a younger brother, Alan Eastwood Gilfillan who was 17 at the time.

Flt.Sgt. Edward Voster Staples. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 2. H.1-7. No further details as yet.

Sgt. Albert Harry Pettman. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 2. H.1-7. Sergeant Albert Harry Pettman was born in Woodnesborough, Kent, England, on the 23rd of January 1925 to Albert John and Lillian Agnes Pettman of “Eureka”, The Butts, Sandwich, Kent. He had one brother, Jack. Albert worked with his father, a baker, and after joining the local ATC, enlisted in the RAFVR in May 1943. His parents, having waited for five months for confirmation from the Air Ministry of Albert’s death, both died within a year of receiving the news.

Sgt. William Henry Swan. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 2. H.1-7. Son of Henry and Alice Amelia Swan, of Mill End, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, England. 'At the going down of the sun and in the morning we remember him, Mum, Dad, Joan'.

Sgt. Frank Alfred Rushworth. Durnbach War Cemetery Coll. Grave 2. H.1-7. Son of Alfred Charles and Elizabeth Mary Rushworth, of Southwark, London, England. Epitaph: 'Until we meet again'.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. With thanks to Richard Pettman for the photographs used. Bob Boston for the Gibraltar grave photograph. Also to Alan Morley for additional information on Sgt. Gilfillan - July 2016. Thanks to Nick Turner, the nephew of Sgt. Turner for the additional photographs of his Uncle and Plt.Off. Rimmington. Thanks to Colin Jeffreys for the cutting from the Southern Railway Magazine August 1945.

RS 07.12.2019 - Addition of Southern Railway Magazine cutting

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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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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