26/27.06.1941 No 150 Squadron Wellington Ic R1664 JN-L P/O. Sievers DFC
Date: 26/27th June 1941 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 150 Squadron. 1 Group. (motto: Αιει Φθανομεν - 'Always Ahead')
Type: Wellington Ic
Base: RAF Newton, Nottinghamshire
Location: Grubbenvorst, Netherlands
Pilot: P/O. John Winston Sievers DFC. 79514 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Pilot: P/O. Christopher Reginald Herbert 88474 RAFVR Age 35. Killed
Obs: P/O. Alan George St. John Ross 82726 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William John Grieve 651970 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Hector George Burgess 953783 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Francis Joseph Hart R/56088 RCAF Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 23:05 hrs along with 43 others from various squadrons. The bomb force was made up by 30 Hampdens and 14 Wellingtons. They encountered thick cloud, snow and icing, consequently no reports of the result of the bombing were observed or photographed.
R1644 was the only aircraft lost on this operation. Shot down by anti-aircraft fire and crashed on the west bank of the river Maas at 04:00 hrs at Grubbenvorst.
DFC citation - London Gazette 01st July 1941
P/O. John Winston Sievers:
"One night in June, 1941, this officer was the captain of an aircraft which, took part in an attack on Brest. In spite of intense anti- aircraft fire both from ground defences and ships, P/O. Sievers descended to 4,500 feet and skilfully dropped all his bombs in the target area. On a previous occasion, during an attack on Hamburg, this officer displayed great flying skill which enabled his rear gunner to shoot down a Messerschmitt which attacked his aircraft whilst held in the beams of searchlights. P/O. Sievers has completed many operational missions over enemy and enemy occupied country and has shown great skill and coolness throughout".
The crew were initially buried at the Military Cemetery in Venlo - reinterred after the end of the war. We do have copies of the crew grave photographs for interested parties.
P/O. John Winston Sievers. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 3.H.4. Born on the 26th April 1918 at Feiding, the son of Sidney John Sievers and of Gertrude Teresa Sievers (née Berrill), of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand. worked as an accounts clerk with the Public Trust Office in Masterton. RNZAF Civil Reserve Pilot and involved with the Wairarapa and Ruahine Aero Club. Flew over 47 hours prior to joining the RNZAF. Selected for RAF Short Service Commission in August 1939. Trained at RNZAF Taieri in October 1939. Embarked for the United Kingdom on 23 March 1940 and transferred to the RAF Volunteer Reserve. A total of 19 operational sorties completed.
P/O. Christopher Reginald Herbert. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 3.H.3. Born on the 23rd March 1906, the son of Mr. Arthur Stewart Herbert and Lady Theresa Selina Herbert and husband of Celia Winifred Herbert (née Roundell) of Dorford Hall, Cheshire, England. Also remembered on the St. Mary's Church of Ireland, Killarney memorial. Grave inscription reads: "Be Thou Faithful Unto Death And I Will Give Thee A Crown Of Life".
P/O. Alan George St. John Ross. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 15.H.7. Son of Dr. James Daniel Ross and Alice Prestago Ross, of Southgate, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "Pray For The Soul Of Alan Dearly Loved. "Eternal Rest Give Unto Him, O Lord".
Fl/Sgt. William John Grieve. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 15.H.6. Son of William John Grieve, and of Mary Grieve, of Denny, Stirlingshire, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: "Without Farewell He Fell Asleep With Only A Memory For Us To Keep".
Sgt. Hector George Burgess. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 15.H.8. Son of Mark James and Elsie May Burgess, of Guernsey, Channel Islands and husband of Molly Burgess. Also remembered on the St. Peter Port War Memorial, Guernsey. Grave inscription reads: "In Loving And Sincere Memory From Mother, Father And Family Beloved By All".
Sgt. Francis Joseph Hart. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 12.I.7. Son of Mrs. F. Hart of 1563 McGregor Street, Montreal, Canada.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: