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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
25/26.07.1944 No. 166 Squadron Lancaster III LM386 AS-V F/O. Bernard T. Singleton

Operation: Stuttgart

Date: 25/26th July 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 166 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: LM386

Code: AS-V

Base: RAF Kirmington, Lincolnshire

Location: Between Aubigny and Taingy, France.

Pilot: F/O. Bernard Townsend Singleton 171643 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Kenneth Ernest Welsh 1810864 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Nav: F/O. Herbert Sidney William Blaber 152948 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Stanley Kenneth Shrives 147118 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Victor John Badger 1581501 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Fitzpatrick 1671698 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick William Fisher 1896156 RAFVR Age 33. Killed


Took off at 21:25 hrs from RAF Kirmington, Lincolnshire, joining 412 Lancasters and 138 Halifaxes on the continued attack on Stuttgart (3 heavy raids in 5 nights of operations). Bomb load for the 166 Squadron Lancasters - 1 x 2,000 lb. H.C. and 12 x 'J' type cluster bombs.

These raids are described as causing the most serious damage of the war on the city. Most of Stuttgart's public and cultural buildings were destroyed. This second raid being the most successful. Total casualties during these raids amounted to 1,171 people killed with a further 1,600 injured.

The German early warning radars followed the bomber stream the complete route from the Thames to the target. Starting their attacks just after they crossed into France with the Luftwaffe fighters based at Chateaudun and Paris intercepting the first of the bombers over the area of Chateaudun/Orléans.

It is thought "probable" that Lancaster LM386 was shot down by Oblt. Herbert Schulte zur Surlage (1) of 5./NJG4 at 00:41 hrs. Combat taking place at 4,000 mts. over the St. Sauveur area. Shortly after he was hit by return fire (possibly from LM386 gunners) and he and his crew baled out from their Ju88 G-1.

The allies lost 15 aircraft on this night. 48 aircrew were killed, 26 managed to evade capture with 10 being made pow.

166 Squadron lost another aircraft this night, Lancaster JB649 AS-Z. A very experienced crew with at least 28 sorties flown. F/O. Cann DFC. and his crew all escaped capture, arriving at Middle Wallop, England on the 8th September 1944 thanks to the assistance of the resistance and No. 1 Squadron SAS.

(1) This was Oblt. Herbert Schulte zur Surlage 2nd and final Abschüsse of the war. His other kill, Halifax NP687 from 432 squadron, also on this nights operation.

He was wounded on the 9/10th February 1945 in a crash landing at Vechta airfield on return from a sortie with damage to his aircraft. In June 2016 we heard from his son, Michael who explained that after the war and release from the PoW camp he returned home to become a farmer. He passed away on the 09th December 1980 leaving two sons and a daughter.

Burial details:

F/O. Bernard Townsend Singleton. Taingy Communal Cemetery. Collective Grave 2-6. Son of Fred Townsend Singleton and Martha Singleton, of Prestwich, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Kenneth Ernest Welsh. Taingy Communal Cemetery. Collective Grave 2-6. Son of David Charles and Margaret Welsh, of Winchmore Hill, Middlesex, England.

F/O. Herbert Sidney William Blaber. Taingy Communal Cemetery. Grave 1. Son of Mr. and Mrs. S. W. Blaber, of Willesden, Middlesex, England.

F/O. Stanley Kenneth Shrives. Taingy Communal Cemetery. Collective Grave 2-6. Son of Charles Shrives, and of Hilda Emmeline Shrives, of Sutton, Surrey, England. Cornwell Scout.

Sgt. Victor John Badger. Taingy Communal Cemetery. Collective Grave 2-6. Son of Henry Alfred and Alice Mary Badger, of Upton Snodsbury, Worcestershire, England.

Sgt. James Fitzpatrick. Taingy Communal Cemetery. Collective Grave 2-6. Son of John and Anastasia Fitzpatrick, of Knotty Ash, Liverpool, England.

Sgt. Frederick William Fisher. Taingy Communal Cemetery. Grave 7. Son of John and Edith Fisher; husband of Martha Fisher, of Dodworth, Yorkshire, England.

Researched for and with valued information from Mr. Dennis and Mr Ronald Blaber brothers of F/O. Herbert S.W. Blaber. With thanks to sources as quoted below. Also thanks to Michael Schulte zur Surlage, son of the Luftwaffe pilot who contacted us in June 2016.

KTY 15.06.2016 details of Luftwaffe pilot added.

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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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