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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
01/02.02.1945 166 Squadron Lancaster I ME648 AS-J2 Fl/Lt. Spankie DFC

Operation: Ludwigshafen

Date: 1/2nd February 1945

Unit: No. 166 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ME648

Code: AS-J2

Base: RAF Kirmington, Lincolnshire

Location: Bruchsal, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Edward Spankie DFC J/86068 RCAF Age 29. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Raymond Stennett 1590355 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: Fl/Lt. John Edward Shannon DFC. 87419 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Hugh Henry Teggart 553937 RAF Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alexander McIvor 1573475 RAFVR Age 20 Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James Pirie Brown R/22067 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Francis Alma Coombs J/92482 RCAF Age 25. Killed


Took off at 15.25 hrs from Kirmington, Lincolnshire (Now Humberside International Airport) to attack the town of Ludwigshafen. 382 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes took part from which 6 Lancasters were lost (3 from 166 Squadron alone) with 56 crew members killed, 3 more being made PoW.

Fl/Lt. Edward Spankie DFC right and memorial left.

The raid destroyed or damaged 900 homes but also the railway yards were seriously damaged and one of the Rhine bridges was hit by 2 bombs and was temporary closed. 25 people were killed on the ground and a further 6 injured. The lack of casualties on the ground suggest that the town had been evacuated or were well protected with shelters.

The others lost from 166 Squadron:
Lancaster I NG391 AS-M Flown by P/O. Smithers taken PoW along with 2 other crew, 4 killed.
Lancaster I NG391 AS-M Flown by 25 year old Fl/Lt. Edward Alexander Pollack 124182 RAFVR of Vine Del Mar, Chile, killed with all 6 other crew.

It is thought that Lancaster ME648 was shot down by either (or even both, as the combat occurred at the same time in the same area) German night fighters Hptm. Helmuth Schultze or Oblt. Peter Spoden. The combat took place at between 3,500 - 4000 mtrs. at around 19.34 hrs over Bruchsal, Germany.

Both were aces (25 claims - Spoden - above right, and 23 claims - Schulze - above left) and both survived the war. Hptm. Helmuth Schultze died in 1982.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Edward Spankie DFC. Rheinberg War Cemetery Collective Grave 8. E. 3-6. Son of James and Helen Spankie, husband of Dorothy E. Spankie, of Stettler, Alberta, Canada.

Sgt. Raymond Stennett. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 8. E. 2. Son of George Hammond Stennett and Helen Stennett, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, England.

Fl/Lt. John Edward Shannon DFC. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 8. E. 1. Son of John Patrick Shannon, and of Margaret Mary Agnes Shannon, of Hampstead, London, England.

Fl/Sgt. Hugh Henry Teggart. Rheinberg War Cemetery Collective Grave 8. E. 3-6. Son of James and Elizabeth Teggart, of Killough, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.

Fl/Sgt. Alexander McIvor. Rheinberg War Cemetery Collective Grave 8. E. 3-6. Son of Alexander and Helen McIvor, of Brodie, Morayshire, Scotland.

Fl/Sgt. James Pirie Brown. Rheinberg War Cemetery Collective Grave 8. E. 3-6. From Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?

P/O. Francis Alma Coombs. Rheinberg War Cemetery Collective Grave 8. E. 3-6. Son of Bertram John and Hannah Coombs, husband of Edith L. T. Coombs, of Rosemary, Alberta, Canada.

For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), 'Paradie Archive'. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Aircrew Remembered archives.

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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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