29/30.08.1944 83 Squadron Lancaster III PB249 Sqn Ldr. Sparks DFC, AFC
Operation: Köningsberg (now Kalingrad)
Date: 29th/30th August 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit No: 83 Squadron (motto: 'Strike to Defend'), 5 (PFF) Group
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire
Location: Zielkeim (now known as Petrovo)
Pilot: Sqn Ldr. 'Ned' Ernest Neville Monkhouse Sparks DSO, DFC, AFC Age? 43633 RAFVR PoW * (1)
Flt Eng: Flt Sgt. Lawrence George Batchelor 1735257 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 749 ** (2)
Nav: Sqn Ldr. Robert Henry Schofield 120349 RAFVR Age 33. MiA
Bom Aimer: Fg Off. William Edgar Pearson DFC J21611 RCAF Age 22. PoW No. 5296 * (3)
Spec Op: Flt Lt. Edwin John Clessie Richardson DFM 113496 RAFVR Age 36. MiA
WOp/Air Gnr: Fg Off. Leonard John Daniels 174043 RAFVR Age? PoW *
Air/Gnr: Fg Off. John Hudson Wilkinson DFC 400444 RAAF Age 30. MiA
Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. George William Chesters 636624 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 768 ** (4)
* Stalag Luft 1 Barth-Vogelsang, today situated in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.
** Stalag Luft 7 Bankau nr. Kreuzburg O.S." (O.S. standing for Oberschlesien, Upper Silesia). Today called Bąków nr. Kluczbork (Poland).
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Coningsby at 20:21 hrs. for an operation against Königsberg.
Hit by Flak, which killed Fg Off. Wilkinson RAAF. With the others who died, he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Crashed Zielkeim (Now Petrovo Poland) 12km North West of Koningsberg (Kaliningrad).
(1) Sqn Ldr. Sparks had only recently resumed operational flying since evading in the wake of the Mailly-le-Camp raid on the 3rd/4th May 1944. Lancaster III JB402 OL:R shot down by Oblt. Dietrich Schmidt of 8./NJG4 at 00:46 hrs near Missy Condé, France. Six of the crew evaded with two taken PoW. With assistance from the Burgundy Line he returned to England on the 22nd June 1944.
His DFC was promulgated in the London Gazette on 25th January 1946. Effective from the 28th August 1944.
DSO awarded whilst OC 356 Squadron. London Gazette 2 October 1945.
Wg Cdr. Sparks was awarded AFC. London Gazette 1st January 1952.
His brother, Wg Cdr, George Bryan Noble Sparks DSO, C1492, sadly died on active service with 356 Sqn in India on the 11th August 1945. The cause of death was Viral Encephalomyelitis (Viral infection of the brain/spinal cord).
Emigrated to Canada with his mother Mabel and brother Charles aboard Alaunia arriving at Quebec on 6 May 1928. His father Francis had earlier arrived in Canada. Date not known. he passed away on the 21st August 1980. Winterbourne Gunner Salisbury Wiltshire.
(2) Flt Sgt. Lawrence George Batchelor was a part of Trupp 33. He arrived at Stalag Luft 7 on 19th September 1944.
(3) Fg Off. William Edgar Pearson was awarded DFC, effective 28th August 1944, whilst with 97 Squadron. Born on the 18th April 1922 - passed away on the 15th October 2018, age 96.
(4) Flt Sgt. George William Chesters arrived at Stalag Luft 7 on 25th September 1944.
Almost certain those killed were buried at Koningsberg but the MREU post war were not permitted access by the Russians to retrieve the bodies.
Sqn Ldr. Robert Henry Schofield. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 201. Also remembered at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar Schoo, Blackburn Flew 28 operations with 49 Squadron. Son of Henry Schofield and of Helena May Schofield (nee Holgate) and husband of Helen Schofield, of West Brompton, London.
He flew 28 operations with 49 Squadron. Also remembered at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Blackburn.
Flt Lt. Edwin John Clessie Richardson DFM. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 203. Born on the 29th February 1908. Son of Edwin Waters (died 2nd June 1936, age 69) and Catherine Beatrice Richardson, (née Thomas) of 2 Woodland Place, Ochrwyth, Risca, Monmouthshire, Wales.
Flt Lt. Richardson had flown his first tour with 54 Squadron, his DFM was promulgated in the London Gazette on the 6th June 1941
Fg Off. John Hudson Wilkinson DFC. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 257. Born on the 18th February 1914 at Rutherglen. Enlisted 2nd September 1942. Son of Hudson Hall Wilkinson (Died 27th July 1961, age 56) and Mary Ann Wilkinson, of Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia. Chemist.
Awarded DFC whilst with 83 Squadron. London Gazette 19th September 1944. Citation Reads:
'P/O. Wilkinson is an Air Gunner of great ability and determination. He has taken part in a large number of operational sorties, many of which have been against some Germany’s most heavily defended targets.On one occasions, in March 1944, when engaged in an attack on Stuttgart, Junkers 88 attacked the aircraft five times, but P/O. Wilkinson, by his accurate directions to his captain and coolly aimed return fire, drove off the enemy aircraft in a badly damaged condition. At all times his unwavering devotion to duty and constant alertness have inspired confidence in his crew'.
Researched by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster), with contributions from John Jones, and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to John Jones, Oliver Clutton-Brock - 'The Long Road' and 'RAF Evaders', Risca Branch The Royal British Legion. (Oct 2021). Thanks to John Jones for the additional Bio information for Sqn Ldr. Sparks (Oct 2022)
Other sources as quoted below: