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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 Crest
16/17.03.1945 No. 103 Squadron Lancaster I NG492 PM-D Fl/Lt. Stepharnoff

Operation: Nurnberg

Date: 16/17th March 1945 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 103 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: NG492

Code: PM-D

Base: RAF Elsham Wolds

Location: Target area

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Arthur Lloyd Stepharnoff J/87987 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Grant 1822048 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: P/O. Harry Kenneth Stott 190000 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Rowland Ira Parks J/95585 RCAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alan Davies 1589151 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Wilfred Whitehead 1511705 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: F/O. Robert Wilkinson 149065 RAFVR Age 22. Killed


Taking off at 17:14 hrs from RAF Elsham Wolds with warnings of heavy flak and fighters. It was laden with 2154 gallons of fuel, with a Bomb load of 1 x 4000lb. 9 x 140 x 4lb. incendiary plus 1 x Monroe - leaflets.

231 Lancasters of 1 Group, 46 Lancasters and 16 Mosquitoes from 8 group took part on the last Bomber Command raid on this city.

The raid hit the southern and south western districts as well as the ruins of Alstadt which had been destroyed on a previous raid. A serious fire erupted in the Steinbuhl district and the railway station was also hit. The gasworks were so seriously damaged that it did not resume production before war's end. 529 people were killed on the ground.

Records for night fighter claims for this period of the war have been largely lost.

The Squadron lost 3 aircraft on this operation, the others:

Lancaster I NM758 PM-S Flown by 21 year old, Fl/Lt. Alastair Clarence Watt J/89387 RCAF - killed with 5 other crew, 1 survived as a PoW.
Lancaster I ME848 PM-E Flown by F/O. E.W. Armour taken PoW with 5 other crew. 1 other lost his life.

No definitive night fighter claims for Lancaster NG492, however Rod Mackenzie the co-author of the Nightfighter War Diaries wrote to me:

"NG492 crashed within 1,000 metres of the village of Oberdachstetten, which itself is 16 km NW of Ansbach. The Lancaster presumably broke up/exploded in mid-air since one witness stated wreckage was found over a wide area of 6 - 7 kilometres and one engine landed in a nearby forest.

The body of Fl/Lt. Stepharnoff was found within 500 yards of the main point of impact of the Lancaster".

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Arthur Lloyd Stepharnoff. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 11.J.16. Son of William Allen Stepharnoff and Eva Mary Stepharnoff, of Kingsville, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "The Lord Is My Shepherd; I Shall Not Want" Psalm Xxiii.1".

Left: RAF Elsham Wolds Memorial

Sgt. John Grant. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 11.J.17-20. Son of Robert Fraser Grant and Margaret McInnes Grant, of Glasgow, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: "In The Morning And At The Going Down Of The Sun We Will Remember Him".

P/O. Harry Kenneth Stott. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 11.J.17-20. No further details - are you able to assist?

P/O. Rowland Ira Parks. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 11.J.17-20. Son of Rowland and Alma Claudine Parks (née Custer), of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Parks Island, Saskatchewan in Palmer Lake was need after P/O. Rowland Parks.

Fl/Sgt. Alan Davies. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 11.J.17-20. No further details - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Wilfred Whitehead. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 11.J.17-20. Son of Wilfrid and Maggie Whitehead, of Leigh, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads: "At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Remember Him".

F/O. Robert Wilkinson. Durnbach War Cemetery. Collective Grave 11.J.17-20. Son of Harry and Isabella Murray Wilkinson, of Chilwell, Nottinghamshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "The Afterglows Gleam With The Glory Of Treasured And Sweet Memories".

Researched for Ron Wright - nephew of the pilot, Fl/Lt. Stepharnoff and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown.

KTY 10.12.2018

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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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