Date: 25/26th August 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 7 Squadron (motto: Per diem, per noctem - 'By day and by night'). 8 Path Finder Group
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire
Location: West of Russelheim
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Trevor Herbert Strong DFC. PoW Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang
Fl/Eng: P/O. Frederick Frank Harry Burnett 178642 RAF PoW Stalag Luft Sagan
Nav: Fl/Lt. Percy Albert Thomas Facet 136352 RAF PoW Stalag Luft Sagan
Air/Bmr: P/O. Raymond Benjamin Ede DFC. NZ/425973 Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Joseph Henry McCarron 178762 RAFVR PoW Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang
Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. Edward Mason Collard 82187 82187 RAFVR PoW Stalag Luft Sagan
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. K.N Monk DFM RAFVR PoW No. 715 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankan, near Kreulberg, Upper Silesia
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 20:59 hrs on an operation to bomb the Opel works at Russelheim. 412 aircraft taking pat, from which 17 failed to return.
Fl/Lt. Strong was posted briefly to 149 squadron RAF (Flying the Stirling) before joining 7 squadron in January 1944. Member of the ‘Caterpillar Club’, being shot down on the 26th August 1944 while leaving the target area at Russelsheim, Germany. Claimed by either Oblt. Helmuth Schulte Stab II./NJG6 or Html. Martin Becker 2./NJD6 at 01:15 hrs.
He evaded for two days but was taken prisoner on the 28th. Following interrogation at the Dulag Luft, Oberursel, he was transferred to Stalag Luft I, near Barth, being repatriated to England on 13th May 1945. All of the crew had baled out but the other New Zealander, P/O. Ede, DFC - was killed.
Following the war Fl/Lt. Strong was given permission to remain in England for a year during which time he completed a refresher flying course and gained his commercial pilot’s licence. Also in this time, together with another New Zealander, he established what is known as the Missionary Aviation Fellowship. This, linked with a similar body in the United States, has resulted in over 100 aircraft flying in many different countries in support of various missionary societies.
DFC citation for Fl/Lt. Strong L/G 10th August 1944)
'This officer has taken part in many operational sorties throughout which he has displayed a high degree of courage, coolness and devotion to duty. In April, 1944, he was detailed for an attack on Cologne. On reaching the enemy coast, one engine of his aircraft failed. Although handicapped by this loss of power, P/O. Strong flew on and successfully completed his mission'.
Fl/Lt. Strong was born on the 29th November 1914 ay Waihi, the son of Herbert Onslow Strong and Bethia Margarette Strong. Husband of Joan Strong. He died on the 8th February 2016, age101 and buried at North Shore Memorial Park.
Burial and personal details:
P/O. Raymond Benjamin Ede DFC. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 18. D. 23. Born on the 11th February 1922 at Ashburton. Prior to service worked as a cycle mechanic for H.E Mooney of Ashburton. Enlisted at Blenheimon the 30th May 1942. Embarked for Canada on the 10th November 1942. Air bomber badge awarded on the 02nd April 1943 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 28th May 1943. After further training with various units joined 149 squadron on the 13th December 1943 and completed 4 operational sorties. Hoined 7 squadron on the 26th January 1944. Commissioned on the 07th June 1944. Path Finder Force badge awarded on the 07th July 1944. Son of Eldrick Mcrae Ede (died 25th January 1952, age 60) and Alice Evelyne Ede (née Marsden - died 05th June 1967, age 73), of Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand. A total of 594 flying hours logged and completed 44 operational sorties.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, Kracker Luftwaffe Archive, other sources as quoted below:
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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