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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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102 Squadron Crest
09/10.08.1943 No. 102 Squadron Halifax II JB782 DY-W Sgt. V.H. Thomas

Operation: Mannheim, Germany

Date: 9/10th August 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 102 squadron

Type: Halifax MkII

Serial: JB782

Code: DY-W

Base: RAF Pocklington

Location: Spesbach, Landstuhl Germany

Pilot: Sgt. V.H. Thomas 1338790 RAFVR PoW No: 43241 Camp: Stalag luft Heydekrug (L6)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Cecil Lafford 945774 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Norman Wilbraham 1503859 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Alan Claude Marsh 1322114 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W.Op./Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Henry Buffery 1194248 RAFVR Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Anderson Walls 1340054 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. T.F.P. Perry 1320453 RAFVR PoW No: 1330 Camp: Stalag luft Heydekrug (L6)


Part of a large raid on the twin cities of Mannheim and Ludwigshafen on the banks of the Rhine, Halifax JB782, together with 456 other aircraft including Halifaxes and Lancasters. JB782 took off from RAF Pocklington at 22:56 hours.

Reportedly, upon reaching the target area, it was cloud covered and not well marked by the Pathfinders which resulted in widely spread bombing of lesser important targets.

Although the flak and searchlight batteries surrounding Mannheim and Ludwigshafen were fairly ineffective, the night fighters managed to down nine aircraft including JB782 which crashed at Spesbach-Landstuhl in Germany at 02:36 hrs.

Shot down by German Nightfighter ace Hptmn. Heinrich Wohlers I/NJG6, his 17th claim of the war.

(1) Hptmn. Heinrich Wohlers: killed in a flying accident on the 15th March, 1944 4 km east of Echterdingen when he crashed Wk. No. 5353 during a landing in heavy fog. Buried Hamburg/Ohlsdorf. A total of 28 claims. (courtesy Kracker Archives)

102 Squadron lost another aircraft during this operation:

Halifax II JD408 DY-R Flown by Sq/Ldr. L.J. Partridge taken PoW with 5 others from his crew, 2 were killed.

Above and below: postcard sent by Sgt. Alan Marsh to a member of his family

Burial details:

Sgt. Cecil Lafford. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20.A.20-22. Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Lafford, of Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, England.

Sgt. Norman Wilbraham. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20.A.20-22. Son of James Walkden Wilbraham, and of Amelia Wilbraham, of Whitefield, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Alan Claude Marsh. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20.A.20-22. Son of Sydney William and Eveline Henrietta Marsh, of Sanderstead, Surrey, England.

Sgt. William Henry Buffery. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20.A.20-22. No further details - are you able to assist?

Sgt. John Anderson Walls. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20. A. 20-22. Son of Janet Walls, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland.

Michel Beckers research - November 2016. With thanks to Des Philippet, Laurence Hennessy for grave photographs, others from the Michel Beckers collection.

MB - 11.11.2016

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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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