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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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432 Squadron Crest
14/15.02.1945 No. 432 Squadron Halifax VII RG449 QO-S Sq/Ldr. Thompson

Operation: Chemnitz

Date: 14/15th February 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 432 Squadron RCAF

Type: Halifax VII

Serial: RG449

Code: QO-S

Base: RAF East Moor, North Yorkshire

Location: Schonau an der Brend, Bavaria

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Jack Harvey Thompson RCAF PoW (From White Rock, British Columbia, Canada)

Fl/Eng: P/O. George Lionel Sorrell 195069 RAFVR Age 36. Killed (See below)

Nav: F/O. John James Serne RCAF PoW (From Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada)

Air/Bmr: F/O. Robert Alexander Adrian Borland RCAF PoW (From Eckhart, Manitoba, Canada)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Stanley Armitage Harrison RCAF PoW (From Camlachie, Ontario, Canada)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Richard James Stringer RCAF PoW (From Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Air/Gnr: P/O. Robert Denis Thomson RCAF PoW (From Montreal, Quebec, Canada)


Taking off from RAF East Moor at 16:49 hrs

The crews were over the target at between 18,000 and 20,000 feet, releasing 431,000 lbs on incendiaries and 291,000 lbs. of high explosives. According to reports, the target was cloud covered with some damage caused.

Believed to have been shot down by Hptm Heinz Rökker of 2./NJG2 flying Ju88G-6 [4R + CK] at 2203, crashing at Schonau an der Brend roughly 11 km NW from Neustadt/Saale. Hptm Rökker, who claimed the bomber as a "Lancaster", reported firing just two bursts of schräge Musik, one of which killed Sgt Sorrell.

The aircraft crashed just west of Schonau an der Brend.

Crew shown L-R: F/O. Borland, P/O. Thomson, Sgt. Worthington, F/O. Harrison. Front: Sq/Ldr. Thompson, Sgt. Sorrell, F/O. Serne.

Notes: Sq/Ldr. Jack Harvey Thompson - Born Vancouver 29 April, 1911. Son of George and Margaret (née Moffet) Thompson. Became a realtor post war. Died 31 January 1989, White Rock, British Columbia. F/O. John James Serne - Born 1912, deceased 1995.

Illustration courtesy Holger Wörner

Burial details:

P/O. George Lionel Sorrell. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 4J.15. Son of William George Sorrell, and of Amy Louise Sorrell, of Wimbledon Park, Surrey, England. Grave inscription reads: "Though So Far Away My Love And Thoughts Are With You Always. R.I.P. Mother".

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Holger Wörner and Bill Worthington. Also to Dave Champion for full crew names - February 2018.

KTY - 14.02.2018 - KTY - updated 21.02.2018

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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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