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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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405 Squadron Lancaster III JB707 F/O. Elwood Albert Townsend

Operation: Hamburg

Date: 28/29th July 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 405 Squadron. 8 Group (motto: Ducimus - 'We take the lead') Pathfinder

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JB707

Code: LQ-M

Base: RAF Gransden Lodge, Cambridgeshire

Location: Ringkøbing Fjord, Denmark

Pilot: F/O. Elwood Albert Townsend J/25935 RCAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Emg: Sgt. Derek Charles Carrott 1894153 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed

Nav: F/O. William Clifford Morrow J/26642 (R/52778). RCAF Age 27. Missing - believed killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Wendell Pierce Drew J/19200 (R/75285) RCAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O, Elwood Cameron Pomeroy J/28798 RCAF Age 20. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Colin John Blyth J/89962 RCAF Age 25. Killed

Air/Gnr: W/Cdr. Charles Gray C/1724 RCAF Age 36. Missing - believed killed


Hamburg - 307 aircraft taking part. German night-fighters appeared on the return leg leading to 22 losses This was the first raid on Hamburg for a year and was not well concentrated. The Germans were unable to determine the aiming point from the bombing results. Most of the bombs fell on areas devastated during 1943.

Much damage was caused to the surrounding town with the loss of 265 lives a further 17,000 had to be evacuated. A total of 2,318 tons of bombs being dropped in the residential areas of Wandsbek, Barmbek, Uhlenhorst and Winterhude

The attackers were heavily hit by both flak and the night fighters from the Luftwaffe. 22 Aircraft were lost. Resulting in the death of 145 crew members and a further 28 being made PoW.

JB707 took off at 22:48 with 15 others from the squadron on a clear night with a southerly wind. During the return flight, they were attacked by a night fighter and although no recovery of most of the crew bodies were never recovered or wreckage found it is thought that they came down in the Ringkøbing Fjord, Denmark.

It is thought probable that they were shot down by either Dietrich Schmidt shown right above) or Werner Husemann shown left), but we are unable to confirm this. (Courtesy Kracker Archives - see link below)

Previously: On the 05/06th July 1944 on an operation to Wizernes in northern France the crew arrived back at base but found they had 68 holes in the aircraft - repaired at base.

But, prior to this on the whilst station in Luqa, Malta he had been a member of a crew of a 458 squadron Wellington HX726. The pilot returned to their base experiencing engine problems but sadly overshot the runway at Luqa. The aircraft crashed in a quarry and caught fire. Five of the crew were killed, Sgt Drew was the only survivor with minor injuries.

Above L-R: F/O. Elwood Townsend, Sgt. Derek Carrott, F/O. William Morrow and F/O, Elwood Pomeroy.

Above L-R: F/O. Wendell Pierce Drew, P/O. Colin John Blyth and W/Cdr. Charles Gray. (Courtesy Archives Canada - see link below)

Burial and other details:

The body of P/O. Blyth was washed ashore on the 07th October 1944. The Germans buried him and two others, Sgt. Francis William Webster 1685818 138 squadron RAFVR and Sgt. Arthur Robson 1671735 of 582 squadron RAFVR. A 9 year old boy, Otto Christian Ottosen showed the grave to the Police. The 3 airman were then given a proper burial on the 01st July 1945 at Norre Havrvig Churchyard in Haurvig.

F/O. Elwood Albert Townsend. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 248. Born on the 08th February 1922. Educated at Perth Public School and Western Commerce School. Worked for Toronto Union stockyard. Enlisted on the 13th April 1942. Trained at Belleville Initial Training School. Awarded his wings on the 30th April 1943. Announced to his parents in his last letter home that he had got engaged to a Scottish girl.

Son of William H. and Ida May Townsend, brother of William, Fred , of 7 Ruskin Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sgt. Derek Charles Carrott. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 226. Son of Samuel Charles Frederick and Jessie Fraser Carrott, of North Finchley, Middlesex, England.

F/O. William Clifford Morrow. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 247. Born on the 25th August 1917 in Colborne, Ontario. Enlisted on the 15th January 1940 in Peterborough. Worked as a motor mechanic for J.K Hughes Motor Dealer. in Peterborough.

Son of William Gordon (died 1968, age 81) and Susan Sophia Morrow (died 1976, age 89), brother of P/O. Harold Elwood Morrow J/85805 RCAF (killed on the 29th March 1944, age 23 whilst with 417 squadron), Cpt. Grant Morrow, Clifford, Edna and Dorothy of 745 Water Street, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada;. Husband of Lilian Elsie Morrow (married 13th September 1941). of Braidwood Avenue, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

F/O, Elwood Cameron Pomeroy. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 247. Born on the 08th May 1924 in the USA. Enlisted on the 26th August 1942in Ottawa. Educated at Prescott High School.

Son of Lt. Cecil Benjamin Pomeroy (died 27th July 1974, age 73) and of Hazel Alice Pomeroy (nee Strout - died 05th October 1989, age 88), of 1325 Dorchester Street West, Prescott, Ontario, Canada.

F/O. Wendell Pierce Drew. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 245. Born on the 05th October 1920. Worked on his father's farm prior to service. Educated at Radisin High School. Enlisted on the 12th November 1940. Awarded Observer wings on the 28th November 1943.

Son of Albert George (died 1966, age 83) and Achsah Anna Drew (died 1968, age 86), brother of Wayne (died 22nd October 1916, age 17 days), Alice Aileen (died 05th September, age 4 months), and Marjorie (died 23rd June 1924, age 7 days) of Radisson, Saskatchewan, Canada. Reported to be engaged with a Miss Gladys Hope. Drew Lake in Saskatchewan, Canada was named after him.

P/O. Colin John Blyth. Norre Havrvig Churchyard. Born on the 22nd December 1921 in Colton, Norfolk, England. The family emigrated to Canada in 1924. Educated at La Vérendrye, Earl Grey and Kelvin High Schools. Enlisted on the 08th October 1942 in Winnipeg. Worked as a clerk in a florist of the Hudson Bay Company. Trained at No.7 Initial Training School.

Son of Frederick Charles (died 02nd July 1957, age 64) and Emily Mary Blyth (died 07th October 1957), brother of Peter Frederick Thomas, of Suite 14, Anoka Apartments, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Epitaph: 'As We Loved Him So We Miss Him. Dad And Mum'. Blythe Island in McCallum Lake in Manitoba, Canada was named after him in 1995.

W/Cdr. Charles Gray. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 243. Born on the 27th March 1908 in London, England. Worked for London and Lancashire Insurance Company Ltd as accountant. Enlisted on the 29th November 1939 at Vancouver. Air gunner badge awarded on the 17th September 1943.and commissioned to Pilot Officer.

Son of Frank and Iris Irene Gray, of 3473 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

For the emotional story of F/O. Wendell Drew read 'Following the Echoes': The Quest to Uncover a True Wartime Story of Love authors Claudia Reppen and Lance Fox.

ISBN978-1-03-918840-2. Published 16th August 2023 FriesenPress. Available from Amazon in hard back, soft back and Kindle editions.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the Paradie RCAF Archive, Theo Boiten's Nachtjagd Combat Archives 1944 Part 4, National Archive Kew, AIR-27-1789-12/13. 'Following the Echoes': The Quest to Uncover a True Wartime Story of Love. Authors Claudia Reppen and Lance Fox. The Canadian Aircraft Serials Personnel Information Resource (CASPIR), Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, World War Two service files of Canada

Other pages that may interest you:

Pages regarding 1944 losses

Pages detailing RCAF losses

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 11-11-2023

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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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