04/05.04.1945 No. 7 Squadron Lancaster III NG229 MG-S Fl/Lt. Barry S.H. Wadham
Date: 04/05th April 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 7 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire
Location: Harburg, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Barry Simpson Herridge Wadham DFC. 179945 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Fl/Eng: F/O. S.C. Haralambides DFC. 187235 RAFVR Age 33. Killed
Nav: Fl/Lt. Ralph Callister Halkyard DFC. 409694 RAAF Age 24. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Harold Thomas Evans 419168 RAAF Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. Edward Kenneth Coyne DFC. J/94267 RCAF Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Henry Minns 1893981 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Lancaster NG229 took off from Oakington at 19:55 hours with a highly decorated crew led by Flight Lieutenant Wadham, a veteran at the age of twenty one of more than fifty three missions.
One of a formation of 327 aircraft comprised of 277 Halifaxes, 36 Lancasters and 14 Mosquito’s detailed to attack the massive Rhenania Ossag oil refining facility at Harburg on the outskirts of Hamburg. The massive plant, capable of processing 450,000 tons of crude annually into gasoline, lubricating oil base and asphalt, was a key component in the fueling of the German war machine.
By all accounts the target was well identified and severely damaged although later analysis generally showed that most of the key structures were well fortified and not substantially put out of action. Damage to other processing plant components was quickly repaired by PoW’s and other slave labour from the nearby concentration camps enabling production to be resumed with the minimum of delay.
Four aircraft failed to return, two Lancasters and two Halifaxes with the loss of eighteen airmen. Ten airmen became PoW and one evaded capture.
NG 229 took a direct hit from flak over the target area and exploded in mid-air with the wreckage being spread over a wide area centred over the north bank of the River Elbe near the railway bridge between Harburg and Hamburg.
Investigators, in 1946, found the remains of the burnt out hulk of the fuselage still on site where it had crashed in flames to earth. Positive identification of the aircraft was determined from the discovery of a serial number plate from the port outer engine confirming that it was from NG229.
Herr Karl Lohmann, who was working for the railway on the track at the time of the raid, later stated to investigators that four of the crew were found scattered amongst the wreckage and two still in the remains of the fuselage. The body of P/O. Coyne was found some distance away apparently after attempting to bale out of the stricken craft.
Barry Groves writes:
"Barry Simpson Herridge Wadham DFC. - born in Cowes in 1923, educated at Crewkern School, Somerset. Enlisted October 1941 and trained in Canada as Lancaster bomber pilot. Commissioned in July 1944 Number 179945. Joined 7th Squadron as Flight Lieutenant. Shot down over Germany on 5th April 1945 aged 21. Buried in Becklingen War Cemetery.
I was named after him when I was born in 1946 as both my mother and father worked for the Wadham family and they had all been very kind to them. My father worked for Sim Wadham and A.E. and S.C. Wadham Estate Agents and my mother worked for Mr. Wadham who lived at 155 Park Road as a relief housekeeper when Miss Batt had to have time off."
P/O. Coyne enlisted in the RCAF in December of 1942 and graduated with the rank of Sergeant from No.3 Bombing and Gunnery School, McDonald, Manitoba, in October of 1943. Arriving in England that November, he completed his first tour and received his commission in March 1945. He was awarded his D.F.C. effective April 3rd, just two days prior to his last mission. His citation reads:
"This warrant officer has completed, as air gunner, numerous operations against the enemy in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty"
(1) Coyne Lake in the North West Territories is named after P/O. Coyne.
Fl/Lt. Barry Simpson Herridge Wadham, Becklingen War Cemetery Grave 11 C 9. Son of Simpson Charles and Georgina Ellen Wadham of Cowes, Isle of Wight, England. Grave inscription reads: "On Wings Of Silver I Have Touched The Face Of God".
F/O. S.C. Haralambides, Hanover War Cemetery Grave 10 D 4. Son of Constantinos and Sofia Haralambides and husband of Katina S. Haralambides, of Kaimakli, Nicosia, Cyprus.
Fl/Lt. Ralph Callister Halkyard, Becklingen War Cemetery Grave 11 C 7. Son of Edward Francis Halkyard and Alice Halkyard of Canterbury, Victoria, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "Life More Abundant".
Fl/Sgt. Herbert William Ellis, Becklingen War Cemetery Grave 11 C 11. Son of Oliver William and Amelia Eleanor Ellis of Tottenham, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "April Comes With Deep Regret For One We Loved But Can't Forget".
F/O. Harold Thomas Evans, Becklingen War Cemetery Grave 11 C 10. Son of Harold and Leonora Marie Evans, of Morwell Victoria, Australia.
P/O. Edward Kenneth Coyne, Becklingen War Cemetery Grave 11 C 8. Son of William Percy and Gertrude Elizabeth Coyne of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Fl/Sgt. Henry Minns, Hanover War Cemetery Grave 10 D 2. Son of Henry and Edith Emily Minns of Sidcup, Kent, England. Grave inscription reads: "Peace, Perfect Peace, My Dearest One".
Researched by Colin Bamford, the Canadian researcher for Aircrew Remembered, page is dedicated to all the relatives of the crew. With many thanks to Barry Groves for photo of Mr. Simpson Wadham and housekeeper, Miss Batt, and for photo of Fl/Lt. Wadham.