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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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626 Squadron Crest
25/26.08.1944 626 Squadron Lancaster I LM140 UM:O2 Fg Off. Whetton, RAF Wickenby,

Operation: Rüsselsheim

Date: 25th/26th August 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 626 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: LM140

Code: UM:O2

Base: RAF Wickenby

Location: Possibly East of Bingen, Germany

Pilot: Fg Off. Leonard Whetton 172971 RAFVR Age 31. Killed

Flt Eng: Sgt. Harry William Brotherhood 1892203 RAFVR Age 38. Killed

Nav: Fg Off. Derrick Laycock 152935 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Bomb Aimer: Fg Off. Sidney Brown 152997 RAFVR Age? PoW No: 5854 Camp: Stalag Luft 1, Barth Vogelsang

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Herbert Walter Douglas 1685113 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Peter Corrigan 1087422 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. George Stanley Lowson 1594991 RAFVR Age 33. Killed


The target for this operation - the Opel Works in Rüsselsheim - 412 Lancasters taking part from 1, 3, 6 and 8 Group. Taking off from RAF Wickenby at 20:29 hrs.

Bombing, which lasted some ten minutes had been reported as accurate with the forge and gearbox plants put out of action for several weeks. Some 179 people were killed on the ground.

LM140 was claimed by Lt. Peter Spoden, his 10th Abschuss, from Stab II./NJG6 - 36km North West of target Russelsheim at 4.800m at 01:12 hrs. Note: claim over “Einflug” or outward bound aircraft. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (24 July 1944 - 15 October 1944) Part 4 - Theo Boiten).

The aircraft crashed at Presberg 10 km WNW of Rüdesheim am Rhein.

Fg Off. Sidney Brown managed to bail out of the stricken Lancaster and arrested the following morning, spending the rest of the war as a PoW.

Note: The Lancaster was ordered from Armstrong Whitworth in April 1942 - delivered to 626 Squadron from 300 (P) Squadron on the 2nd June 1944. When lost had only 199 hours flying. On this day 25th August 1944, Paris was surrendered by the German forces.

626 Squadron lost another aircraft and crew during this operation, Lancaster PA989 UM:U2 flown by Fg Off. R.L. Harris RCAF taken PoW with three other crew members. Three crew were killed.

Burial Details

Durnbach War Cemetery - The quality of these photographs shown here can not be fully appreciated when the size is reduced for the web page. (courtesy David Franklin - David has kindly provided us with permission to release high definition copies to relatives) Scroll to foot of the page to see a sample of the quality!

Fg Off. Leonard Whetton. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.B.11-14. Son of William Henry and Elizabeth Ann Whetton; husband of Marjorie Whetton, of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England.

Sgt. Harry William Brotherhood. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.B.11-14. Born in 2nd qtr 1906 in Anerley, Surrey. He was the son of Henry William and Alice (née Turrell) Brotherhood of Bromley. Sgt Brotherhood married Dorothy Freshwater in Croydon in the December 1930 Qtr. They had two children.

Fg Off. Derrick Laycock. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.B.11-14. Son of Frank Joseph and Elizabeth Woodburn Laycock, of Davyhulme, Urmston, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Herbert Walter Douglas. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.B.11-14. Son of Thomas and Lily Douglas, of Aintree, Liverpool, England.

Sgt. Peter Corrigan. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.B.11-14. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Denis Corrigan, of Sacriston, Co. Durham, England.

Sgt. George Stanley Lowson. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.B.11-14. Born in the December 1910 Qtr, he was the son of George and Hannah (née Race) Lowson of Auckland, Co. Durham, England.

For further details our thanks to Janet Eilbeck, daughter of Fg Off. Sidney Brown. To Dave Champion who continues to update our information - further sources as quoted below. Thanks to John Jones for the correction to the German night fighter claim (Sep 2021).

RS 07.09.2021 - Update to German night fighter claim

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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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