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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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john williams
10.09.1942 No 22 O.T.U. Wellington IC R1616 Fl/Sgt. Williams loss

Operation: Düsseldorf

Date: 10th September 1942 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 22 O.T.U.

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: R1616

Code: - ?

Base: R.A.F. Stratford-Upon-Avon

Location: Biervliet, Holland

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John Daniel Williams R/79368 R.C.A.F. Age 30. Killed

Obs: P/O. William Thomas Beilby McBratney J/85161 R.C.A.F. Age 28. Killed (1)

Air/Bmr: Sgt. William Thomas Cranna R/93683 R.C.A.F. Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Herbert Leslie Bell R/94770 R.C.A.F. Age 21. Killed (2)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Raymond Woods Hughes R/99971 R.C.A.F. Age 23. Killed


Took off from Stratford-Upon-Avon at 20.05 hrs to bomb Düsseldorf. A huge force took off - a total of 479 aircraft mad up with 242 Wellington's, 89 Lancaster's, 59 Halifax's, 47 Stirling's, 28 Hampden's and 14 Whitley's. 


             Above left: Fl/Sgt. Williams right: P/O.  McBratney (courtesy Colin Bamford)

The pathfinders marked the target area successfully using the "Pink Pansies" (3) in converted 4,000 lb. bomb casings. The city was hit in all areas apart from the north, also hit was the neighbouring town of Neuss. Reports are that 39 industrial firms in Düsseldorf and a further 13 in Neuss were damaged to the extent that no production could take place for various periods, 8 public buildings were destroyed and 67 damaged. 911 houses were also destroyed, 1,506 seriously damaged and another 8,340 lightly damaged.

On the ground 132 people were killed, made up of 120 in Düsseldorf and 12 in Neuss. A further 11 people were classed as "missing" 2 days after the raid. 19,427 people were made homeless.

The raid took it's toll on the R.A.F. though with 33 aircraft lost. (20 Wellington's, 5 Lancaster's. 4 Stirling's, 3 Halifaxes and 1 Hampden) 60 crewmen were killed, 1 injured and 13 made P.O.W.


              Oblt. Albert Schulz (courtesy Tom Kracker)

Wellington IC R1616 was shot down by Oblt. Albert Schulz from 1./NJG2 at a height of 4,500 mtrs. South West of Biervliet at 23.45hrs. He became a night-fighter ace with a total of 10 kills (plus another during daylight) before he was killed on the 30th January 1944 during combat with B-17'S over Bodenwerder.

(3) "Pink Pansies" an incendiary bomb - 2,800 lbs - used as a target marker made up from Benzol, rubber and phosphorous)


              Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery (courtesy C.W.G.C.)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. John Daniel Williams. Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery Row C. Grave 25. Son of Percy and Madeline Daisy Williams; husband of Margaret Mary Williams, of Verdun, Province of Quebec, Canada.

P/O. William Thomas Beilby McBratney. Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery Row C. Grave 27. Son of Howard A. and Edith G. McBratney, of Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada.

Sgt. William Thomas Cranna. Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery Row C. Grave 24. Son of Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Cranna of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada

Sgt. Charles Herbert Leslie Bell. Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery Row C. Grave 30. Son of William Herbert and Florence Kate Bell, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Raymond Woods Hughes. Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery Row C. Grave 26. Son of Thomas James Hughes and Eva Lydia Green Hughes, of Kent Bridge, Ontario, Canada.

Researched by Colin Bamford. With thanks to; Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses" Vol 7, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt (Bomber Command War diaries) Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - "Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and  2", Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


(1) McBratney Lake in Manitoba is named after P/O McBratney

(2) Bell Coulee in Saskatchewan is named after Sgt. Bell

Acknowledgements: 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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', 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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