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Operations Boards for 626 Squadron



















WICKENBY DIARY June 1944

12 and 626 Squadrons

 

 

                                                     12 Squadron                         626 Squadron

 

Operational hours                               1220.50                               1183.03

Bombs dropped                              1291.03 tons                 1272.55 tons

Position on photo. ladder.                  4th                                    1st

Average landing times.                   1st Wickenby                       1.58 mins.

 

                                                      8th Ludford                          2.21 mins.




Awards Gazetted -

Immediate D.F.M.         626 Squadron   - Sgt. L. E. Reynolds

 

Non Immediate D.F.C.  12 Squadron

F/L R.B. Leigh.

F/L P.J. Moyes.

W/O J.S. Minogue

S/L J.G. Woolatt.

P/O C. A. Edwards.

P/O H. T. Turner.

P/O P.R. Milton.

P/O D.W.J. Butler.

W/C D.M.H. Craven.

 

Non Immediate D.F.C.   626 Squadron

P/O P.W. Moore.

P/O J.S. Henderson.

F/O W. Bentley.

P/O T.J. 0'Dea.

F/O N. Knight.

P/O S.C. Hodges.

W/O J. McKean.

W/O J.E. Atherton.

W/O E.R. Mounsey.

F/O R.H. Tredwin.

P/O F.L. Welford.

P/O D.J. Henty.


Non Immediate D.F.M.   12 Squadron

Sgt. F.A. Attwood.

Sgt. C.F. Solly.

Sgt. W.G. Smith.

Sgt. J. Ellis.

Sgt. K.E.MacDonnell.

F/Sgt J. A.  Baker.

 

Sgt. W.J.H.Edwards.

 


Non Immediate D.F.M.   626 Squadron

Sgt. C. Fairbairn

F/Sgt T.J. McLeod.





News from Group

 

The second Front commenced on the 6th June with landings on the beaches of Normandy.

 

The tonnage of bombs dropped by 1 Group this month exceeds the total weight for the whole of 1941 and 1942.

 

All Flight Engineers to note that it has been decided that the Flight Engineer will now replace the bomb aimer in the capacity of Pilot’s Assistant in the Lancaster, and will receive training in the Link Trainer.

 

Publicity

On the 15th June Messrs. B. Barr (Evening News) and James Stuart with photographer (Evening Standard) flew across country from Binbrook to Wickenby.

 

Extract from Bomber Command report.

Losses on Lancaster’s.

Taken over the whole operational force, losses show a higher missing rate on the second six trips, and a lower missing rate on the last six trips of a first tour.

 

Emergency landings at Woodbridge and Manston for May

 

 

Technical failures

Damaged by enemy action

Short of petrol

Woodbridge

25

35

44

Manston

74

64

392

 

Manston was mainly used by the U.S.A.A.F.  On one morning 19 Squadrons of fighters landed short of fuel.


29th June 1944

 

Weather

Fair to cloudy with slight showers.

 

Operations

29 Lancasters were detailed against a flying bomb launching site at Siracourt. They were part of a force of 286 Lancaster’s and 19 Mosquitoes attacking flying bomb launching sites and stores.

 

12 Squadron

P/O Honour, F/O Landon, P/O Leuty, F/O Vernon, P/O Underwood, F/O Owens, P/O Pappas, P/O Trotter, F/S Turner, P/O Pollard, P/O Thompson, P/O Downing, P/O Hancox, F/S Lowry

 

626 Squadron

P/O Jones,  F/O Hicks, S/L Ravenhill, P/O Wood, P/O Walbank, P/O Orr, P/O Gauvreau, F/O Hawkes, F/O Spruston, P/O Hewitt, P/O Smith, P/O Thorpe, W/O Tarbuck, P/O Bennett, F/O Bennet.

 

Take off commenced at 11.15hrs,

 

Weather

En route                          Good until within a few miles of the target.

Target.                             5 to 7/l0ths cloud with tops about 14,000’.

 

Bomb load.           13,000lbs.  Mixed 1,000lb and 500lb H.E.

 

Fuel load.             l,450galls.

 

Opposition

Intense and accurate heavy flak from French coast to the target.  No enemy fighters (Escort - 11 Group Spitfires).

 

Marking and assessment of attack.

PFF Mosquito Oboe marking red T.I.'s cascading from 4,000’ on to the Master Bombers yellow T.I.'s cascading from 3,000’.

The Master Bomber F/L Clarke was shot down dropping his yellow T.I.’s 3 miles West of the target. This resulted in scattered bombing in the early stages of the attack.

Results were difficult to observe due to the weather, but an explosion was reported at 14.02hrs with smoke rising to 4,000’.

 

Reported missing

12/A                      LL91O                                                Crash site – Troisvaux.   The aircraft was abandoned in the air on fire.

Pilot.                     P/O K.A. Underwood                        Killed

Nav.                       Sgt. H.J. Heavener                          Killed

W. T.                     Sgt. D.W. O’Brien

B.A.                       F/O L.L. Boyes

Eng.                       Sgt. J.F. Marshall

M.U.G.                 Sgt. H. Hall

R.G.                      Sgt. G.H. Beevers                              Killed

 

 


30th June 1944

 

Weather

Fair to fine, becoming showery in the afternoon, visibility good.

 

Operations

31 Lancasters were detailed against railway yards at Vierzon.  An important junction for through traffic to the Germans in Normandy.  They were part of a force of 118 Lancasters

 

12 Squadron

F/L Gray, P/O Lowry, P/O Pappas, P/O Hancox, P/O Trotter, S/L Corry, F/O Vernon, P/O Thompson, W/O Dyre-Matthews, F/S Turner, P/O Honor, P/O Pollard, F/O Owens.

 

626 Squadron

P/O Wood, P/O Wallbank, F/O Hicks, P/O Dawson, F/L Shanley, P/O Orr, P/O Pocock, F/O Spruston, P/O Thorpe, F/O Hawkes, W/O Tarbuck, P/O Jones, S/L Nielson, F/L Breckenridge, F/O Bennet, P/O Whetton, P/O Gauvreau, P/O Collens.

 

Take off commenced at 2l.5lhrs.

 

Weather

En route.               Cloudy with 10/10ths cloud on return.

Target.                  3/10ths cloud with base at 10,000’. Slight haze.

 

Bomb load.           13,000lbs mixed l,000lb and 500lb H.E.

 

Fuel load.             l,450galls.

 

Opposition

Slight light flak with one searchlight which was shot out by the first marker. Several Gruppen of fighters had been assembled between Dieppe and Rouen for 15 minutes but they were given plots that suggested that the bombers were much further East. Consequently our aircraft reached the target without much opposition. After we had been over enemy territory for 54 mins the fighters were ordered to Orleans and apparently identified the target by the flares and fires. They made contact by moonlight and held the stream for 80 miles on the return route, when most of our losses occurred.

 

Marking and assessment of attack.

The aiming point was illuminated with flares and marked with impact Yellows backed up by red spot fires. The T.I.’s fell to the North East of the yards but the Red Spot fires were accurate and bombing was concentrated on them. The Master Bomber instructed the main force to bomb between two sets of T.I.’s. At 01.19hrs a broadcast was heard on the R.T., not the Master Bombers voice but using his call sign, instructed the main force to cease bombing and go home. No code word for “Stop Bombing  was used so the broadcast was ignored.

Note. A Canadian voice interjected over the broadcast telling the German what to do in a most ungentlemanly fashion.

Bombing appeared to be extremely accurate and results showed that all the through lines were cut, much of the rolling stock, and two thirds of the locomotive depot were destroyed..

Residential and business property to the East of the target was severely damaged.

 

Abortive ­

626/U2                 P/O B.A. Collens                Electrical failure.

 

Damaged

12/M                     W/O I. Dyre-Matthews      Starboard rudder holed by light flak.

 

Combats

626/U2                 P/O J.Y.N. Wailbank

0135 hrs 4752N/0108E Homeward

A ME109 was sighted on the Starboard bow, it passed astern and attacked from the Starboard quarter below from 400yds.

The M.U.G. Sgt. G.M. Derrington instructed corkscrew Port and fired 200 rounds. The enemy aircraft did not return fire, broke away and was lost to view.

 

12/Y                      P/O R.S. Hancox

0114 hrs 4712N/0155E 8,000’.

Attacked by a single engine unidentified aircraft. Trace appeared from dead astern and the R.G. opened fire in the direction of the tracer and ordered corkscrew Starboard.  There was an explosion in the vicinity of the enemy aircraft which was lost in the evasive action.

 

12/P                      P/O L. Pappas

1st Combat. 0121 hrs 4720N/0145E 9,000’.

A JU88 was sighted at 500yds on the Port quarter down by the R.G. Sgt. B.C. Swanson. The enemy aircraft opened fire and the R.G. ordered corkscrew Port opening fire at the same time.  The Port engine of the JU88 caught fire as it broke away, but it returned to the attack from the Starboard quarter level opening fire, The M.U.G. Sgt. R. K. Redmond ordered corkscrew Starboard and opened fire followed by the R.G. The JU88 was enveloped in flames and was seen to hit the ground by the Pilot and the Flight Engineer.

 

12/P                      P/O L. Pappas

2nd Combat. 0200 hrs 4925N/0035E 8,000’.

In the vicinity of fighter flares attacked by a ME110 from astern up which opened fire from 400yds. The M.U.G. Sgt. R. K. Redmond ordered corkscrew Port at the same time opening fire with 50 rounds.  Our A/C dived into clouds and the enemy A/C was not seen again.


Reported missing

12/K                     ND842                                               Crash site - Magny

Pilot                      P/O  L.J. Honor                                 Killed

Nav.                       F/S  D.J. Evans                                   Killed

W.T.                      Sgt. J.E. Xassey                                 Killed

B.A.                       F/S J. Kawucha                                  Killed

Eng.                       Sgt. T.W. Willis                                 Killed

M.U.G   .              Sgt. J. Gill                                          Killed

R.G.                      F/S G. Chaffe                                     Killed

 

12/S                      JB462                                                 Crash site -S.E.Laferte/S.W.Orleans

Pilot                      P/O D.H. Pollard                               Killed

Nav.                       W/O N.H. Wettlaufer                       Killed

W.T.                      Sgt. S.O. Reneau                                Killed

B.A.                       F/O F. H. Moxham                            Killed

Eng.                       Sgt. A.R. Alberry                               Killed

M.U.G   .              F/S  D. Sebestyen                               Killed

R.G.                      Sgt. J.R. Cowell                                 Killed

 

626/L2                 ME774                                               Crash site - Vierzon

Pilot.                     P/O W.F. Pocock                              Killed

Nav.                       F/O L.J. Bernaski                             Killed

W.T.                      Sgt. N.D. Bishop                                Killed

B.A.                       Sgt. J.O. Smith                                  Killed

Eng.                       Sgt. H.C. Greb                                   Killed

M.U.G.                 Sgt. J.N. Gordon                                  Killed

R.G.                      Sgt. A.C. Earker                                 Killed

 

626/E2                 ND952                                               Crash site - Theillay Loir-Et-Cher

Pilot.                     P/O A. Orr                                          Killed

Nav.                       F/S  B.G.J. Solberg                            Wounded              P.O.W.

W.T        .              F/S W.G. Hammond                          Evaded?

B.A.                       Sgt. C.E.P. Fisher                              Wounded              P.O.W.

Eng.                       Sgt. T. White                                    Killed

M.U.G.                 Sgt. S. Stone                                       Killed

R.G.                      Sgt. D.C. Brown                                 Killed

 

The following report on the loss of 626/E2 (ND952) was made by the W.T. operator on 20th January 1945, so it is assumed that he evaded.

The night was brilliantly clear with a half moon on the Starboard beam. A moderate amount of light flak with no searchlights was observed ahead as the aircraft flew straight and level at 7,000’ on the last leg into the target.

 

The W.T. operator was in the astrodome to keep a watch for other aircraft. No watch was being kept on “Fishpond”.

 

As the Lancaster approached the point of bomb release It was struck by a stream of cannon shells, raking the underside of the fuselage from end to end.

 

The W.T. operator was wounded in the left thigh by two shell fragments, the bomb aimer was wounded in the scalp, and the navigator was wounded In the abdomen. It is not known if the remainder of the crew were wounded, but they did not appear to be immobilised, The intercom was still working, but there was no report of the origin of the cannon fire. The fragments removed from the W.T. operators leg were thought to be 30mm or greater, and considering the brightness of the illumination it was unlikely that a fighter attack would pass unnoticed.  It was therefore thought that light flak was the most probable cause.

 

Immediately after the explosion flames began to stream into the fuselage through the bomb release slots in the floor. The covers having been blown off.  The fuselage was soon full of flame and dense white smoke from burning hydraulic fluid, and the fire spread rapidly along the floor both above and in front of the bomb bay.

 

A few seconds after the aircraft was struck the pilot gave the order “Prepare to abandon aircraft”. It was obvious to the crew that the fires were beyond hope of being extinguished. The main turret supply was clearly torn, and the fire was as far forward as the pilots seat.  In addition the Port undercarriage was hanging down. Within a short time the order “Abandon aircraft” was given.

 

The controls and engines were apparently undamaged and the pilot was able to hold the aircraft in a gentle dive while the crew put on their parachutes. The bomb aimer, so far as known, made no attempt to jettison the bombs, but opened and threw out the front escape hatch.

 

The W.T. operator opened the rear door, where he was joined by the two gunners and the navigator, who had been badly burnt on the face trying to reach the front of the aircraft. The W.T. operator then removed his helmet and dived head first from the rear door. He was the first to leave the aircraft within two or three minutes of the onset of the trouble.

 

He made a good landing only a short distance from the target.  He saw nothing further of the aircraft after leaving it.  As it was burning furiously he assumed it had crashed soon after he had left it.  He was told by the French that it was completely wrecked by the detonation of the bombs on crashing, and that four bodies had been removed from the wreckage.

 

Later he met the navigator and bomb aimer and they reported that the aircraft was still under control when they left it, and could not explain the failure of the rest of the crew to follow them, The navigator left by the rear door and the bomb aimer by the front hatch, both without difficulty despite being wounded.

 

The bomb aimer had the misfortune to lose both his boots and his false teeth in the descent.

 

 

Visiting aircraft

Oxford HN371                   F/L Jackson                         Cranwell

Anson R3340                      2nd/O Haseldina

Magister T6423                  W/O Lampkin                     West Raynham

Oxford X729                      W/O Kogan                         Defford

Spitfire 4E-L                      F/S Evans                             Ingham

 


July 1944 Diary


                                                                  12 Squadron                        626 Squadron

 

OperationalHours                                            1096.05                               1183.03Bombs Dropped                                                          970.81 tons                         970.97 tons  Position on photograph ladder                          10th                                      11th  

Average landing times.

Night                                                                  

1st Elsham                           1.48 mins.                                                                           

2nd Wickenby                      1.15 mins.

Day                                                                    

1st Wickenby                       1.11 mins. 

 

 

Awards Gazetted 

 

Immediate D.F.C.12 Squadron

P/O L. Pappas.

 

Special Commendation12 Squadron

F/L  J.H. Thomas 

News from GroupGunnery

Rear Gunners beware.  A Rear Gunner from 300 Squadron was blasted from his turret, and hung head downwards for over an hour tied by a rope that was fixed inside the aircraft.The greatest number of rounds expended in one engagement this month was 2,400.  The rear gunner fired 2,000 rounds and the mid upper gunner 400 rounds.  The enemy aircraft was not damaged.

The average score for gunners in the group against drogues amounted only to 4.9% over the past three months. This being in ideal daylight conditions.  Query. What is their shooting like at night?

 

Publicity  F/L Gray of Wickenby broadcast to America on the 5th of July.

 

 

1st July 1944 

Weather Cloudy, becoming fair with showers.

 

Operations 23 Lancasters were detailed for a night attack.  Cancelled at 10.45hrs.  

Visiting aircraft Oxford X729       W/O Kogan          Defford 

 

2nd July 1944 

Weather Cloudy becoming fair, showers later.

 

Operations 25 Lancasters were detailed against a flying bomb site at Doaleger.  They were part of a force of 286 Lancasters and 19 Mosquitoes attacking 2 flying bomb sites. 

12 SquadronF/L Gray, F/O Landon, W/O Dyre-Matthews, W/O Holbrook, P/O Pappas, W/O Thompson, P/O Lowry, F/O Vernon, F/O Owens, P/O Hancox, and P/O Magee.

 

626 SquadronP/O Whetton, P/O Wood, P/O Bennett, W/O Tarbuck, P/O Gauvreau, P/O Campbell, P/O Dawson, P/O Walbank, F/O Spruston, F/L Foote, P/O Collens, F/L Shanley, P/O Smith, F/O Hicks.

 

Take off commenced at 12.14 hrs. 

Weather En route                8/10ths to 10/10ths cloud with tops between 7,000’ and 10,000’.Target.                  A large hole in the cloud enabled crews to bomb visually. 

Bomb load            13,000lbs. Mixed 1,000lb and 5001b H.E. 

Opposition 2 or three light flak guns in the target area.  Considerable flak in the Abbeville area on the homeward route.  No enemy fighters were seen.  Crews reported favourably on the fighter cover. 

Marking and assessment of attack. The Master Bomber instructed the force to bomb blind on D.F.  Three minutes before H hour these instructions were cancelled and crews were instructed to bomb the T.I.'s.  Bombing appeared concentrated, with smoke rising to 1,500’. 

Damaged.626/U2                 P/O J.Y.N. Walbank           Hit by flak. 

 

 

Visiting aircraft.N6345 Oxford                    S/L Whittet          1 Group H.Q. X729 Oxford                      W/O Kogan          Defford 

 

3rd July 1944 

Weather Cloudy with slight rain and drizzle In the morning.

 

Operations 23 Lancasters were detailed for a night attack on Southern France. Cancelled at 2045hrs.

 

 

4th July 1944 

Weather Continuous rain, moderate visibility.

 

The crew of 12/R are coming back from Langford Lodge in Ireland. An American ferry plane will bring them as far as Burton Wood. 

Operations 22 Lancasters were detailed against railway yards at Les Aubrais near Orleans.  They were part of a force of 151 Lancasters plus 6 markers.  1 Group instruction

 

“These aircraft are to be manned by the best crews”. 

12 Squadron W/O Dyre-Matthews, P/O Thompson, S/L Corry, F/S Turner, P/O Trotter, F/O Owens, F/O Vernon, P/O Downing, F/O Landon, P/O Hancox, and W/O Holbrook.

 

626 Squadron P/O Thorpe, P/O Jones, F/L Foote, F/O Bennet, P/O Wood, P/O Gauvreau, F/O Hicks, P/O Campbell, F/O Hawkes, P/O Dawson, and F/O Spruston.

 

Take off commenced at 21.47hrs. 

Weather En route                8/10ths to 10/10ths cloud over England, dispersing over the Channel and forming layer cloud with tops at 10,000ft and base at 8,000ft.Target                   Conditions the same as en route, visibility good. 

Bomb load            9,000lbs. 18 X 5001b H.E 

Opposition    A good deal of light flak with fighter activity

 

Marking and assessment of attack. Target illuminated by flares. Initial marking by green T.I.'s was considerably East of the aiming point. Red spot fires were then dropped and assessed by the Master Bomber to be within 100yds of the aiming point.

P.R.U. assessment. All through lines are cut, and a large quantity of rolling stock destroyed or damaged.  Overhead electric cable standards were also destroyed. 

 

Abortive 626/P2                 F/O A.C. Hicks                   D.R. Compass U/S 

Damaged 626/H2                 P/O A. P. Jones                  Hit by flak 

Combat 626/S2                  P/O A.H. Wood 02.19hrs 14,000’ 4901N/0131W Homeward.

The rear gunner Sgt. D.A. Joss spotted a JU88 at 800yds on the Starboard quarter down.  He instructed the pilot to corkscrew, and opened fire with a burst of 150 rounds when the enemy A/C was at 600yds. The fighter broke away on the Port quarter down at 400yds and was lost to view. The M.U.G. never sighted the enemy A/C so could not open fire.  

Reported missing 12/U     ND627      Crash site - Rue Eaciers. St Mark, Orleans. Pilot  F/S H. S. S. Turner,  Nav. W/O E.E.Vipond                Killed W.T     Sgt. H. Idle                          Killed  B.A.                       F/S E. GettyEng.                       Sgt. W. Marshall                 Wounded P.O.W.  See M.I.9 report.M.U.G.                 Sgt. J.P. Ewing                    KilledR.G.                      Sgt. F.A. Forster                 Killed 

 

M.I.9 report.  Sgt. W. Marshall                 Flight Engineer 12/U.        Dated 26th September 1945.  

I was shot down on my third operation during a night raid on Orleans.  I baled out successfully in the outskirts of Orleans, although wounded.  I never saw any other member of my crew until repatriation. 

As I walked along the road I met a party of French people who had been watching the raid.  A Frenchman and his wife took me to their house where I stayed until the morning of the 6th July 1044. Whilst there, a man called claiming to have liaised between the French and Americans during the last war.  He provided me with an identity card and a bicycle.  

A guide provided by the same man accompanied me to Orgeres on the Orleans-­Chartres road.  I stayed with a lady until the morning of the 10th July 1944.  She had already housed Major Mahurin of the A.A.F. who subsequently got home. 

A car driven by a young man accompanied by a red haired girl, both about 29, names unknown, took me to Chartres. En route we picked up two American airmen, Sgt. Horrigan and Lt. Smith. At Chartres we picked up F/O Scullion R.C.A.F. and Sgt. Watmough R.A.F.  We were then taken to St. Cloud railway station. 

We were then picked up by another car driven by a fattish man aged 45 to 50, wearing horned rimmed glasses and speaking good English with a German accent. He said he came from Pasedena. He drove us to a house in Paris where we joined six more airmen who moved out half an hour later. We were told that we would be moved out the next day. 

The following day we were driven about two miles and placed in a lorry.  The lorry was surrounded by civilians armed with sub-machine guns.  The flaps of the lorry were let down and the man from Pasedena told us to keep our heads inside. We were then taken to Gestapo Headquarters.  We were 16 in the lorry. 

I feel that our betrayal went back as far as the young man and the red haired girl, but cannot be sure. 

After being slapped and accused of being saboteurs, and warned that we would be shot, we were taken to Fresnes (Civil prison) at about 2230hrs on the 11th June.  I was put into solitary confinement until the 15th August 1944. During this time I was interrogated three times down in the building. 

I was moved to Buchenwald Concentration Camp from 20th August to 21st October.  Then to Stalag Luft 3 from 21st October 1944 to 10th April 1945. 

On the 27th January 1945 we marched from Sagan to Spremburg, thence by train to Tarmstedt. 

We were rescued on 2nd May 1945 by the 11th Armoured Division. 

Details of ill treatment at Fresnes and Buchenwalde were on separate reports. 

 

5th July 1944 

WeatherFair to cloudy.  Visibility moderate. 

Operations22 Lancasters were detailed against marshalling yards at Dijon.  They were part of a force of 154 Lancasters. 

12 SquadronP/O Downing, F/O Thompson, P/O Trotter, W/O Dyre-Matthews, F/O Owens, P/O Lowry, W/O Holbrook, P/O Pappas, P/O Hancox, F/O Vernon, F/O Landon, W/C Nelson.

 

626 Squadron W/O Tarbuck, S/L Neilson, P/O Walbank, P/O Collens, P/O Wood, P/O Hicks, P/O Bennett, F/L Shanley, P/O Thorpe, F/O Wilson.

 

Take off commenced at 20.56hrs. 

Weather10/10th cloud with tops at 7,000’ to mid channel when the cloud broke up, and with perfect visibility, map reading was possible all the way to the target.

 

Bomb load            9,500lbs. 8 X 1,000lb and 3 X 500lb. 

Opposition A good deal of light flak in the target area, which considerably troubled the Master Bomber.

Slight night fighter activity over the target, and as far as Tours on the homeward route.

 

Marking and assessment of attack. Initial marking. Flares at H-10 then impact yellow T.I.’s backed up by red spot fires.  Initial yellow T.I.’s were dropped blind on H2S and were found to be 1 mile North West of the target. The Deputy Master Bomber arriving in the target area before the Master Bomber, dropped one red and one yellow T. I. within 50yds of the aiming point. The Master Bomber then backed up with red spot fires 200yds North West of the aiming point.  Bombing appeared to be accurate, though some crews bombed the original markers that fell in the town.  P.R.U. assessed that all through railway lines were cut, and the locomotive roundhouse and wagon workshops destroyed. 

Damaged626/H2                 F/O W.D. Wilson                              Starboard elevator and fin holed.  Elevator trim tabs shot off.  

Combats626/S2                  P/O A.H. Wood02.00hrs 6,000’ Target area on bomb run.

The rear gunner Sgt. D.A. Joss sighted a single engine fighter at 400yds on the Starboard quarter 400’ below.  He opened fire with a burst of 150 rounds, but as the flak was bursting close to the rear turret was unable to ascertain damage to the enemy A/C or see it break away.  The M.U.G. was unsighted and did not open fire. 

626/H2                 P/O W.D. Wilson  00.42hrs 8,000’ 4712N/0110E Homeward.

The rear gunner Sgt. W.T. Woodhouse sighted a JU88 at 800yds on the Port quarter 500’ up. He instructed the pilot to corkscrew Port when the enemy A/C approached to 600yds, and opened fire with a burst of 50 rounds. The fighter broke off at 400yds on the Starboard quarter down and was lost to view.

 

626/H2                 F/O W.D. Wilson 00.50hrs 8,000’ 4712N/0030E Homeward.

The rear gunner Sgt. W.T. Woodhouse sighted a single engine fighter at 800yds approaching on the Port quarter. He instructed the pilot to corkscrew Port and opened fire with a burst of 400 rounds. The enemy A/C broke off at 400yds on the Starboard quarter down and was lost to view.

At the same time that evasive action commenced the M.U.G. P/S F. L. Robertson sighted a JU88 flying parallel on the Starboard beam at 800yds with navigation lights burning.  He fired a burst of 50 rounds and the Ju88 broke away and was lost to view. 

 

626/G2                 P/O D.R.B. Thorpe 02.47hrs 8,000’ 4658N/0205E Homeward

The rear gunner Sgt. R.H. Cross sighted a ME21O approaching from the Port bow. The enemy A/C passed overhead and broke away on the Port quarter up. It then approached and both gunners opened fire at 500yds with moderate bursts. The rear gunner instructed the pilot to corkscrew Port. The fighter broke away at 300yds without returning fire.

 

Various crews reported that flak was apparently too heavy to maintain target marking.  The Master Bomber requested his deputy to back up. The deputy replied he could not get in.  The Master Bomber then ordered “Bomb where you can”. 

 

Route Base-Upper Heyford-Bridport-4910N/0255W-4819N/0037W-4713N/0005E-4649N/0322E­-4727N/ 0450E-Target-4712N/0510E-4649N/0322E-4713N/0005E-4819N/0037W-4910N/0255W-­Bridport-Upper Heyford-Base. 

Visiting Aircraft Spitfire 4EX                       W/0 Trinca                          InghamHurricane 4ER                    F/O Jones                            Ingham 

 

7th July 1944 

WeatherCloudy with intermittent rain in the morning, fair later.

 

Operations30 Lancasters were detailed against troops and armour at Caen.  They were part of a force of 283 Lancasters, 164 Halifaxes, and 20 Mosquitoes. 

12 SquadronW/O Dyre-Matthews, P/O Pappas, P/O Hancox, P/O Farfan, P/O Downing, P/O Lowry, F/O Vernon, F/O Landon, S/L Corry, P/O Trotter, W/O Watson, P/O Shorney, F/O Thompson.

 

626 SquadronP/O Jones, P/O Whetton, S/L Neilson, P/O Gauvreau, P/O Lofthouse, W/O Tarbuck, P/O Wood, F/O Hawkes, P/O Oram, F/O Wilson, F/O Hicks, P/O Bennett, P/O Thorpe, F/L Foote, P/O Walbank, P/O Collens, and F/L Breckenridge.

 

Take off commenced at 19.10hrs. 

WeatherEn route                7/10ths to 8/10ths cloud with tops at 12,000’ and base at 5,000’ until nearing the French coast.Target                   Small amounts of broken cloud with base at 7,000’. 

Bomb load            13,000lbs. Mixed l,000lb and 500lb HE. 

Opposition Intense heavy and light flak was encountered.  No enemy fighters were active. 

Marking and assessment of attackMarking. Mosquitoes will mark with Red T.I.'s from H-4 to H+12.  P.F.F. will drop Yellow T.I.’s bursting at 5,000’ leaving rails of white smoke.  Marking was on time and accurate.  Bombs straddled the markers, and it was apparent that a raid of  outstanding success was achieved. 

Abortive626/B2                 F/O R.C. Hawkes                Port inner engine U/S. 

Damaged626/Q2                 P/O R.J. Gauvreau              Aircraft holed in several places by heavy flak in the target area. 

626/D2                 F/O A.C. Hicks                   Mid upper turret perspex and front windscreen holed by light flak in the target area.  

626/F2                  P/O R.S. Bennett                Perspex in front of pilot holed by light flak in the target area. 

 

12/Q                     P/O E.K. Farfan                  Nose perspex and Starboard inner engine cowl holed by light flak over the target. 

12/V                      P/O A.E. Lowry                  Holes in front perspex, chunk out of propeller, and holes in fuselage and wings, by light flak over the target. 

 

l2/J                        P/O H.F. Shorney               Holed in Port side of rear turret by flak over the target. 

Reported missing 626/A2                 LM112                                Crash site - English Channel.

Pilot      P/O J.C. Oram      Rescued from sea. Nav.  Sgt. J.B. Bright   Rescued from sea.              W.R. member No.354 W.T. F/S O. H. Just      Rescued from sea.    W.R. member No.456B.A. F/S L.S. Curtain   Rescued from sea.  Eng.   Sgt. T.E.Jenkins  Rescued from sea.   W.R. member No.378 M.U.G.  Sgt. J.W. Wood  Killed.  R.G. Sgt. F.J. Webb Killed 

RouteBase-5130N/0050W-5030N/0020W-4940N/0035W-Target-4908N/0021W-4907N/0035W­-4950N/0055W-5030N/0030W-5130N/0110W-Base 

S/L J.A. Neilson completed his 2nd tour. 

F/L W. Breckenridge completed his 1st tour. 

 

Message from 2nd Army Headquarters“The heavy bombing that took place this evening was a wonderfully impressive show.  The 2nd Army would like appreciation and thanks passed to all crews”. 

Station narrative relating to the loss of 626 Squadron UM-A2. 

Firstly it is interesting to relate that P/O Oram was evacuated from Singapore in March 1942 in a Short Empire Flying Boat. This was shot down by a Zero fighter off the North West shores of Australia. Fortunately his swimming prowess enabled him to swim ashore after the aircraft crash landed in the sea. 

The Lancaster reached the target without incident, and at 21.09hrs the bombs were released from 6,000’ on an excellent concentration of Red T.I.'s.  This was the first operational mission that the crew had carried out together, though they had each had one previous trip. 

Flak appeared to be very heavy, especially to the South West of Caen.  Immediately the bombs were released the captain turned off to avoid these heavy flak defences. Suddenly a sharp crack was felt underneath the aircraft which tore a hole in the wireless operator’s seat. The wireless operator believed he had been hit in the foot, which became strangely numb.  He had in fact stopped a fragment of shrapnel with his boot, although no bodily injury was caused. 

Despite the unpleasant thud the performance of the aircraft did not convey to the captain that any serious damage had been caused.  The bomb aimer however reported “Bomb doors not closed”. The captain reselected a couple of times and finally instructed the bomb aimer to use emergency air.  This method proved abortive. 

A few seconds later the mid upper gunner reported holes in the fin, rudder, and tail plane. The navigator then reported that he thought that petrol was swilling around inside the aircraft.  Simultaneously the wireless operator reported that hydraulic fluid was emerging from beneath him.  The flight engineer then inspected the header tank and found it intact. 

The captain had by now levelled out and was heading for the coast.  Below and to Starboard at 22.02hrs a Lancaster was seen with its Port inner engine on fire and apparently out of control.  Before it was lost to view it appeared to be once again under control, and the fire had died away. 

As he was now a satisfactory distance from the Caen area and no longer receiving the attention of the German gunners, the captain decided to make a detailed check of the aircraft.  To his dismay he saw that outboard of the Port outer engine there was a jagged hole of 8 to 10 inches diameter with a flicker of flame, and as he believed the petrol tank to be on fire ordered an emergency jump.  The crew with the exception of the rear gunner acknowledged the instruction and started to act upon it.  The mid upper gunner asked if he should jump from the rear hatch to which the captain replied “Yes go now”.  The bomb aimer immediately donned his chute and jettisoned the front hatch. 

The aircraft was by this time 2 to 3 miles off the French coast and the captain remembering that the rear gunner could not swim, and that the mid upper gunner was a poor swimmer decided to turn to Port to give the a chance to bale out over land.  Actually his intention was to put in “George” and head the aircraft towards the German lines, in the hope that it would crash there and not endanger Allied lives. Unfortunately “George” was U/S so the aircraft continued turning so that it headed towards the Channel again. 

The bomb aimer, flight engineer, and navigator were now queuing up to bale out, and the wireless operator intimated that he was going to the rear door to bale out. 

By this time the fire in the Port wing had the appearance of a blowlamp, emitting a fierce red jet of flame.  To the captain’s dismay he found a similar fire on the Starboard wing.  Despite the damage, the engines were still behaving normally and the captain’s one concern was to abandon the aircraft so that it would clear the numerous ships off shore, He therefore left the engines on full power. 

As previously stated the rear gunner had not replied to the order to abandon aircraft, and in the light of the report from the mid upper gunner of the damage to fin, rudder, and tail plane he assumed he had been hit by shrapnel. 

By now the aircraft was becoming difficult to control, and the captain realised that it was high time he left.  He got out of his seat, controlling the aircraft with his left hand, and buckled on his chute with his right hand.  He reports the operation was one of the most complicated he had ever undertaken.  He repeatedly called the rear gunner on the intercom.  With parachute on he had a good look round to see the aircraft was untenanted, felt confident the aircraft would clear the shipping, centralised the controls and baled out through the forward hatch at 3,000’. 

For reasons of clarity the crew reports are separate after baling out. 

Captain After leaving the aircraft the parachute opened normally, but unfortunately his boots fell off.  He eventually landed in the sea just beyond the outer line of shipping without any violent impact.  He was picked up by a small launch after only 2 mins. in the briny, and transferred to the Albatross (A Navy Depot Ship) where he was put to bed in the sick bay with numerous hot water bottles and plenty of Navy rum.  The Navy fitted him out with clothes, and he was transferred by Air Sea Rescue launch to Normandy, where he spent the night at a Royal Marines establishment.  There was a particularly vicious air attack during the night, but he had been so liberally supplied with rum that it hardly mattered.  He returned to England the following day by Anson.  The Lancaster incidentally had performed numerous evolutions before hitting the sea clear of the shipping. 

Navigator  Landed in the sea about 2 miles off shore and was picked up by an A.R.L. after 2 mins.  Eventually joining the captain ashore and returning to this country in the same aircraft. 

Bomb Aimer Landed in the sea 400 to 600yds off shore and was rescued after 2 mins by a Marine Landing Craft.  After excellent treatment by the Marines he was handed over to the R.A.F. in Normandy, and spent the night in a S/L's tent erected in a ditch.  He also returned in the same Anson as the captain and navigator. 

Flight Engineer Baled out without incident and landed in the sea near the wireless operator.  His experiences thereafter being the same. 

Wireless Operator Upon receiving orders to bale out, acknowledged them, took up his logs, and with the assistance of the oil in the aircraft slithered to the main door.  There he found both gunners (Off the intercom) with their chutes on and obviously dazed, and unable to make up their minds to jump.  He shouted at them to get going but they made no move.  He then thought that his good example might have the desired effect on them.  He therefore jumped, his parachute only opening after he had clawed off its cover.  He does not remember hitting the water or seeing any shipping, but his dousing revived him, and he was picked up within a minute or so by a landing craft and transferred to the cruiser Adventure.  He spent a very disturbed night on the cruiser, his sleep being punctuated by a series of violent explosions.  The personnel of the cruiser did everything they could to make him comfortable.  He was landed at Calshot by an Air Sea Rescue launch. 

For this operation P/O J.C. Oram was immediately awarded the D.F.C. 

Visiting aircraft Lancaster SR-Y                  F/O Macki            Ludford Magna 

 

8th July 1944 

Weather Fair, good visibility.

 

20 Lancaster’s were detailed against Nantes.  Cancelled at 12.50hrs. 

Visiting aircraft Anson NK670          F/S Barber     Bognor 

This aircraft landed at 1920hrs, carrying P/O J.C. Oram and two of his crew. 

 

9th July 1944 

WeatherFair in morning, cloudy with continuous rain in afternoon.

 

 

10th July 1944 

Weather Cloudy with intermittent rain in the morning, showers in afternoon.

 

27 Lancaster’s were detailed against Revigny Marshalling Yards.  Cancelled 21.05hrs. 

 

11th July 1944 

Weather Cloudy, fair in the evening.

 

27 Lancaster’s were detailed against Revigny Marshalling Yards.  Cancelled 17.50hrs. 

 

 

12th July 1944 

WeatherMainly cloudy, temporary clearance in the evening.

 

Operations34 Lancasters were detailed against marshalling yards at Tours.  They were part of a force of 378 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitoes attacking railway targets. 

12 SquadronW/O Dyre-Matthews, P/O Leuty, S/L Brown, F/O Thompson, P/O Lowry, P/O Thompson, P/O Farfan, P/O Shorney, F/L Thomas, W/O Holbrook, P/O Trotter, P/O Magee, W/O Watson, P/O Pappas, P/O Hancox, and F/O Landon.

 

626 SquadronP/O Gauvreau, F/L Foote, P/O Collens, P/O Freeman, P/O Bennett, P/O Lofthouse, P/O Wood, P/O Smith, F/O Hawkes, P/O Lone, P/O Jones, F/O Wilson, S/L Ravenhill, P/O Thorpe, W/O Tarbuck, P/O Whetton, P/O Hewitt, F/O Hicks.

 

Take off commenced at 2106hrs. 

WeatherEn route                Clear except for broken patches of medium cloud.  When 50 miles from the target thin cloud was encountered between 4 and 6,000’.Target   Nil cloud. Some haze.  Bomb load. 13,000lbs. 11 X i,000lb and 4 X 500lb. 

Petrol load           2,000galls. 

Opposition Slight, light flak, and spasmodic heavy flak.  Fighters were active on homeward route.  Many enemy fighters attended a diversionary raid in the Low Countries at the expense of attention to the real raid 

Marking and assessment of attack.

The first T.I.'s undershot by 500yds. The main force were given instructions by the Master Bomber to overshoot them. The marshalling yards were clearly visible and bombing concentrated on the target though rapidly obscured by smoke which rose to 9,000’.

P. R. U. confirm target completely covered in craters with all tracks cut, the bridge collapsed and embankment roads obliterated.  The storage sidings and wagons are covered with close packed craters, so close that an estimation of wagons destroyed is impossible. 

 

Damaged.626/B2                 F/O R.C. Hawkes   Mid upper turret pipe line damaged by flak in the target area. 

Combat.

l2/E                       P/O S.E. Shorney02.09hrs 5,000’   4923N/0259W Homeward.

The rear gunner Sgt. G.W. Merrick sighted a JU88 about to attack another Lancaster on the Port beam of our aircraft. The range was 400yds and the enemy aircraft was Port quarter level. Corkscrew Port was ordered and both gunners opened fire. The enemy broke away over our aircraft to Starboard and did not open fire. The fighter was believed to be hit.

 

RouteBase-Upper Heyford-Bridport-4915N/0000-4718N/1020E-Target-4724N/0050E-­4712N/0050E -4715N/0000-4840N/0220W-4915N/0255W-Bridport-Upper Heyford-Base. 

 

P/O G. Smith completed his first tour of operations. 

Visiting aircraftHalifax LL423                    S/L Woolatt                        SantoftOxford X7297                    F/O Christian                      Defford 

 

13th July 1944 

Weather Mainly cloudy, considerable clearance in the evening.

 

31 Lancasters were detailed against a target in France. Cancelled at 15.30hrs. 

Visiting aircraft Hurricane 4EJ                     F/S Cooper                          Ingham 

 

14th July 1944 

Weather Cloudy, visibility moderate.

 

32 Lancasters were detailed against Northern France.Cancelled at l345hrs.

 

Visiting aircraftWhitley LA885                                                               North LuffenhamOxford V3398                                                                 Caistor 

 

15th July 1944  Weather. Cloudy, becoming fair

 

Visiting aircraft Anson MK793                    F/O Storer                           Sherburn 

 

16th July 1944 

Weather Fair, good visibility.

 

35 Lancasters were detailed against Northern France. Cancelled at i700hrs. 

Visiting aircraft Lancaster A-RE                  W/O Lloyd                          North Killingholm 

 

17th July 1944 

Weather Fair, cloudy in the afternoon.

 

Visiting aircraftSpitfire QGL                       F/O Martin                          Kirton LindsayHurricane 4EG                   F/S Evans                             Ingham 

 

18th July 1944 

WeatherCloudy, good visibility.

 

Operations38 Lancasters were detailed against troops and armour East of Caen prior to an attack by British Second Army troops.  They were part of a force of 667 Lancasters, 260 Halifaxes and 15 Mosquitoes. 

 

12 SquadronP/O Thompson, P/O Munson, P/O Magee, W/O Dyre-Mattews, Sgt Small, P/O Thompson, P/O Pappas, P/O Lowry, P/O Farfan, S/L Brown, F/L Thomas, P/O Hancox, P/O Leuty, P/O Downing, W/C Nelson, P/O Newman, P/O Trotter, W/O Watson.

 

626 SquadronP/O Hewitt, P/O Gauvreau, P/O Collens, P/O Winder, P/O Bennett, P/O Wallbank, F/O Wood, F/L Foote, G/C Haynes, P/O Green, P/O Lofthouse, F/O Hicks, P/O Price, P/O Whetton, W/O Tarbuck, F/O Bennett, P/O Campbell, F/O Wilson, F/O Spruston, P/O Jones.

 

Take off commenced at 0322hrs. 

Weather.En route.      Much low cloud over England, with thick haze at English coast, clearing on Channel crossing.Target.                  No cloud, excellent visibility. 

Bomb load            13,000lbs, 11 X 1,000lb and 4 X 500lb. 

OppositionFlak negligible in the target area, but accurate predicted heavy flak was encountered leaving the target area.  No enemy fighters were seen. Cover was supplied by ii Group. 

Marking and assessment of attack.

Marking was by low bursting Red T.I.'s from H-5 to H-1. Then by Yellow T.I.'s bursting at 4,000’ leaving a trail of white smoke. Markers were accurate and punctual, except for one which the Master Bomber identified as being 100 yards South.  Bombing commenced 1 min. early and excellent concentration was achieved. The aiming point was soon obscured by dust and smoke, but the T.I.'s were still visible. 

Damaged.12/A                      W/C J.D. Nelson  Hit by heavy flak outside the Starboard outer engine, in the target area. 

12/H                     P/O J.F. Murison     Hit by heavy flak in the target area, punctured coolant tank, cockpit perspex, and rear turret cartridge chute. 

12/N                     Sgt. F.B. Small    Hydraulic system hit by light flak in target area. 

626/A2                 F/O A.C. Hicks                   Hit by flak. 

 

626/D2                 F/O W.D. Wilson    A live 1,000lb bomb was found rolling about in the bomb doors after leaving the target.  It was jettisoned. 

 

626/E2                 P/O A.P. Jones                   Hit by flak. 

626/S2                  F/O A. H. Wood                 Hit by flak in bomb doors and Starboard wing. 

 

20th July 1944 

Weather Cloudy, visibility moderate.

 

Operations35 Lancasters were detailed against marshalling yards at Courtrai.  They were part of a force of 302 Lancasters and 15 Mosquitoes. 

12 SquadronP/O Thompson, P/0 Munson, P/O Hagerty, W/O Holbrook, S/L Brown, P/O Downing, P/O Magee, W/O Dyre-Matthews, P/O Pappas, P/O White, F/L Vernon, P/O Thompson, P/O Newman, W/O Watson, P/O Farfan, Sgt Small,  P/O Hancox.

 

626 SquadronP/O Collens, F/O Bowen, P/O Winder, F/O Bennett, P/O Walbank, P/O Fitzsimmons, F/O Wood, P/O Walbank, F/O Hicks, P/O Oram, F/O Wilson, P/O Lone, P/O Gauvreau, P/O Price, P/O Bennett, W/O Tarbuck, P/O Cook, P/O Green, P/O Hewitt. 

Take off commenced at 23.43hrs. 

Weather.En route  10/10ths cloud over England, clearing over the sea.Target    No cloud, some haze, fair visibility. 

Bomb load            13,000lbs mixed 1,000lb and 500lb H.E 

Opposition

Flak defences were light, but fighters were extremely active in the light of our marker flares, and near Ostend and over the sea on the homeward route.

At 00.42hrs NJG4 on a course to take them across the bomber route. It is also possible that NJG5 and IGJ3O1 joined in opposition.

 

Marking and assessment of attack.P.F.F. marking was on time and accurate, and resulted in bombing being well concentrated on the target.

P.R.U. report that reception, forwarding, and sorting sidings were utterly destroyed. A large water tank was hurled from the centre of the track to property outside the yard. The main loco sheds, repair sheds, passenger station, and a bridge carrying S tracks across a road were all virtually destroyed.

 

 

Damaged626/G2                 P/O G.P. Price   In collision with 12/A over base on return. 

12/A                      P/O J.F. Murison                In collision with 626/G2 over base. 

Combat.12/W    Sgt. F.B. Small02.l7hrs 7,000’ 5126N/0200E Homeward bound

The mid upper gunner Sgt Wilson sighted an enemy aircraft with an amber nose light approaching from the Starboard beam.  He opened fire and the fighter broke away and was lost to view.

 

626/X2                 F/O A.H. Wood01.56hrs 10,000’ Target area.

The rear gunner Sgt. D.A. Joss sighted a ME210 approaching from the Port beam level at 600yds range. He instructed the pilot to corkscrew Port, opening fire with a burst of 150 rounds. The enemy aircraft broke away at 400yds on the Port quarter and was lost to view. The mid upper gunner did not sight the enemy aircraft at any time.

 

626/X2                 F/O A.H. Wood02.05hrs 10,500’ Leaving target.

The mid upper gunner Sgt. D. B. Wales sighted a single engine enemy aircraft approaching from the Starboard beam down at 500yds range, burning wing tip lights. He instructed the pilot to corkscrew Port. At the same time, he and the rear gunner opened fire with fairly long bursts. The fighter broke away on the Port quarter up at 200yds. It should be noted that after the gunners had opened fire the enemy aircraft switched off his wing tip navigation lights.

 

626/G2                 P/O G.P. Price02.00hrs 10,000’ 5048N/03l3E Homeward bound.

The wireless operator Sgt. B. Walley sighted a ME11O approaching from the Port quarter up at 600yds. The rear gunner Sgt. J. Lee had by this time sighted the enemy aircraft, instructed the pilot to corkscrew Port, and opened fire with a long burst. The fighter closed to 400yds and broke away on the Port beam up before the mid upper gunner could open fire.

 

626/G2                 P/O G.P. Price02.05hrs 10,000’ 5057N/0300E Homeward bound.

The rear gunner Sgt. Lee spotted a twin engine enemy aircraft on the Port quarter up preparing to attack another Lancaster. He instructed the pilot to corkscrew Port and opened fire with a burst of 250 rounds. The fighter broke away on the Starboard quarter and was lost to view. The gunner’s initiative probably saved the other Lancaster.

 

626/C2                 P/O G.A. Green02.05hrs 9,000’ 5209N/0245E Homeward bound.

The pilot sighted a D0217 on the Port bow. He informed the rear gunner F/S G.C. Newton who sighted the enemy aircraft approaching from the Starboard quarter up at 450yds. He instructed the pilot to corkscrew Starboard and he, and the mid upper gunner Sgt. W. Norman opened fire with short bursts. The fighter broke away on the Port quarter level at 350yds and was lost to view.

 

12/F                      W/O C.H. Watson02.10hrs 11,000’ 5149N/O211E Homeward bound.

The wireless operator Sgt. R. J. Curnew received warning on “Fishpond” of an approaching fighter on the Starboard beam. The M.U.G. Sgt. Murison saw the enemy aircraft with an amber light in the nose at 800yds, closing from the Starboard beam level.  The pilot was instructed to corkscrew Starboard and both gunners opened fire at 600yds.  Strikes were seen on the enemy aircraft and the amber light was extinguished. 

Reported missing12/H        LM106       Crash site - unknown.  Pilot.P/O N. B.Hagerty       Killed. Nav.     Sgt. B.H. Armitage    KilledW.T. Sgt. K.R. Shepstone  Killed B.A. Sgt. E.J. Humber   Killed. Eng.  Sgt. G.Perry                                      KilledM.U.G.                 F/S W.E. Edwards                              KilledR.G.                      P/O J.R. MacKinnon                         Killed 

626/D2                 LM136                                               Crash site - at sea.Pilot.                     F/O W.D. Wilson                              KilledNav.                       Sgt. H.L. Stevens                               KilledW.T        .              Sgt. D.J.S. Clarke                              KilledB.A.                       F/O. K.C. Binnie (Aus)                     KilledEng.                       Sgt. J. Meaney                                   KilledM.U.G.                 F/S F.L. Robertson (Aus)                 KilledR.G.                      Sgt. W.T. Woodhouse                       Killed 

626/T2                  LM633                                               Crash site - Courtrai.Pilot.                     F/O J. BowenNav.                       F/S J. Clarke (Aus)                            EvadedW.T.                      F/S W. A. Purnell (Aus)B.A.                       F/S K.D. Ferguson (Aus)                  EvadedEng.                       Sgt. J.S.M. Fyfe                                 Evaded                  M.I.9 Report follows.M.U.G   .              F/S C.M. Beattie (Aus)                     Evaded                  M.I.9 Report follows.R.G.                      F/S J.W. Houseman (Aus) 

M.I.9 Report.F/S C.M. Beattie.                Mid Upper Gunner. 626/T2              Dated 14th Sept.1944. 

Homeward bound about O300hrs we were attacked by a fighter and set on fire.  The pilot gave the order to bale out. 

I baled out successfully, landing in the vicinity of Oostkerk, and after hiding my equipment made my way across country.  When it got light I approached a farm where the farmer aged about 45 gave me civilian clothes and directions how to cross the Belgian-French border. 

A woman who spoke English and lived in a cafe at Leysele showed me how to cross the frontier through a farm. I walked straight through this farm which was situated on the frontier.I then made my way to Hondschoote, and about 18.00hrs went a farm just outside the village to get food and information. Here I was put up for the night in a barn.

 

On the 22nd July I went to Warhem. Here I was aided by Maurice Coudville who belonged to the F.F.I. and was later captured about 6th September. 

I was then taken to a woodworkers shop at Rosendael by another F.F.I. member.  From there I went to the house of Marcel De Bel, Rue Paul Bert, Ecolenarcelin, Bertheloot, Rosendael.  Here I stayed until 4th September 1944. 

At about this time the Allies were mopping up the pocket at Falaise. De Bel sent a courier to the front lines with a packet of information and reports, together with aerial photographs (German) of the fortifications at Dunkerque. 

On 4th Sept. I move to the Marie at Rosendael because some F.F.I. had been captured. Here I was fed by Mme. De Eel who worked as an interpreter at the local German Headquarters. She used to bring back to her husband advance information of all German movements and proposed house searches. 

On 6th Sept. I move to the boot shop of another F.F.I. member, which was run by two French girls named Elise and Denise. There were also two Belgians here hiding from the Germans. 

Men were ordered to evacuate the village on 10th Sept., so De Bel, a party of F.F.I., and myself went to a refugee camp at Teteghem posing as Red Cross, and staying there until 12th September. 

On the 12th Sept. we left this camp to cross the lines as the Germans were conscripting labour to dig trenches etc.Ye stayed the night at Ghyvelde and contacted a Canadian unit on the morning of the 13th September 1944.

 

 

M.I.9. ReportSgt. J.S.M. Fyfe.                 Flight Engineer. 626/T2                   Dated. 8th February 1945.  

After the pilot had given the order to abandon the aircraft, I baled out and landed safely on the outskirts of Lampernisse. 

I hid my parachute, harness, and mae west in a ditch and began to walk towards Dixmude. About half an hour later I met F/S K. D. Ferguson my bomb aimer, who had lost his flying boots when he baled out. 

We walked to Oudecappelle where we met a Belgian. The remainder of my journey was then arranged for me. 

I made contact with British forces in Armentiers on 9th Sept. I was sent to Lille where I was interrogated by a French officer. I was then sent by lorry to Paris where I was interrogated by I.S.9. 

On the 13th September 1944, I was sent by air to the U.K. 

RouteBase-Orfordness-5120N/0230E-Target-5046N/0320E-5044N/0312E-5120N/0230E-Orfordness-Base.

 

Visiting aircraftTiger Moth                          P/O Brown                          BroughSpitfire 4E-L                      Lt. Stickdale                        Ingham 

 

21st July 1944 

Weather Cloudy - low stratus, visibility moderate.

 

28 Lancasters were detailed against Dortmund.  Cancelled at 15.00hrs. 

Visiting aircraft Lancaster BH-O?                            Faldingworth 300Sqdn. Mistook drome. 

 

22nd July 1944 

Weather Cloudy with occasional drizzle, good visibility.

 

36 Lancasters were detailed for a daylight operation.  Cancelled at 18.15hrs. 

 

23rd  July 1944 

Weather Cloudy, good visibility.

 

Operations

33 Lancasters were detailed against Kiel Naval Base.  They were part of a force of 519 Lancasters, 100 Halifaxes, and 10 Mosquitoes. 

12 SquadronP/O Pappas, W/O Holbrook, P/O Leuty, P/O Thompson, P/O Murison, P/O Downing, S/L Corry, F/O Watt, P/O Lowry, P/O White, P/O Thompson, P/O Farfan, F/O Crabb, W/O Dyre-Matthews, P/O Buchan, P/O Newman, P/O Hancox, P/O Shorney.

 

626 SquadronP/O Green, F/O Collens, F/O Wood, F/O Hicks, F/O Hawkes, W/C Rodney, P/O Price, F/O Jones, F/O Lofthouse, P/O Oram, F/O Campbell, F/O Gauvreau, F/O Bennett, P/O Cook, F/L Foote.

 

Take off commenced at 22.24hrs. 

WeatherThere was 10/10ths thin cloud over the whole route, this persisted over the target with a base about 2,000’ and tops at 5,000’. Good visibility above cloud.

 

Bomb load            9,000lbs 18 X 500lbs. 

OppositionIntense heavy flak and some light flak in the target area, some of which appeared to come from ships in the harbour. Few searchlights.

Some fighter activity over target and on homeward route.  The first plot of the Main Force was passed to the night fighters at 23.20hrs and NJG1 became active at 00.11hrs. The first reference to Kiel was at 01.34hrs when fighters were ordered to the target area. Plots were then passed to the fighters at 01.34hrs when the Main Force was North West of the target on the way home. 

Marking and assessment of attack.P.F.F. marking was punctual but as the markers were only visible by glowing through the clouds it was impossible to assess accuracy of marking or bombing. The glow of fires was visible reflecting on the clouds for 100 miles. PRO. state that severe damage was caused to the North East of shipyards of the Deutsche Werke Keil. Buildings and hangars of the Kiel Holterau Airfield and seaplane base were partially destroyed.  Considerable damage was caused to large barracks in the Wik area, and to 16 buildings in the Marine Artileria Depot.  

 

Combats

 

626/U2                 P/O G.A. Green02.10hrs 16,000’ 5420N/0710E

The rear gunner F/S G. C. Newton sighted a ME110 astern level at 500yds. He instructed the pilot to corkscrew Port and opened fire with a burst of 400 rounds. The enemy aircraft broke away on the Starboard quarter up before the mid upper gunner could bring his guns to bear.

 

626/U2                 P/O G.A. Green02.12hrs 16,000’ 5428N/0700E

The mid upper gunner Sgt. W. Norman sighted a ME110 approaching from the Starboard quarter down. He instructed the pilot to corkscrew Starboard and opened fire with a burst of 300 rounds. Before the rear gunner could bring his guns to bear the enemy aircraft had broken away on the Port quarter up.

 

12/T                      P/O W.L. White 02.08hrs 10,000’ 5440N/0700E Homeward bound.

The mid upper gunner Sgt. Jones spotted a JU88 at 250yds on the Starboard quarter level.  He ordered the pilot to corkscrew Starboard and opened fire with a burst of 300 rounds.  The rear gunner Sgt. Dagg opened fire with a burst of 100 rounds.  The fighter broke away on the Starboard quarter up at 100yds.  

 

12/A                      S/L N.H. Oorry 01.10hrs 20,000’ 5430N/0835E Outward bound.

The rear gunner Sgt. F.B. Faulkner spotted a JU88 on the Port quarter level at 500yds.  He instructed the pilot to corkscrew Port.  Both gunners opened fire at 600yds with long bursts, and the enemy aircraft broke away on the Starboard quarter down at 400yds.  

RouteBase-Mablethorpe-5405N/0400E--5440N/O700E-5437N/0950E-Target-5410N/1005E­-5440N/0700E-5405N/0400E-Mablethorpe-Base.  

Visiting aircraft. Oxford N5345     S/L Boore Bircotes.  

 

25th  July 1944 

Weather Fair, becoming cloudy with intermittent rain.

 

Operations25 Lancasters were detailed against Stuttgart.  They were part of a force of 412 Lancasters and 138 Halifaxes.  

12 Squadron 

P/O Murison, F/L Thomas, F/O Thompson, W/O Dyne-Matthews, P/O Magee, F/L Vernon, S/L Corry, P/O White, P/O  Hancox, F/O Owens, P/O Shorney, P/O Trotter, P/O Newman. 

626 SquadronF/O Fitzsimmons, F/L Foote, P/O Hewitt, P/O Collens, P/O Wood, P/O Freeman, F/L Hicks, F/L Spruston, P/O Bennett, P/O Thorpe, P/O Price, P/O Oram.

 

Take off commenced at 20.58hrs. 

Bomb load            1 X 2,000lb HC, 12 X J Clusters.  

Weather.En route Cloudy.Target 10/10ths thin cloud with base about 16,000’.

 

Opposition

Flak was slight to moderate over the target.  Fighters were active, with numerous combats.  The enemy guessed that Stuttgart was the target 30mins before H hour.  The raid was plotted from 23.06hrs South of  Beachy Head all the way to the target and elements of 14 night fighter Gruppen were deployed against it.  Luckily cloud hampered the fighters.  

Marking and assessment of attack.PFF marking was early, tending to scatter at the later stages of the attack.  Many fires were observed taking hold well.  Glow from fires was visible for 150 miles on homeward route.

 

Abortive

626/O2       P/O A.H. Wood    Navigator sick.  

626/C2     F/O G. P. Price     Damaged by flak and attacked by ME109 (see combat report).  Bomb doors would not open.  Forced to bring bombs back.  Landed safely despite a flat tyre caused by enemy action.  

 

Damaged

 

626/V2  P/O B.A. Collens  Damaged by flak.

626/H2  F/L L. Spruston - Damaged by flak.

12/F   F/O J.F. Murison   Damaged by flak.

 12/J  P/O T. F. Magee   Damaged by flak. 

Combats.

12/T  F/O A.J. Thompson 02.07hrs 17,000’ 4848N/0907E

The rear gunner Sgt. E. Jones sighted a JU88 on the Port quarter up at 200yds. He immediately ordered corkscrew Port and opened fire on the enemy A/C.  Meanwhile the M.U.G. Sgt. E.D. Martin sighted a DO217 coming in from the Starboard beam lower passing to the Port beam. He opened fire at 200yds and continued to fire until the fighter dived out of range. The JU88 had by this time broken away on the Starboard quarter down without pressing home an attack.

 

12/E   P/O S. F. Shorney.00.17hrs 15,000’ 4739N/0211E Outward

The rear gunner Sgt. G.W. Merrick spotted a DO217 on the Port quarter up at 200yds.  He ordered corkscrew Port.  The enemy A/C broke on Port up without opening fire.

 

12/E  P/O S. F. Shorney. 00.20hrs 15,000’ 4740N/0220E Outward.

The M.U.G. Sgt. H. Mark spotted a D0217 on the Port quarter up at 300yds and ordered corkscrew Port. He opened fire at 200yds and the enemy A/C broke on the Port parallel without opening fire.

 

626/H2    F/L L. Spruston 04.06hrs 12,000’ 4807N/0406E Homeward.

The mid upper gunner Sgt. G.E. Menifee sighted a single engine unidentified aircraft approaching from the Starboard quarter level at 550yds. He instructed the pilot to corkscrew Starboard, and he and the rear gunner Sgt. A. Daniels opened fire with short bursts. The enemy fighter broke off at 350yds on the Starboard beam without firing.

 

626/C2   P/O G. P. Price 00.41hrs 16,000’ 4736N/0320E Outward

The rear gunner Sgt. J. Lee sighted a ME109 approaching from the Starboard quarter level at 250yds range. He instructed the pilot to corkscrew Starboard, at the same time be and the M.U.G. Sgt. V.A. Lane opened fire with short bursts. The enemy aircraft immediately returned fire with a fairly long burst, hitting our bomber on the Port side of the fuselage and rendering the hydraulic system, the undercart, and the bomb doors unserviceable. The fighter broke at 200yds on the Port quarter down and was lost to view.

 

626/C2  P/O G. P. Price 02.55hrs 14,000’ 4830N/0600E Homeward

The rear gunner Sgt. J. Lee sighted a D0217 approaching from the Port quarter up at 350yds range. He instructed the pilot to corkscrew Port at the same time opening up with a long burst. The enemy aircraft broke away on the Starboard quarter down at 150yds, and a few seconds later reappeared on the Port quarter.  For approximately 20 mins (50 miles) it continued to make a succession of attacks on our bomber.  The rear gunner on each occasion opened fire with short bursts.  The fighter at no time returned fire. When we reached 4825N/0525E the enemy aircraft from the Starboard quarter level at 250yds and again the rear gunner opened fire with a long burst.  The fighter burst in to flames, which came from the Starboard wing and engine.  It then plunged through the clouds and was lost to view.  The enemy aircraft is claimed as destroyed. 

 

Route  Reading-4900N/0000-4738N/0145E-4750N/0600E-4910N/0825E-Target-4840N/0922E-­4883N/09l9E-4850N/0730E-4803N/0344E-4815N/0120E-4920N/0000-Reading-Base.  

                                    

 

 

26th  July 1944 

Weather Cloudy with fair periods in the afternoon.

 

Visiting aircraft.Oxford V3398                    W/C Vivian                         CaistorHurricane 4EK                   F/S Blake                             InghamHurricane 4EP                    F/S Evans                             InghamLancaster ARS2                  F/L Stewart                         Binbrook 

 

27th  July 1944 

Weather Fair in the morning, cloudy in the afternoon.

 

31 Lancasters on standby for operations.  Cancelled at 13.32hrs. 

Visiting aircraft.Oxford V4126.                                                                Little Snoring 

 

Do you have anything to add to these pages?

We are always pleased to hear from anyone who can add to our knowledge about 626 Squadron. If you have memories, corrections, photographs or just plain observations, your input will be gratefully accepted.         tom.bint2@gmail.com