115 Squadron
1940 - 1945

12/13 June 1944

Lancaster Mk I - HK545 KO-E

T/O Witchford 2332 - target Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Shot down by a night fighter and crashed at Gelsenkirchen-Benzin HQ,3 Km W of Gelsenkirchen.

Source: 115 Squadron Roll of Honour by D. Bruce, W. R. Chorley, J. G. J. de Haan.

303 aircraft - 286 Lancasters and 17 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups,

carried out the first raid of the new oil campaign; the target was the Nordstern synthetic-oil plant at Gelsenkirchen (the Germans called the plant Gelsenberg AG).

The attack opened with exceptional accuracy owing to good work by the Pathfinders and to improved versions of Oboe sets now available. Later phases of the bombing were spoiled by the clouds of smoke from the burning target and by a rogue target indicator which fell 10 miles short of the target and was bombed by 35 aircraft. A German industrial report shows that all production at the oil plant ceased, with a loss of 1,000 tons of aviation fuel a day for several weeks, as well as the loss of other fuels.

17 Lancasters were lost, 6.1 per cent of the Lancaster force.

Source: nationalarchives.gov.uk - Bomber Command - Campaign Diary June 1944.

HK545It is understood that the Lancaster HK545 was hit by flak, although there are several claims by night fighters for Lancasters shot down on this operation.

With regards to the decorated crew members, this was their citation dated 09th June 1944:

"This officer and these airmen were pilot, flight engineer and wireless operator (air) respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack Karlsruhe one night in April, 1944.

Early on the outward flight some navigational equipment became useless. This did not deter Flight Lieutenant Shadforth who continued to the target and executed a successful attack. On the return flight the aircraft was attacked by a fighter and sustained much damage.

The throttle connections of the 2 outer engines were severed, a portion of the starboard elevator was shot away, the oxygen supply was affected and 3 members of the crew, including Sergeant Weir, were wounded. Nevertheless, Flight Lieutenant Shadforth evaded the attacker and set course for home. Meanwhile, Sergeant Veale went to the assistance of the rear gunner who was trapped in his turret. Despite the lack of oxygen, he worked strenuously to hack away the doors of the turret in order to extricate his wounded comrade to whom he rendered efficient first aid. Despite his injuries, Sergeant Weir remained at his post fully determined to assist his pilot in every way in his endeavours to reach home.

Eventually, Flight Lieutenant Shadforth reached base where he effected a masterly landing. This officer displayed a high degree of skill, courage and resolution. Sergeants Veale and Weir also proved themselves to be a valiant and resolute member of aircraft crew, rendering invaluable 'assistance to his pilot in his endeavours to fly the aircraft home."

Photo and info: Aircrew Remembered.

Shadforth Wallace Gordon Shadforth Wallace Gordon - Pilot

S/L - Service No 61040 - DFC

Age: 25

RAFVR

Son of William and Emily Harriett Shadforth.

Reichswald Forest Cemetery - grave 19. F. 16.

Source: CWGC.

Mount Albert George Edward Veale Alfred Joseph - FE

Sgt - Service No 1853807 - DMF

Age: 26

RAFVR

Son of Joseph and Caroline Veale.
Husband of Catherine Veale, of Bristol.

Reichswald Forest Cemetery - grave 19. G. 17.

Source: CWGC.

Parkyn Ronald Parkyn Ronald - Nav

F/S - Service No 1393242

Age: 22

RAFVR

Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Parkyn, of Crouch Hill, Middlesex.

Reichswald Forest Cemetery - grave 13. C. 9.

Source: CWGC.

Weir Robert Walker Thomas Weir Robert Walker Thomas - WOP

Sgt - Service No 1370487 - DMF

Age: 24

RAFVR

Son of William and Isabella Weir, of Motherwell, Lanarkshire.

Reichswald Forest Cemetery - grave 19. F. 17.

Source: CWGC.

Townend Gordon Christopher Townend Gordon Christopher - BA

F/O - Service No 422765

Age: 32

RAAF

Son of Sherwood and Elizabeth Mary Townend, of Banbury, Oxfordshire, England.

Reichswald Forest Cemetery - grave 19. G. 14.

Source: CWGC.

Farley Anthony Farley Anthony Frederick William - MUG

F/S - Service No 1382100

Age: 23

RAFVR

Son of William Arthur and Rose Ann Farley, of South Lambeth, London.

Reichswald Forest Cemetery - grave 13. C. 10.

Source: CWGC - Photo: Aircrew Remembered.

Entwistle Ian William Entwistle Ian William - RG

F/O - Service No 41400

Age: 22 - °9 December 1921, Hawera, Taranaki, New Zealand.

RNZAF

Son of William Entwistle and of Ella Margaret Townsend, of Hawera, Taranaki, New Zealand.

Reichswald Forest Cemetery - grave 19. G. 18.

Source: CWGC photo and info Auckland War Memorial Museum