115 Squadron
1940 - 1945

8 June 1944

Lancaster Mk I - HK548 KO-W

T/O Witchford 0023 - target Chevreuse, France. Shot down by a night fighter and crashed at Massy 28 Km NE of Rouen.

Also lost on this mission: Lancaster Mk I LL864, A4-H2, 7 KIA
Also lost on this mission: Lancaster Mk III ND760 A4-K, 7 KIA
Also lost on this mission: Lancaster Mk III ND761 A4-C, 7 KIA
Also lost on this mission: Lancaster Mk III ND790 KO-H, 7 KIA
Also lost on this mission: Lancaster Mk I HK552 KO-J, 6 KIA, 1 POW

The target was a major road bridge in Paris between Massy and Palaiseau. Its destruction would seriously hamper the movement of reinforcements to the invasion Front. To avoid loss of French cicilian life orders were to wait for the Master Bomber to verify that the markers were correct before bombing took place. There was thick ground haze and the Master Bomber went u/s.
The deputy took some time to get it all together and in the meantime the force of 337 bombers sent to various targets around Paris waited. It was a clear night and the night fighters descended.

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

337 aircraft - 195 Halifaxes, 122 Lancasters, 20 Mosquitos.

Attacks railway targets at Achères, Juvisy, Massey Palaiseau and Versailles. Bombing conditions were better than on the previous night. All targets were accurately bombed and, although no details are available, it is probable that fewer civilians were killed. The targets were mostly more distant from the battle front than those recently attacked and German night fighters had more time to intercept the bomber forces.

17 Lancasters and 11 Halifaxes were lost, 8.3 per cent of the forces involved.

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

Law E. A. Law E. A. - Pilot

P/O - Service No

Age: - EVA

RAAF

Son of

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

Russel W. Russel W. (Archibald ?)- FE

Sgt - Service No

Age: - EVA

Son of

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

Parkinson J. Parkinson J. - Nav

Sgt - Service No

Age: - EVA

Son of

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

Nurse J. Nurse J. - WOP

F/S - Service No

Age: - EVA

RAAF

Son of

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

Washbourne Gordon Washbourne Gordon - BA

F/S - Service No 427175

Age: 20

RAAF

Son of Frederick and Florence Washbourne, of Perth, Western Australia.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 262

Source: CWGC - photo Botanic Gardens & Park Authority

The crew of this aircraft took of a 0023 hours on the morning of Thursday 8th June to bomb a target at Massy Palaiseau.
Whilst over France and on the run in to the target the crew came under attack by two night fighters. The fighters shot up the port inner engine which caused a fire, which was quickly extinguished. The starboard inner engine had also been hit during the attack, and the fire spread across the starboard wing and could not be extinguished.
The order was given to abandon aircraft. Flight Sergeant Nurse bailed out at about 6000 feet, and after landing safely was unable to contact any other member of his crew, except his pilot, Pilot Officer Law, who informed him that Sergeant Parkinson, Flight-Sergeant Washbourne and Sergeant Russel had all baled out.

Later on the ground Sgt Parkinson had met up with F/S Washbourne about ten minutes after landing, and both airmen had spent the night together in a house at Chatenay, which was about six miles from Paris. Flight Sergeant Washbourne was suffering from a sprained ankle and was unable to move immediately. However, he left the next day (9 June ) with a young 18 year old Frenchman who was to be his guide and was under the instructions of the French Resistance.
Sgt Parkinson was later advised that F/S Washbourne and his young French guide had been picked up and arrested by a German soldier in Paris, and that F/S Parkinson hads been wearing civilian clothes when captured.
It appears F/S Parkinson had been shot at some time after being arrested. The British War office made an official enquiry to the German Government as to ascertaining
the circumstances regarding Flight Sergeant Washbournes death whilst in custody but, the Germans did not reply.

Source sas.raf38group.org/forum/

German documents recorded that Flt Sgt Washbourne had been shot as he tried to escape capture on 8 June 1944. No trace of his grave has been found.

Source WW2 Talk

Murphy P. Murphy P. - MUG

Sgt - Service No

Age: - EVA

Son of

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

Langan Thomas Newton Harry - RG

Sgt - Service No 1896256

Age: 35

RAFVR

Son of William Robert and Elizabeth Emma Newton, of Colliers Wood, Surrey.

Massy Communal Cemetery, Departement Seine-et-Oise - grave 4. 3. 4. 61.

Source: CWGC.