115 Squadron
1940 - 1945

8 September 1944

Lancaster Mk I - HK579 A4-B

115 Squadron
T/O Witchford 0610 - target Le Havre, France. Shot down by flak and crashed at Le Havre.

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

333 aircraft - 304 Lancasters, 25 Mosquitos, 4 Stirlings - of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups attempted to bomb German positions at Le Havre but the weather was bad, with a low cloud base, and only 109 aircraft bombed, with indifferent results.

The 4 Stirlings on this raid, all from No 149 Squadron based at Methwold, were the last Bomber Command Stirlings to carry out a bombing operation. It is believed that Stirling LK396, piloted by Flying Officer JJ McKee, an Australian, was the last Stirling to bomb the target.

2 Lancasters lost.

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

Kilsby Albert Gothian Kilsby Albert Gothian - Pilot

F/S - Service No 1437393

Age:

RAFVR

Son of

Ste. Marie Cemetery Le Havre, Departement Seine-Maritime, France - grave 67. G. 12.

Source: CWGC.

Backhouse E. Backhouse E. - FE

Sgt - Service No

Age: - POW No

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

Hawkins G. Hawkins George F. - Nav

F/S - Service No

Age: - EVA

Son of

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

Feary K. Feary K. - WOP

Sgt - Service No

Age: - POW No

Son of

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

Walls A. Walls A. - BA

Sgt - Service No

Age: - POW No

Son of

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

Donald Carr Odell Odell Donald Carr - MUG

P/O - Service No J95168

Age: 19 - °21 April 1925 Oil Springs, Ontario, Canada

RCAF

Son of Leslie Carr Odell and Leila Hazel H. Turner, of Petrolia, Ontario, Canada.

St. Marie Cemetery Le Havre, Departement Seine-Maritime, France - grave 67. G. 13.

Source: CWGC - photo and info via John Carpenter.

Donald Carr Odell was born on the 21st April 1925 at Oil Springs, Enniskillen in Ontario Canada. His father Leslie was a Carpenter by trade whilst his mother Leila Hazel was a busy mother looking after 11 children, they all lived in Petrolia, Ontario.

Donald was the middle child, 5 younger & 5 older siblings & at 5' 7" tall Donald was a keen golfer who also helped out as the club's greenkeeper, his other interests were skating, pool & rugby. Prior to his enlistment on the 5th May 1943 he was in the meat trade & had also served in a naval battery during 1942.

After his initial gunnery training for the RCAF, where he was awarded his gunners badge on the 12th November 1943, Donald crossed the Atlantic on the 20th January 1944 from Halifax, Nova Scotia arriving in England 11 days later. Following further training & crewing up he eventually became a member of 115 Squadron on 29th August 1944; his base was at RAF Witchford in Cambridgeshire.

9 days after arriving at Witchford on the 8th of September 1944, Donald & his crew were listed on the battle order to attack the French coastal town of Le Havre. After briefing & the traditional pre-flight meal of bacon & eggs they boarded Lancaster HK579 (A4-B) & took off for this daylight raid at 06.10 in the morning.

Donald's crew were flying as part of a force of 333 aircraft who were assigned to attack the German positions within the town. Unfortunately the weather was very bad over the target with very low cloud hampering the efforts of the crews; in fact only 109 aircraft reported actually dropping their bombs, 2 aircraft failed to return, 1 was Donald's. As Donald's aircraft flew over the town it received a direct hit from flak & fell to earth crashing at Cap de la Heve, on the edge of Le Havre.

5 members of the 7 man crew managed to bail out of the stricken aircraft with 3 becoming POW's & 2 managing to evade capture. Donald who was the rear gunner on this flight & his Pilot Flt Sgt Kilsby never made it out of the aircraft & their badly burned bodies were found amongst the wreckage, Donald was just 19 years old & this was his 1st 'Op'.

Info via John Carpenter.

Ovender R. Ovender(n) Ronald A. - RG

F/S - Service No

Age: - EVA

RCAF

Son of

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