27/28 April 1944
Lancaster Mk III - ND803 A4-B
|T/O Witchford 2209 - target Friedrichshafen, Germany. This a/c was believed to have strayed over the Swiss border and was shot down by Swiss flak, crashing at/in the Bodensee on the Swiss border.
Source: 115 Squadron Roll of Honour by D. Bruce, W. R. Chorley, J. G. J. de Haan.
322 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups.
This was a raid with some interesting aspects. The Air Ministry had urged Bomber Command to attack this relatively small town in moonlight because it contained important factories making engines and gearboxes for German tanks. But the flight to this target, deep in Southern Germany on a moonlit night, was potentially very dangerous; the disastrous attack on Nuremberg had taken place only 4 weeks previously in similar conditions. However, Friedrichshafen was further south and on the fringe of the German night-fighter defences; because of this and the various diversions which confused the German controllers, the bombers reached the target without being intercepted. However, the German fighters arrived at the target while the raid was taking place.
1,234 tons of bombs were dropped in an outstandingly successful attack based on good Pathfinder marking; Bomber Command later estimated that 99 acres of Friedrichshafen, 67 per cent of the town's built-up area, were devastated. Several factories were badly damaged and the tank gearbox factory was destroyed. When the American bombing survey team investigated this raid after the war, German officials said that this was the most damaging raid on tank production of the war.
8 Lancasters were lost, 5.6 per cent of the force.
Source: nationalarchives.gov.uk - Bomber Command - Campaign Diary April 1944.
| Stewart Robert Henderson - Pilot
P/O - Service No 174930
Son of Edward H. and Margaret Stewart, of Lochee, Dundee.
Runnymede Memorial - panel 212
|Lees John Richard - FE
Sgt - Service No 1821316
Son of John and May Lees, of Blantyre, Lanarkshire.
Durnbach War Cemetery - grave 4. C. 30.
|Lewis John Iorwerth Gedrych - Nav
F/O - Service No 147660
Son of David and Gladys Lewis.
Runnymede Memorial - panel 207
| Gommo John - WOP
Sgt - Service No 1585090
Son of John Victor and Daisy Ada Millicent Gommo, of Bristol.
Runnymede Memorial - panel 289
|Wooden Kenneth George - BA
Sgt - Service No 1324073
Son of William Charles and Nellie Wooden, of Egham, Surrey.
Durnbach War Cemetery - grave 4. C. 28.
|Lodge Vincent - MUG
Sgt - Service No 1592543
Son of Edgar and Clara Lodge, of Halifax.
Runnymede Memorial - panel 233
|Thompson Robert John - RG
Sgt - Service No 3005260
Son of Robert and Phoebe Ann Thompson, of Dalston, London.
Runnymede Memorial - panel 239