115 Squadron
1940 - 1945

25/26 June 1942

Wellington Mk III - X3554 - KO-Q

T/O Marham 2325. Target Bremen, Germany. Reported "Landed in sea" but ASRS failed to locate crew.

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

The 'Thousand Force' was reassembled for this raid, although only 960 aircraft became available for Bomber Command use. Every type of aircraft in Bomber command was included, even the Bostons and Mosquitos of 2 Group which, so far, had only been used for day operations. The force was composed as follows: 472 Wellingtons, 124 Halifaxes, 96 Lancasters, 69 Stirlings, 51 Blenheims, 50 Hampdens, 50 Whitleys, 24 Bostons, 20 Manchesters and 4 Mosquitos.

A further 102 Hudsons and Wellingtons of Coastal Command were sent to Bremen. 5 further aircraft provided by Army Co-Operation Command were also added to the force. The final numbers dispatched, 1,067 aircraft.

Parts of the force were allocated to specific targets in Bremen. The entire 5 Group effort - 142 aircraft - was ordered to bomb the Focke-Wulf factory; 20 Blenheims were allocated to the A.G. Weser shipyard; the Coastal Command aircraft were to bomb the Deschimag shipyard; all other aircraft were to carry out an area attack on the town and docks.

The tactics were basically similar to the earlier 'Thousand' raids except that the bombing period was now cut to 65 minutes. Bremen, on the wide River Weser, should have been an easy target to find and the inland penetration of the German night-fighter belt was only a shallow one. There were doubts about a band of cloud which lay across the Bremen area during the day, but this was being pushed steadily eastwards by a strong wind. Unfortunately the wind dropped in the evening and the bomber crews found the target completely covered for the whole period of the raid. The limited success which was gained was entirely due to the use of Gee, which enabled the leading crews to start fires, on to the glow of which many aircraft of later waves bombed. 696 Bomber Command aircraft were able to claim attacks on Bremen.

572 houses were completely destroyed and 6,108 damaged. 85 people were killed, 497 injured and 2,378 bombed out.
On the industrial side, an assembly shop at the Focke-Wulf factory was completely flattened, a further 6 buildings at this factory were seriously damaged and 11 buildings lightly so. Damage was also experienced by 4 important industrial firms - the Atlas Werke, the Vulkan shipyard, the Norddeutsche Hütte and the Korff refinery - and by 2 large dockside warehouses.

The actual losses of the Bomber Command aircraft involved in the raid were 48 aircraft, including 4 which came down in the sea near England from which all but 2 crew members were rescued.
This was a new record loss. It represented exactly 5 per cent of the Bomber Command aircraft dispatched. This time, heaviest casualties were suffered by the OTUs of 91 Group, which lost 23 of the 198 Whitleys and Wellingtons provided by that group, a loss of 11.6 per cent. 5 of the 102 Coastal Command aircraft were also lost.

Source: nationalarchives.gov.uk - Bomber Command - Campaign Diary June 1942.

Croxton William Leslie Croxton William Leslie - Pilot

P/O - Service No 107486

Age: 25

RAFVR

Son of William and Jessica Croxton, of Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 69

Source: CWGC

Bales Leslie Percy Bales Leslie Percy - Observer

P/O - Service No 113352

Age: 25 - °1916

RAFVR

Son of Percy James Bales and Isabel Jane Bales, of Enfield, Middlesex.
Brother of Dennis Bales °1916, Ronald Eddie Ernest Bales°1918 en Raymond Victor Arthur Bales °1922.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 68

Source: CWGC - photo: geni.com

Howard-Williams Leslie Howard-Williams Leslie - WOP

P/O - Service No 108831

Age: 24

RAFVR

Son of Evan Howard Williams and Ethel Violet Williams.
Husband of Muriel Bessie Williams, of New Barnet, Hertfordshire.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 72

Source: CWGC

Abbott Hezekiah Abbott Hezekiah - W.Op./Air Gnr

Sgt - Service No 1326329

Age: 27 - Was found in the sea 31 July 1942.

RAFVR

Son of Hezekiah and Elizebeth Abbott, of Leeds, Yorkshire.
Husband of Eileen Abbott, of Leeds.

Kiel War Cemetery - 2. G. 18.

Source: CWGC

Tolmie John Lester Tolmie John Lester - RG

Sgt - Service No 1287043

Age:

RAFVR

Son of

Runnymede Memorial - panel 95

Source: CWGC