115 Squadron
1940 - 1945

30/31 May 1942

Wellington Mk III - Z1614 KO-R

T/o Marham 2359 - Target Cologne (Germany). The first 1.000 bomber raid.

Z1614 was intercepted while in Luftwaffe Radar Box 6A by Oblt Barte of the IV./NJG 1 operating from Sint-Truiden. Crashed at Ticheloven approximately 1 km NW of Wijgmaal, at 0157 hrs.

Z1614 Photo added by K. Nyssen for Hanger Flying

F/S Crampton was shot down on 27 Augustus 1941 while operating with 9 Sqdn and had evaded and returned to the UK via the "O'Leary Line".

1,047 aircraft were dispatched, this number being made up as follows:
1 Group - 156 Wellingtons
3 Group - 134 Wellingtons, 88 Stirlings = 222 aircraft
4 Group - 131 Halifaxes, 9 Wellingtons, 7 Whitleys = 147 aircraft
5 Group - 73 Lancasters, 46 Manchesters, 34 Hampdens = 153 aircraft
91 (OTU) Group - 236 Wellingtons, 21 Whitleys = 257 aircraft
92 (OTU) Group - 63 Wellingtons, 45 Hampdens = 108 aircraft
Flying Training Command - 4 Wellingtons.

Aircraft totals: 602 Wellingtons, 131 Halifaxes, 88 Stirlings, 79 Hampdens, 73 Lancasters, 46 Manchesters, 28 Whitleys = 1,047 aircraft.
The exact number of aircraft claiming to have bombed Cologne is in doubt; the Official History says 898 aircraft bombed but Bomber Command's Night Bombing Sheets indicate that 868 aircraft bombed the main target with 15 aircraft bombing other targets.
The total tonnage of bombs was 1,455, two-thirds of this tonnage being incendiaries.
German records show that 2,500 separate fires were started, of which the local fire brigade classed 1,700 as large. Property damage in the raid totalled 3,330 buildings destroyed, 2,090 seriously damaged and 7,420 lightly damaged. More than 90 per cent of this damage was caused by fire rather than high-explosive bombs. Among the above total of 12,840 buildings were 2,560 industrial and commercial buildings, though many of these were small ones. However, 36 large firms suffered complete loss of production, 70 suffered 50-80 per cent loss and 222 up to 50 per cent.
The estimates of casualties in Cologne are, unusually, quite precise. Figures quoted for deaths vary only between 469 and 486. The 469 figure comprises 411 civilians and 58 military casualties, mostly members of Flak units. 5,027 people were listed as injured and 45,132 as bombed out.

The RAF lost 41 aircraft which were: 29 Wellingtons, 4 Manchesters, 3 Halifaxes, 2 Stirlings, 1 Hampden, 1 Lancaster, 1 Whitley, 3.9 per cent of the bombing force.
Bomber Command later estimated that 22 aircraft were lost over or near Cologne - 16 shot down by Flak, 4 by night fighters and 2 in a collision; most of the other losses were due to night-fighter action in the radar boxes between the coast and Cologne.

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

Edwards Emrys Edwards Emrys - Pilot

Sgt - Service No 1379351

Age: 23

RAFVR

Son of Evan William and Margaret Edwards.
Husband of Pamela Edwards, of Catford, London.

Runnymede Memorial - panel RP82

Source: CWGC

Crampton William Francis Crampton William Francis - Observer

F/S - Service No 988755 - Mentioned in Despatches.

Age: 26

RAFVR

Son of Frederick and Maud Crampton, of Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire.
Husband of Minnie Crampton, of Newton-le-Willows.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 73

Source: CWGC

Boyle Malcolm Boyle Malcolm - WOP

Sgt - Service No 1109750

Age: 27

RAFVR

Son of Francis and Mary Ann Boyle, of Glasgow.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 78

Source: CWGC

McLeod William Arnott McLeod William Arnott - FG

Sgt - Service No 745477

Age: 23

RAFVR

Son of William Arnott McLeod and Agnes Lawson McLeod.
He was the son of the owner of MacFisheries. (See "The Tiller" June 1987, "Coulson painting a Wimpy").

Runnymede Memorial - panel 89

Source: CWGC - photo: Peter Drysdale for findagrave.com

Sproston Hubert Sproston Hubert - RG

Sgt - Service No 1177725

Age: 30

RAF

Son of Hubert S. and Florence W. Sproston, of Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 94

Source: CWGC