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Posts 2020

Lancaster LL730On 28 April 2020, David Walker posted this photo of his grandfather Sgt. Eric Meikle and info regarding Lancaster LL730 - KO-G on our FB. Thanks David.

T/O 1844 target Berlin. Shot down by night fighter and crashed at Kropelin, Mecklenburg, Germany.

This A/c ,LL730, KO-G, was brought down (24/25 March 1944) by a Nightfighter who's attack set the bomb-bay/bomb-load on fire. The a/c could not maintain height and Meikle left it moments before it crashed.
The fighter is not identified but the crash site is given as Ostseebad Rerik,12 kms WNW of Kropelin.
Those who died were originally buried in Rurik Friedhof but were later, probably post war, moved to their present resting places in Berlin.

Theo Boiten's book on the Nightfighter war diaries Vol I states that it was possibly shot down by a Ju88 flown by Obstit Helmut Lent of Stab NJG3 for his 94th victory. He went on to claim 121 aircraft before he was killed in an aircraft accident in October 1944. His claim was near Lubeck at 2200 hrs.

The crew,
F/Sgt I G Williams,pilot, + age ?
Sgt J A Morris,F/Eng, + age 19
Sgt M A Ward, Navigator, + age 24
Sgt E A Meikle, Air Bomber
Sgt J W Kearley,W/Op, + age 21
F/Sgt R Howells, M/U Gunner, + age 35
Sgt T C Watson, Rear Gunner, + age 22

Sgt. Meikle Eric A. was the only suvivor of this crew.

He recorded the following in his Diary.

Attacked by a fighter crossing the German coast en route to Berlin, fire in the Bomb bay. He released the bombs and saw them fall away, Then set course for Sweden, however the bomb bay doors would not close and the aircraft lost height.

They thought they were over the Baltic between Germany and Sweden.

Eric decided to jump rather than possibly ditch in the sea in a plane on fire with open bomb doors. Against the insistence of his crew-mates, that they could make it to Sweden, he jumped at about 900m, while descending via parachute, he viewed the aircraft explode and crash.

Lancaster LL730He landed in a field bouncing from frozen furrow to frozen furrow while trying to recover his parachute.

The next day he woke up in a field viewing a farmer with a shotgun and was taken to the house to await the authorities.

A Luftwaffe officer told him that the rest of the crew were found burnt and mangled inside the plane about 4kms from where he landed. The engineer was the only one they could identify.

Eric ended up in Stalag Luft 1, Barth, released 25/4/45.

Also lost on this mission:
Lancaster Mk II LL694 KO-N, 7 KIA
Lancaster Mk II DS664 A4-K, "Werewolf", 4 KIA, 3 POW
Lancaster Mk II DS678 KO-J, 5 KIA 2 POW

On 16/4/2020. Graham Waterton send us two new photos.

the first was regarding his uncle, Flt.Lt. Brian Slade DFC who served with 115 between November 41 and July 42. The second photo was aboud the Davie Crew, see photo Wellington Mk III - Z1614 - KO-R.

I spotted a post on the website posted in 2018 (I'm not sure why I had not seen it before) which shows this photo of 2 Wellington crews which suggested that it is crew of X3726.
This posted from Jonathan Cooper about Maurice Colclough. (Wellington Mk III - X3726 - KO-A)

I have always understand that this was one of a series of publicity photos taken by a National newspaper the day after the first 1,000 raid on Cologne on the 30th May 1942.

My Uncle Brian Slade is 3rd from the left and he left the squadron before the end on June having completed his first tour so I suspect it could not have been taken before the Duisberg raid on the 21st July 1942.

The aircraft shown is also not X3726 but my uncles regular a/c X3662.

These were taken, I believe, at Marham between 3rd and 12th July 1942. My uncle (the smoker) was in 115 Squadron so assume the others were also. Any ideas who the others were? I suspect they are all pilots. July 42 was a bad month for the Squadron … they lost 11 aircraft that month.

Flt.Lt. Brian Slade DFCFlt.Lt. Brian Slade DFCFlt.Lt. Brian Slade DFC

On 1/3/2020. Fiona Johnson send us a photo of her fathers crew. Thanks.

My Father John (Jack /Tug) Wilson was a mid upper gunner on a Lancaster in WW2, in 115 squadron
based at Witchford.

Sgt. Wilson J. on the far left, 3rd from the left W/O. Lenny Shea - A.429355 RAAF Navigator - ,
an Australian , from Queensland.

He finished his training in June 44, then went to 115 to fly in Lancasters.

Francis Leonard KennedyKristian Kennedy sended this photo on 28/2/20202. Thanks.

On the night of Feb. 24-25, 1944 LL701 of RAF 115 Squadron left RAF Witchford on a bombing raid of the Schweinfurt ball bearing factories.

My great-uncle, Sgt. Francis Leonard Kennedy, RCAF,(pictured) was the tail gunner on Lancaster Mk II - LL701 KO-F.

The crash site is unknown but likely the North Sea.

His crewmen: John Clement Hornby (Pilot)
Arthur Frederick Challinor (Flight Engineer)
Leonard Charles "Cyril" Casper (Navigator)
Kenneth Morley (Wireless Operator)
John Buller Colthurst (Bomb Aimer/Bombardier)
Gordon Lewis Ward, RCAF (Gunner)

Also lost on this mission, Lancaster Mk II - LL644 KO-N, no survivors.

25/2/2020. Thanks to Graham Waterton we received this photo,

This is the photo of the Davie crew. Taken spring 1942 at Marham.
(F/S. Davie crew dd. 25/3/42, P/O. Howard – 2nd Pilot, Sgt. Slatter – Navigator, Sgt. Boyle – W/T. Oprtr., Sgt. McLeod – Fr. Gunner, Sgt. Sproston – Rr. Gunner.)

As I mentioned in my post, after Davie was posted, Sgt Edwards became their skipper.
All were lost on the Cologne 1000 raid.

(30/31 May 1942) - Wellington Mk III - Z1614 - KO-R)

The only individual I can identify is the extreme right who is Sgt. Hubert Croston, the Rear Gunner.
(His last flight with F/S. Davie was on 19/5/42, with Wellington RX.1614 which was lost on the Cologne raid.)

Interesting that the largest man had the smallest place on the aircraft!

I would like to hear from you if you can identify any of the others, thanks.

Via Mark Every we received new info, P/O. Howard 2nd left, F/S. Davie 3rd from left, thanks.

On 21/2/2020 we saw following message of Tina Campion,

My uncle, Frank L.Godden was in 115 Sqd. at East Wretham.

He was previously in a reserved occupation but after helping recover victims of The Sheffield Blitz, he joined Bomber Command to train as a pilot.

He was the flight engineer and second dicky on a raid on Berlin 29/30th March 1943.

His Lancaster Mk II - DS625 KO-W was lost without trace with loss of all crew.

This was the first mk2 Lancaster to be lost in the war and the first Lancaster lost from 115 sqd.

My uncle was 22yrs old.R.I.P to all the crew.

Thanks via Klaas Visser from the Netherlands we received on 21/2/2020 a photo of the crew of Wellington P9286 KO-K.

Early in the war, on 17th November 1940 they crashed at Groetpolder nearby Winkel, no survivors.

Left to right: Sgt. Donald Larkman, Sgt. Frederick Core, Sgt. Malcolm Mott, Sgt. Robert Rodger, Sgt. Thomas Gostick and Sgt. John Carse Walton.

On this mission with target Hamburg 115 Squadron lost also, Wellington R3213 KO-S, no survivors.

Who can help? On February 3rd we received folowing mail,

Good afternoon!

I wonder if you can help me – my name is Dr Phil Marter and I am running a project to investigate the crash site of Lancaster DS793 KO-L.

I would like to start tracing crew family members, and I wondered if you would be able to put something on your website to that effect?

I would be more than happy to feedback any information I collect as part of this project.

In fact I will be speaking (in part) about this aircraft and her crew at the RAF Museum in London later this month.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give,

With best wishes,
Dr Phil Marter (University of Winchester)

Who can help? On January 30th we received folowing mail from Tony Richardson

Dear Sir/Madam,

I'm enquiring to see if you may be able to help me please.

Our department is currently making plans for a memorial to a crew lost on the 24th November 1941 who were flying a wellington from 115 squadron.

I'm trying to find a picture of Wellington Z8863 KO-G which crashed at night during a non ops flight, but ao far have had no sucess in tracking a picture down.

Would you be able to help me out please.

Yours sincerely,
Tony Richardson

Wellington Z8863Wellinton Z8863