19/20 May 1944

Lancaster Mk I - HK547 A4-F

T/O Witchford 2209 - Target Le Mans, France.
Crashed at Allones, 3 Km NW of Le Mans Aerodrome.

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

112 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos of Nos 3 and 8 Groups.

The majority of the bombs hit the railway yards and caused serious damage.
The local report says that the locomotive sheds were destroyed, an ammunition train (or some ammunition wagons) blew up,
2 main lines were destroyed and all other lines blocked because overhead power lines were brought down across the tracks.

Unfortunately the Lancasters of the Master Bomber and his deputy collided over the target and crashed.
The Master Bomber was a brilliant young New Zealander, Wing Commander J. F. Barron, DSO and Bar, DFC, DFM,
and the Deputy Master Bomber was Squadron Leader J. M. Dennis, DSO, DFC. They were both killed; both were from No 7 Squadron.

1 other Lancaster was lost.

Source: nationalarchives.gov.uk - Bomber Command - Campaign Diary May 1944. (Last update 18/12/2018)

ORB 19th May 1944. 24 aircraft were detailed to attack LE MANS and all took off between 22.08 hours & 22.30 hours.
1 aircraft F.HK.574 (Captain P/O. S. S. ATKIN) failed to return from Operations - no news being received.
The remainder successfuly identified the target either visually or by means of indicator markers & dropped their bombs chiefly
on the yellow markers from heights ranging between 5,000 feet to 10,500 feet. Soms bombed the green markers as instructed
by the Master of Ceremonies, who at one time appeared to be difficult to hear owing to an aircraft having its transmitter on.
Many fires & several dark red explosions were seen in target area & the attack appeared to be successful. Photographs were attemped.

03.37. 25 aircraft had returned safely to Base after Operations.

Lancaster HK547 Thought to be some of the crew
with who we now know are L-R Rear:

P/O. Samuel Atkin,
Cpl. Ashby, ground crew,
P/O. Kenneth Richard Mather,'Mack' described as bomb aimer,
Sgt. Jock Stevenson, ground crew,
Fl/Sgt. Reginald Giles,
Sgt. Joseph Rafferty,
P/O. Leonard Eugene Mehden.

Front:
Sgt. Dick Dewer,
Sgt. Bodd, ground crew and two other groundcrew not named.

Photo courtesy Janet McWee
Source; Aircrew Remembered.

Atkin Samuel StephenLancaster HK547 Atkin Samuel Stephen - Pilot

P/O - Service No 172115

Age: 22

RAFVR

Son of George and Catherine Atkin, of Dronfield, Derbyshire.

Le Mans West Cemetery, Departement Sarthe - Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 24.

Source: CWGC - Photo via Aircrew Remembered - Find a Grave by Jacky EMERY.

Hayward John Victor Hayward John VictorHayward John Victor - 2nd Pilot

F/O - Service No 139986

Age: 32 - ° 02/08/1911*

RAFVR

Son of William and Katherine Hayward.
* Husband of Margaret Hayward (Smart).*
Siblings - Molly and Reginald. Daughters - Margaret, Patricia,
Angela (my mother) and Elizabeth.*

Le Mans West Cemetery, Departement Sarthe -
Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 25.

Source: CWGC - *Photo and info via Roger Carew, grandson - Find a Grave.

Lancaster HK547Plumb Ivor Collins Plumb Ivor Collins - FE

Sgt - Service No 1804691

Age: 20

RAFVR

Son of homas William and Doreen Jean Plumb, of Bromley, Kent.

Le Mans West Cemetery, Departement Sarthe -
Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 27.

Source: CWGC - photo via francecrashes39-45.net, C. Danna - Find a Grave.

Mather Kenneth RichardMather Kenneth Richard Mather Kenneth Richard - Nav

P/O - Service No 173890

Age: 20

RAFVR

Son of Sydney and Kathleen Mather, of Plymouth.
Husband of Blanche R. E. Mather, of Mannamead, Plymouth.

Le Mans West Cemetery, Departement Sarthe -
Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 26.

Source: CWG - photo via francecrashes39-45.net, C. Dannau - Find a Grave.

Lancaster HK547Giles Reginald Frederick Arthur Giles Reginald Frederick Arthur - WOP

F/S - Service No 1317796

Age: 23

RAFVR

Son of Frederick Richard Arthur and Dorothy Elizabeth Giles,
of Brixham, Devon.

Le Mans West Cemetery, Departement Sarthe -
Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 14.

Source: CWGC - photo via francecrashes39-45.net, C. Dannau - Find a Grave by Aircrew Remembered.

Jones Rhys Webb Jones Rhys WebbJones Rhys Webb - BA

P/O - Service No 410064

Age: 25

RAAF

Son of Lloyd Britton Jones and Rachel Jones.
Husband of Jessie Nimmo Tulloch Jones,
of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Le Mans West Cemetery, Departement Sarthe -
Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 21.

Source: CWGC - photo and more info Aircrew Remembered - Find a Grave.

Lancaster HK547Rafferty Joseph Victor Rafferty Joseph Victor - MUG

Sgt - Service No 955666

Age: 34

RAFVR

Son of

Le Mans West Cemetery, Departement Sarthe -
Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 28.

Source: CWGC - Find a Grave by Aircrew Remembered.

Mehden Leonard EugeneMehden Leonard Eugene Mehden Leonard Eugene - RG

P/O - Service No 423152

Age: 24

RAAF

Son of Carl and Letitia Mehden.
Husband of Jocelyne Marjorie Mehden, of Kings Cross,
New South Wales, Australia.

Le Mans West Cemetery, Departement Sarthe -
Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 15.

Source: CWGC - photo via Aircrew Remembered - Find a Grave.