Lancaster HK 556 26/27 August 1944

Lancaster Mk I - HK556 A4-F

T/O Witchford 2019 - target Kiel, Germany. Lost without trace.

A post war investigation carried out by the Missing Research & Enquiry Services (No 4 Unit) concluded that
body remains and parts of an aircraft had been found in Brodersdorf woods.
The body remains being buried at Kiel. It is thought that the remains were either from
Lancaster HK 556 of 115 Squadron or Lancaster LM230 of 12 Squadron.
German records indicate that an aircraft crashed in the Gemeinde Brodersdorf at 23.10 hours on the 26/27th August 1944,
exploding with all bombs on board, leaving a huge water filled crater with a depth of at least twenty feet.
The German records report that the crew were presumably dead.
The report remains on the file of F/O Donald Holder RNZAF pilot of HK556/F.

Source: Bomber Crew

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

372 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups despatched to Kiel.

The Pathfinder marking was hampered by smoke-screens but the local report tells of a very serious raid with heavy bombing
in the town centre and surrounding districts and widespread fires fanned by a strong wind.
The Rathaus was completely burnt out and many other public buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged.

17 Lancasters lost, 4.6 per cent of the Lancaster force.

Source: - Bomber Command - Campaign Diary August 1944 - More photos and info on Aircrew Remembered.

ORB. 26th Aug. 1944.
23 aircraft were detailed to attack KIEL, but one failed to take off.
The remainder took off between 20.09 hours and 20.45 hours.
3 aircraft
H.LM.127 Captain P/O. J. MORGAN, Lancaster Mk I LM127 KO-H, 7 KIA
F.HK.556 Captain F/O. F. HOLDER NZ.421053, and
HK.560 Captain F/S. BRAUN, H. Lancaster Mk I HK560 A4-K, 7 KIA
failed to return from Operations - no news being received.
2 aircraft were forced to abandon the sortie due to port outer engine being unserviceable (B.NN.706 Captain P/O. T. W. ELLISON)
and rear turret (C.ME.836 Captain F/O. A. J. OSBORNE) being unserviceable respectively and both returned to Base early
after jettisoning their bomb load, one live and the other safe.
17 aircraft identified the target visually and by P.F. flares and bombed red and green markers from heights ranging between
16,000 feet and 19,000 feet.
Bombing was well concentrated and many fires with much smoke and explosions were seen. Photographs were attempted.
Searchlights and heavy Flak were very active.
One aircraft (Z.LL.944 Captain F/S. BODEN J.)* was damaged by heavy Flak.

* Damage to H2S scanner, rudder control bar, ammo. container to rear turret, flare chute and No.2 port tank.

02.05. 19 aircraft had returned safely to Base.

Holder Donald Fraser Holder Donald Fraser - Pilot

F/O - Service No 421053

Age: 22


Son of Albert William Holder and Leila Beatrice Burrows, of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 262

Source: CWGC - photo Auckland War Memorial Museum

Pearson Maxwell John Pearson Maxwell John - FE

Sgt - Service No 1836265

Age: 21


Son of Melville Llewellyn Pearson and Mary Louise Pearson, of Croesyceiliog, Monmouthshire.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 226

Source: CWGC.

Hartley Henry Herbert Hartley Henry Herbert - Nav

F/S - Service No 1582326

Age: 21


Son of Frederick and Ellen Hartley, of Birmingham.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 218

Source: CWGC.

Clatworthy Douglas Roy Clatworthy Douglas Roy - WOP

Sgt - Service No 1338676



Son of

Runnymede Memorial - panel 227

Source: CWGC.

Swannell John William Swannell John William - BA

F/S - Service No 1339960

Age: 21


Son of John and Violet Constance Swannell, of Hastings, Sussex.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 222

Source: CWGC.

Jackson Allen Stewart Jackson Allen Stewart - MUG

F/S - Service No 434791

Age: 19 - born Toowoomba, Queensland, on Xmas Day in 1924.


Son of John Joseph and Olive Isabel Jackson, of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 260

Source: CWGC - Photo thanks to Maurice Kissane Ex-RAAF, his file National Archives of Australia.*

Webber Athol Grant Webber Athol Grant - RG

F/S - Service No 432605

Age: 19 - °Kendall; NSW, 13 Nov 1924.*


Son of William Thomas Webber and May Webber, of West Maitland, New South Wales, Australia.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 262

Source: CWGC - info via Maurice Kissane Ex-RAAF, his DVA WWII RAAF Nominal Roll.*