Lancaster NG332 13/14 February 1945

Lancaster Mk I - PB686 KO-D

T/o Witchford 2150 hrs to take part in Operation Thunderclap - target Dresden.
Returning from Dresden an engine caught fire and the a/c was abandoned,
crashing at Jancourt, France.
Sgt Preston was killed after baling out but the rest of the crew survived.

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

My father F/Sgt C D "Ricky" Rickard was F/Eng on Archibald Dick's aircraft.

The starboard inner engine was hit by flak (?) severing the oil supply.
The prop was feathered and they flew on 3 back over the front into Free France.
On dropping to 5000 ft to avoid night fighters the prop unfeathered and with no oil reserve soon
had the casing glowing red and sparks passing the tail gunner.
Archie levelled off and the crew baled in good order, him last after trimming appropriately!

Sadly as reported above one chap didn't make it.
Archie thought he might have snagged his chute on exit .. RIP.

Info via Anthony Rickard.

796 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos were dispatched in two separate raids and
dropped 1,478 tons of high explosive and 1,182 tons of incendiary bombs.

The first attack was carried out entirely by No 5 Group, using their own low-level marking methods.
A band of cloud still remained in the area and this raid, in which 244 Lancasters dropped more than 800 tons of
bombs, was only moderately successful.
The second raid, 3 hours later, was an all-Lancaster attack by aircraft of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups, with No 8 Group
providing standard Pathfinder marking.
The weather was now clear and 529 Lancasters dropped more than 1,800 tons of bombs with great accuracy.
Much has been written about the fearful effects of this raid. Suffice it to say here that a firestorm,
similar to the one experienced in Hamburg in July 1943, was created and large areas of the city were burnt out.

No one has ever been able to discover how many people died but it is accepted that the number was
greater than the 40,000 who died in the Hamburg firestorm and the Dresden figure may have exceeded 50,000.

Bomber Command casualties were 6 Lancasters lost, with 2 more crashed in France and 1 in England.

Source: nationalarchives.gov.uk - Bomber Command - Campaign Diary February 1945.

OBR. 13th Feb.
21 aircraft were detailed to attack DRESDEN. All aircraft took off (between 2159 hours to 2204 hours)
and completed their duty except one aircraft who identified target but failed to bomb it and jettisoned load in enemy territory.
On the return journey one aircraft (Captain F/O. A. H. DICK) developed engine trouble and the crew baled out.
Six of the crew are safely back on the Squadron but the Rear Gunner was killed and buried in FRANCE.
On arrival at the target a glow was seen from the previous attack - visible 85 miles - deep red with black smoke.
bombing was very concentrated and carried out on P.F.F. and visually from heights ranging between 18000 and 20,400 ft.
Smoke was seen up to 15000 ft, incendiaries in town - streets were visible and the whole target seemed to be one
mass of fires which were visible 200 miles.
Two big yellow explosions were seen and on the return journey one explosion was seen 100 miles off.
Flak was on the whole negligible but some moderate heavy Flak at times.
1 FW.190, 1 ME.109 and a single engined fighter seen also fighter flares.
Fires seen burning at LEIPZIG.

0714. All aircraft except one had returned safely to Base.

Dick A. H Dick Archibald Hamilton - Pilot

F/O - Service No

Age:

Son of

His story on ww2 people's war

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

Rickard Cyril D. 'Ricky' - FE

Sgt - Service No

Age:

Son of

Source and photo via his son Anthony Rickard, thanks.

Copland D. R Copland D. R.'Doug' - Nav

F/S - Service No

Age:

Son of

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

Berwick S. W Berwick S. W. 'Stan' - WOP

F/O - Service No

Age:

Son of

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

Whittle R Whittle R. 'Rolly' - MUG

Sgt - Service No

Age:

Son of

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

Preston George Preston George - 'Geordie' - RG

Sgt - Service No 1826725

Age: 20

RAFVR

Son of W. Preston, and of Eleanor Preston, of Ashington, Northumberland.

Cambrai (Route de Solesmes) Communal Cemetery - Plot 2 Row B. Grave 10.

Source: CWGC - Find a Grave.