LM 616 18 July 1944

Lancaster Mk III - LM616 KO-J

T/O Witchford 0420 - target Émiéville, France.
Crashed 0715 hours at West End Farm, Great Offley, Herts, killing all the crew.

The farm was demolished and three occupants were also killed,
Mrs. Handly Alice, age 67, Miss Handley Mary Agnes, age 36 and
Private Handley Elsie, Auxiliary Territorial Service, Service No: W/83086, age 28.

Source: 115 Squadron Roll of Honour by D. Bruce, W. R. Chorley, J. G. J. de Haan - more info Aircrew Remembered

942 aircraft - 667 Lancasters, 260 Halifaxes, 15 Mosquitos,

to bomb 5 fortified villages in the area east of Caen through which British Second Army troops were
about to make an armoured attack, Operation Goodwood. The raids took place at dawn in clear conditions.
4 of the targets were satisfactorily marked by Oboe and, at the target where Oboe failed,
the Master Bomber, Squadron Leader EK Creswell, and other Pathfinder crews used visual methods.
American bombers also attacked these targets and a total of 6,800 tons of bombs were dropped,
of which Bomber Command dropped more than 5,000 tons.
Elements of two German divisions, the 16th Luftwaffe Field Division and the 21st Panzer Division,
were badly affected by the bombing, the Luftwaffe Division particularly so. Operation Goodwood made a good start.
This raid was either the most useful or one of the most useful of the operations carried out by Bomber Command
in direct support of the Allied armies. The aircraft bombed from medium heights, 5,000-9,000ft, but army
artillery and naval gunfire subdued many of the flak batteries.

No German fighters appeared. Allied air superiority over the battlefield by day was complete.

6 aircraft - 5 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster - were shot down.

Source: nationalarchives.gov.uk - Bomber Command - Campaign Diary July 1944.

ORB 18th July, 1944.
25 aircraft (9 from "A" Flt., 7 from "B" Flt., & 9 from "C" Flt.)
were detailed to attack EMIEVILLE and took off between 04.03 hours and 04.40 hours.
All the aircraft identified the target visually and by means of yellow indicator markers on
which they bombed, as instructed by the Master Bomber from heights ranging between
8,000 feet and 10,000 feet.
Bombing was well concentrated on the wood and many fires were seen.
The target was soon covered with smoke and dust.
Paratroops were seen dropping South of QUISTREHAM and much transport was observed
North of the target area.
Photographs were attempted.
One of the aircraft (J.LM.616 - Captain P/O. S. A. LETTS) on returning crashed at
GREAT OFFLEY (HERTS), all the crew being killed.
West end Farm, Offley was destroyed and the three occupants were killed.

07.15 One aircraft crashed at GREAT OFFLEY, Hertfordshire,
all the crew being killed.
(The wreckage of the aircraft was widely strewn and extensively burnt.)
07.55 24 aircraft had returned safely to base after operations.

From Steve Jones,

Thank you to Flt. Lt. Neil Bing from 115 Squadron RAF Wittering for attending and unveiling the memorial stone
in memory of the crew and civilians killed in the Lancaster bomber crash in Great Offley 75 years ago....
There names will live forever more.

Lancaster LM616Lancaster LM616Lancaster LM616

Lancaster LM616Lancaster LM616
Letts Sydney AlbertLetts Sydney Albert Letts Sydney Albert "George" - Pilot

P/O - Service No 173763

Age: 31


Son of Sydney and Mabel Letts, of Leicester.
Husband of Dorothy Letts, of Leicester.

Cambridge City Cemetery - grave 13769.

Source: CWGC - Photo The WW2 Diary of Lancaster Pilot Bruce Johnston
- Find a grave by Len.

Clark Donald CarpenterClark Donald Carpenter Clark Donald Carpenter - FE

Sgt - Service No 1717615

Age: 20


Son of Benjamin George Arthur and Winifred Emma Clark,
of East Barnet.

Hitchin Cemetery, Herts. - grave South Sec. 16A.

Source: CWGC - Photo: Find a grave by Mike Gall.

Lancaster LM616Smith Keith John Smith Keith John - Nav

Sgt - Service No 1603697

Age: 21


Son of Frank John Leage Smith and Gwendolin Grace Smith,
of Purley, Surrey.

Cambridge City Cemetery - grave 13969

Source: CWGC - Photo via Find a grave, by Len

Lancaster LM616 Richardson Thomas - WOP

F/O - Service No 157884

Age: 23


Son of John and Susan Richardson. of Seaton.

New Seaham (Christ Church) Churchyard, Seaham, County Durham - grave G. 3.

Source: CWGC - photo: Memories of RAF Witchford - Find a Grave by Toni Goundry.

Kennedy William JohnKennedy William John Kennedy William John - BA

P/O - Service No J88743

Age: 28


Son of William Dugald and Mary Ann Kennedy,
of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Brookwood Military Cemetery, Woking Surrey - grave 52. F. 7.

Source: CWGC - Photo and more info via Canadian virtual war memorial. -
Find a grave by Retired QA.

Morris IsaacMorris Isaac Morris Isaac - MUG

Sgt - Service No 1544587

Age: 21


Only son of Joseph and Jessie Morris, of Staveley.

Staveley (St. James) Churchyard Over Staveley - grave New ground 554

Source: CWGC - Photo via sikchurches.org.uk/wargraves - Find a Grave.

White Earl DouglasWhite Earl Douglas White Earl Douglas - RG

Sgt - Service No R200964

Age: 21


Son of Menno Peter and Rose Rebecca White,
of Fort Erie North, Ontario, Canada.

Brookwood Military Cemetery, Woking Surrey - grave 52. F. 8.

Source: CWGC - Photo: Canadian virtual war memorial - Find a grave by Retired QA.