559 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.

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.

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Letts 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

Clark 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.

Smith 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

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.

Kennedy 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

Morris 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

White 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.