73 Halifaxes from 419, 427, 428, 429, and 434 Squadrons were joined by 9 Wellingtons from 432 Squadron on an attack at Hannover. The crews were over the target at between 17,000 and 21,000 feet, releasing 229,000 lbs of incendiaries and 124,000 lbs of high explosives. According to reports, most of the bombing missed the target to the north.
P/O J. Symons and F/O D. Laidlaw from 419 squadron returned
their instruments iced up.
F/Lt W. Weston from 427 squadron returned early as the stbd
u/s. They landed safely at base on 3 engines.
F/Sgt W. Kruse from 428 squadron returned early as the port
u/s. They landed safely at base on 3 engines.
F/O F. Jackman RCAF
P/O M. Johnson RCAF
Sgt E. Knowles RAF
Sgt J. Silverman RCAF
Sgt J. Custeau RCAF
W/O F. Edwards had the stbd inner go u/s over the target.
safely at Mildenhall on 3 engines.
Sgt G. Whitley RAF
P/O B. Roughton RAF
Sgt A. Lucas RAF
Sgt D. Mercer RCAF
Sgt E. Wainwright RAF
*We received the following quote from Steve Wilson, son of pilot Sgt R Wilson, with his father's account of the night his plane crashed.
"The aircraft was hit by accurate flak over the target after being caught in searchlights.
As a consequence of this, the port outer engine was badly damaged and ceased to function.
The bombs were jettisoned over the target and and the pilot turned the aircraft back for home at Middleton St George.
Whilst crossing the coast (Dutch coast I believe) the Halifax was again hit by flak from a German flak ship which damaged the inner port engine, but did not put it out of action.
On regaining the English coast, the crew realised that they were now in serious trouble and the pilot was having problems keeping the aircraft airborne due not only to engine problems but also to damaged flight surfaces.
They broadcast the emergency call sign (blackie blackie for that night) and the US air base at Framlingham responded as the nearest airfield. The pilot headed for this base and all were gratified to see the landing lights ablaze for them. They began a very difficult descent to the runway, but as fate would have it, the damaged port inner engine chose this moment to stop altogether.
The effect of this was to cause the aircraft to flip over onto its port side, the wing caught the tree tops and the plane crashed into the ground before ever reaching the runway.
There were three survivors - the pilot, the mid upper gunner and the tail gunner. The pilot was badly injured having a smashed pelvis, and other serious injuries and indeed when they found him one of his eyes was hanging down on his cheek.The rear gunner was also very badly injured but I do not know the extent of these.
The mid upper gunner escaped without a scratch and went for help, but could not get out of the the heavily ploughed and muddy field that they were in due to barbed wire security fences that surrounded the field. It was nearly an hour before american forces got to them.
The official story simply states that the aircraft overshot the landing on return - this is not the case, they never even got to the runway, and the crash was was caused by battle damage."
All other crews landed at Molesworth or Bassingbourne on return due to poor weather at base.
Sgt J. Farmer RAF and crew, flying Halifax EB-215 coded NA-T, failed to return from this operation.
Sgt D. Griffin RAF–POW
Sgt T. Wilson RAF
Sgt E. Springett RAF
Sgt A. Stuart RAF
Sgt W. Mussen RAF
F/O M. Whalley RCAF–POW and crew, flying Halifax V LK-915 coded NA-V, failed to return from this operation.
F/O C. Butcher RCAF
F/O W. Higgins RCAF–POW
Sgt F. Jackson RAF
Sgt J. Morrison RCAF
Sgt E. Driscoll RCAF
F/Lt M.Sherback RCAF and crew, flying Halifax II JB-968 coded NA-R, failed to return from this operation.
F/O F. Manners RCAF
F/O E. MacMurchy RCAF
Sgt J. Kirby RAF
Sgt D. Mathews RCAF
Sgt W. McKee RCAF
F/Lt B. Rawson, W/O2 D. Smith and P/O B. Jackson from 429
returned early with technical problems.
W/O A. Erickson from 432 Squadron returned early as the
F/Sgt L. Cook RCAF
Sgt W. Grant RCAF–POW
P/O A. Chubb RCAF
Sgt S. Bybee USAAF–POW
Sgt J. Keane and Sgt A. Nadeau from 434 Squadron returned
early as their
port inners were u/s. They landed safely at Linton on Ouse on 3
F/Lt F. Lord RCAF and crew, flying Halifax V LK-648 coded WL-F, failed to return from this operation.
Sgt S. Walter RAF
F/O B. Jones RCAF
F/O D. Sinclair RCAF
F/Sgt B. O’Hara RCAF
F/Sgt R. Wallace RCAF
F/Sgt J. de Sieyes RCAF
P/O O. Lytle RCAF and crew, flying Halifax V LK-917 coded WL-X, failed to return from this operation.
Sgt H. Lindsay RAF
W/O2 R. Pedlar RCAF
F/Sgt J. Monteith RCAF
Sgt M. Chasmar RAF
F/Sgt H. Hansell RCAF
F/Sgt J. Leach RCAF
F/Sgt R. Smith RCAF and crew, flying Halifax V LK-919 coded WL-R, failed to return from this operation.
F/O M. Halpin RCAF
F/Sgt M. Vitch RCAF
Sgt G. Todkill RAF
Sgt E. Moody RAF
Sgt J. Rousseau RCAF