1945/026 75/ME321 see also OTU/080 re F/L Newton [Haslam 27/08/07]
1945/044 50/LM234 add Note. On 15 January 1945, a very comprehensive report was prepared for the District Magistrate at Saalfeld/Thuringia concerning the shooting down of this Lancaster. At first it was believed that a Luftwaffe aircraft had crashed, a message timed at 2200 local time and originating from a Wachturm [watchtower] at Schmiedefeld/Thuringia stating that an aircraft was burning on the Assberg [a mountain in the Schlagethal valley near Reichmannsdorf]. Immediately, a detachment from the Landwacht [Territorial Reserve Force] was sent to investigate. Meanwhile, one of the two survivors had surrendered himself to Frau Martha Leutert of Leipzig who happened to be visiting friends in the valley. This airman, who was slightly injured, was taken to a local inn in the Schlagethal and placed in the hands of the Landwacht. Soon after, the crash site was reached but a close inspection was impossible owing to ammunition exploding in the heat. Believing there could be other would be evaders, a detachment of the Landwacht from nearby Meura was ordered to search the area. At around 0230 local time a second airman, also lightly injured, surrendered to Frau Margarethe Tauer also of Leipzig and he was taken to the same inn as his colleague. Next came a relieving force from the village of Lichte/Thuringia and included Meister der Gendarmerie Herr Rittweger and Hauptwachtmeister Herr Goedert; later, they were joined by Obw. der Gendarmeries der Reserve Herr Fasold. By 1000 local time it was established that five bodies were in the wreckage and the search for evaders was called off. It was now established that the two survivors were Irish and during the afternoon of the 15th they were collected by a car belonging to the Kommando and taken under escort of a senior officer to Saalfeld. With the Kommando now in charge the task of recovering the dead began on 16 January. A second Kommando, from Erfurt, made arrangements for the collection and removal of the wreckage, the marks VN K being visible. [The records of Herr Hans Joachim Adler translated by Herr Jörg Helbig, 19/10/08]
1945/052 582/NE130 see also OTU/288 re F/S McVerry RNZAF [Haslam 27/08/07]
1945/070 431/KB818 Amend both crew matrix and summary:
F/L S P Sorenson RCAF
P/O N W Larman RCAF
P/O J L Carveth RCAF
P/O J A Fanset RCAF
P/O E Stewart RCAF
F/S A F Johnston RCAF
Sgt C O Garbutt RCAF
T/o 1848 Croft similarly instructed and while heading south the inner starboard and inner port engines lost power. The bomb load was jettisoned at 4,000 feet, 2125 50.38N 00.40W and an emergency landing was carried out at Ford airfield in Sussex during which the Lancaster was damaged beyond repair. It transpired that the super charger casing had broken away from the port motor while the propellor on the inner starboard began to over-speed. [Richard Koval 6[RCAF] Group web site 12/09/08]
1945/077 153/NN803 After 'T/o 2005 Scampton' continue 'as part of the second wave. Crashed, burning fiercely, at 0044 between the villages of Arnsfeld and Grumbach, having being targeted by Ofw Ludwig Schmidt piloting a Ju88G-6 from 2./NJG6.' Remainder of summary as reported.
add Note: Apparently, a man from the nearby village of Mildenau recalls that a friend of his, at the time aged 14, was drawn to the crash site as he had heard that RAF airmen were issued with chocolate. The lure of this induced him to search the badly burnt wreckage which was lying in woodland. However, on seeing two of the crew still strapped in their seats he quickly left the scene and never returned. He said, however, that he saw unexploded bombs.
[Jörg Helbig and Rene Siegert 23/07/08]
1945/077 166/PD394 After 'T/o 2050 Kirmington' continue 'as part of the second wave. At 0043, local time, a violent explosion rent the sky above Culitzsch/Sachsen as cannon shells from the Ju88G-6 flown by Oblt Engelbert Heiner, Stab.IV./NJG6 found their mark. Wreckage and bodies were scattered over a wide area. All were buried in Culitzsch Friedhof, since when their remains have been exhumed and taken to the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.
For Oblt Heiner this was his last confirmed victory before he fell in action while on patrol 18-19 March 1945 (reported on page 496 of Deutsche Nachtjagd by Michael Balss, Auflage 1997). [Jörg Helbig and Rene Siegert 23/07/08]
1945/078 427/ML422 delete ML422, insert MZ422
After 'T/o 1649 Leeming' continue 'and believed shot down circa 2150 by Obfhr Helmut Bunje of 4./NJG6 to the SW of Saalfeld near Katzhütte, a small town astride the River Schwarza.' Remainder of summary as reported.
Add note: I am indebted to Jörg Helbig, Rene Siegert and Roderick Mackenzie for this information; on page 235 of Luftwaffe Night Fighter Combat Claims 1939-1945, compiled by John Foreman, Johannes Matthews and Simon Parry (Red Kite, 2004), the time and location details match but the aircraft type is reported as a Lancaster. [Chorley 22/07/08]
1945/079 432/RG449 Replace narrative with: T/o 1649 East Moor. Believed to have been shot down by Hptm Heinz Rökker of 2./NJG2 flying Ju88G-6 [4R + CK] at 2203, crashing at Schonau an der Brend roughly 11 km NW from Neustadt/Saale. Hptm Rökker, who claimed the bomber as a "Lancaster", reported firing just two bursts of schräge Musik, one of which killed Sgt Sorrell. At 36 he was well over the average age for operational aircrew. Initially buried locally, he now rests in Hannover War Cemetery. [German info from Jörg Helbig & Rene Siegert 25/06/08]
1945/079 434/KB741 Delete narrative after ... 431Squadron. Insert. Shot down at 2101 by a Ju88G-6 from 1./NJG5 crashing near the village of Tannenberg, 8 km NNW of Annaberg-Buchholz/Erzgebirge. Sgt McLarty was interrogated by the Ortsgruppenfuhrer [mayor] at Mildenau, 18 year old Frau Ursula Stopp from Ehrenfriedersdorf acting as interpreter. Those who died now rest in Berlin at the 1939-1945 War Cemetery, their remains having been recovered from Tannenberg Friedhof. F/O McElhone was an American from Detroit. Sgt McLarty was taken under escort to a prisoner of war camp on 16 February. [Jörg Helbig and Rene Siegert, via Chorley 27/06/08]
Note. A pilot's name Hptm E-G Drunkler has been deleted from the above amendment - please refer to the general note on the Updates Log page concerning the marrying of Luftwaffe night fighter pilots names against individual bomber losses. [Roderick Mackenzie 13/07/08]
Secondly, an investigation is underway into all the losses for the night in question [14-15 February 1945].
1945/079 625/NF996 Amend summary: 'T/o 2009 Kelstern as part of the second wave. Believed to have exploded in midair east of Chemnitz and between the villages of Marbach and Schellenberg, the latter being on the west bank of the River Flöha. It is reported that one crew member, unnamed, was buried in Pockau Friedhof. Since the cessation of hostilites, five now rest in Berlin's 1939-1945 War Cemetery, while F/O Slocum and Sgt Williams are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, panels 280 and 277 respectively.' [Jörg Helbig and Rene Siegert 25/07/08]
1945/079 635/PB287 Delete "T/o .... Cemetery." Insert: T/o 1727 Downham Market and while homebound fell victim at 2137 to Hptm Kurt-Heinz Weigel of IV./NJG6 flying a Ju88G-6. Out of control the Lancaster hit the ground near the village of Gefell some 20 km WSW of Plauen/Vogtl. Those who died were buried in Gefell Friedhof but in the second half of 1948 their bodies were exhumed and conveyed to Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. [Jörg Helbig and Rene Siegert, via Chorley 27/06/08]
1945/079 640/MZ856 amend summary:
After 'T/o 1704 Leconfield' continue 'and while homebound intercepted by a Ju88G-6 flown by Major Werner Hoffmann, Stab I/NJG5. In the ensuing combat the Halifax [claimed as a 'Lancaster'] was sent down at 2211 to crash near the village of Neuwirtshaus in the Bayrischen Rhön and roughly midway between the towns of Bad Brückenau to the north and Hammelburg to the south.' Remainder of summary as reported. [Jörg Heilbig and Rene Siegert 23/07/08]
1945/080 640/NP953 Delete "T/o ... Cemetery". Insert T/o 1702 Leconfield and reported crashed circa 2100 at Pockau where those who died were laid to rest in the local Friedhof, since when their bodies have been exhumed and taken to Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. [Jörg Helbig and Rene Siegert, via Chorley 27/06/08]
1945/084 431/KB809: Amend crew matrix:
P/O J W Kopp RCAF +
Sgt W S Dickson RCAF +
F/O I C MacCugan RCAF pow
WO2 F E Lehman RCAF pow
F/S L E Hoffman RCAF +
F/S F E Newman RCAF +
F/S H R Dailey RCAF pow
[Richard Koval 6[RCAF] Group web site 12/09/08]
1945/106 138/LJ999 Delete F/O L G Steven, insert F/O L G Sleven [John Reid 23/07/08]
1945/108 103/PB563 Amend summary: T/o 1716 Elsham Wolds and is believed to have been shot down, outbound, by a night fighter, crashing at Königerode/Unterharz, 15 km NNW of Sangerhausen/Unterharz. All were buried in Konigerode Friedhof but were exhumed on 21 June 1947, and taken to Berlin' Continue 'P/O Elliott .. [Jörg Helbig and Rene Siegert 28/09/08]
1945/112 426/NP799 replace first two sentences of summary with: T/o 1645 Linton-on-Ouse and is believed to have been shot down by a night fighter fitted with schräge Musik, the pilot involved has not been identified. The sole survivor was found near the village of Wippra, where the bulk of the wreckage lay, some 11 to 12 km N of Sangerhausen/Unterharz. [then continue with remainder of summary]. [Jörg Helbig and Rene Siegert 28/08/08]
1945/113 431/KB858 T/o 1635 Croft and while outbound may have been the Halifax claimed at 2030 by Oblt Kurt Matzak, 12./NJG1 [Dortmund]. Out of control the bomber crashed and exploded at Zollbuchen, 1 km from Oberweidbach [Bischoffen] and 15 km ENE from Herbron/Hesse. All are buried in Hannover War Cemetery.' [Jörg Helbig and Rene Siegert 28/08/08]
1945/126 49/RF153 Summary revision: T/o 1647 Fulbeck to bomb the Wintershall synthetic oil plant. Shortly after leaving the target area, the Lancaster was shot down and crashed at Braunsbedra/SA (Saxony-Anhalt), a smallish town straddling a tributary of the River Saale and a few kms SW of Merseburg. Those who died were first buried in Braunsbedra Friedhof since when their bodies have been exhumed at taken to Berlin for interment in the 1939-1945 War Cemetery. [RCAF authorities via Jörg Helbig 13/11/08]
1945/154 571/RV305 Summary to read: T/o Oakington and crashed east of the River Aller at Lockstedt, 8 km SE of Oebisfelde. It would appear that W/O Clarke survived the crash as he was seen by a local woman being led to a vehicle and driven away. His fate thereafter remains a mystery and with no known grave he is commemorated on panel 285 at the Runnymede Memorial. W/O Clarke had married Eve Ivy Clarke of Richmond, Surrey. The body of his Scottish born navigator who in civilian life had qualified as a Chartered Secretary may have been taken away in the same vehicle as it is confirmed by Herr Friedrich-Karl Sonntag of the Militarbeiter des Stadtarchives at Oebisfelde that F/S Beaton was not buried at Lockstedt. His grave is now in Berlin's 1939-1945 War Cemetery. [Unnamed German eyewitness and Herr Hriedrich-Karl Sonntag, via Arthur W Arculus 17/07/08]
1945/160 462/NA240 add F/O J Heggarty + to crew, he was an Air Gunner - whether M/U or RG is at present uncertain [Chorley 08/07/08: see also RoH]
1945/224 Addendum During December 1945, No. 1 Missing Research & Enquiry Unit, based at le Mans in the French Department of Sarthe had cause to investigate the loss of two Lancasters, reported missing from the 4-5 January 1945 raid on the German garrison at Royan. In pursuance of this investigation, Squadron Leader L M Jeffreys RAAF a Liaison Officer, in company with Squadron Leader D R Cruwys and Flight Lieutenant Thompson RAAF, went to Royan on 19 December 1945.
As a result of their conversations with French officials, it was concluded that the two aircraft, Lancaster III PB617 from 106 Squadron and Lancaster I PB695 of 463 Squadron, had collided in flight with the former crashing into woods at Courlay and the latter falling in two parts. One section is thought to have fallen into the sea, or fell in the town and was completely obliterated by the bombing, while wreckage from the second part was found in the rue Combe de Mons. Squadron Leader Jeffreys RAAF went to the cemetery at Royan and was able to determine that six bodies were interred, three of which could be positively identified as coming from the remains of the 463 Squadron aircraft, captained by Flying Officer Milne RAAF (see page 30) (of the six burials in Royan Roman Catholic Cemetery, four are now known to be from Flying Officer Milne's crew). All three officers then talked with Reverend J W Besancon of St-Palais-Sur-Mer, where all from the 106 Squadron Lancaster now rest, but he was not able to add any further details. Included with these reports, kindly forwarded from Australia by Anthony Manton, is a letter dated 23 June 1945, written by Rene Schaller, the Pastor of Courlay-sur-Mer, describing how a month after the crash he found the body of Flight Sergeant Walter RAAF of 106 Squadron in the same woods where the bulk of the debris was first located. His communication also indicates that Flight Sergeant Walter RAAF was buried at Courlay, though as my summary shows, Commonwealth War Graves Commission identify the cemetery as being at St-Palais-sur-Mer.