12 Squadron - Station Record Book

Operations Involving Tom Forbes Only

23rd May 1943

Weather. Fair, becoming fine.

Operations 21 Lancasters were detailed against DORTMUND.
They were part of a force of 343 Lancasters, 199 Halifaxes, 151 Wellingtons, 121 Stirlings, and 13 Mosquitoes.

12 Squadron
F/L Heyworth, F/O Booth, F/O Mounsey, P/O Wright, F/S Lawrence, Sgt Salthouse, F/S Wells, Sgt Tribe, Sgt Brown, F/O Burkhardt, P/O Ford, Sgt McMillan, Sgt Yeo, Sgt Gardiner, W/O Gillman, S/L Knight, W/C Wood, P/O Ashburner, F/S Steele, Sgt Forbes, and Sgt Kroemer.

Take off commenced at 2207hrs.

En route. Broken cloud, dispersing at the Dutch coast.
Target. No cloud, good visibility.

Bomb load. 7,840lbs. 1 x 4,000lb, 600 x 4lb inc. and 48 x 30lb inc.

Opposition. Heavy and light flak cooperating with 4-6 large searchlight cones. Balloons at 8-12,000'.
Night fighters very active over Holland and the target area.

Marking. PFF. Aiming Point Red T.I.s backed by Green T.I.s. Marking accurate, and on time.

Assessment of attack.
Extensive concentrated fires in the target area.
PRU. Damage highly concentrated and so devastating that Bomber Command did not revisit this target for a year.
Many industrial targets were hit. The large Hoesch steel works ceased production.

Mechanical fault
12/U F/S C.O.A. Lawrence - 4,000lb bomb failed to release

12/S Sgt D.F. Tribe - Port mainplane hit by heavy flak over the target

12/C Sgt D.J. McMillan - Tailplane and rear turret hit by heavy flak over the target

Reported missing.
12/M W4861 Crash site. Holten en Markelo. Holland. - 52.15N/06-28E

Shot down by night fighter.
Pilot Oblt. August Geiger of 3./NJG1.

Pilot F/O W.N. Mounsey Killed. 1245500. **
Nav. F/O W.B. Whitaker Killed. 130596. **
W.T. Sgt R.S.G. Miller Killed. 1313750. *
B.A. Sgt A. Dews P.O.W. 1000033.
Eng. Sgt W.B. Jowett P.O.W. 1004252.
M.U.G. Sgt K.G. Legg Killed. 539691. *
R.G. Sgt H. Pierpoint Killed. 1181213 *

**The original graves cannot be identified. They have symbolic graves in the Markelo General Cemetery.
*Buried in marked graves in the Markelo General Cemetery.

Narrative on loss of 12/M W4861, by Sgt A. Dews.
We arrived over the target on time, dropped our bombs and were immediately coned. By the time we got free we were down to about 8,000'. We set course for home and decided to regain height. In retrospect we may have been better staying at 8,000' and getting out quicker. We reached about 20,000' again over Holland and then we were shot down by August Geiger. He was working with a decoy. I was watching the decoy in front when Geiger came in from below and behind and set us on fire.
The Flight Engineer thought I was dead and lifted me off the escape hatch. He baled out quickly and I followed him.
We had no intercom working, but at least the Navigator and Wireless Operator could see the position we were in, as the whole of the port wing was ablaze. I do not know why they did not follow us out.
Note. August Geiger shot down 53 of our bombers, was promoted to Hauptman and awarded two Iron Crosses. He was shot down on 29th September 1943 and drowned because he was not wearing a lifejacket.

This was the heaviest attack to date delivered by 12 Squadron with Lancaster aircraft.

Route Base-Sheringham-52481/0440E-52401/0620E-52051/0725E-Target-51501/0710E-Egmond-Mablethorpe-Base.

Wickenby loss rate 9.52%

Bomber Command loss rate 11.08%

25th May 1943

Weather. Fine, with showers in the evening.

22 Lancasters were detailed against DUSSELDORF.
They were part of a force of 323 Lancasters, 169 Halifaxes, 142 Wellingtons, 113 Stirlings, and 12 Mosquitoes.

12 Squadron
F/O Booth, F/O Wright, F/S Lawrence, F/S Wells, F/O Burkhardt, Sgt McMillan, Sgt Salthouse, P/O Ford, Sgt Gardiner, S/L Slade, Sgt Brown, W/O Gillman, F/L Heyworth, Sgt Forbes, Sgt Kroemer, F/O Weeks, Sgt Tribe, Sgt Stancliffe, F/O McLaughlin, P/O Ashburner, F/S Steele, and Sgt Yeo.

Take off commenced at 2345hrs.

En route. Broken cloud from the Dutch coast. Increasing towards the target.
Target. 8 to 10/10ths cloud in layers at various heights.

Bomb load. 7,8401bs. 1 x 4,000lb, 600 x 41b inc. and 48 x 30lb inc.

Opposition. Predicted heavy flak, only moderate and inaccurate. Searchlights inaccurate due to cloud.
Night fighters very active, mostly in the target area.

Marking. PFF. Aiming Point Red T.I.s backed by Green T.I.s. Markers were late and marking was not concentrated.

Assessment of attack.
Bombing appeared to be scattered and will probably not be successful.
PRU. Bombing was scattered over a wide area, very little of it landing in the target area.

12/U F/S G.D.R. Lawrence - Take off 11 minutes late due to aircraft change. Late at Dutch coast and could not maintain air speed and height.
The rear gunners oxygen tube became detached. The engineer went back to assist, his portable oxygen bottle ran out, and he became unconscious.

12/A F/O J. Burkhardt - Runaway guns, due to excessive oil pressure.

12/A Sgt C.A. Kroemer - Rear turret sight U/S.

12/ Sgt J.K. Stancliffe - Attacked by a ME110 about 5 miles West of Turhout
Bombs jettisoned in Turhout area.

12/F P/O P.R.Ford - 0220hrs. Homeward bound. 12 miles West of Krefeld at 20,000'.
A ME210 was sighted by the rear gunner Sgt Stone 4 to 600yds astern. The rear turret was U/S with a burst hydraulic pipeline. The enemy attacked from the Starboard quarter. As our aircraft corkscrewed Starboard it broke away to Port, and was not seen again. The enemy aircraft fired with 4 cannons from 200yds. Our mid upper gunner Sgt Hatch replied from 150yds. No hits on our aircraft, and no hits observed on the enemy.

Reported missing.
12/F ED967 Crash site. Ratingen Germany. (51.188/06.51E)

German records report A/C brought down by flak.

Pilot F/S R.J. Steele Killed. 655242.
Nav. F/O C.B. Hooper Killed. 129598. All the crew members are buried
W.T. Sgt E.T. Powell Killed. 1082026. in the Reichswald Forest War
B.A. Sgt D.W. Creevy Killed. 1330741. Cemetery.
Eng. Sgt A.A. Prowse Killed. A21144.
M.U.G. Sgt S.A.J. Bailey Killed. 1332267.
R.G. Sgt L.C. Schroeder Killed. 1339266.

12/X F/O F.T. Wright - On return it was found that the Wireless Operator F/S T.A. Routledge 1178835 had died of anoxia, caused by failing to plug into the oxygen supply, and had been without oxygen for about 52 minutes at 20-25,000'.
Buried in Pershore Cemetery Worcestershire.

Route. Base-Southwold-5145N/0350E-50558/0630E-Target-5117N/0630E-Noordwijk-Base.

Wickenby loss rate 4.55%

Bomber Command loss- rate 3.56°/a

Visiting aircraft.
Tiger Moth Pilot. W/C Bennet Base. Binbrook.

27th May 1943

Weather. Cloudy, becoming fair.

19 Lancasters were detailed against ESSEN.
They were part of a force of 274 Lancasters, 151 Halifaxes, 81 Wellingtons, and 12 Mosquitoes

12 Squadron.
F/S Lawrence, F/S Wells, Sgt Yeo, Sgt Forbes, Sgt Kroemer, F/O Weeks, F/O Booth, F/O Burkhardt, Sgt Salthouse, Sgt Gardiner, P/O Ford, S/L Slade, F/O McLaughlin, W/O Gillman, F/L Heyworth, Sgt Tribe, Sgt Brown, P/O Ashburner, and Sgt Thompson.

Take off commenced at 2228hrs.

Weather. En route, 6-8/10ths cloud with tops at 6/8,000' increasing to 10/10ths at times.
Target, 8/10ths cloud with tops from 15,000' upward

Bomb load. 7,8401bs, 1 x 4,0001b, 600 x 41b, and 48 x 301b.

Moderate to heavy flak engaging coned aircraft, also intense barrage at bomb release points. Night fighters were also active in the target area.

PFF. Aiming Point Red T.I.s backed By Green T.I.s
Release Point Red with Green stars and White flares igniting at 15,000' Markers were on time. Release paint markers were used.

Assessment of attack.
Glow of fire seen on clouds.
PRU. Bombing was scattered, many surrounding towns being hit. Only limited damage was caused.

12/D Sgt W. Salthouse - Starboard outer engine feathered.

12/A F/O J. Burkhardt - Considerable damage by heavy f1ak.

12/U F/ S G.D.A. Lawrence - Astrodome damaged by heavy flak.

Mechanical Failure
12/T Sgt D.F. Tribe - Bombed approximately 1 mile East of the markers due to both Port engines cutting on bombing run.

Route. Base-Sheringham-Egmond-5202N/0658E-Target-5210N/0725E-5323N/0517E-Base.

Bomber Command loss rate 4.44%.

Information has been received from a reliable source that the enemy A.I. equipment of night fighters is not effective above 17,000'.

Visiting aircraft.
Tiger Moth Pilot. W/C Bennet Base. Binbrook.

29th May 1943

Weather. Cloudy, visibility poor, improving to good.

15 Lancasters were detailed against WUPPERTAL.
They were part of a force of 292 Lancasters, 185 Halifaxes, 118 Stirlings, 113 Wellingtons, and 11 Mosquitoes.

12 Squadron
F/O Booth, F/O Wright, Sgt Brown, Sgt Thompson, Sgt Stancliff, F/L Fawcett, Sgt Hill, W/O Gillman, Sgt Forbes, S/L Knight, F/L Goudge, W/C Wood, P/O Ford, F/O Weeks, and F/S Smitheringale.

Take off commenced at 2208hrs.

En route. Slightly more cloud than expected.
Target. No cloud, visibility good except for smoke.

Bomb load. 7,840lbs. 1 x4,000lb, 600 x41b, and 48 x301b.

Opposition. Slight, heavy and light flak. Few searchlights. Night fighters were however active in the target area.
Marking. PFF. Aiming Point Red T.I.s backed by Green T.I.s.

Assessment of attack.
Target left a seething mass of flames.
PRU. The attack was heavily concentrated on the centre of the town, spreading to the South and South East. Over 90% of the fully built up area, and over 50% of the less closely built up area are devastated. The main industrial damage was to many small factories.

12/U Sgt J.K. Stancliffe - Glycol leak from Port inner engine.

12/E F/S K.B. Smitheringale - Pilot found asleep due to oxygen failure.

12/H S/L F.J. Knight - Due to lack of oxygen supply to all the crew, despite increasing
the flow to maximum.

12/K W/0 M.D.Gillman - Hit in tail and Port mainplane by flak.

Reported missing.
12/J ED996 Crash site. Mulheim-Speldorf.

Pilot F/L I. P.C. Goudge Killed. 42562. *
Nav. Sgt J. Gorton P. O. W. 1501247. (Camp 357. No.148)
W.T. Sgt V. Wells Killed. 111372. *The six crew members were
BA. Sgt R.S. Richmond Killed. 1348445. * originally buried in the
Eng. Sgt A.E. Graham Killed. 1444939. * Nordfriedhof at Dusseldorf.
M.U.G. Sgt N.M. Hatch Killed. 1398671. * Now buried in the Reichswald
R.G. Sgt J. Hardman Killed. 1508882. * Forest War Cemetery.

Route. Base-Southwold-5134N/0,330E-5059N/0626E-Target-5120N/0721E-5033N/0723E5038N/0600E-51221/0320E-Southwold-Base.

Wickenby loss rate 6.67%

Bomber Command loss rate 4.59%

Visiting aircraft.
Hornet Moth W5748 Pilot. S/L Villiers Base. Bawtry.

11th June 1943

Weather. Mainly cloudy, thunderstorms in the late evening.

24 Lancasters were detailed against DUSSELDORF.
They were part of a force of 326 Lancasters, 202 Halifaxes, 143 Wellingtons, 99 Stirlings, and 13 Mosquitoes.

12 Squadron.
Sgt Green, F/L Doel, F/O Wood, Sgt Sargent, F/S Shepherd, Sgt Highet, Sgt Tribe, Sgt Salthouse, S/L Slade, S/L Heyworth, F/S Mizon, Sgt Stancliffe, Sgt Thomson, F/S Smitheringale, Sgt Gardiner, W/O Gillman, Sgt Forbes, F/O Booth, F/S Tucker, F/O Ford, F/L Fawcett, F/O McLaughlin, F/O Weeks, and F/O Wright.

Take off commenced at 2228hrs.

En Route. 10/10ths cloud from base to the English coast when icing was encountered. Improving towards the target area.
Target. No cloud. Some ground haze.

Bomb load. 8,320lbs. 1 x 4,000lb, 48 x 30lb inc. and 720 x 4lb inc.

Opposition. Moderate heavy flak mostly in barrage form. Considerable heavy flak over the whole area with many searchlights operating in cones.
Night fighters were active, mainly in the target area, and many combats were recorded.

PFF. Aiming Point Red T.I.s backed by Green T.I.s 50% bursting at 3,000' and 50% at 3,000'.
Release Point Red with Green stars also White flares.
1 set of markers were dropped 14 miles North East of the target causing part of the effort to be wasted on open country.

Assessment of attack.
PRU. Widespread fresh damage, especially in the dock area where 8 ships were sunk or damaged.
Many major armament factories heavily devastated by fire and explosion. About 35% of the town built up area has now been destroyed.

12/T F/S W. F. Mizon - Port inner engine overheating.
12/A F/S K.B. Smitheringale - "Gee" and loop U/S.
12/X Sgt T. B. Forbes - Navigator ill. Oxygen tube became detached.

12/G Sgt D.A.G. Sargent - Hit by heavy flak over the target.
Mid upper gunner Sgt S. Newman was hit in the left eye and admitted to hospital.

12/Y F/O V. Wood - Immediately after bombing, took evasive action from approaching JU88 and avoided it.

Reported missing.
12/Z DVI57 Crash site. North Sea, off Ijmuiden. 5227N/0400E.

Pilot F/L A.W. Doel Killed. NZ39907. No known grave.
Nav. W/O R. Durham Killed. 937812. No known grave.
W.T. Sgt D.L. Templeman P.O.W. 798684. (Camp 357 No.264)
B.A. F/S. O. K. Whyman Killed. NZ413294. Buried in Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery.
Eng. Sgt W.F. Biggs Killed. 569401. Buried Bergen General Cemetery.
M.U.G. F/O O.K. Jones Killed. NZ40921.
R.G. Sgt T.R. Pagett Killed. 1140287. No known grave.

12/W W4791 Crash site. Paasduin at Wijk-aan-Zee. Holland 52.30N/04356

Pilot F/S H. Shepherd Killed. 1114117. All the crew members are buried
Nav. Sgt W.E. Cunliffe Killed. 1453475. in the Beverwijk General
W.T. Sgt L. Stephenson Killed. 620520. Cemetery.
B.A. Sgt A.A. Gill Killed. 1452106. All except F/S W. R. Berry are
Eng. Sgt F.N. Pink Killed. 1284001. buried in a collective grave.
M.U.G. F/S K.B. Davidson Killed. 8115668.
R.G. F/S W.R. Berry Killed. A33396.

12/U ED522 Crash site. Lausward, Dusseldorf.

Pilot Sgt R. Highet Killed. 1048176. All the crew members buried
Nav. Sgt W.A. Gillanders Killed. 1511671. in the Reichswald Forest War
W.T. Sgt S.L. Ford Killed. 1330672. Cemetery.
B.A. Sgt K.J. Tagg Killed. 1332966 Originally buried Nordfriedhof
Eng. Sgt J.E. Constable Killed. 636547 at Dusseldorf.
M.U.G. Sgt L.R. Evans Killed. 1577745.
R.G. Sgt A.W. Lee Killed. 961573

12/S ED357 Crash site. Oost-Fleverland. 52.33N/05.405

Wreck recovered from Zuyder Zee in July 1962 by RNLAF
One of the propellers is now a memorial in Dronten.

Pilot Sgt D.McN. Thomson Killed. A409256.
Nav. Sgt K. Bowes Killed. 1098656. No known grave.
W/T. Sgt D.N. Campbell Killed. 1345600. * 4 crew members are buried in
B.A. Sgt W.M. Ward Killed. 1553630. * the Amsterdam New Eastern
Eng. Sgt J.L. Osbourne Killed. 1172557. * Cemetery.
M.U.G. Sgt W.T. Pingle P.O.W. 8146605. W. R. No. 171. See narrative.
R.G. Sgt C.W. Sparling P.O.W. 851866.

12/F W4373 Crash site. Between Neuss and Holziem. Germany.

Pilot F/L P.R. Ford Killed. A414132.
Nav. Sgt J.A. Osbourne Killed. 657839.
W.T. Sgt M. Harris Killed. 953174. All 7 crew members are buried
B.A. Sgt G.W. Twitty Killed 1235304 in the Reichswald Forest War
Eng. Sgt R.A.C. Avery Killed. 1336681. Cemetery.
M.U.G. Sgt F. Anderson Killed. 626653. Originally buried in Dusseldorf
R.G. Sgt M.W. Stone Killed. 1308435 Northern Cemetery.

Route. Base-5145N/0350E-5055N/0630E-Target-5117N/0630E-Noordwijk-Base.

Bomber Command loss rate, 4.9%

Wickenby loss rate. 20.83%

Narrative by Sgt W.T. Pingle Mid-Upper Gunner of 12/S.

This was a night full of incredible luck for myself and the Rear Gunner, another Canadian, Sgt Clarance Sperling. My first piece of luck was one of the ground crew telling me that my parachute harness was loose, and giving me a hand to tighten it up. I would have had quite a shock when I jumped.

We took off from Wickenby, had no problems en route to the target, and delivered our load. Leaving the target, a Starboard engine caught fire. This was successfully extinguished and we proceeded on our way home. After some time the pilot Danny Thomson found that he could not maintain height and decided to return at a lower level.
As we reduced height all hell let loose. A night fighter raked us from in front of my turret to the front of the aircraft. The front of the aircraft was in flames and someone said, "Get the hell out". I climbed down from my turret and opened the rear door.

I then went to check on Sperling in the rear turret and found that he was jammed in. I got the doors open, and as I pulled and he pushed, he came free and out of the turret. We stood putting our chutes on when someone came running from the front of the aircraft, past us and out of the open door. We talked it over later and don't remember seeing a chute on him. We then went to the door and jumped. The side of the aircraft was on fire, and I could see the burning aircraft going away from me after my chute had opened.

I floated down to what I thought was a sandy beach. What a shock when the sand turned out to be water, and not having released my harness the shroud lines wrapped around my legs. I inflated my Mae West and tried to reach my knife to cut the lines. It was out of reach. I don't know how long I was in the water. I was concentrating all my energy on staying afloat and keeping my head above water. Just when I was having a hard time keeping afloat I heard someone calling. As the voices got closer I could see a tug with barges on the back of it. They threw me a line and hauled me on board. They must have seen the aircraft coming down.

They were Dutch, and they took me down to the cabin and gave me a couple of good shots of schnapps to warm me up. There were two women, two children, an old man, and a younger man who seemed to be in charge. None of them could speak English and I could not speak Dutch. I can't understand to this day how I made them understand that there might be more of us in the water.

When daylight came they unhooked the barges and took the tug to make a sweep of the area. After quite a long time they were ready to give up and return to the barges. We saw gulls diving on something in the water and as we got closer saw Sperling in the water. As we pulled him out of the water his first words were "God am I glad to see you, I was just about ready to give up". For some time he had had to blow the Mae West up by mouth. They then went back, hooked the tug to the barges and took us to Amsterdam harbour and handed us over to the Germans.

For the next two years I was in East Prussia, Poland and Germany

The propeller from ED357 was recovered from a farmers field when they were draining the Zuider Zee. It was erected by the town of Dronten Holland as a monument to all Allied Air Crew. A service is held there every year on May 5th, the anniversary date of the end of the war in Holland. The Air Gunners Association have three bus loads every year to attend the ceremony, and I always send flowers to be placed on the monument at the service. I have returned to Dronten twice. Once in 1980 and for a month last year. Danny Thomson, Campbell Ward, and Osborne are buried at the Nuo Cemetary in Amsterdam. Ken Bowes was never found.

Clarence Sperling died of cancer in 1974 at North Bay Ontario. The crew have all had streets named after them in Dronten. LANCASTERDREEF, THOMSONSTRAAT, BOWESHOF, WARDHOF, OSBORNEHOF, CAMPBELLHOF, SPERLINGHOF, PINGLESTRAAT.

Bill Pingle. March 1991

12th June 1943

Weather. Cloudy with fair periods, becoming fine in the evening.

16 Lancasters were detailed against BOCHUM.
They were part of a force of 323 Lancasters, 167 Halifaxes, and 11 Mosquitoes.

12 Squadron.
F/O Wright, P/O Ashburner, Sgt Forbes, Sgt Yeo, W/O Gillman, F/O Booth, Sgt Hill, F/S Mizon, Sgt Tribe, S/L Heyworth, F/S Smitheringale, Sgt Salthouse, Sgt Gardiner, F/O Wood, F/L Fawcett, and F/S Tucker.

Take off commenced at 2250hrs.

En Route. Small amounts of cloud, increasing towards the target area.
Target. Varied reports of clear to 8/10ths cloud with haze.

Bomb load. 8,080lbs. 1 x 4,000lb, 56 x 30lb inc. and 600 x 4lb inc.

Moderate to intense heavy flak, predicted with considerable searchlight cooperation.
Night fighters active en route and especially in the target area.

Aiming point Red T.I.s backed by Green T.I.s, all cascading from 3,000'. PFF marking was accurate and concentrated.

Assessment of attack.
Good concentration of fires around the markers. Some scattered fires about 5 miles to the North East.
PRU. Over 40 acres devastated in the old town. Direct hits on Central Station, Tram Depot, and Military Barracks.

12/D Sgt W. Salthouse - Starboard inner engine U/S.

12/A F/S W.J. Tucker - Bomb bay damaged by heavy flak over the target.

12/J Sgt N. Gardiner - Held by 20-25 searchlights 5 miles North of Bochum. Heavy flak pierced bomb doors, Starboard mainplane, and fuselage. Bombs jettisoned, searchlights evaded, and turned for home.

12/X Sgt T.B. Forbes - Hit by heavy flak over the target.
R.T. U/S, and hydraulic pipe to rear turret cut.

12/T F/S W.F. Mizon - Hit by heavy flak over the target. The bomb aimer Sgt T.G. Smale 1317420 was killed by shrapnel. The captain jettisoned the bombs by the jettison toggle.

Route. Base-Mablethorpe-North end of Texel-5200N/0711E-Target-5210N/0730E-Mablethorpe-Base.

Bomber Command loss rate 4.77%

Visiting aircraft.
Tiger Moth Pilot. W/C Preston Base. Binbrook.

22nd June 1943

Weather. Cloudy in morning, rain in evening.

18 Lancasters were detailed against MULHEIM.
They were part of a force of 242 Lancasters, 155 Halifaxes, 93 Stirlings, 55 Wellingtons and 12 Mosquitoes.

12 Squadron.
S/L Slade, F/O Booth, F/S Wells, F/S Smitheringale, Sgt Salthouse, Sgt McMillan, Sgt Mizon, F/O Wright, F/S Brown, Sgt Hopton, Sgt Sargent, Sgt Fordyce, Sgt Yeo, Sgt Jeffries, F/S Gardiner, F/O Weeks, Sgt Forbes, and F/L Fawcett.

Take off commenced at 2313hrs.

Weather. En Route. 3 layers of cloud, 8-10/10ths 3 to 6,000', broken layer 10,000', further broken layer 12 to 15,000'. Dispersing over Dutch coast.
Target. 3/10ths cloud at 12,000', and industrial haze.

Bomb Load. 9,100lbs. 1 x 4,000lb, 3 x 5001b, 48 x 30lb inc. 540 x 4lb inc.

Intense heavy flak on approaches, but moderate in the target area, mostly in barrage form. Searchlights operating in small cones around the target. Night fighters were active over the target area and Holland.

Red T.I.s backed by Green T.I.s.
PFF were on time and marking appeared to be accurate. Assessment of attack.
Many large fires, with smoke up to 13,000'.
PRU. Bombing was most concentrated and a large area of the city was destroyed.

12/K Sgt H.C. Yeo - Mid upper gunner, oxygen shortage.


Bomber Command loss rate 6.28%

Visiting aircraft.
Marauder 134719 Pilot. Capt. Brier Base. Earls Colne.
Spitfire "Q" P/O Francis Elsham.
Spitfire "W" F/O Mortimer Elsham.
Leopard-Moth W/C Bennet Bircotes.
Anson EF982 F/O Elliot Bicester.

24th June 1943

Weather. Fine, cloudy in the evening.

21 Lancasters were detailed against WUPPERTAL.
They were part of a force of 251 Lancasters, 171 Halifaxes, 101 Wellingtons, 98 Stirlings and 9 Mosquitoes.

12 Squadron.
Sgt Salthouse, S/L Slade, Sgt Stancliffe, F/S Wells, F/O Booth, Sgt McMillan, F/S Mizon, F/S Brown, S/L Knight, Sgt Forbes, W/C Wood, Sgt Green, F/O Wright, F/O Burkhardt, F/O Lighton, Sgt Jeffries, P/O Ashburner, Sgt Kroemer, Sgt Sargent, Sgt Hopton, and Sgt Patterson.

Take off commenced at 2256hrs.

Weather. En Route.
Target. Reports varied from no cloud, to 10/10ths cloud with tops at 20,000'.

Bomb load. 9,100lbs. 1 x 4,000lb, 3 x 500lb, 540 x 41b inc. 48 x 30lb inc.

Flak moderate, night fighters active.
Marking. PFF. Release Point markers Red with Green stars and White flares all igniting at 14,000'. Marking appeared to be accurate.

Assessment of attack.
Good concentration of fires observed in the target area.
PRU. Accurate marking and concentrated bombing resulted in considerable damage to industrial and residential property.

12/K F/O J. Burkhardt - Rear turret U/S, due to broken engine driven hydraulic pump.

12/G Sgt C.R. Kroemer - Coned between Düsseldorf and Cologne. We dived and the Port outer engine started to throw out flames. Bombs were jettisoned to escape the searchlights.

12/X Sgt D.A.G. Sargent - Compass trouble.

12/U Sgt W. Patterson - Coned and lost 10,000' evading the searchlights.

12/C Sgt D.J. McMillan - Coned for 3 minutes over Düsseldorf and hit by flak so dropped bombs in the vicinity of Düsseldorf.

12/T F/S W.E. Mizon - An incendiary hit the nose of the aircraft over the target, making the Stbd. brake auto. controls U/S.

12/H2 S/L F.J. Knight - Coned for 5 minutes and heavily engaged by flak which holed the Stbd, centre and outer fuel tanks. Bombs were dropped 15 miles S. W. of Wuppertal.

12/D Sgt C.G. Hopton - Held by 2 cones of searchlights 2 miles S.W. of target. Dived from 20,000' to 14,000' and evaded. Flak hole in Port wing.

Route. Base-Southwold-5134N/0330E-5059N/0626E-Target-5120N/0720E-5033N/0723E50:38N/0600E-5122N/0320E-Southwold-Base.

Bomber Command loss rate 5.4%

Visiting aircraft.
Whitney Straight. Pilot. W/C Heyworth Base. ?

12th July 1943

Weather. Cloudy, becoming fair.

20 Lancasters were detailed against TURIN.
They were part of a force of 295 Lancasters.

12 Squadron.
F/S Forbes, F/S Kroemer, Sgt Borland, F/O Snell, F/L Burkhardt, F/L McLaughlin, F/L Booth, P/O Lawrence, F/S Brown, Sgt McMillan, F/O Wright, F/O Ashburner, F/S Mizon, S/L Slade, P/O Gillman, F/S Gardiner, F/L Weeks, F/O Wood, Sgt Green, and W/C Wood.

Take off commenced at 2213hrs.

Weather. En route. Much static in electrical storms, and icing on outward and return. Target. No cloud. Good visibility.

Bomb load. 7,000lbs. 1 x 4,000lb, 40 x 30lb inc. and 450 x 4lb inc.

Heavy flak ceased half way through the attack. Moderate light flak and about 50 haphazard searchlights.
Marking. PFF a little late, but accurate marking was confirmed by the visual identification of the two rivers PO and Dora and the town.

Assessment of attack.
Numerous fires, though somewhat scattered.
PRU. The weight of the attack appears to have fallen on the North and North East of the town. Among heavily damaged were, Fiat Steel Works, State Arsenal, tram depot, and gasworks.

12/E2 F/L B.E. McLaughlin - Mission abandoned near Dijon. Port inner engine U/S due to being hit by flak, and the Port outer temperature up to 130 degrees making it impossible to maintain height.

Mechanical fault.
12/D2 F/L G.R. Weeks - Starboard inner engine packed up 50 miles West of St.Nazaire.

Reported missing.
12/F2 LM328 Crash site. Bay of Biscay.

Pilot P/O T.B. Forbes Killed. 148437.
Nav. P/O L.A. Matthews P.O.W. 148817.
W.T. F/S L.D. Mitchell P.O.W. 1366131. W. R. No. 542. Refer to narrative.
B.A. Sgt W.F. Thomas Killed. 1217408.
Eng. Sgt A. Hales Killed. 937612.
M.U.G. Sgt A.G. Southon P.O.W. 1622030.
R.G. Sgt G.L.A. Deasley Killed. 1321244.

Narrative on the loss of 12/F2 LM328 by Sgt L.D. Mitchell.
We crashed into the Bay of Biscay. The aircraft smashed into several pieces. I was in the mid section and managed to get clear and swim to the surface. In front of me was the upturned dinghy. The navigator was there and I heard a voice calling for help. We managed to right the dinghy and underneath it was the M. U. G.. We heard others shouting but never saw them. I raised the distress flag on the aerial mast and waited.
Don't ask me how long we were in the water, but we were picked up by a French fishing smock, taken to a fishing port and handed over to the Gestapo. The German Navy then came and took us away and gave us food before passing us on to the Army. We then travelled to La Rochelle, Paris and eventually arrived in Germany. Then by cattle truck to Heydekrug Stalag Luft VI in the Baltic.
I was allocated to but A12 where all the bad boys (escapees) were kept.
What an experience. W/O Grimson, "The Greatest Escaper of All" was one of them. I believe the Gestapo shot him, but not before he had arranged a passage home for one or two of them. One was Paddy Flockhart who in civvy street was a "Craven A" rep. Another was Larry Slattery, P.O.W. No.l, shot down at midnight on 4th September 1939.
While on a march in April 1945 the Germans surrendered to us. A voice called out "Who's round the bend now Jock".
In the R.A.F. and P.O.W. camp I met so many brave men that the adventure and memories gave me an entirely new outlook on life.

Route. Base-Cayeux-Lake Annecy-Target-47.00N/06.00E-48.30N/06.30E-Base.

Wickenby loss rate. 5%.

Bomber Command loss rate. 4.41%.

Visiting aircraft.
Spitfire AF-W Pilot. F/O Mortimer Base. Elsham.
Martinet D F/L Lancaster Binbrook.