14/2/45 ATTACK AGAINST CHEMNITZ (Operation Thunderclap)

14-feb-chemnitzCrew
F/S Vernon John Zinzan. Pilot
P/O James Sydney George Coote. Navigator
F/O Robert Douglas Sommerville. Air Bomber
Sgt. Miles Parr. Wireless Operator
Sgt. A. Ackroyd. Flight Engineer
Sgt. H. Hutchinson. Mid Upper Gunner
F/Sgt. Herbert Winn. Rear Gunner

Aircraft
Lancaster Mk.I HK562
“L” for Love

Remarks
Bomb load 1×500 ANM., 6xNo. 15 clusters 6x No. 14 clusters.
Primary target Chemnitz.
Did not appear to be a good raid.

Flight
Up 20.36 14th February
Down 05.17 15th February
Total Flight Time 8 hours 41 minutes

75 (NZ) Sqn RAF Operations Record Book (ORB)
14/2/45
Operations.
Twenty one aircraft were detailed to attack Chemnitz. Nineteen attacked primary. AA”J” F/O R.J. Pearson, returned early through engine failiure. Cloud was ten tenths  with tops 16-17000 over the target. Aircraft bombed with the aid of special equipment. No resilts were observed, very slight H/F was met over the target. AA”D”, captained by F/L G.S. Davies failed to return.

Page 69, 1945. Form 540/ 541 AIR27/ 647  75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal. National Archives.

Lancaster Mk.I NG113 AA-D
F/Lt. George Stanley Davies DFC RNZAF NZ427262. Pilot. 2nd  Dec 1944 to 15th  Feb 1945. Shot down in flames night of 14th -15th  Feb 1945 during a raid on Chemnitz. POW No. 10553. PoW camps – Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft III.
On 2nd  March 1945 F/L Davies with members of his crew, along with a number of RAF and USAF prisoners of war, were travelling by train to Stalag Luft II at Nuremburg. The train consisted of a locomotive, passenger carriages, some goods wagons, a flak wagon and then, at the rear three unmarked box wagons full of prisoners of war. Patrolling Allied fighter/ground attack aircraft sighted the train and as the formation leader ‘shot up’ the locomotive the flak wagon opened fire. The second fighter then ‘took out’ the flak wagon. Tragically the cone of fire from the second aircraft covered the box wagon and some 25 RAF and USAAF aircrew were killed. F/Sgt H E Chalmers RAFVR, F/L Davies’ bomb aimer, was amongst those killed. Davies and his navigator F/Sgt C C Greenhough, RNZAF, who were in the rear box wagon, were unscathed. During his confinement F/L Davies moved to several PoW camps and at one stage was force-marched from Nuremburg to Moosburg. At this time their daily rations consisted of one slice of bread, 1 cup of thin soup and a cup of ersatz coffee. He was liberated by US Army units on 29 April 1945. Safe UK 13 May 1945.

Citation DFC (12 Jan 1946 to date from 15 Feb 1945):
Acting Flight Lieutenant Davies, as pilot, has completed numerous against the enemy, in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty.
Member of the Caterpillar Club.

F/S. Claude Cuthbert Greenhough RNZAF NZ429069. Nav. 2nd Dec 1944 to 15th Feb. Shot down in flames, baled out night of 14th -15th Feb 1945 during a raid on Chemnitz, his 25th sortie. PoW No. and camps unknown. Safe UK – 11th May 1945.

F/S. Henry Edward Chalmers RAFVR 1565986. AB. 2nd Dec 1944 to 14th Feb 1945. Shot down 14th Feb 1945 during a raid on Chemnitz. PoW No. and camps, if any, not known. Killed, 2nd Mar 1945, by allied strafing aircraft while being transported by train in Germany. Died Saturday 3rd March 1945, age 22, whilst a PoW. Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany.

F/S. T. White RAFVR .WOAG. 2nd Dec 1944 to 14th Feb 1945. Shot down 14th Feb 1945 during a raid on Chemnitz. PoW No. and camps not known. Return date to UK, not known.

Sgt. I. R. H.  Evans RAFVR. FE. 2nd Dec 1944 to 14th Feb 1945. Shot down 14th Feb 1945 during a raid on Chemnitz. PoW No. and camps not known. Return date to UK, not known.

Sgt. J. J. Maher RAFVR. AG. 2nd Dec 1944 to 14th Feb 1945. Shot down 14th Feb 1945 during a raid on Chemnitz. PoW No. and camps not known. Return date to UK, not known.

Sgt. R. Muir RAFVR. AG. 23rd Mar 1944 to 14th Feb 1945. Shot down 14th Feb 1945 during a raid on Chemnitz. PoW No. and camps not known. Return date to UK, not known.

 Bomber Command War Diary
14 February 1945
Operation Thunderclap
Chemnitz: 499 Lancasters and 218 Halifaxes of Nos 1, 3,4,6 and 8 Groups to continue Operation Thunderclap. 8 Lancasters and 5 Halifaxes lost. This raid took place in two phases, 3 hours apart. A very elaborate diversion plan succeeded in keeping bomber casualties down but Chemnitz – now called Karl-Marx-Stadt – was also spared from the worst effects of its first major RAF raid. Both parts of the bomber force found the target area covered by cloud and only skymarking could be employed. Post-raid reconnaissance showed that many parts of the city were hit but that most of the bombing was in open country.
224 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the oil refinery in Rositz near Leipzig. 4 Lancasters were lost. Damage was caused to the southern part of the oil plant.
Diversionary and 95 aircraft of No 3 Group and of Heavy Conversion Units on a sweep into the Heligoland Bight, 46 Mosquitos to Berlin, 19 to Mainz, 14 to Dessau, 12 to Duisburg, 11 to Nuremberg and 8 to Frankfurt, 21 RCM sorties, 87 Mosquito patrols, 30 Lancasters and 24 Halifaxes minelaying in the Kadet Channel. 5 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost from the minelaying force.
Total effort for the night: 1,316 sorties, 23 aircraft (1.7 per cent) lost.

Page 664, The Bomber Command War Diaries. 2011. Everitt Middlebrook. Midland publishing.

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