16/9/43 Attack Against Targets at Modane – Railway Yards

F/S Allan Johnson Mayfield RNZAF. Pilot
P/O Jack Francis David Jarmy. Navigator
Sgt. Robert Douglas  Sommerville. Air Bomber
F/S William Lake. Wireless Operator
Sgt. A. Warburton. Flight Engineer
Sgt. Thomas Darbyshire. Mid Upper Gunner
F/S John Sebastian Hulena RNZAF. Rear Gunner

Striling Mk.III EF513 ‘E’ for Easy

Up 20.00 16th September
Down 04.00 17th September
Total Flight Time 8 hours

75 (NZ) Sqn RAF Operations Record Book (ORB)
Nineteen aircraft wee detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of  1,000lb.,and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft returned early, but the remainder dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a very successful and well concentrated attack. Large fires which appeared to be spreading and heavy explosions were seen. Some A.A.fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, they were ineffective except for one aircraft which received damage. The port inner engine caught fire but what put out with the aid of a fire extinguisher, the propeller was then feathered and the aircraft continued its journey on three engines. A few enemy aircraft were seen, the aircraft captained by P/O. G.K.WILLIAMS had a combat with a JU 88 which was claimed as destroyed. One other short combat took place, but no damage was sustained to our aircraft. It was clear over the target and visibility was good. Navigation was good.
Page 589, 1943. Form 540/ 541 AIR27/ 646  75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal. National Archives.

Bomber Command War Diary
16 September 1943
340 aircraft of 3, 4, 6 and No 8 Groups – 170 Halifaxes, 127 Stirlings, 43 Lancasters – to attack the important railway yards at Modane on the main railway route from France to Italy. 5 American B-17s also took part. The marking of the target, situated in a steep valley, was not successful and the bombing was not accurate. No report is available from France. 2 Halifaxes and 1 Stirling lost.

12 Lancasters – 8 from 617 Squadron and 4 from 619 Squadron – attempted to bomb the railway viaduct at Anthéor Cannes on the coastal railway line leading to Italy, but no direct hits were scored. 1 Lancaster of 619 Squadron was lost; it came down in the sea off Portugal, possibly while trying to reach Gibraltar.
Page 431, The Bomber Command War Diaries. 2011. Everitt Middlebrook. Midland publishing.

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