The loss of EF137 and its crew remembered.

440423vemmenascrew Left- Harrison, Larson, Bailey, Lammas and Vaughan copy enlarged version

Five of the crew of EF137: from L to R, William Harrison, Ivar Larson, Robert Bailey, Manson Lammas and Douglas Vaughan.

Thanks to Kevin for passing details of this page on Søren’s website and many thanks for Søren for letting me have permission to reproduce the details and pictures here.

Despite the appalling documented loss the Squadron suffered, this is the first time I have actually seem images such as these of a crashed 75(NZ) aircraft on enemy soil. It’s no less sobering given the years to see these pictures and it shows in no uncertain terms the frailty of the aircraft and the brave boys that flew in them night after night during the war.

The following is from Søren’s website ‘Airwar Over Denmark’ and can be viewed here

Stirling III EF137 crashed near Vemmenæs east of the island of Tåsinge 23/4-1944.
The aircraft belonged to RAF 75 Sqn Bomber Command and was coded AA-E. T/o 20:42 Mepal. OP: Gardening Radish (Fehmern Belt).

440423vemmenas3 Finn Buch composite of 3

Three views of the crash sites. The left hand image clearly shows the tail plane section of the aircraft with its twin tail wheels visible. The other 2 images show the remains of the rest of the aircraft that came down nearby.
images supplied by Finn Buch

Outbound EF137 was attacked by a German night fighter believed to have been piloted by Oberfeldwebel Rudolf Frank of 3./NJG 3. A fire started and a little later the bomber disintegrated in the air and fell in the sea off Vemmenæs at 23:20 hours killing the whole crew. The tail plane fell in a field belonging to “Gravvængegaard” not far from where the fuselage fell.
At 24/4 at 03:42 it was reported by The Civil Air Defence that 3 bodies had been found. One had been found in the sea while two had fallen to their death in the fields.
At 09:15 it was reported that 7 bodies had been found. Two was found in the sea, one in some scrub near the beach while Tail gunner Larson was found in his turret.

Four mines which were found, were detonated by the Wehrmacht on 26/4.

440423vemmelammas  (Via Ole Kraul)  crew portraits composite

Pilot F/S Mauson Lammas RNZAF, Navigator F/S Douglas Vaughan RNZAF, Air Bomber F/S Robert Bailey RNZAF, W/Op Sgt William Harrison RAF and R/Gnr Sgt Ivar Larson
Lammas, Harrison & Larson images supplied by Ole Kraul. Vaughn & Bailey images supplied by Finn Buch

Pilot F/S Mauson Lammas RNZAF, Navigator F/S Douglas W. Vaughan RNZAF, Air Bomber F/S Robert Bailey RNZAF, W/Op Sgt William F. Harrison RAF, Flt. Engr. Sgt Edwin H. Thomas RAF, Air Gnr. Sgt Patrick F. Butler RAF and Air Gnr. Sgt Ivar Larson RCAF were transported to Aabenraa by the Wehrmacht and were laid to rest in Aabenraa cemetery on 1/5 1944.

Thomas was laid to rest in a separate grave while his comrades were placed in a common grave.

On 23/4 1994 a memorial erected. Speeches were given by Bishop Vincent Lind as well as the British Ambassador Hugh Arbutnot.

Additional crew information is as follows;
The Lammas crew arrived at Mepal on the 21st March 1944. Their stay with the Squadron was, tragically short.
26.3.44. Attack Against Targets at Coutrai – Stirling Mk.III EF462 (flight/ designator unknown)
5.4.44. Mining off La Rochelle – Stirling Mk.III EF233 (flight/ designator unknown)
23.4.44. Mining in Kiel Bay – Stirling Mk.III EF137 AA-E. FAILED TO RETURN

P/O Mauson Lammas RNZAF. (NZ421728) Pilot. Died Sunday 23rd April, age 30. Buried Aabenraa Cemetery Denmark.

F/Sgt Douglas William Vaughan RNZAF. (NZ429046) Navigator. Died Saturday 23rd April 1944, age 28. Buried Aabenraa Cemetery Denmark.

F/Sgt Robert Bailey RNZAF. (NZ429072), Air Bomber. Died Sunday 23 April 1944, age 20. Buried Aabenraa Cemetery, Denmark.

Sgt William Frederick Harrison RAFVR (1396448) Wireless Operator. Died Sunday 23rd April 1944, age 21. Buried Aabenraa Cemetery Denmark.

Sgt Edwin Henry Thomas RAFVR (1811856) Flight Engineer. Died Sunday 23rd April 1944, age 35. Buried Aabenraa Cemetery Denmark.

Sgt Patrick Frederick Butler RAFVR (1384944) Mid Upper Gunner. Died Monday 24 April 1944, age 21. Buried Aabenraa Cemetery, Denmark.

Sgt Ivar Larson RCAF  (R.192316) Rear Gunner. Larson was a Norwegian citizen. Died Sunday 23rd April, age 33. Buried Aabenraa Cemetery Denmark.

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