23/9/43 Attack Against Targets at Mannheim

Crew
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

Aircraft
Striling Mk.III EH939 ‘J’ for Johnny

Flight
Up 19.30 23rd September
Down 02.00 24th September
Total Flight Time 6 hours 30 minutes

75 (NZ) Sqn RAF Operations Record Book (ORB)
23/9/43
Operations.   
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to carry the above operation with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lb.. Three aircraft failed to return, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was, undoubtedly, a good attack, concentrated fires which were spreading to the West, and large heavy explosions were seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire and a large curtain of searchlights were encountered, but caused no trouble. Enemy aircraft were very active and several combats took place. The aircraft captained by W/O. P. MOSELEY had a combat with a JU88 which was claimed as a probably destroyed. In the action our aircraft received damage the Pilot W/O. P. MOSELEY and the Mid Upper Sgt. C(?) MIDDLETON were slightly injured. The aircraft captained by P/O A. BURLEY had three combats with enemy aircraft, one of which was claimed as destroyed, the two as  damaged. The weather was good with clear visibility. Navigation was excellent. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk.111 EF459 captained by P/O C.C. LOGAN, EH946 captained by F/Lt. G. TURNER , and EH935 captained by F/O L. KIRKPATRICK.
Page 593, 1943. Form 540/ 541 AIR27/ 646  75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal. National Archives.

*A terrible night for ‘C’ flight – all 3 aircraft were  ‘C’ flight aircraft. Allan’s first flight as a 2nd Pilot was with Geoffrey Turner’s crew and the previous night, Kenneth Albiston had completed his first 2nd pilot flight with Allan, Jack, Bob, William and the rest of the boys.

**The bone collectors: The search for lost heroes of WWII – The bodies of some of the thousands of allied airmen shot down in Germany during the Second World War have been recovered thanks to the extraordinary work of Uwe Benkel and his team. Tony Paterson reports

A fist-sized block of glass sits on top of a stack of files in Uwe Benkel’s sitting-room. It looks like an expensive crystal paperweight that might have been bought at Harrods. Yet the block has a more poignant history. A few weeks before Christmas it was retrieved from a 15ft pit hidden deep in a forest in Germany’s Rhineland Palatinate district near the French border.

The block once formed part of the bulletproof windscreen of an American fighter-bomber flown by 21-year-old Ronald Potter, whose P47 “Thunderbolt” plane was shot down 61 years ago during a Second World War dogfight with a German Messerschmitt.

Yesterday, Uwe Benkel, a mild- mannered social security office manager in his forties, presented the chunk of windscreen and other bits of retrieved plane wreckage to Kerry Potter, the 62-year-old son of the pilot of the American plane. He travelled to Germany from Alaska for what was an emotional ceremony.

“It is more of a calling than a hobby,” Mr Benkel said last week, “We just think its right to give these lads a decent burial and explain their fate to their relatives. We don’t give a damn whose side they were on. Most of them were hardly out of their teens,” he added.

The story is one of dozens Uwe Benkel can tell. There was the case of the British Stirling bomber pilot Kenneth Albiston, whose plane was shot down over Germany in September 1943. He had been listed as missing. However, in 1994, Mr Benkel and his team traced the remains of the aircraft and identified Kenneth Albiston from a cigarette lighter engraved with his name, which was found among the aircraft’s debris. His relatives were flown in from Britain and were able to attend the funeral at which the pilot’s remains were buried.

Mr Benkel’s work is not just about reuniting families with the remains of their lost husbands, fathers, uncles and cousins. His collection of plane wreckage and the photographs of his crash site digs are used for exhibitions about the Second World War in schools and communities throughout Germany. “For the kids it gives our past a tangible meaning that they simply can’t get from school history books,” he says. ” Some of the youngsters are so taken by the subject that they come along and help during excavations.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/the-bone-collectors-the-search-for-lost-heroes-of-wwii-523174.html January 16th 2006.

Stirling Mk.III EH936 JN-W*
F/Lt. Geoffrey Turner DFC. RCAF J.7326. Pilot. 25th June to 23rd September 1943. Page 401 for citation details – no details of death or burial.

F/O. Kenneth Albiston** RAFVR 136454. Pilot (2nd pilot). 16th September to 23rd September. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 24. Buried Rheinburg War Cemetery , Germany.

Sgt. Alan Hall Cleghorn RAFVR 1493160. Nav. June to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 34. Buried Rheinburg War Cemetery , Germany.

F/O, Arthur Douglas Howlett RNZAF NZ413335. AB. 25th June to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 32. Buried Rheinburg War Cemetery , Germany.

Sgt. Malcolm Victor Bloxham RAFVR 552574. WOAG. 25th June to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 21. Buried Rheinburg War Cemetery , Germany.

Sgt. John Smith Thomson RAFVR 1374282. FE. 25th June to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 22. Buried Rheinburg War Cemetery , Germany.

Sgt. Ronald Wilks RAFVR  1417280. AG. 25th June to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 21. Buried Rheinburg War Cemetery , Germany.

F/S. Christopher Frederick McRae RCAF R.147326. AG. 25th June to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 26. Buried Rheinburg War Cemetery , Germany.Stirlings

Mk.111 EF459 JN-G
P/O Clifford Charles Pownall Logan RAAF AUS.405918. Pilot. 4th April to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 28. Buried Durnbach War Cemetery , Germany.

F/S. Geoffrey Phillips Sowerby RNZAF NZ417243. Nav. 16th April to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 22. Buried Durnbach War Cemetery , Germany.

F/O. John Paul Ingham RAFVR 132331. AB. 4th April to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 21. Buried Durnbach War Cemetery , Germany.

Sgt. Terence James Hegarty RAFVR 1030026. WOAG. 4th April to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 23. Buried Durnbach War Cemetery , Germany.

Sgt. Thomas Stewart RAFVR 1117389. FE. 29th May to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age ?. Buried Durnbach War Cemetery , Germany.

Sgt. Frederick Edward Willaim Crowther RAFVR 1339159. AG. 16th April to 23rd September 1943. Shot down and seriously wounded  Thursday 23rd September 1943. Died of wounds 3rd October 1943. POW No. and Camps unknown. Buried Durnbach War Cemetery , Germany.

F/S. Albert John Knox RNZAF NZ416006. AG. 16th April to 23rd September 1943. Shot down Thursday 23rd September 1943. POW No. 580, Camps Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft VI and Stalag 357. Promoted to Warrant Officer whilst a PoW. Returned to UK 11th May 1945.

Stirling Mk.III EH935 JN-K
F/O Laurence John Kirkpatrick RNZAF NZ414990. Pilot. 28th August to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 20. Buried Rheinburg War Cemetery, Germany.

F/O. Hugh Powell Sands RNZAF NZ403287. Nav. 28th August to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 26. Buried Rheinburg War Cemetery, Germany.

F/O. William Richard Allan Mason RNZAF NZ416865. AB. 28th August to 23rd September 1943. Shot down Thursday 23rd September 1943, Stirling crashed between Edesheim and Knoringen, 9km south of Neustadt, Germany. POW No. 2627. Camps Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft III. Returned to UK 14th May 1945.

Sgt. Joseph Edwards Hoey RAFVR 656134. WOAG. 28th August to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 32. Buried Rheinburg War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt. Charles Percival Ellins RAFVR 150958. FE. 28th August to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 22. Buried Rheinburg War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt. J. Elliot  RAFVR 1515956. AG. 28th August to 23rd September 1943. Shot down Thursday 23rd September. POW No. and camps unknown. Repatriated 6th Feb 1945 via the Arundel castle.

F/S. Willaim Louis Jarvis RAAF AUS.414691. AG. 28th August to 23rd September 1943. Died Thursday 23rd September 1943, age 25. Buried Rheinburg War Cemetery, Germany.

Bomber Command War Diary
23 September 1943
Manheim: 628 aircraft – 312 Lancasters, 193 Halifaxes, 115 Stirlings, 8 Mosquitos. 5 B- 17s also took part. 32 aircraft – 18 Lancasters, 7 Halifaxes, 7 Wellingtons – lost, 5.1 per cent of the force. The Pathfinder plan worked well and concentrated bombing fell on the intended area, although later stages of the raid crept back across the northern edge of Ludwigshafen and out into the open country.

21 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 8 Group carried out a diversionary raid on Darmstadt without loss. The diversionary purpose of this raid was not achieved because Darmstadt was too close to Mannheim and the German night fighters could see the main attack only 20 miles away quite clearly. But the small force of bombers caused much damage in this university town which had little industry and which had not been seriously bombed before.

6 Mosquitos to Aachen, 28 OTU sorties. 1 OTU Wellington lost.

Page 432, The Bomber Command War Diaries. 2011. Everitt Middlebrook. Midland publishing.

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