H.J. Middleton crew 27.9.43 †

05/09/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lb. One aircraft had trouble shortly after take-off and was forced to jettison its bombs four miles north of CAMBRIDGE. The attack was well concentrated and large fires together with heavy explosions were seen. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective. One aircraft on the return journey when near the FRENCH Coast was hit by A.A. fire. It received considerable damage and two of its engines were made unserviceable. The ENGLISH Coast was reached however, it belly-landed at Hunsden. Many fighters were seen and some combats took, place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. H.BATGER sighted an enemy aircraft on the port quarter which opened fire on them and our aircraft corkscrewed. The Mid-upper and Rear Gunner then opened fire and the enemy aircraft was seen to dive to the ground in flames. It was claimed as destroyed. Our aircraft received considerable damage and the Flight Engineer Sgt. R. DALKINS was seriously wounded. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. R. WHITMORE sighted an enemy aircraft 100yds. astern, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners opened fire, the enemy aircraft was seen to turn over and spin into the ground afire. It was claimed as destroyed. This was flowed by another enemy aircraft approaching from starboard to port astern, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners again fired and the enemy aircraft broke away. One minute later an unidentified aircraft was seen firing at a Lancaster aircraft, which was afire. F/Sgt. WHITMORE’s Mid-Upper and Rear Gunners opened fire on the enemy aircraft, which disappeared. The Lancaster was then seen to break up. Some cloud was encountered on the way to the target, but there was a clear sky and visibility was good in the target area. Navigation was very good. One aircraft failed to return, it was captained by F/Sgt. WILKINSON, E.S.

Stirling Mk.III EH949 JN-P

F/L Geoffrey Turner, RCAF J.7326 – Pilot.
Sgt. Harvey Johnson Middleton, RAFVR 1476465 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Alan Hall Cleghorn, RAFVR 1493160 – Navigator.
F/O Arthur Douglas Howlett, RNZAF NZ413335 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Malcolm Victor Bloxham, RAFVR 552574 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. John Smith Thomson, RAFVR 1374282 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ronald Wilks, RAFVR 1417280 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Christopher Frederick McRae, RCAF R.147326 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:50 – Landed 02:10
Flight Time 06:20

22/09/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hanover
Twenty aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks with bombs of 1,000lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb.. Three aircraft returned early, but the remainder dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a very successful and concentrated attack. Numerous fires which appeared to be merging into one large fire were seen, and were still visible as the aircraft were returning over the DUTCH Coast. Heavy A.A. fire and a great number of searchlights were encountered, but proved ineffective. Several enemy aircraft were seen and one of our Stirlings was hit, but the attacker was not seen, damage was received to the tail and main plane, and the port petrol tanks were punctured. The aircraft, however, was safely flown back to base and a crash landing was made with three engines. It was clear over the target and visibility was excellent. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III EF514 AA-?

P/O John Milward Mee, RNZAF NZ416518 – Pilot.
Sgt. Harvey Johnson Middleton, RAFVR 1476465 – 2nd Pilot.
F/S David Percy Bain, RNZAF NZ415814 – Navigator.
F/S David Newbury Luxton, RNZAF NZ414310 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. R. Haydon, RAFVR 1384978 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. S. Allan, RAFVR 1558635 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. J.D. Sofrin, RAFVR 1493880 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Richard Arthur Webb, RAFVR 1473046 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:05 – Landed 01:15
Flight Time 06:10

27/09/1943 – Mining in the Frisian Islands
Two aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lb., which were successfully dropped in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. This was an uneventful trip, no A.A. fire, searchlights or enemy aircraft being encountered. There was 10/10th. cloud and rain, which caused visibility to be poor in the mining area. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III EE897 AA-G

Sgt. Harvey Johnson Middleton, RAFVR 1476465 – Pilot.
Sgt. Charles John Massie, RAFVR 1322528 – Navigator.
Sgt. Charles Pennycook, RCAF R.137421 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Pow, RAFVR 1024139 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Eric Francis Hudson, RAFVR 1581611 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Thorpe, 1514349 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Lackenby, RAFVR 1590747 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:00 – Landed 22:20
Flight Time 03:20

03/10/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Kassel
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lbs. One aircraft returned early as the Navigator was ill, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This was a good concentrated attack, large fires and heavy explosions being seen. Moderate A.A. Fire was encountered, which was ineffective except for one aircraft which received damage. This aircraft was captained by F/Sgt. N. PARKER, damage was received to the starboard elevator , starboard tail plane and the rear turret war partly shot away. The rear gunner Sgt. S.W. RIDDLER was lost over the target when the rear turret was damaged. It is considered that he may have baled out as the escape hatch was found to be open. The aircraft successfully landed at WING. Very few enemy aircraft were seen. It was clear at the target, but slight haze was encountered on the return journey. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III EE897 AA-G

Sgt. Harvey Johnson Middleton, RAFVR 1476465 – Pilot.
Sgt. Charles John Massie, RAFVR 1322528 – Navigator.
Sgt. Charles Pennycook, RCAF R.137421 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Pow, RAFVR 1024139 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Eric Francis Hudson, RAFVR 1581611 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Thorpe, 1514349 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Lackenby, RAFVR 1590747 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:45 – Landed 00:45
Flight Time 06:00

04/10/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Frankfurt
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lb. and 4lbs. Three aircraft returned early and one failed to return. This was a good attack, ten aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very good concentrated fires and enormous explosions being seen, the fires were still visible on the homeward journey. A.A. Fire was negligible, there were many search lights which were cooperating with enemy night-fighters. The aircraft captained by S/Ldr. J.JOLL had a combat with a M.E. 109, which was claimed as possibly damaged. The weather was poor on the outward and return journeys, but clear over the target, visibility was good except for smoke haze. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was captained by SGT. H.J. MIDDLETON.

Stirling Mk.III EF130 JN-M

Sgt. Harvey Johnson Middleton, RAFVR 1476465 – Pilot.
Sgt. Charles John Massie, RAFVR 1322528 – Navigator.
Sgt. Charles Pennycook, RCAF R.137421 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Leslie Pow, RAFVR 1024139 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Eric Francis Hudson, RAFVR 1581611 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Ernest Thorpe, 1514349 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Thomas Lackenby, RAFVR 1590747 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time Missing

Stirling Mk.III EF130 JN-M was brought down at Russelsheim, 14 miles South West of Frankfurt. There was no indication of how the plane went down, apart from reports of minimal ground AA fire in the target area, suggesting the likelihood of an enemy night-fighter attack. There were no survivors among the crew, who were all buried in Durnbach War Cemetery

Sgt. Harvey Johnson Middleton, RAFVR 1476465 – Pilot.
Killed age 24.
Son of James Harvey Middleton and Elizabeth Middleton; Husband of Alice Middleton, of Walkerville, Newcastle-On-Tyne.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1. H. 1-7.

Sgt. Charles John Massie, RAFVR 1322528 – Navigator.
Killed age 23.
Son of Charles Ernest and Ellen Massie, of Enfield, Middlesex.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1. H. 1-7.
‘In loving memory of Charles,
Our only son.
Ever in our thoughts.
Mum, dad and Doris’

F/S Charles Pennycook, RCAF 137421 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 20.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1. H. 1-7.

Sgt. Leslie Pow, RAFVR 1024139 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 33.
Son of John Thomas Pow and Margaret Pow, of Philadelphia, Co. Durham; Husband of Annie Lilly Pow, of Philadelphia.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1. H. 1-7.
‘Leslie.
Beloved & never forgotten.
Wife, parents & family.
Philadelphia, Co.Durham’

Sgt. Eric Francis Hudson, RAFVR 1581611 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 21.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1. H. 1-7.

Sgt. Ernest Thorpe, RAFVR 1514349 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 20.
Son of James Edward and Emma Thorpe, of Sheffield.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1. H. 1-7.
‘Ever in our thoughts.
Duty nobly done.
Mother, father and family’

Sgt. Thomas Lackenby, RAFVR 1590747 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 19.
Son of Sydney and Elizabeth Hall Lackenby, of Felling, Co. Durham.
Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany..
Grave location – Coll. grave 1. H. 1-7.
‘Happier souls
That find a rest
In a Heavenly
Father’s breast’

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