The crash of RAF ME647 in Eygelshoven
Not far from the place where USAAF B-17 #42-3436 of the still missing co-pilot Donald Paul Breeden came down, a British RAF Lancaster bomber crashed on the New Year's Eve of 1944. To be precise in the field behind the RC cemetery in Eygelshoven at the Boomgaardskuilweg. Eygelshoven had been liberated for almost 3 months, but the war was still going on.
At the end of December 1944 the battle of the Ardennes almost ended with a German defeat, while in the neighboring Hürtgenwald until the spring of 1945 every meter was fought for. And in the night to 1 January 1945, the Germans started their last air offensive; 'Operation Bodenplatte'. Ther aim was to destroy the planes at the allied airfields in the Benelux countries by surprise and to obtain German air superiority again. That had to happen at the middle of December - on the eve of the German Ardennes offensive (Wacht am Rhein) - but the bad weather prevented that plan.
Above the airfields of the liberated Benelux, fierce air battles took place on New Year's Day 1945. There were substantial losses on both sides. The Germans lost 290 planes and nearly 150 German pilots were killed; very young but also very experienced ones. A loss that the Germans would never make good again. Many German aircraft were even hit by their own anti-aircraft guns; on the ground they did not know in time of this 'Operation Bodenplatte' ...
So the war was far from over and neither were the bombing missions of the American and the British Air Forces. In 1944 he RAF was also bombing German targets during day light - like the Americans since 1942.
The British Lancaster manned with 7 airmen which crashed in Eygelshoven on Sylvester evening 1944, had 5 air man from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) on board. Because Great Britain was supported by soldiers from all her 'Dominions', of which Canada was one.
Lancaster memorial at the RC cemetery in Eygelshoven
Ideas on a memorial did come while working on the B-17 memorial in 2018 when I was told that another bomber had crashed in WWII within the boundaries of Eygelshoven. The Lancaster ME647 on New Years Eve 1944. Killing 7 Canadian an 2 British airmen. All first buried at Margraten and now laid to rest in Nederweert.
The place was easily set thanks to the parish: side by side with the B-17 monument on the RC cemetery at the Rimburgerweg in Eygelshoven.
We went looking for a stone to carry the plaque and got that from the German City of Herzogenrath.
A text - with a layout similar to the one on the B-17 memorial - was made up and engraved on a metal sheet. The City of Kerkrade took that part of the cost.
The stone mason Rogier Lemmens of ‘De Beitel Grafmonumenten’ again sponsored a granite plate to put behind the metal plaque and on 26 September 2019 he mounted it all to the stone.
Next is planning a first official commemoration.
‘To keep forever living the freedom for which they died.’
To be continued... with a commemoration on a date in the future.
Target 31 December 1944: the railway yard Osterfeld
The 7-man crew of the four-engined Lancaster bomber Mark I with license plate ME647 and 'callsign' AS-J were ordered to bomb the large railway yard in Osterfeld, Germany - that is near Oberhausen - as stated in the war diary of RAF Bomber Command.
These kinds of crossroads of railways were often and heavily bombed to prevent the transport of soldiers and their equipment to the front.
The crew started shortly after 15 hours from the British base Kirmington. It was one of the 14 Lancasters of the 166th Bomber Squadron that flew to this German target that day. The reports show that this crew was on its way home after the attack. Their bombs had been dropped and they were probably on their way to a New Year’s Eve party or a warm bed. But that did not work out that way; their aircraft was shot down by a German night fighter on the last Sunday evening of 1944 around 19.30 hours above Eygelshoven. The entire crew lost their lives.
The seven men on board
This Canadian-British crew was as a group on 28 September 1944 on their (1st) 'tour' of 30 bombing flights started with the 166th squadron. In December they had completed 23 of 30 flights in a tour. The 24th was fatal.
What I found, is summarized below.
Above the crew on a photo from the book 'Duel in the Clouds - The air war in the warning triangle Roermond-Liège-Aachen' on page 200 from 1994 of the late Heerlen aviation historian Ron Pütz who died to young.
From the left with 'my indications' because at the start of my story I did not know who was who.
Bennett - air bomber (blond - officer because he has no sergeant stripes on his sleeve),
Dazé - tail/rear gunner (reddish - with clear sergeant stripes),
Surman - wireless operator/gunner, stands by his ‘mates’, and confirmed by Mrs Wendy Ann)
Young - mid-upper-gunner (sergeant - too small for pilot training),
Bernyk - navigator (dark around eyes - officer / no stripes on the sleeve),
Sherry - pilot (recognizable by his pilot wings above left breast pocket),
Martin - flight engineer (sergeant stripes, flight engineer closest to pilot / 2nd pilot).
Flight Lieutenant James Anthony Sherry was the 22-year-old pilot from Windsor in Ontario and flew in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). His parents - James Sherry and Rose Anne McClusky - were both emigrants from Scotland and lived on Labadie Rd 1430.
Sherry went to St Joseph Highschool and Assumption College in Windsor. He was quite musically educated because he played violin and piano and was also organist and choirmaster in the church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Windsor.
He worked until October 1942 as a taxi driver and in a factory, after which he went into military service and was trained as a pilot. In Camp Borden - about 90 km north of Toronto - he got his 'wings' pinned on and at the end of September 1944 he was in England where he was assigned to the 166th RAF Bomber Squadron.
After he was killed, he was - just like his fellow crew members - first buried on the newly opened US Military Cemetery at Margraten (NL). From a letter dated May 10, 1945, from which I received a copy, it appears that Sherry was initially buried at Margraten as X-68 - an unidentified person.
Later he was identified and reburied at the Nederweert War Cemetery. He lies there in section IV, row A, grave 6. In the same row in which 6 crew fellow members are buried.
Photo courtesy of Mrs. Di Ablewhite.
A nephew of Jim Sherry - Mr Gordon Sherry - send me additional information and photo’s.
The British RAF Pilot Officer Alexander - Alec - Martin was the 24-year flight engineer and co-pilot. In such a Lancaster there was no extra seat or steering wheel for a second pilot. The Flight Engineer could turn his seat so that he would sit next to the pilot and help him; no more.
Martin was the only son of Ernest James Martin and Ethel (nee Leighton) and was born on 21 August 1920 in the Scottish New Stevens(t)on in Lanarkshire. Their address ‘Sommerhill’ on Alexandra Parade in Dunoon-Argyll. Football and tennis were his passions.
He attended the 'grammar school' in Dunoon and from 1935 worked as an Apprentice Clerk in the Chamberlains Office (Municipal Buildings) in Dunoon, after which he went to the RAF in 1940 to become a ground mechanic (Airframe Fitter). Then he continued his training and became Flight Engineer and he got on board the Lancaster with number ME647.
Parts from his dairy (from Mr Ernest Martin): His basic training was at No. 9 RC Blackpool (Reception Centre/Camp) and on finishing held the rank of AC2 (Aircraftman 2nd Class). He then went on to No. 6 School of Technical Training, his trade being an Airframe Fitter (FITT 2A), after completion he was promoted to AC1 (Aircraftman 1st Class).
His first Posting was to No.44 MU (Maintenance Unit) on 11th November 1941, on 15th June 1942 he was further posted to Peshawar in India and then on the 15th November 1942 was posted to a RAF MU in Jodphur-India. Mr Martin’s main job was to service the aircraft which were on route to the Burma front. His last posting in India was Air Force Station Juhu Bombay.
He applied for aircrew training, and was selected after passing his interview and medical. In November 1943 he boarded the ‘Jan Boissevain’ in Bombay, then transferring to the Strathmore in Egypt, for a long voyage back to Britain via the Suez Canal, to commence his training.
After some leave at home in Dunoon, in January 1944 he commenced his Aircrew training in Blackpool and obtained the rank of Flight Sergeant Technical. On 18th September he was posted to No.166 Squadron, and after a time he was promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer.
He is buried at his yard at Nederweert War Cemetery, Section IV Row A Grave 1.
Mrs. Eleanor McKay of Live Argyll-Sandbank Office in Dunoon told me that Alexander Martin is being commemorated on the 'Roll of Honor' at Dunoon Grammar School. He is also commemorated on the War Memorial in Dunoon opposite the Pier.
The 20-year-old Canadian Flying Officer Donald Howard Bennett flew as an air bomber. Born on June 14, 1920 in Stonewall Manitoba as the child of George Howard Bennett and Eileen Bennett-Mortimer Kent he lived in Stony Mountain-Manitoba, Canada.His training evaluation shows that he first was a mechanic, and wanted to become a pilot, but was not suitable for this and was then was trained to become an air bomber. Like the entire crew, he had been assigned to the 166th since 28 September 1944. He is buried at Nederweert War Cemetery section IV row A grave 2.
Donald Howard Bennett is mentioned on the Stony Mountain and the Stone Wall War Memorial.
More on Donald Bennett. Photo courtesy of Mrs Di Ablewhite.
Flying Officer Michael Bernyk was the 21-year-old Canadian navigator. With maps, the sun and the stars, he helped the pilot to go above the target and back home. In addition, in 1944 he also had technical aids such as radar on the ground and in the aircraft. He was born in Canada in August 1923 and was the son of William and Mary Bernyk-Popoyskey, who lived on Westcott Rd 1230 in Windsor-Ontario, Canada; a family with 10 children. His parents were both emigrants from Roumania. Bernyk worked between school and the start of his RCAF training in August 1942 in a metal factory; Windsor Patterns. He graduated as navigator at Malton and is buried at Nederweert War Cemetery section IV row A grave 5. More on Mike Bernyk.
Photo from book Ron Pütz. Originally received from Peter Grimm.
The Canadian Flight Sergeant Cletus Jean Dazé was with his 28 years the oldest on board and he was the rear gunner. I only know from him that he was born on 15 March 1916 as the youngest son of Jean Dazé and Marie Georgine Dazé-Dussiaume in Arnprior-Ontario, Canada. They lived on 16 Victoria Street.
He was an aero engine mechanic and wants to work as a motor mechanics with the RCAF as he applied in 1940. In 1935 he had already tried to get into the RCAF. From autumn 1943 he is trained to be an Air Gunner.
From a small newspaper clip (Ottawa Journal) at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial I learned that he is mentioned as the son of Mrs Mallette (50 Caroline street in Ottawa).
On his ‘RCAF Attestation paper’ dated in 1940 he mentions his natural mother Mrs A.O. Mallette (his mother remarried Mr A.O. Mallette after Jean Dazé died) with address Victoria street 16 in Arnprior. In his ‘Service and Paybook’ her address is Pinestreet 12A in Cornwall.
Cletus Dazé was a sporty type; he mentions boxing, baseball and hockey as sports when he joins the RCAF.
He is buried at Nederweert War Cemetery section IV row A grave 7.
Mr Cletus Dazé is mentioned on the Arnprior War Memorial and on the family stone on the Malloch Road Cemetery in Arnprior.
Flight Sergeant Kenneth Surman was the youngest of the two British on board and worked as wireless operator and air gunner. He was born on 15 January 1924 and was one of the three sons of Henry George and Dorothy Surman, from Merrow, Guildford in the county of Surrey. His last known address was Golf Club House Merrow, because his parents managed the golf course there. Kenneth had been engaged to Teresa O'Connell since July 1944; also from Guilford.
From the story I received from his aunt Wendy Ann, it appears that Ken Surman his grandfather also worked as manager of the golf course in Merrow.
She has been looking for a photo of her 'Uncle Ken' but unfortunately she could not find one at first. Her father - Ken's brother RAF pilot Lt. John Clarke Surman - flew at the 125th and 604th RAF squadron and survived the war. And in her father's memories I could read that Ken had made at least 12 flights to Germany.
In the data base of CWGC, 1-1-1945 is his date of death. Was he found alive but injured?
Ken Surman is buried at Nederweert War Cemetery section IV row A grave 3.
Mrs Wendy Ann confirmed that the 3rd from the left on the above group picture is her uncle Ken.
Mr Simon Lee - a relative of Mr Ken Surman - send me the photo above. Mrs Wendy Ann later sent me the photo of Ken to the right and the photo of the memorial in Guilford Merrow.
Flight Sergeant Clarence Young was born December 9, 1924 in Cobalt - Cochrane District-Ontario as the youngest son of carpenter Joseph Clark Young and Mabel Young-Cousineau of 596 Montreal Street in Kingston-Ontario. On the ME647 he was the mid upper gunner.
After his education - including 2 years of high school - he worked as a laborer and handyman (Anglin Norcross), painter (Mr Smith) and as a truck driver with scrap metal dealer (I. Cohen&Co) from the age of sixteen.
Building airplane models was one of his hobbies and apparently he also learned to fly. Because on his registration form for the RCAF, Young reported having had 9 hours of Mr Harry Free from the Kingston Flying Club and flying solo for 4 hours. And he also wants to fly at the RCAF when he enlits on 27 November 1942.
Photo courtesy of Jan Nieuwenhuis.
But unfortunately it turns out that he is too small (62.5 inch = 1.59 m) to be trained as a pilot in the RCAF. For the rest he is fit to work in an air crew, for example as a gunner in a turret.
Especially because Young was already trained as an MG gunner in the Canadian Princess of Wales Own Regiment in Kingston from April 1941 to August 1942. After he enlisted in the RCAF in Ottawa on 27-11-1942 he was promptly trained to become an 'air gunner'.
He completed this training on January 14, 1944 and received the rank of 'First Sergeant'. His 'training report' shows that he was a good student who could also work as an instructor.
On March 30, 1944, he sailed from Halifax to Europe, where he was assigned the 'mid-upper gunner' of the Lancaster ME647 at the 166th squadron.
Apparently he does his job OK there, because on 14 October 1944 - 2 weeks after meeting as a crew - he was promoted to 'Flight Sergeant'. With his crew he flies 23 bombing flights until the fatal on New Year's Eve 1944.
In June 1945 a Miss S.P. Shappores - member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) of RAF Station Waterbeach - contacts the RCAF and asks for Clarence Young his address in Canada. She writes he was her fiance. She is told that Young is dead and (still) buried at Margraten. If they wish, the RCAF will send a letter from her to Young's parents.
I have not been able to find out what relationship there was between them.
Clarence Young is now buried at Nederweert War Cemetery section IV row A grave 4.
In the ‘City Park’ in Kingston there is a memorial for all members of the RCAF from Kingston who “have slipped the surly bonds of earth”.
Mr. Peter Gower of the Kingston Historical Society told me this extra:
Clarence Young went to the Public School in Leland, NNO of Kingston, just north of Loughborough Lake. He lived in Kingston since 1937, and worked at the C.I.L. (Nylon) and the Aluminum Company. He entered service in December 1942, and received his training in Mont Joli, Three Rivers and Moncton. Young left for Europe in April 1944. Gower's saying Sergeant Young almost had his 'tour' of 25 (red. must be 30) flights on it. Young's relatives were his parents, his 2 sisters Marguerite and Lois, and his brother Lyman, Pilot Officer Lyman Young / RCNVR-Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. "
After their initial disappearance, letters were sent to all parents shortly after the new year. At the beginning of March 1945 letters followed with the news that their sons had died in the crash on 31 December 1944 and that they had been buried at Margraten.
In Young’s file I also found documents and a letter from a certain Mrs Mottershead from Stockport in Cheshire (UK) who visited her son's grave at Margraten in May or June 1946. She writes (to the mother of the bombardier Bennett) how beautiful the cemetery Margraten is and that she would not bring her son home because the Dutch people care so well for the graves at this beautiful cemetery ...
Flying Officer Clifford Harper Mottershead (RAF-VR 164378) was a pilot in a Spitfire of the 41st Squadron. He died at the age of 25 on March 2, 1945 near Hemer in Germany. He started that day from Volkel and probably was shot down by a German pilot in a Me-109.
Mottershead was initially buried at Margraten; now he is buried in the General Cemetery of Maastricht; row 4, grave 164. (Source: SGLO)
Two crew members from Windsor - Ontario
Sherry and Bernyk were both born in Windsor, Ontario. And maybe they knew each other too, because the addresses of their parents homes were only 650 meters apart. They visited different schools; Sherry was Roman Catholic and Bernyk was a member of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Flight Sergeant Clarence Young and all his RCAF-comrades are commemorated on the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, Alberta. You can also meet the crew at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
On Facebook there is a page on this crew.
Kirmington home of the 166th Squadron
The Lancaster that crashed here on Sylvester night 1944 was from the 166th RAF Bomber Squadron that had its home base in Kirmington in the English Lincolnshire; a county that borders the North Sea and where in the 2nd World War it was teeming with British and American airbases.
The 166th had a bulldog as squadron logo and their motto was 'Tenacity' which can best be translated with 'tenacity' or 'toughness'.
Kirmington was used from October 1943 to November 1945 as the airbase for the RAF bombers of Bomber Command. The 166th first flew from there in Wellingtons and later the much larger Lancaster bombers with crews from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain. 178 aircraft did not return to the base until 1945; lost in accidents or shot down, which cost the lives of 922 airmen.
The plaque in memory of RAF Station Kirmington in the lobby of the current Humberside Airport.
More about Kirmington.
From the diary of RAF Bomber Command31 December 1944/1 January 1945
'149 Lancasters and 17 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups to attack the railway yards (yard) at Osterfeld. The only details available are Bomber Command's estimate that the railway sidings were 35% damaged and the 'facilities' 20% damaged. 2 Lancasters lost.
One in Eygelshoven and perhaps both in the name of Hager. Those Mosquitos were small, fast bombers that flew ahead to mark the targets with 'light bombs' so that the large group could then throw their bombs. Their start was around 15 in England.
German report on the damage in 'Abenteuer Industriestadt - Oberhausen 1874-1999'
Notitie d.d. 31 December 1944: Sylvesterabend: Luft-Grossangriff auf Oberhausen, u.a. Verschiebebahnhof Osterfeld. Schwer affected: Grobblechwalzwerk, Eisenbahnwerkstätte, Walzwerke bis 12.1 still. Werksbahnbrücke bis zum Erzlager Vondern zerstört. Ferner Schäden am Emscher-Wasserwerk. Starke Wohnraumzerstörungen in Sterkrade and Osterfeld sowie große Schäden in Ausländerlagern.
Map of yard Osterfeld
The opponent: Hauptmann Johannes Hager
In my search on the internet I met Johannes Hager of the 6th group of Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (6.NJG1) as the one who managed to outsmart this Lancaster ME647.
In the book 'Luftwaffe Night Fighter Combat Claims, 1939-1945', by Foreman, Parry and Matthews, you read that Hager shot down a Lancaster a little earlier or later on the same evening.
His 36th and 37th victory of a total of 48 in the entire second world war.
Hager was born on 16 August 1920 in Pretzier near Salzwedel-Altmark.
He achieved his first victory on 14 February 1943 over the Dutch Limburg village of Mechelen; the Halifax DT694 of the 158th RAF squadron on return flight from Cologne. In the Schweiberger forest is a reminder, a small monument.
He flew the whole war in the German NJG1; first in a Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4 Work number 4890 (crashed in September 1943 - see photo) and later in a Heinkel 219A-0 'Uhu' with Work number 190203 (damaged in June 1944).
On 31 May 1943 he made a crash landing at the airport of the Belgian Florennes in his Do-217 N-1 with Werknummer 1462. He started (then member of 4./NJG 1) from the airport of Sint-Truiden in Belgium. His plane had that night the full layer of a British tail gunner in a RAF Stirling bomber. His radioman Fritz Leda did not survive and Hager and his flight engineer Meinel Gunther were also hit by bullets.
Hager flew 99 combat flights and 1 bombing flight. He shot down 48 allied aircraft, of which one during the day.
How accurate the Germans were with their technical aids - such as a 'Lichtenstein' radar system in the plane and also guns that could shoot upwards, the so-called 'Schräge Musik' - can also be seen in Hager. With his crew of 3 men he regularly shot 2 and sometimes 3 allied aircraft in one night from the air. 'Top night' was the 21st February 1945 when - as I read - Hager shot down 8 aircraft within 17 minutes. His last 4 on March 21, 1945.
Hager’s NJG1 was the most successful night fighter unit and had claimed some 2,311 victories by day and night.
Hager died on September 2, 1993.
Friendly fire very unlikely
Besides the story above there is also the entry in the diary of pastor Franck van Eygelshoven, who saw the Lancaster of Sherry and his crew crash. He made this note about New Year's Eve 1944: 'Constant air alarm because of German airplanes. The Americans shot wild-west until midnight; there were constantly German planes in the air.’
But all the information given it makes it unlikely that this Lancaster could have been shot by the Americans; as a friendly fire incident.
The crash site in Eygelshoven
This Lancaster of the RAF with number ME647 and 'callsign' AS-J of the 166th squadron crashed at the Boomgaardskuilweg; see the circled cross on the map. That is the field road along the RC cemetery of Eygelshoven towards 'Op de Hoven' in Landgraaf (then still municipality Ubach over Worms).
On the back of the card on the left it says: 'Rimburgerveld t.o. my Julia behind cemetery. At the crossing of paths choose left path. 300 meters further on the left: 25 meters from the Licomtuinen and 30 meters to the left of the agricultural path.'
Map: Stichting Eygelshoven door de Eeuwen Heen.
There is still a slight dent in the field here; is this the place where this Lancaster bore itself in the ground?
Photo: Wim Slangen - 2017.
Funerals in Margraten and Nederweert
The seven young crew members were first buried in the just started US War Cemetery of Margraten - in 'plot' F, row I, graves 15-22 - and after the war (in November 1946) at the British Commonwealth Cemetery in Nederweert. There in section IV, row A, graves 1-7.
Photo of the US Cemetery Margraten with upper right the road Vaals-Maastricht while 18.900 American soldiers were interred.
Plot F is indicated; se the map.
With thanks to the Stichting Adoptie Graven Amerikaanse Begraafplaats Margraten.
Nederweert War Cemetery
Nederweert War Cemetery is a British cemetery located at the side of the Monseigneur Kreyelmanstraat in the Dutch town Nederweert. 362 dead from the Second World War are buried at the cemetery, from countries of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is responsible for the cemetery. There is a register and a guestbook.
The dead buried here were killed after the liberation of Nederweert on September 21, 1944. Until November 14 of that year, the front line was close to the village and ran along the Zuid-Willemsvaart (canal) and the Wessem-Nederweert canal. In that period there were dead due to patrols, German fire and German mine fields. When the British had crossed the canals and went up to the Meuse, dead were buried who died in the area.
Mrs Mary Elisabeth Poirier-Strolenberg wrote: ‘My father - Hans Strolenberg (*1931) - was a young teenager during the end of WW ll (1944), and lived on the Rimburgerweg 24 in Waubach. The back of their home faced Eygelshoven. On New Year’s Eve an American bomber coming back from a bombing run over Germany, crashed into the farm field behind them towards east. It was behind a small berm so they could not see without binoculars if anyone of the crew was able to get out. He always wondered what squadron it was from & if anyone survived. They wanted to go and help, but the field was mined. It always haunted him.’
Mr Paul Bauduin: 'I remember that on a dark evening in the winter period we, living at the Rimburgerweg 3 in Eygelshoven, heard the fall of an airplane. Looking out, we saw the glow of a fierce fire over the horizon of the sloping hill behind our house, in the deep darkness. We also heard that bullets exploded. I went to see one or more days later. It was a totally burnt-out plane, but I could not determine which type of aircraft it was. I also remember that I saw the gloves of one of the pilots. Putting all the data in a row, I can not but conclude that it was the Lancaster that, according to the registers of the RAF on 31 Dec. 1944, 6.30 pm (1 hour time difference with England?), Crashed near the Rimburgerweg, near the Op den Hoven area, as indicated on the map. From our house it was a 15 to 25 minute walk. The crew is buried at the Nederweert War Cemetery. "
Hearing from others
Jack Huntjens reports on his FB-page about this crash: 'According to talk of old Eygelshoven people, the remnants of the plane and the crew were to be found spreaded over a large area. A havoc everywhere.’
Together with friends, Jack Huntjens got parts above the ground. He writes: 'Many small artifacts have been recovered by me and friends 72 years later. Yesterday afternoon (August 2016?) Intensive research was carried out again at the crash site. In addition to a bullet, probably from Browning Mk II machine gun belonging to the AVRO Lancaster, the following image with the following text 'A118' and a size was 7.5 cm long, 1 cm wide, 2 mm thick.’
Inquiry told me that this was on one of the pipes in the aircraft to mark it, according to Johan Graas of the 'Stichting Aircraft Recovery Group 1940-1945'.
The only known picture
The Lancaster MK 1 with number ME647 was rolled out of the AVRO factory on February 9th, 1944 and on the 20th of that month it first went to the 460th RAAF Squadron, but one day later to the 166th of the RAF. This Lancaster was at least once photographed; because a band had exploded at the start on July 14, 1944. Then the railroads at the French Revigny-sur-Ornain were the target. Also then to block the supply of German war material to Normandy. That was before Sherry's crew got the Lancaster to fly in late October.
NB One engine is completely burned away.
Bron: ‘Bomber Intelligence‘ van WE Jones.
The earlier targets of this crew
The list below shows that the 'Sherry crew' apparently also occasionally flew to their targets in Germany with other aircraft. But since the end of October the ME647 was 'their' Lancaster. The overview shows their 24 bombing flights.
Earlier flights with the ME647
From the log of Flt. Sgt. John Hislop Boles it shows Therese earlier flights of the ME647 from March up till June 1944.
The log of Flg. Off. W. R. Brennan fills the flights from August till October 1944.
They went with songs to battle, they were young
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Lawrence Binyon (1869-1943)
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