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WICHFORD LANCASTER LOSSES

WICHFORD LANCASTER LOSSES
Author: Jon Hipkins (Guest)
Time Stamp:
21:30:03 Sunday, March 20, 2005
Post:
Dear all,

Whenever I visit my folks I walk the dog across the old airfields of Warboys, Mepal and Wichford. At the airfield memorial at Wichford this time around, I saw a wreath that someone had laid that mentioned the crews of 2 Wichford based Lancasters that were shot down by an intruder over the airfield on the night of 19 April 1944. Can anyone shed any light on this episode for me?

Thanks in advance

Rgds

Jon


RE: WICHFORD LANCASTER LOSSES
Author: floyd williston (Guest)
Time Stamp:
01:44:58 Monday, March 21, 2005
Post:
The two Lancs(No.115 Sq) were returning from a raid on Rouen's railway yards and were preparing to land when shot down.

The time (as stated in Chorley's Bomber Command Losses/1944) was 02.10 in the case of Lancaster II LL667KO-H(skipperP/O J.Birnie). It crashed at Common Farm, Witchford. And, the time for LL867A4-J(skipper F/L C.Eddy(MBE) RNZAF) which crashed at Ely, Cambridgeshire, was 0348. However, there was likely an error and perhaps should read 0248

There was an American(P/O A.L. Feldman) and a Canadian Sgt. William J. MacMillan) on the former, and one Canadian(WO2 H.Bennis) on the latter.

If you do not have access to Chorley's book I can give you the names of other crew members. Two from each of the crews are buried in Cambridge City Cemetery while Birnie is buried in the Cumberland village of Gosforth. The others are buried in their home towns.

(Floyd)


RE: WICHFORD LANCASTER LOSSES
Author: floyd williston (Guest)
Time Stamp:
02:15:22 Monday, March 21, 2005
Post:
This information may be of interest to you. There is a photo in the Feldman entry on the Canadian Virtual War MemoriaL.

http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/general/sub.cfm?source=collections/virtualmem/Results

On the MacMillan entry, there is a photo of a plaque in his former school.

http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/general/sub.cfm?source=collections/virtualmem/Detail&casualty=2667653

In memory of

Pilot Officer

ARNOLD LEPINE%A0 FELDMAN

who died on April 19, 1944.

Military Service:

Service Number: J/92605

Age: 27

Force: Air Force

Regiment: Royal Canadian Air Force

Unit: 115 (R.A.F.) Sqdn

Additional Information:

Son of Samuel and Beatrice Lepine Feldman, of Norwalk, Connecticut.

Commemorated on Page 303 of the

Second World War Book of Remembrance.

There is a digital photo collection relating to

ARNOLD LEPINE%A0 FELDMAN .

Burial Information:

Cemetery:

CAMBRIDGE CITY CEMETERY

Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

Grave Reference: U.S.A. Grave 14361.

Location: CAMBRIDGE CITY CEMETERY is situated about 2 kilometres east of Cambridge on the road to Newmarket.

.............................................

In memory of

Sergeant

WILLIAM JAMES%A0 MACMILLAN

who died on April 19, 1944.

Military Service:

Service Number: R/209012

Age: 19

Force: Air Force

Regiment: Royal Canadian Air Force

Unit: 115 (R.A.F.) Sqdn.

Additional Information:

Son of James and Catherine Macmillan, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Commemorated on Page 375 of the

Second World War Book of Remembrance.

There is a digital photo collection relating to

WILLIAM JAMES%A0 MACMILLAN .

Burial Information:

Cemetery:

BROOKWOOD MILITARY CEMETERY

................................

In memory of

Warrant Officer Class II

HENRY%A0 BENNIS

who died on April 19, 1944.

Military Service:

Service Number: R/178351

Age: 22

Force: Air Force

Regiment: Royal Canadian Air Force

Unit: 115 (R.A.F.) Sqdn

Additional Information:

Son of Jacob Bennis and of Nellie Bennis (nee Overkleeft), of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.

Commemorated on Page 248 of the

Second World War Book of Remembrance.

Burial Information

Cambridge City Cemetery



RE: WICHFORD LANCASTER LOSSES
Author: errol.martyn@xtra.co.nz (Guest)
Time Stamp:
06:48:33 Monday, March 21, 2005
Post:
Jon,

It was a case of third time unlucky for Eddy, as the following excerpt from Colin Hanson's 'By Such Deeds - Honours and awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force 1923-1999' shows: -

EDDY, Flight Lieutenant Charlie, MBE.

NZ39003; Born Hamilton, Victoria, Australia, 31 Jul 1914; RNZAF 14 Sep 1939 to (kao) 19 Apr 1944; Pilot.

Citation Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (26 May 1944): %7B75(NZ)Sqn RAF (Lancaster)%7D One night in July, 1943, this officer was the pilot and captain of an aircraft which crashed when attempting an emergency landing and burst into flames immediately. He received concussion and injuries to his scalp and spine. Despite his injuries, Flying Officer Eddy remained in the aircraft and assisted the bomb aimer from the overturned second pilotís seat. After getting clear of the aircraft, Flying Officer Eddy, on learning that one member of the crew was absent, re-entered the blazing wreckage and assisted a medical officer in a vain attempt to extricate the mid-upper gunner who was trapped in his turret. It was not until the heat, fumes and smoke had made a continuance of rescue work impossible that Flying Officer Eddy was persuaded to abandon his efforts. His face was scorched whilst he was attempting to rescue the gunner and he collapsed immediately after finally leaving the aircraft. Flying Officer Eddy showed gallantry in dangerous circumstances and his unselfishness was instrumental in saving the bomb aimerís life.

Wounded by enemy action 19 Mar 1943; Seriously injured during a crash-landing at RAF Oakington, 14 Jul 1943, on return from operations at Aachen with 75(NZ)Sqn RAF. Kao following an attack on Rouen, France - shot down by a German intruder near Witchford, Cambridge, 19 Apr 1944 with 115 Sqn RAF (Lancaster) on his 11th sortie with that squadron. Buried at Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire, England.

A couple of post-publication corrections are required in respect of the last para; 19 Mar 43 should read 8/9 Mar 43 and though shot down on his 11th op seven of these were in fact flown with 75(NZ)Sqn.

Errol


RE: WICHFORD LANCASTER LOSSES
Author: Lester Stenner (Guest)
Time Stamp:
08:41:49 Monday, March 21, 2005
Post:
Hello Jon,

Just a point of interest, Henry Bennis sister, Nel, died last week in Medicine Hat General Hospital, she was 85. Her funeral is 22nd this month.


RE: WItCHFORD LANCASTER LOSSES
Author: floyd williston (Guest)
Time Stamp:
16:10:23 Monday, March 21, 2005
Post:
The death of WO Bennis' sister is indeed a stark co-incidence in that she should die at the very moment inquiries are being made about her brother.

It would be interesting to know the name of the persons who placed the wreath at the airfield memorial. Are the names of the crew members not included on the memorial?

(Floyd)



RE: WItCHFORD LANCASTER LOSSES
Author: Jon Hipkins (Guest)
Time Stamp:
19:32:49 Monday, March 21, 2005
Post:
Thanks for the interesting info guys.

Some of you may be aware that the memorial at Wichford sits on the remains of the threshold of the two northern most runways (next to the house which straddles the same section). It explains that the memorial was established in 1989 (I believe) and goes on to list some facts about 115 Sqn and its place in 3 Group. Shows the usual badges etc, but no more than that.

The wreaths looked fairly weathered so were probably laid down in Nov last year. One of them listed the crew of both aircraft, but obviously not the facts of their demise. Your kind info fills in the gaps.

Moving but a few miles away, I was informed by an old chap last week, that a Lancaster crshed next to Chatteris (Cambridgeshire) cemetery during the war. Any idea of the circs?

Jon



RE: WItCHFORD LANCASTER LOSSES
Author: DaveW (Guest)
Time Stamp:
17:22:49 Thursday, March 24, 2005
Post:
Wellington Ic R1767 dived into the ground at Horseway, Chatteris 10/09/41, 5 crew killed. Also a Blenheim IV Z6360 12/07/41,at Old Halves, Chatteris, 3 killed.

There may be more incidents later in the war, my records are not yet complete.

Regards

DaveW


RE: WItCHFORD LANCASTER LOSSES
Author: Jon Hipkins (Guest)
Time Stamp:
19:35:55 Thursday, March 24, 2005
Post:
Dave,

Cheers my friend. The info that I have is from an old guy who was in the ARP and attended the scene. Definately remembers it as a Lanc, but his memory is hazy about the date.

Cheers for the info.

Rgds

Jon


RE: WICHFORD LANCASTER LOSSES
Author: Bill Green. (Guest)
Time Stamp:
14:10:03 Wednesday, May 4, 2005
Post:
Both aircraft were shot down within minutes of each other by a Messerschmitt410 intruder which had followed the Lancasters in without being detected by radar.

Lancaster LL667, piloted by P/O Birnie was a Mark II with Hercules XVI radial engines whilst Lancaster LL867 was a Mark I with RR Merlins.This a/c belonged to "C" Flight and was coded A4J

Shortly before this incident,the under-carriage of Lancaster Mk1

ED631, KO-B had collapsed three-quarters of the way down the runway on landing and this may have led to a crowded circuit of aircraft waiting their turn to land.

I agree that 0348 as the time for the destruction of the second Lanc seems unlikely since unconfirmed reports from eye-witnesses suggest that Birnie's aircraft was "still burning fiercely on the ground" when Eddy's aircraft was attacked.

One of the engines from Birnie's aircraft, beautifully preserved and mounted, is on display in the 115 museum on the airfield at Witchford, whilst a second, in a rather parlous state, can be seen at the Lincs Aviation Heritage Museum at East Kirkby, Lincs..


RE: WICHFORD LANCASTER LOSSES
Author: jonny956
Time Stamp:
17:50:39 Wednesday, May 4, 2005
Post:
Cheers Bill.

Jon