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Thread: 115 Squadron Lancaster DS669/B picture/ information required

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    Default 115 Squadron Lancaster DS669/B picture/ information required

    Hello everyone.

    I recently bought the following group and have done a bit of research on it. RAF ww2 Casualty group, 1308157 Sergeant Geoffrey White RAFVR 115 Squadron. KIA 28/29th June 1943.

    A couple of request that if anyone can help me with I would be most appreciative. Does anyone have a picture of Lancaster DS669/B? or a copy of The Bomber Command Handbook 1939-1945, apparently on page 53 is a picture of DS669/B. Does anyone know the German Squadron or aircraft type that was opperating over Cologne on the night of the 28/29th June 1943.

    Here is information on White and what is in the group.

    Geoffrey White was born in the picturesque village of Thornton Le Dale in North Yorkshire. Close to the market town of Helmsley and the popular seaside resort of Scarborough. Thornton Le Dale is featured in many calendars due to the thatch roofed houses. Geoffrey’s parents were John William White and Kate White.


    Geoffrey served as a rear gunner on Lancaster bombers on 115 Squadron; rear gunners had one of the highest mortality rates of any members of crew. 115 Squadron began operating Avro Lancaster’s B II mark in 1943, unfortunately the Lancaster’s were fitted with Hercules engines which couldn’t achieve the same altitude as Rolls Royce Merlin’s. This decision undoubtedly contributed to the loss of aircraft from the squadron.

    On the night of his death Geoffrey was flying in Lancaster DS669/B out of Little Snoring in Norfolk on a raid to Cologne. After releasing the bombs Lancaster DS669/B turned for home. On the return Journey the aircraft was attacked from the rear by a night fighters. The following accounts are from the London Gazette and detail the crew’s efforts to save Geoffrey and the aircraft.

    1308178 Sergeant Edwin Thomas George Hall, No. 115 Squadron. Was mid upper Gunner
    1346616 Sergeant William Porter Jolly, No. 115 Squadron was the Pilot
    1078262 Sergeant Ray Kingsley Crowther, No. 115 Squadron was the Wireless Operator


    Gazetted on the 20th July 1943

    Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying).
    1308178 Sergeant Edwin Thomas George HALL, No. 115 Squadron.

    Distinguished Flying Medal

    1346616 Sergeant William Porter Jolly, No. 115 Squadron

    1078262 Sergeant Ray Kingsley CROWTHER, No. 115 Squadron.

    “Sergeants Hall and Crowther were mid-upper gunner and wireless operator respectively of an aircraft, captained by Sergeant Jolly, which attacked Cologne one night in June, 1943. On the homeward flight the bomber was intercepted by 2 enemy fighters and a running, combat ensued. Sergeant Jolly took violent evasive action but, eventually a burst of gunfire from i of the attackers, at close range, hit the rear turret, setting the fuselage on fire between the bulkhead doors. Sergeant Hall, the mid-upper gunner, kept firing his guns however, and the enemy aircraft was seen diving steeply and on fire. By this time, the rear turret 'was well alight and the fuselage became filled with smoke. The situation became critical but Sergeants Hall and Crowther, without waiting to connect the portable oxygen supply, attempted to quell the flames. Both airmen became thoroughly exhausted ' but gamely battled on and, after a prolonged struggle, succeeded in extinguishing the flames; it was then discovered that the rear turret had fallen off. Eventually, Sergeant Jolly flew the damaged bomber to an airfield in this country, landing it safely. In the face of a critical situation, these members of aircraft crew displayed courage, fortitude and determination of the highest order”.


    The citation shows the strong bond that developed between the crews and how devoted they were to one another. The CGM was one of only 109 awarded to RAF personal.

    Sergeant William Porter Jolly DFM went on to become a Flight Lt and was also awarded the DFC on the 16th November 1945.

    Sergeant Ray Kingsley Crowther DFM, survived the war.

    Sergeant Edwin Thomas George Hall CGM, survived the war

    Lancaster DS669/B was repaired and put back onto operational duty, it didn’t survive the war it was lost over Dusseldorf on the night of the 22nd/23rd of April 1944 while serving with 514 Squadron.


    Geoffrey’s medals and scroll were sent to his Mother Kate back in Thornton Le Dale. The brass memorial plaque in the Church of All Saints in Thornton Le Dale bears Geoffrey’s name. He is remembered also on the Runnymede memorial along with 20330 other Airmen who paid the ultimate sacrifice during World War Two.

    The group consists of a large A4 photograph of Geoffrey with other Airmen during his training. Many of his colleagues have signed the back of the photograph wishing him luck. There are over 22 signatures.

    His large memorial Scroll

    The medal box addressed to Mrs K White, Church Hill, Thornton Le Dale, Nr. Pickering, Yorkshire. The post stamp on the box looks to be the 8th December 1950.

    Inside the box is the small scroll and small entitlement slip which shows his entitlement to the 1939-45 Star, Aircrew Europe Star and the War Medal. The Medals all have the original ribbons and are still inside the wax paper. I doubt if the medals had been taken out of the box more than once or twice.

    Medal condition is Mint to GEF

    The group comes directly from the nephew.



    Best Regards
    Adam
    Last edited by Adam J; 14th October 2011 at 14:32. Reason: I missed a detail

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    Can confirm that the photo is there, with the rear turret missing, and the aircraft was attacked by two FW 190's, one of which was claimed as a probable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanW View Post
    Can confirm that the photo is there, with the rear turret missing, and the aircraft was attacked by two FW 190's, one of which was claimed as a probable.
    Hello Alan, thank you for the response. Would it be possible for you to scan the picture and post it? I understand if you don't want to. I'll try and find the FW190 pilot!

    Cheers Adam

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    It's on it's way
    Alan

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    Thank you Alan

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    This is a slight puzzel as the CGM recommendation associated to the incident relates to two night fighter having attacked DS669 yet in the photographs that exist no 'classic' fighter damage can be seen. The IWM credit the incident to a falling bomb tearing the rear gunners turret away. Can anyone add to this at all.

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    Hi Colin,
    I was only confirming, after a quick look at the photo and caption, what it stated in the book, but having just looked at it again after your comment, i agree that there is no "fighter" attack type of damage to be seen. In fact, it looks as though the damage to the underside of the rear fuselage, is missing, as though the turret was forced through it.
    Alan.

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