Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 30

Thread: Prisoners of War strafed by RAF, April 19, 1945

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Grantham, Lincs
    Posts
    565
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Prisoners of War strafed by RAF, April 19, 1945

    Can anyone (Brian perhaps with his Blue on Blue ?) identify the RAF unit (s) that strafed an Allied PoW column on 19 April 1945 near the village of Gresse in the Luneberg area of Germany ?

    30 + PoWs were killed in this attack (possibly by Typhoons).

    I am in contact with the family of a survivor who wish to know more information of this incident.

    TIA

    Ian

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Berkshire
    Posts
    2,210
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Ian
    Get a look at a book "the Last Escape" byJohn Nicholl and Tony Rennell.The incident is mentioned on pp298 et seq
    The book also gives a bibliography which may lead to more of the story.The a/c were ideniified as Typhoons but not the unit.
    Regards
    Dick

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    299
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    I looked into this a while back when I was researching some RAF POW's who were caught up in the incident. I don't know where my notes on it are, but the write up I did noted that it was Typhoons from the RAF TAF. I'm afraid I can't be more specific than that but perhaps that could help pinpoint it a bit more?

    Later this month I'm attending the 90th birthday of one of the airmen who was unfortunate enough to be straffed. He dived one side of a tree to take cover and the man next to him dived the other. He lived and the other man died. Very sad indeed.

    Regards
    Linzee

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,385
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Hello,

    The subject of this very unfortunate incident/accident has already been covered in the forum, so a google search with the site "RAFCommands" should lead towards it.

    I've also seen a list of casualties, made by one of the PoWs, in either a PoW questionnaire (WO 344 series at Kew) or liberation questionnaire (WO 208 series), and the previous thread on the subject was also listing them, from memory using the CWGC registers and Geoff Sullivan's Search Engine.

    Joss

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dublin
    Posts
    4,523
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 36 Times in 33 Posts

    Default

    Do a simple Google for RAF POW strafe 19 April 1945

    rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?6977-RAF-Strafe-of-POWs-April-1945

    And try add to the last thread, let's not create a new duplicate thread.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Orleans, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,354
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    The following from the file of R65193 Warren Elwood MacKenzie, shot down 20 January 1944 with No.419 Squadron:

    Excerpts from report dated 16 July 1947, F/L C.W. Dufresne (No.4 Missing Research Enquiries Service, Germany) to Air Ministry:

    “An investigation at Greese reveals that twenty-nine British (Army and Air Force) and one American were buried in the local cemetery. These victims had been P.O.W.’s on the march and were shot up by British planes, just outside Greese on 19th April 1945. They were buried in a collective grave, without coffins. Some on the 19th April, and the rest on the 20th.

    “I am attaching a copy of the list of those airmen buried there, given to me by Pastor Stube of Greese, who officiated at the burial. Although there are thirty British listed, in exhumation we found only twenty-nine British and one American. The numbers of this list which are ticked off in red, are those which we identified for certain – mostly by their STALAG tags.

    “It was almost impossible to tell which service some of them belonged to, by the different pieces of clothing they were wearing.”

    The list attached to this memo, as found in the MacKenzie file, does not have red ticks marks. The list seems to incorporate a variety of numbers (presumably service and POW numbers) and reads as follows:

    2571861 and 1094 – Lance Sergeant L.H.J. Goodfellow (no unit, identified as British)

    1431168 Flight Sergeant K. Mortimer – RAF – British

    1093 Sergeant E. Bardsley – RAF – British

    31652 Sergeant J.S. Breytenbach – Army – South African

    25505 and 15904 – Corporal Downie – The Cameronians – British

    2874561 and 20385 – Corporal G. Moir (no unit, identified as British)

    918030 – Corporal P.M. Paton – The Black Watch – British

    430 – Warrant Officer G. Moir – RAF – British

    3932 – Private R. Woodgate – Australian Forces – Australian

    29815 and 25731 – no name or other information listed.

    A22182 – A.G. Hunt – Essex Scottish – Canadian

    26387 and 3235– no name or other information listed.

    3263 and 1565563 – Sergeant W.E. Lawton – RAF – British

    1385572 – no name given, Royal Army Service Corps – nationality not confirmed.

    3566 Flight Sergeant J. Gibbs – RAF – British.

    2121 - Sergeant S.J. Wheadon – RAF – British

    no number – Warrant Officer Shierlow – RAAF – Australian

    39152 and 647048 – Warrant Officer F.B. Duffield – RAF – British (there seems to be another number, 874, associated with this name).

    R65193 – Warrant Officer W.E. MacKenzie – RCAF – Canadian

    13064 – Warrant Officer W.P.J. Watson – RAF – British (initials rendered on RAF Commands site as W.J.P.)

    24384 and 1388655 – Warrant Officer C.W. Heathman – RAF – British

    no number – Warrant Officer G. Douglas – RCAF – Canadian

    no number or rank – Joyce – Essex Scottish – Canadian

    994 and R126002 – Warrant Officer V.A. Fox – RCAF – Canadian

    24510 – Sergeant L.B.H. Hope – no unit or service – New Zealander

    941 – Sergeant Hawkins – no unit, service or nationality shown

    3429 – Flight Sergeant D. Bouldie – RAF – British

    9669 – Warrant Officer Claydon – no unit or service assigned – nationality not shown – seems from RAF Commands to be D.J. Clayden)

    335 and 623752 – Warrant Officer G.A. Losh – RAF – British

    143 – Warrant Officer Bone – no details.

    The above list was basically that as that provided by Pastor Stube on 2 July 1947. It will be noted that the American mentioned in the memo is not included.

    Another memo, this one dated 22 September 1947 (Air Ministry to Berlin Detachment, MRES) read in part as follows – first number was an MRES file number and the second was service number:

    The following members of the Royal Air Force are known to have been buried in the communal grave at Gresse, exhumation has not revealed individual indentification:

    353234 – 746982 – Warrant Officer Hawkins, G.C.G.
    359707 – 647048 – Warrant Officer Duffield, F.B.
    362198 – 581434 – Warrant Officer Bone, W.A.I.
    362957 – 1378655 – Warrant Officer Heathman, C.W.
    402066 – A416107 – Warrant Officer Shierlaw, J.G.
    413270 – 1455475 – Warrant Officer Bardsley, E.
    415407 – 1584485 – Flight Sergeant Bauldie, D.

    Your observations that “It was almost impossible to tell which of the Services some of them belonged owing to the many different types of clothing worn” would suggest that the above names should be subjective to collective registration together with those of the other Services whose bodies, unfortunately, could not be identified.

    It is known that 1318075 WO A.. Porter was also killed in the attack. According to eye witness accounts (returned POWS Neal, Brown and Balson), it appears that Porter was missing after the attack, only his log book and a cap, believed to be his, were found. No evidence is available as to his burial; nevertheless a statement from WO Neal to this department reveals that Porter was wearing an unusual light blue forage cap, this was found near an unidentified body, wearing Royal Air Force uniform. It is reasonable to assume that WO A.H. Porter was buried as “Unidentified”.

    There is also a collective burial record of identified persons buried at Greese, viz:

    R126002 WO Fox, V.A.
    R106758 WO Douglas, R.C. or R.G.
    NZ40940 WO Hope, L.B.
    1455475 WO Bardsley, E.
    1378655 WO Heathman, C.W.
    745360 WO Gage, J.
    901682 WO Clayden, D.J.
    1338451 FS Gibbs, J.A.
    623752 WO Losh, G.A.
    1565563 FS Lawton, W.E.
    623703 WO Watson, W.P.J.
    647048 WO Duffield, F.B.
    1431168 WO Mortimer, K.
    2213579 FS Wheadon, S.J.
    581434 Bone, W.A.I.
    R65193 WO MacKenzie, W.H.
    746982 WO Hawkins, O.C.O.
    A416107 WO Shierlaw, J.G.
    1584485 FS Bauldie, D.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Grantham, Lincs
    Posts
    565
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hugh, Dennis, Joss, Linzee and Dick,

    Many thanks for your replies it has helped immeasurably.

    Dennis, I will try in future to look for old threads, but sometimes the system fails me or I have finger trouble, but at least you "good old boys" point us in the right direction.

    Looks like to find the unit responsible means a look through about 17 ORBs !

    Ian

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,385
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Hello Ian

    Drop me an e-mail (it's in my profile) if you want the jpg I have somewhere in my hard-disk.

    I agree you'll have to go through all ORBs. I did the same for an airfield attack here in the Pas-de-Calais, and it worked well. I also did a similar check through Form 1180 for a "R.A.F. 4 engined machine crashed in my area in February 1945". I sampled Halifaxes first, then Lancasters and Stirlings to finish, and it was a Halifax, the second or third fiche. But I checked them all to be absolutely sure.

    It's just that sometimes you're lucky because it's one of the first in the list, sometimes it's in the last.

    Good luck

    Joss

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Zelhem, Netherlands.
    Posts
    6,313
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hello Ian,
    I could check my files at least for all airmen who were killed/died of wounds in the Gresse PoW-attack but need some time to check. I do believe having read somewhere that the attacking fighters were Canadian Typhoons. If you agree will come up with names, svcnrs, unit, aircraft serials. Just let me know.
    Regards,
    Henk.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Grantham, Lincs
    Posts
    565
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thank you Henk for your offer for the names of those involved, but as you will see Hugh has listed them.

    Thanks you again Joss, I will send a pm.

    Regards,

    Ian

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •