21st January 2012 15:47
Information search about Ottignies bombing on april 20 1944...
Hello, I am Belgian and borned in Ottignies area.
I would be very pleased to get information about the bomber command mission on april 20 1944 targetting the railways station of Ottignies.In reality, two villages have been bombed with death damages (70+).
Questions: how many aircrafts have been crashed? Was the bombing mission well informed by the village people? Is there any available pictures of the area before and afetr the bombing? Any information about the german FLAK response during the Bombing phase?
Many thanks in advance,
21st January 2012 17:46
Bomber Command War Diaries states that of the 196 aircraft that took part in this operation, none were lost, but the 635sqdn ORB shows Lancaster ND826, captained by S/Ldr D.W. Mansbridge as missing from this operation. There is no description of the attack/defences, in the ORB, just aircraft serials and captains of each one.
21st January 2012 17:54
196 aircraft - 175 Halifaxes, 14 Lancasters, 7 Mosquitos from Nos 4 and 8 Groups despatched to Ottignies, some 35 miles south-west of Brussels.
The southern half of the railway yards was severely damaged. - From The Bomber Command War Diaries by Middlebrook.
Zero hour was 23:15, The primary marking was groundmarking using Oboe by 4 Mosquitos from 109 Squadron and 3 from 105 Squadron who dropped red target indicators accurately from 26,000 feet that were easily seen by the main force. Weather over the target was clear to 4/10ths low stratus cloud with slight haze. The Mosquitos reported no searchlights and slight heavy flak over the target. The bombing was reported to be well concentrated. Of the 196 aircraft dispatched, 190 claimed to have attacked the primary target.
One aircraft was lost - 635 Squadron Lancaster ND826 coded F2-W (S/L DW Mansbridge AFC) crashed at Dion-le-Mont, 4 miles ESE of Warve, Belgium.
Last edited by David Wallace; 21st January 2012 at 21:48.
22nd January 2012 13:31
Reply to Alan W and Dave...
Many thanks for your informations about the Ottignies bombing event on april 20 1944.Your information join mine that I have read in some Belgian report.The description of the mission was not very clear from the local information.So Yours are very instructful!!
For my knowledge , what does it mean ORB?
I leave close to the crash location ; the name Dion Le Mont is right.The neighbour town is WAVRE.
The mission results were successful in the reports .In reality, it has been a main mess.The lighting rockets have been disoriented by the wind and the two villages close to the railway station have been bombed.I have a picture showing the intact station and all bombs area int the two villages.I have also pictures of the damaged villages : LIMAL and LIMELETTE .There have been 71 victims.Some witnesses are still leaving and I could interviewed.An English officer has given this picture to an inhabitant at the liberation time. I have collected some puictures.
I try to memorize this tragic day in a film video for memory in 2014 (70 years).The target is to celebrate the victory invasion of the allied forces.
I know that the pilots of the crashed aircraft have been buried in Heverlee cimetary.
I also know an expert searching aircraft carcass.We would be very interested to search the rest of the aircraft in DION LE MONT area.That should be a scoop for the film. I woulmd be very pleased if somebody would know the exact location: forest name, neighborhood name and so on...
Many thanks in advance,
22nd January 2012 14:04
An ORB is an"Operations Record Book" that recorded the details of each operation taken at de-briefing from each crew that returned from the operation. My information for this operation came from the 109 & 105 Squadron ORBs, the RAF Litte Staughton ORB, The logbook of F/L Eric Arnott DFC & Bar, "The Bomber Command War Diaries" and Chorley's "Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War" Vol.5.
For finding the crash location your best bet is the local citizens and reports, someone may remember where it went down or they may have a report buried somewhere in the town or district records.
Last edited by David Wallace; 22nd January 2012 at 14:06.
22nd January 2012 14:09
If you would like copies of the pages from 635sqdn ORB for this operation, please let me have your email address via a PM (Private Message) in my profile.