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Thread: RF145/Z 625 Sqdn Lancaster lost on 16/17 March 1945, target Nuremberg

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    Default RF145/Z 625 Sqdn Lancaster lost on 16/17 March 1945, target Nuremberg

    Greetings,

    While working on one of my ‘Missing Airmen’ projects I found there was no known crash site location of RF145/Z

    I have had a good look around but no luck in locating the crash site, perhaps something has turned up over the years and may be known and I may have missed it.

    One of the crew survived and was made a POW, he was Sgt.T.H.RYAN RAF (VR) Does anyone know of him as he may have the answer?

    Another crew member was located and buried at Durnbach, he was Sgt.Derek Branston JONES 1624612 RAF (VR) buried in Grave 11.F.17

    The remainder of the crew were all declared ‘Missing’, this included the New Zealand born captain, F/O. Paterick Morley ROLLS. Aus424322 the subject of my research.

    It would be appreciated if anyone has any information, thanks.

    Digger.

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    Hi Arthur,

    Rolls crash file is on line at our archives, it states that the aircraft came down 2 miles south of Berglein which is 14 mikes south west of Nuremberg.

    Regards,

    John.

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    Hello John,
    So quick too with your reply. I cannot thank you enough with your answer, thanks a lot.
    cheers,
    Digger.

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    Hi,

    a bit late on this one!

    The crash site was never established and obviously the graves/bodies of five of the crew were never found.

    The survivor, Sgt Ryan, stated that he baled out @ 16,000 ft, 5 minutes before the target while the aircraft was on a N.E. heading, and that after he baled out he saw the aircraft was in flames but appeared to be under control. The body of SGT Jones was found in a field 2 km S of Berglein by the Germans and buried. It would appear that he baled out but died ('not sure if because of wounds/parachute didn't deploy/baled out too low etc).

    This is the only aircraft on this night for which there appears to be no documented crash location. In 'Footprints in the Sands of Time', it is recorded that PoWs at the Stammlager at Langwasser-Nuremberg witnessed a bomber crashing close to the boundary fence of the camp on the night of 16-17 March 1945..

    To the best of my knowledge, there is no other loss from this night that crashed anywhere near the Stalag, so I wonder if (a) the date of loss recorded by the PoWs is correct, and (b) if it is, could the aircraft have been RF145?

    Cheers

    Rod

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    Thanks Rod for the extra gen.

    I will now update my Missingt NZ Airmen file (M.A-18) for any family that may pop up.

    Cheers,
    Digger.

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    There is quite some confusion with Lancaster RF145 and PA234.
    I was given information from an eye-witness that stated an aviator with an arm missing walked into town asking for help. This description would fit to the pilot of PA234, K.P. Muncer. But the crash-site shows evidence of a shallow angle impact with the bomb load going off, which would be more indicative of RF145.
    Hopefully over this winter we will be able to establish the identity of at least one of these aircraft.

    Danny

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    Thanks for your extra information Danny. Very interesting and more 'grist to the mill' eh?

    All the best for your investigations.
    Cheers,
    Digger.

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    Hi Arthur/Danny,

    PA234 crashed in to a wooded area approximately 1 km north/north-north-west of Buerglein (at GSGS Map ref T.3125912, which is at approximately 49 22 50 N, 10 47 27 E). Four bodies were recovered from the vicinity of the crash site and taken to the village of Gross-Habersdorf, where they were buried on 19/03/45. The names and service numbers of the four were recorded by the German authorities on the original crosses placed over the graves - confirming these four as SGT Jones (F/E), F/SGT Patterson (A/B), F/O Gardner (MUG), and SGT Reynolds RCAF (RG) from PA234. In addition, surviving crew member F/O Gerrald (Nav) had seen the body of Reynolds on the ground near the crash site on the morning of 17/03/45. F/O Muncer (pilot) came down near Wendsdorf, approx. 1.3 km N.E. of Buerglein, where is wounds were tended.

    On 18/03/45 the body of an unknown RAF airman was found in a field 1.5 km south of Buerglein. The body was taken to Buerglein for burial by policemen from Heilbronn. All identifying tags and papers had been removed by the police before burial.

    Upon investigation in 1946, the MRES originally assumed the unknown RAF airman to be F/O Buckland, the missing W/Op from PA234.

    Source for this information: RCAF Personnel file for R274514 Reynolds (RG 24, Library and Archives Canada).

    Exhumation of the grave of the unknown RAF airman at Buerglein proved that the body was not that of F/O Buckland - the uniform was of a SGT with pilot brevet and was taller (5'11'') than Buckland (5'4''). The Air Ministry concluded that the body was that of SGT Jones, F/E of RF154, on the basis that Jones was the only SGT pilot not accounted for from the night 16-17 March 1945 (interestingly, SGT Jones was presumably a pilot who remustered as a F/E but who retained his pilots brevet. Another Lancaster that crashed on this night also contained a pilot who remustered as a F/E and who (as photographic evidence shows) retained his pilots brevet. In this instance, with two trained pilots on board, a body was identified as the aircraft pilot only by a pilots brevet and Air Min confirmation that he was "the sole pilot in the crew"...the F/E pilot's body was not identified).

    F/SGT Ryan RAAF (A/B) from RF154 baled out of the forward escape hatch and saw the aircraft to be badly in flames but apparently under control as he fell through the air. He stated that he baled out approximately 5 minutes flying time before Nuremberg and that he landed in a clearing of a forest. He was captured on 19/03/1945.

    Sources for this information: RAAF Casualty file for A424322 Rolls (A705, National Archives of Australia) and RAAF PoW questionnaires for A436543 Ryan (AWM54, Australian War Memorial).

    Cheers

    Rod
    Last edited by RodM; 9th November 2013 at 11:55.

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    Rod,

    So many thanks for your most enlightening assistance to my 'missing airmen ' projects (M.A-18) although the 'missing' airmen are the New Zealanders, I am also interested in the others in the crew. I am now up to my 54th aircraft. These projects are most rewarding when a family member comes on the scene.
    Cheers,
    Digger

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