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Thread: Lancaster DV329 (KM-W) lost 23/11/43 - help needed

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    Aug 2012
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    Default Lancaster DV329 (KM-W) lost 23/11/43 - help needed

    The above a/c was piloted by my great uncle as follows:

    Flt/Lt Charels Ellison HILL 127356 - Pilot - Killed
    P/O Edric George Wright 156351 - Flt Engineer-Killed
    P/O James Marsden 156915 - Navigator -Killed
    F/O Charles William Nunn 132381 - Bomb Aimer - Killed
    F/S Thomas Myerscough 1230232 -Wireless Operator / Air Gunner -Killed
    Sgt Ronald Ledsham 1535227 - Rear Gunner -Killed
    Sgt P. B. Kirwan 700738 - Mid upper Gunner - Prisoner of war (stalagIVb Muhlberg prisoner no 263692).

    The a/c was lost on the evening of the 23rd of November 1943 on the way to Berlin and is believed to have crashed near Rastdorf with only Kirwan surviving, also at this time a second Lancaster that being JB537 (PH-N) of 12 sqn is also believed to have crashed near to Vrees which is about 3 miles from the site of DV329. All of this crew were killed.
    Both crews were buried by the Germans in a communial grave at Oldenburg a day or so later. At war end when they tried to exhume the grave they were only able to positively identify two crew members that being Ledsham from DV 329 and a chap called Ferndell from JB537. Hence why these two have thier own graves next to the communual grave of the others in the Reichswald cemetry.

    I have been doing some work in relation as to where the a/c crashed and how they were brought down but have now come to a stumbling block.

    I have a document from the "OKL LISTEN" for that date that states DV329 (KM-W) was shot down at 1900hrs at 5,500mts altitude near to Lorup by Oblt. Heinz-Wolgang SCHNAUFER of 12./NJG.1 and the plane crashed near Rasdorf with 6KIA and 1 PoW. (verified I beleive in book "Nachtjagd diaries Vol 1 part 303).

    However in various web sites on him (Schnaufer) it shows him shooting down a 405 sqn Lancaster JA 939 (LQ-C) at 1850 hrs (verified), as well as JB537 (PH-N) at 1900hrs near Lorup at the same 5,500 mts with 6KIA and 1 PoW - yet all the crew of JB537 were killed and buried with the dead of DV329. So this is clearly wrong and I suspect where the web sites have JB537 it should read DV329?
    To further back this up I have got hold of a MACR List 1943 page 86 that shows a "Lancaster N-cocade -N" was brought down at Vrees by Flak at 2200hrs. The only two a/c that crashed there were DV329 (KM-W) and JB537 (PH-N).
    To throw a spanner in the works I have a letter from thre Air Ministry from 1948 addressed to Mrs Marsden that states that DV 329 crahed near to Vrees and JB537 near to Rastdorf. Clearly in contrdiction to the other documents.

    The ideal would have been to find out from the PoW Sgt Kirwan who, I'm afraid point blankly refused to discuss the matter with my Grandfather who was C.E Hill's brother at the end of the war.

    Can any of you help with any information which might shed light on how, where, when and why DV329 crashed and how Kirwan got out? If not got any clues as to where I can get such info, as I beleive PoW's were interviewed upon liberation and this may shed some light as to how it crashed etc. I have no other idea of how I am going to find out where each a/c crashed and as I wish to plan a trip to the site I would like to know I have the correct one. I have looked at the National Archives web site but the array forms are mind boggling and I cannot decipher what form etc to look under for PoW interviews or the German KE files or reports on how each a/c crashed etc.

    Any help would be extremely appreciated as I seem to have got as far as I can with it.
    Kind Regards
    Last edited by bigf; 29th August 2012 at 09:15.

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