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Thread: PA189, 100 Sqn, John GUY & crew, lost 16 Jan 1945

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    Default PA189, 100 Sqn, John GUY & crew, lost 16 Jan 1945

    Hi, folks,

    Using AOL, I have been unable to send an e-mail to the 100 Squadron Association webmaster; there is only one contact e-mail address given on the website. Twice I received notices of “delivery status notification errors”, which were defined further as: “Relay access denied (in reply to RCPT TO command)”. Any ideas how I can contact this organization?

    I was hoping to enquire about the 16 Jan 1945 loss of 100 Sqn Lancaster PA189 and her seven-man crew. I have found some basics on the web:

    Lancaster PA189, coded HW-P, set out to bomb the synthetic oil complex at Zeitz, Germany. It blew up in flight and crashed at Questenberg, Germany. All seven members of the crew were killed.

    CAN J/25448 F/Lt QUIGLEY, Frederick Thomas -- Pilot
    CAN R/210007 F/Sgt ROLLER, Ray Calvin -- Navigator
    CAN J/38421 F/O CHAPMAN, William Merton -- Air Bomber
    RAF 1819148 Sgt GUY, John Humphries -- W.Op./Air Gunner
    RAF 169506 F/O BERGER, Herbert Otto DFM -- Flt Engr.
    CAN J/95299 P/O GIBBONS, James David -- Air Gunner
    CAN J/95358 P/O McMASTER, Malcolm Stalker -- Air Gunner

    Chapman is buried in a separate grave alongside the communal grave of the six others in Berlin War Cemetery.

    The “history” page of the 100 Sqn Assn website gives more:

    "The raid on Meresburg was followed on 16th with a raid against the oil refineries at Zeitz where the attack was pressed home despite heavy flak over the target. 100 Squadron lost one aircraft, and this loss brings home to us the feelings of gloom amongst the survivors when such a loss was experienced. Arthur White recalls this particular loss with some poignancy. It was just shortly before the raid on Zeitz that Flt Lt Quigley came into the hut occupied by Arthur and other members of his crew, asking could he and his crew ‘bunk down’ with them. Of course there was ample room, and so Quigley and his crew moved in. On the 16th it was Quigley’s crew that failed to return from the raid on Zeitz. During the morning of the 17th a very grim faced officer and two very quiet clerks from the Squadron Orderly Room came in and quietly removed all of the personal possession of the young Canadians. Other Lanc veterans also recall the feelings when mates failed to return."

    Sgt John Guy is my main focus, with one goal being to obtain his photo, to share with Elizabeth -- a woman I wrote of in a message board thread I started on 29 May 2011 entitled “RAF casualty? In 1945? Named Guy John something?” She had been searching for an early 1945 RAF casualty, believed to be her birth father, whose name allegedly included “Guy John”. Recently she flipped the names and found that some tidbits her adopted parents told her decades ago, regarding her birth father’s 1945 death on a Lancaster op over Germany in 1945, correlate to John Guy. There are details that don’t fit, as well.

    So I’m trying again to uncover a few details for Elizabeth. She believes that John Guy had no siblings and was unmarried, and she has obtained his probate records. He left everything to his father. Elizabeth is searching for any other Guy kin – no luck so far. Perhaps, she thinks, a relative can obtain some essential basic details from John’s RAF personnel file – hair color, eye color, height, and weight – that was blacked out of the file copies she purchased from the RAF.

    I have written to the Library and Archives Canada for selected documents from the personnel files of two of John Guy’s five RCAF crewmates, so in xx months (whatever the wait is these days, I don’t know) we may know even more about the final op or the recovery of bodies. Maybe! And I’m hoping next-of-kin names and addresses of all the crew are there, as this can be a stepping stone. The CWGC does not list home towns and parental names for all the men.

    Wild goose chases sometimes pay off in spectacular ways. With a little hard work and luck, maybe the John Guy investigations will bring their own positive surprises.

    Cheers,

    Matt

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    I received a welcome and informative PM from Mark Simpson, including dates & targets for all Quigley crew's ops. Thanks, Mark.

    Let me keep this simple and short, um...unlike my initial posting. As quoted in that posting, there is a bit about the Quigley crew in the Arthur White book (entitled "The Hornet's Nest: A History of 100 Squadron Royal Air Force: 1917-1994"). Might someone on the board own a copy? If so, I'd love to know if there is anything more about the Quigley crew & loss AND any photos. It's a photo of John Guy that I am most interested in acquiring.

    I have PM'd Greg Harrison, who is a 100 Sqn historian (per Mark) and a member of RAF Commands.

    Cheers,

    Matt

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    Hi Matt,

    according to a German Luftgau crash report (KE 10162) the Lancaster crashed near Questenburg, about 22 km E of Nordhausen, at 22.30 hrs.

    The Germans recovered the body of Chapman and he was buried in Grave 1 in the Public Churchyard at Dittichenrode, near Nordhausen.

    The body of Gibbons was buried in Grave 13, and two unknowns in Graves 11 and 12, in the Public Churchyard at Wickerode, near Nordhausen/Harz. In addition, the Germans recovered parts of bodies by the aircraft but it is not clear what happened to these.

    The MRES recovered Chapman from Dittichenrode, but exhumation at Wickerode revealed only remains described as "almost ashes" buried in a single box (although the Germans registered three graves).

    Thus, the remains from Wickerode were reinterred at Berlin Heerstrasse and collectly registered as the six outstanding (after Chapman) members of the crew.

    Regards

    Rod

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    Hi, Rod,

    That's fantastic information -- a bit of an odd mystery regarding the Wickerode remains, certainly. I was on the phone to Elizabeth when your message was posted. She is the type of inquisitive soul who is happy to learn any news, and it was an easy decision to read her your details. On behalf of us both, thank you kindly.

    Cheers,

    Matt

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    Hi Matt,

    my pleasure. With regards to the Wickerode burials, the German translation of the captured documents is ambiguous, it is not clear if it means that aside from the "three" burials other small body parts were found by the aircraft or if the "three" burials consisted of small body parts found by the aircraft.

    Three of the Zeitz Lancasters were lost between the second and third legs home from the target -153 Sqn NG335, 100 Sqn PA189, and 300 Sqn PD257.

    It is next to impossible to establish the sequence of events leading to the loss of these aircraft.

    Returning RAF crews reported the loss of an aircraft in the area around and immediately to the west of Zeitz between 2206 and 2218 hrs. This may have been NG335 (crashed at Hassenhausen-Bad Kösen), although this aircraft crashed some 30 km further west of the majority of these sightings (and no other aircraft crashed around Zeitz).

    Between 2220-2224 hrs further sightings were made of an aircraft crashing after being hit by air-to-air tracer, and these are in the area where NG335 went down.

    It is not clear if any crews witnessed the demise of PA189 as it crashed some 35 km N of the briefed track. At 2238 hrs a 100 Group Mosquito reported a crash in an estimated position that was some 19 km SW of where PA189 came down. The report read (note the position 19 km SW of PA189 is 8 miles from starboard beam of Mosquitos reported position when on a heading of 310T):

    "310T. A/C seen to be shot down on starboard beam, eight miles away. Fell to ground and continued to burn for some time. No tracer seen. Fighter flare seen at same time. WNxxxxxx time. Went out and ten seconds later flames seen in air. No Flak in evidence. "

    At 2230 and 2240 hrs, there were two further reports of an aircraft shot down some 22 km SW of the crash location of PD257 (crashed near Kleinfurra).

    One of the issues with the reported sightings is that they are plotted where the returning crews thought they were. If unforcast winds etc meant that the bomber stream was pushed off track then this distorts the plotting. The reports between 2230 and 2240 hrs were positioned on track, whereas PA189 and PD257 crashed well north of track.

    Anyway, I hope that this makes sense and adds a little to your understanding.

    regards

    Rod
    Last edited by RodM; 21st October 2012 at 10:23.

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    Rod,

    Thanks for the further clarification and expert analysis. Yes, it does add to our understanding. It's a shame about the burial details being so ambiguous. Much more understandable that the PA189 crashsite is next to impossible to determine from the reports of other aircraft.

    Regards,

    Matt

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    Hi there Rod and Matt
    There is only a small mention of Chapman J38421 on the German Red Cross telegram sent to Geneve. Seems he was the only airman identified from that crash. Here is the extract:
    16/1 LANCASTER OFFR J38421 CHAPMAN WM =OKW INSPKRIEGSGEFV 2756 +
    Cheers
    Neil

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    Hi, Neil,

    Thanks for your contribution. Much appreciated. Nothing is too trivial to us kindred spirits.

    Cheers,

    Matt

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    Default PA189 HW-P 100 Sqn F/O Herbert Otto Berger DFM

    Previous posts in this thread about the loss of PA189 on the night of 16-17 Jan 1945 have given details of the crash and burials. I am unable to add any info on John Guy but am able to provide some stuff I hope you will find interesting.

    My late Father, F/O James Bell McQuaid DFC served on 100 Sqn at this time. He was flight engineer in the crew of S/L Hedley Francis Scott DFC OC B Flight.

    PA189 was on only its second operation with 100 Sqn. The pilot, F/L Frederick Quigley from Vancouver was married and aged 31. The five 100 Sqn aircraft taking part in the raid on the Braunkohle-Benzin synthetic oil plant at Zeitz Troglitz near Leipzig had been detailed as Pathfinder Force supporters to provide additional target marking.

    The flight engineer in PA189 that night was F/O Herbert Otto Berger DFM, formerly of 101 Sqn' aged 30. Incredibly, he was on his 98th operation! He had been determined to do 100 and so nearly achieved his ambition. Dad thought he may have been Jewish which, if true, may have influenced his motivation. I know Dad would have wanted me to take this opportunity to highlight F/O Berger's courage and commitment and help to ensure he is not forgotten.

    By the way, S/L Scott and crew took part in the Berchtesgaden raid in LM739 HW-Z2 which is represented in the Revell 1/72 Lancaster kit aircraft markings

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    Hi, Knockmcq,

    Thank you kindly for your info, and I will pass it along to the woman who may (not at all certain) be the daughter of John Guy from PA189. Since my last posting I have received a little more info via the RCAF personnel file of one of the Canadian casualties. I'll try to remember to add a tidbit or two in the next few days, summarized from the RCAF documents.

    Regards,

    Matt
    Last edited by Matt Poole; 3rd July 2013 at 12:15. Reason: Typo fix

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