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Thread: Lancaster ND342 coded PH-U - looking for reason of crash

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    Default Lancaster ND342 coded PH-U - looking for reason of crash

    Hello,

    I am looking for details of Lancaster ND342 coded PH-U, which crashed on Dec. 12th, 1944 close to Düsseldorf.

    Does anybody know if there is an official accident report of the crash or anything else which could help me?

    Thanks a lot for your help!

    Best regards,
    Tom

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    Hello Tom,

    Our usual point of first search - Bill Chorley's BC Losses, reveals little information for this loss, however Boiten/MacKenzie's Nachtjagt War Diaries suggests NG342 was shot down by Hptm Gustav Tham of 3/NJGr.10 who claimed a Lancaster near Bochum at 19:50. This was his fifteenth victory.
    The objective of the bomber force was Essen.

    Regards,

    Ian
    Last edited by ian94avenge; 26th December 2012 at 21:12. Reason: Wrong author for BC Losses, now corrected - too many mince pies !!

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    Hi Tom
    This is in Chorley Bomber Command Losses Vol 5, There is no cause given for the loss but there are some leads that may produce further info.The a/c was from 12 Sqn and they may have a website and I believe there was a book on the Sqn published some years ago. The pilot was F/O A A Kennedy RNZAF and there may be an archive from that country available online, 3 survivors became POW, Sgt W N Stevenson, F/O H W Parry and F/Sgt J Kenworthy, and their returning POW Debriefs may be available in the National Archive. 2 others ,F/O B E W Hall and F/Sgt J R Patterson were RCAF and the Canadian Archive may contain info on the crash. Chorley gives the target as Essen
    For New Zealanders who gave their lives in the air there is also "For Your Tomorrow" ,a 3 vol work by Errol Martyn which you may still find. I believe it is still in print
    Hope this helps
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 26th December 2012 at 16:06.

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    Hi Tom,

    I have Errol's three volumes, All it states is that Lancaster ND324 took off from RAF Wickenby at 1618 hrs and was brought down over the Rhur and crashed near Dusseldorf. It does state that three of the crew were buried in Dusseldorf's North Cemetery and that the RCAF W/Op was buried at Hidden some 10kms to the SE. All four now rest in Reichswald War Cemetery.

    It was the pilots 24th Op.

    Regards,

    John.

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    http://www.airforce.mil.nz/operations/airforce-news/archive/131/rememberingourkiwibombercrews.htm

    "Reg Veitch—a keen rugby player who captained Wellington against the 1937 Springboks—joined the RNZAF in September 1941 and went to Canada, under the Empire Air Training Scheme. Trained on Lancaster bombers, he joined No. 12 Sqn RAF in July 1944 and he and his crew were quickly on operations.
    On 12 December 1944 they took off for their 26th trip. That night 540 aircraft made a major attack on the industrial city of Essen. Reg’s aircraft, Lancaster ND 342, took off at 1618 into the winter night. The crew’s Bomb Aimer, ‘Ken’ Kenworthy wrote in 1945:
    “…whilst on the bombing run we were suddenly attacked by a night fighter who machine gunned us from nose to tail destroying our instruments and leaving us in a blazing condition…. Reg immediately ordered us to bale out. As Air Bomber I saw that all our bombs had been released, informed Reg—who wished me the best of luck—then baled out.… Harry, our Navigator, baled out a few seconds after me and at that time Reg was standing on his seat ready to bale out next. Reg had stuck by and piloted the aircraft, giving his crew every chance to get out safely, the flames must have been dangerously near by the time his turn came to jump.”
    In fact only the Navigator, Bomb Aimer and Flight Engineer survived, to be taken prisoner. Their Lancaster, one of eight shot down that night, crashed near Dusseldorf and the other four in the crew were killed. Today they lie in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, in Germany.
    It was Christmas-time 1944 when the family learned that Reg was missing on air operations. They knew little more, until the letter arrived after the end of the war."

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Dear All,

    Thank you very much for the interesting information!

    In the meantime I found out that Wireless Airgunner F/O Hall (RCAF) had bailed out over Hilden. Tragically he has been lynched by the Ortsguppenleiter (local Nazi-leader). The rest of the crew bailed out later but three of them died when the aircraft crashed N/E of Düsseldorf (9 km from Hilden).

    Do you know if the RAF had "Questionnnaire for Returned Aircrew"? Could such documents still be available?

    I will also try to find a report from Gustav Tham...

    Best regards and thanks a lot for your help!
    Tom

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    Hello

    There are PoW questionnaires in the WO 344 series at Kew, as mentioned by Dick in post #3, but they mostly cover the time as a PoW, and rarely detail the circumstances of the capture, only the place and date of capture.

    Joss

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