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Thread: Lancaster Loss HOUFFALIZE 30-31/12/1944 ?

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    Default Lancaster Loss HOUFFALIZE 30-31/12/1944 ?

    Hi,

    I'm looking for the details of a Lancaster, I believe was lost on a Bomber Command raid on Houffalize 30/31 December 1944.

    The Bomber Command Diaries, list 1 Lancaster crashed in France. Nothing is mentioned in Bomber Command 1944 Losses.

    I am trying to find details around the award of a D.F.C :-

    153815 F/O Stuart Frederick MERRITT 61 Sqn LG 23/3/1945 Citation :-

    This officer was the air bomber in an aircraft detailed to attack Houffalize. Whilst over the target the aircraft was hit by anti aircraft fire. Serious damage was sustained. The pilot, who was also the captain, was wounded and momentarily lost control. Much height was lost but he succeeded in levelling out and afterwards regained some height. He was in great pain, however, and it was obvious that his wounds needed immediate attention. Though not as skilled as a regular pilot. Flying Officer Merritt thereupon took over the duties. The badly damaged aircraft became very difficult to control but Flying Officer Merritt flew it for some time to reach allied territory. Meanwhile the conditions of the injured pilot became worse. Flying Officer Merritt therefore assumed captaincy and later, when unable to control the aircraft any longer, he gave the order to abandon. The injured pilot was released first, and then Flying Officer Merritt ensured that each remaining crew member had got clear before he himself jumped. This officer displayed praiseworthy skill, coolness and resource in a most difficult situation.

    TIA

    Mark

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    HI Mark,

    Not an answer as such I'm afraid, but hopefully it'll narrow your search fields a bit. I checked the Night Raid Report for the night in question, and it does indeed mention an aircraft coming down, from 5 Group, in the circumstances you've mentioned in your post. In the highly unlikely event that Chorley had "missed one", I checked the Loss Cards, but nothing there. As the aircraft came down in Allied territory, I checked the Form 78 "Crash Cards" as sometimes aircraft which came down on the right side of the lines crop up there rather than the Loss Cards. Again nothing. So I checked the "K" Reports, just in case, and again, nothing.

    I'm not sure if you've been able to check the 61 Sqn ORB, but that's probably your next logical step if you haven't :)

    L/O

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Mark

    I do have the ORB for 61 Squadron for December 1944 (obtained for another project) and it does not record Merritt flying that night.

    He was an Air Bomber who flew with KW Ainsworth (Pilot / Captain) on 11th December (Urft Dam) and 21st December (Politz) but there is no other mention of him in the ORB that month, nor anything recorded about the loss of / damage to the aircraft (PB596) on those dates.

    Hope this helps narrow things down for you

    Regards

    Pete
    Last edited by PeteT; 27th April 2016 at 11:12.
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Morning Pete,

    How are you matey, long time no speak!! JUst a quick email to confirm that PB596 wasn't damaged at the end of December 19144. I've just had a look at the movement card (as per my message last night, I'd already checked the accident cards, and nothing for this Lanc or 61 Sqn generally) and it shows the following: -

    9 Sqn 18-9-44
    61 Sqn 22-10-44
    463 Sqn 5-1-45
    1669 HCU 17-1-45
    1668 HCU 8-3-43
    Cat E (flying accident damage) 6-9-45
    Reclassified Cat B by A.V. Roe 12-9-45 and repaired
    Cat E 12-8-47

    So nothing indicating any damage around the end of December 1944. It's a conundrum!!

    L/O

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    It took me a long time to crack this one myself, but the answer is PB759, and Paul Crampton's crew. Chorley made an error with this aircraft, marking it as lost on 8/9th Feb 45 with the Tasker crew, when in fact the Tasker crew were on board ME443. If you want to see the story unravel, go to
    squadronforum.freeforums.org/lancaster-pb759-information-lost-feb-8th-1945-t131.html?hilit=PB759 (hope that link works)
    Last edited by AlanW; 27th April 2016 at 18:45.

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    Hi Alan - great work!! I had a look at the other thread (the link does work) and finally made sense of it after I'd read it a couple of times - that's a reflection on my ability to comprehend, not yours to explain what happened!!

    Although 61 Squadron is outside of my area of research, I've made a note in my '45 Chorley. A very rare mistake by the man himself :)

    L/O

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Alan, as an aside, do you have the big blue book roll of honour for 50 and 61 Squadrons?

    L/O

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Unfortunately not Greg.

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    Hi,

    Thanks everyone, well done, a real conundrum and a puzzle solved what expertise !

    I noticed in Norman Franks 'Ton Up Lancs'

    Lancaster LL843 61 Sqn

    F/O Merrett flew with F/O K. W AINSWORTH 7-8/3/45 Hamburg

    & Again 11-3-45 Essen

    LL843 flew it's 100 Op around this time !

    Merrett was lucky again missing F/O Ainsworth and crew last mission when they were all KIA 21-3-45 !

    Thanks again

    Mark

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    Alan - I've just tried to PM you on here, but your inbox is full. Can you drop me an email to gregATgreg-harrison.co.uk, I've got something for you :)

    All the best as always,

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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