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Thread: Sgt George Hodges

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    Default Sgt George Hodges

    My uncle Sgt George Hodges was FE on Lancaster W5000 from 61 Squadron.


    61 Sqd Lancaster III W5000 QR-B Op: Hamburg
    F/O R Lyon, Sgt G A Hodges, F/O E A Povey, Sgt D E Dalton, Sgt G W Mackenzie, Sgt J P Padley, Sgt B Robinson.
    T/o 23.39 Syerston. Lost without trace. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


    I have details of the mission

    2/3-8-43: Take off 2339 Syerston. Part of a force of 740 aircraft - 329 Lancasters, 235
    Halifaxes, 105 Stirlings, 66 Wellingtons, 5 Mosquitoes, tasked to attack Hamburg. For the
    third time in less than a week Bomber Command sent a major force against the target. The
    bombers however ran into a large thunderstorm over Germany and this resulted in a large
    number of crew aborting and after bombing alternative targets, returning to their bases. For
    those crew who press-on no marking was available for them and their bombing is recorded as
    widely scattered. The authorities for the town of Elmshorn some 12 miles from Hamburg
    record a fairly heavy raid on this night, and it thought that lightening may had struck a house
    in the town and the resulting fire must have attracted the attention of the bombers. As a result
    254 residential buildings are reported as destroyed in Elmshorn. 30 aircraft, 4.05 percent of
    the force were lost - 13 Lancasters, 10 Halifaxes, 3 Stirlings. 4 Wellingtons. The aircraft may
    have been shot down at 0328 by Lt. Hermann Leube of 2./NJG3 and crashed into the North
    Sea 20 km's NW of Juist. However, Lt. Hermann clamied the aircraft as a Striling, and was his
    first victory. All of the crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. At the time of
    its loss the aircraft had accumulated a total of 142 hours on its airframe.


    I have details of the Lancaster and I know the 8 sorties the plane went on.


    BUT I have two major questions

    1) I can't assume that my uncle's service history matches the Lancaster. How do I go about finding the missions that he went on? Would this information be in his Service Record?

    2) Lt Hermann Leube claimed a Stirling that night, others have told me that this may have been a mistake and that by some process they strongly think Leube shot down W5000. Is it possible to find and view the Stirling losses for that night 2/3rd August 1943, only three were lost.

    Any other information that anyone has about Sgt G.A Hodges, Lancaster W5000 QR-B, 61 Squadron RAFor Lt Hermann Leube would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

    (I have posted some of this on other forums, just in case anyone thinks there are two of us!!)

    Wimpy

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    Wimpy,
    Someone on the site may have access to the 61sqdn ORB and trace back from date of loss to see other ops flown by your uncles crew.
    There were 3 claims for Lancs that night, all into the sea.
    Maj Gunther Radusch.
    Oblt Hermann Greiner.
    Ofw Karl-Heinz Scherfling.

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    Hi Wimpy
    From Chorley, Bomber Command Losses Vol 4, there were 4 Stirlings lost that night. One from 7 Sqn had engine problems and suffered u/c collapse on early landing back at Oakington. 214 Sqn ,EF409, came down in the sea off Wilhelmshaven due to icing, 75 Sqn, BF577,JN-M, collided with a Do217 flown by Fw Krauter of II/NJG3 and also 75 Sqn, EH928, AA-A, was shot down by Hpt.Hans Joachim Jabs, of IV/NJG1.The 2 Sqn codes for 75 Sqn show that BF577 was from C Flight which used JN- from Feb '43(rafweb.org)
    Regards
    Dick

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    Dick thanks ..................... so all the Stirlings are accounted for that night. So it looks like that Lt Leube may have got his claim wrong,

    Alan .................... that is interesting. I downloaded this data from Les Butlers pages, is this where you found the info?



    03.08.43 Maj. Günther Radusch Stab II./NJG 3 Lancaster  UR in See: 5.000 m. [E. Helgoland] 01.22 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.37
    03.08.43 Fw. Krauter 5./NJG 3 4-m. Flgz.  TT-7.9: 1.600 m. 01.42 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.56
    03.08.43 Ofw. Heitmann 2./NJG 3 4-m. Flgz.  AQ-7.2 in See: 50-100 m. 01.55 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr. -
    03.08.43 Maj. Günther Radusch Stab II./NJG 3 Halifax  AE-3 in See: 5.500 m. 02.14 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.38
    03.08.43 Oblt. Hermann Greiner 11./NJG 1 Lancaster  BM-9.3a in See: 2.100 m. 03.06 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.304
    03.08.43 Hptm. Hans-Joachim Jabs Stab IV./NJG 1 Halifax  CL-2.9d: 5.500 m. 03.10 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.45
    03.08.43 Ltn. Hermann Leube 2./NJG 3 Stirling  AO-6.7d in See: 4.200 m. 03.28 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr. -
    03.08.43 Hptm. Hans-Joachim Jabs Stab IV./NJG 1 Stirling  Dl-2.6h: 2.300 m. [Waddenzee] 03.29 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.146
    03.08.43 Ofw. Karl-Heinz Scherfling 10./NJG 1 Lancaster  EJ-9.5 I See: 5.100 m. 03.33 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.61
    03.08.43 Ltn. Führer 4./NJG 3 vm. Halifax  85RS-7 in See: 4.600 m. 03.40 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.92
    03.08.43 Oblt. Hermann Greiner 11./NJG 1 Wellington  CM-3.8h in See: at 500 m. [off Ameland] 03.48 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.309
    03.08.43 Hptm. Hans-Joachim Jabs Stab IV./NJG 1 Stirling  Raum "Tiger" : at 2.100 m. 03.52 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.44

    Were there any other aircraft unaccounted for that night besides W5000?

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    Wimpy,
    According to Middlebrook's "The Battle of Hamburg", Lt. Leube of 1/NJG3 only claimed a four engined bomber, type not specified.
    From Chorley's, Vol 4 Bomber Command Losses, 5 aircraft, including W5000, were lost without trace. A Halifax from each of 51, 405 and 428 Squadrons and a Lancaster II from 115 Squadron.

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    Wimpy,
    51sqdn Hali HR859, 115sqdn Lancaster DS685, 405sqdn Hali HR917, 428sqd Hali EB274, all lost without trace. Chorley states Jabs claimed 44sqdn Lanc W4778 as shot down into Waddenzee but Les Butler site states Stirling, no claims for Lanc by Jabs on Butler site.

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    So we have 5 bombers including W5000 lost without trace, two kills of 4 motor fleugzeuge and Lt Leube with a dubious "Stirling" kill.

    I would love to know why I have been told that Leube's Stirling was possibly W5000, where is the evidence or is it just supposition.

    Would the various squadrons have a designated return flight path or would they all take the same route in and out?
    Last edited by Wimpy; 4th March 2009 at 14:55.

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    hello,

    I don't know who told you that, and there are some parts of your messages that I don't really understand. In your first post, you wrote 'may have been shot down'.

    On the subject of German night fighters, a masterpiece has recently been published : The Nachjagd War Diaries, by Dr Theo Boiten, who is also a visitor on this board. I presumed that this may be Alan's source.

    The two volumes make 800 pages all together. The night 2/3 august 1943 is covered in pages 227 to 229 of volume 1. It is clear in this book that Lt Leube claimed a Stirling, at 03:28 over the North Sea 20 km NW of Juist at 4200 m high. This was his first claim. I'm not surprised by the identification error, some much more experienced pilots also made wrong identifications. In the last column which concerns the opponents, Theo Boiten wrote "possibly 61 Lancaster W5000". So in his mind, and for the reader, it's clearly a supposition. On the same night, there are other similar "possibly" or "probably" for the 19 claims filed by German night fighters. You just have to admit that it's not possible to match each claim with a loss. Sometimes we discover new facts, new archives and can get closer to the truth, sometimes previous theories are contradicted by these new evidences, but this matching is difficult to establish.

    Joss

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    @jossleclercq

    Hi there and thanks for your contribution.

    "I don't know who told you that" .............. I'm sorry be I'm not sure which part of which post you are referring to.

    "In your first post, you wrote "may have been shot down" .................... The phrase "may have been shot down" was in information quoted to me which I have shown as I received it. The uncertainty is due to the fact that I had been given an alternative to Leube's claim of a Stirling. I'm sorry if I gave the impression of doubting the information already established, but for me it is simply a case of trying to find the facts behind my Uncle's death.

    I am still waiting for a reply from the first person who mentioned the idea that Leube's first kill may have been W5000 and it appears that another source has suggested that it may have been a four engined aircraft and not specifically a Stirling.

    But thanks for the reference to "The Nachtjagd War Diaries" I think this must be the reference my first source mentioned, I can only wonder what process Dr Boiten went through to add this addendum.

    I think the reference you have quoted from the above text, explains why the phrase "may have been shot down" was originally used, and seems very appropriate.

    It seems all too easy to step on people's toes in these situation and I fully realise that researchers have spent a great deal of time and effort in these matters. I am not trying to rewrite history, I am only trying to finalise one small, personally significant part.

    Thanks again
    Wimpy

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    hello,

    As far as I can tell, there's no certainty at all about Leube's claim. He claimed a Stirling, and the Stirlings which failed to return that night were "matched" to other claims. Dr BOITEN and other people have studied locations and times of claims, with all the known details about the lost planes, which is quite variable, using the routes and times planned during the briefing, returned crews statements, survivors' statements (when any), etc. I can't tell in details about this part of the world, I limit myself to my area in France. I contributed to Dr BOITEN's work, but I know there's at least one wrong line in a "probably" case, but it was too late to alter the manuscript for that. Next edition will be corrected, and it seems obvious that amendments will be made to the books, with the help of the community of aviation researchers.

    Re the question about the missions flown by your uncle, the only way I see would be to check the Squadron Operations Record Book, a copy of which is held on microfilm at "The National Archives, Kew, London". The reference is AIR 27/578 (it covers 1943). Appendices of the ORB are to be found in AIR 27/582 (march 41 to december 44).

    When one don't know when a particular crew/pilot was posted to a Squadron, the easiest way is to start at the date the crew/pilot was lost, and go backward, until one ceased to read the name(s) of the crew/pilot. Sometimes, it depends on Squadrons and the people who typed the ORB at the time, there's a section in the form 540 (monthly resumé) with postings in/out. Some Squadrons are more complete than others, and record all movements (Officers and Non commissioned officers), others record only Officers (whatever their function) and NCO pilots/captains. A few don't record postings in/out at all.

    Then from this point, you can go back from the earliest missions to the last one, and check if the crew was flying together (there might have been changes, a crewmate being sick and replaced, the pilot usually flew one or two missions as second pilot with a more experienced crew before taking his on ops), and also the planes they flew on operations. It's time consuming but worth it. It depends whether you are close enough to Kew or not, and used to do this.

    I hope this helps.

    Joss

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