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Thread: Stirling ops and losses during the night 24/25 June 1944

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    Default Stirling ops and losses during the night 24/25 June 1944

    hello,

    In "the Bomber Command War Diary", authors mention on pages 533-534 that "739 aircraft - 535 Lancasters, 165 Halifax and 39 Mosquitoes, from all groups, attacked 7 sites".

    There's no mention of any Stirling taking part. But we have two Stirlings lost that night, attacking an 8th flying bomb site (Ruisseauville, near Fruges, in the Pas-de-Calais). As per Chorley, they were EF140 and LK394, both from No. 149 Squadron. The former came down in the Channel, with 5 bodies washed ashore later on, and 2 airmen still missing, the latter crashed in the tiny village of Lisbourg.

    "Strong by Night" mentions that No. 149 Squadron despatched 14 Stirlings.

    I have checked the Bomber Command records I have at home, AIR 24/277 mentions that No. 3 Group despatched 76 Lancaster (74 effective/confirmed) and 24/22 Stirlings, all on Rimeux (Z3233 XI/A/201).

    This would mean that a second Stirling Squadron operated, contributing with 10 Stirling and suffering no loss.

    Is there a forumite who would happen to know this second Stirling Squadron operating that night against flying bomb sites ? If so, is the target quoted as Rimeux or Ruisseauville ?

    Any idea about the discrepancy between AIR 24/277 and the "War Diary" or did I have it wrong ? No. 149 Squadron will be on my "want" list for the next trip to Kew, but any pointer welcome.

    TIA

    Joss

    PS : I'm also looking for Ruisseauville Z target number. It was U.S. noball XI/A/65 and German site n° 638, just for nit-picking.
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 2nd May 2009 at 21:48.

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    Joss,

    Saturday 24th / Sunday 25th June 1944 :
    Flying Bomb Site at Rimeux.

    Night

    100 Avro Lancaster’s & 10 Short Stirling’s detailed.

    115 Sqdn (15) 514 Sqdn (20) 75NZ Sqdn (25) 622 Sqdn (14) 15 Sqdn (14) 90 Sqdn (12) 218 Sqdn (10)

    Cancelled : 0
    Abortive : 0
    Missing : 4

    Apart from a few erratic sticks of bombs this raid developed quite well. T.I’s were well placed and bombs were well concentrated. Opposition from flak was moderate however enemy fighters were active over the target and route home. Our 4 losses were probably shot down by fighters, several other aircraft were hit and badly holed.

    Ruisseauville

    149 Squadron dispatched 14 Short Stirling’s. 2 aircraft failed to return. One fighter encounter, no claim.


    Gardening

    4 Short Stirling’s detailed.

    218 Sqdn (4)

    Gardens : HYACINTH, SULTANAS II and ‘HOSTILE ZONE’

    No losses or failures reported, 23 mines lifted and successfully dropped.
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    hello Steve,

    Many thanks for your help. I had a problem with my DVD player and couldn't access the file you once sent me.

    In your list, for the Rimeux raid, there were only 2 losses (Lancasters ND920 of No. 75 Squadron and LM179 of No. 90 Squadron), and the 2 Stirlings.

    I'm puzzled by the fact that the 14 Stirlings of No. 149 Squadron bombed Ruisseauville instead of Rimeux. Do you think / know if this was planned before or if the target at Rimeux was obscured by smoke or dust and the crews decided to attack another target ?

    There's a good entry about this night's raids in Theo Boiten Nachtjadg War Diaries by the way.

    Thanks again for your help Steve

    Joss

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    Joss,
    Reading Steve's post I would say that 149 Squadron were detailed to attack Ruisseauville. You will notice that 218 Squadron sent the ten Stirlings detailed to attack Rimeux along with 100 Lancs from the other 3 Grp Squadrons.
    Bill

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    Dear Joss

    On reading your post I have re-checked the various documents I have, the first was the station ORB for RAF Methwold, the target recorded for the night of June 24/25th 1944 is Ruissauville. On checking the No.3 Group Operations Book (Air 24/76) the following is recorded for the attack on Rimeux :


    June 24/25th 1944. : Rimeux ( reduced version)

    Time Over Target 0030hrs

    1st Wave 31 Lancaster’s of No.32 Base, 19 Lancaster’s of No.33 Base. T.o.T Zero + 3

    2nd Wave 26 Lancaster’s of No.33 Base, 10 Stirling’s of No.218 Sqdn, 14 Stirling’s of No.149 Sqdn T.O.T Zero Hour + 3 – H + 6.

    The target of Rimeux is also confirmed by the Bomber Command Night Raid Report ( Report No.642 / 16 ).

    The is no mention of any changes of target within any documents I have seen, I have loaned out my 149 Squadron ORB to a friend so I m not in a position to check this document.

    It would appear that No.149 Squadron’s target was Rimeux, why the station ORB has Ruissauville I am unsure of.

    Thanks for the pointer. !

    Regards

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    hello,

    I'm too puzzled by this discrepancy between these sources.

    I was able to access DVD this morning and check the documents for 24/25th June 1944

    I've studied the route for Rimeux (Z3233) and after the target, there was a turning point, at 50°30’ N – 02°08’ E which is over a hamlet called "Le petit St Pol" just south of Fruges, the next turning point is 5 km off Berck-sur-Mer at 50°25’ N – 01°30’ E. And following this course makes you fly over the bomb site at Ruisseauville, which is north-west of the village.

    Anyway, the crash site at Lisbourg is the other way round. Instead of turning right, the crew should have turned left to be in the area of the crash. But with a night fighter "in your six", flight plan is forgotten and this may explain the crash in Lisbourg.

    I'll read the Squadron ORB during my next visit to Kew, probably in June. F/O WUNSCH was posted to the Squadron on 23rd May 1944, and I'd like to compile the operations he and his crew flew. Also, he was posted back to No. 11 O.T.U. from 4 to 8 June 1944, and I'd like to understand why.

    Another minor correction to Chorley : only 5 crewmembers of LK394 were buried in Fruges on the 27th. WUNSCH and BUDD were buried by the crash site of the Stirling. I think their bodies were found when the Germans recovered the wreckage, and they were buried on the spot. They were moved to Fruges, in the communal grave with their comrades, in march 1946 (informations from the file of WUNSCH, courtesy of Dave Champion).

    Regards

    Joss

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    Extract from M.J. Bowyer's "The Stirling Story";
    "On 24/25 June the two remaining bomber squadrons, 149 and 218, each despatched fourteen aircraft to attack V-1 sites, the former to Rousseauville, the latter to Rimeux......."
    The mystery deepens. Where did Mike Bowyer's information come from?
    Bill.

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    hello,

    What's more, Ruisseauville (note correct spelling) was not bombed during this night raid. It was a "ski" site, that previous raids had damaged enough to make it useless.

    It's difficult to make the difference between the bombs dropped by about a hundred heavies, and by about a hundred and ten, the ten percent increase doesn't make such a big difference in the ground. The raid on Rimeux was actually very effective. It was the only one on this target, which never fired flying bombs any more. But the damages to the village were important too, and you can still see more or less the bomb craters in the paddocks, despite the farmers filling them up since 1944.

    I'd say that Mr Bowyer found the name of Ruisseauville in the Squadron ORB. I'll check during my next visit and will post again after that.

    Cheers

    Joss

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    Hi Joss,
    I accept all that you say my friend, it's just that I'm intrigued by the inconsistencies that occur in the numbers of aircraft despatched. If you compare the numbers between Steve's first post and his second, there appears to be a discrepancy of 24 aircraft. If we take the numbers in Steve's second post as being correct then there is a discrepancy of 4 aircraft with Bowyer's figures.
    If all the information has been taken from the ORB's, how come there is a variance in the numbers? Steve asserts that he used official documents including ORB's, as does Mike Bowyer. It's all very confusing.
    Best Wishes,
    Bill.

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    Joss,

    I have just checked the No.149 squadron ORB (I had actually loaned out the No.199 Squadron ORB). The ORB Form 540 & 541 specifically records the target as Ruisseauville. The squadron C/O W/Cdr M.E Pickford was on the raid; the crews interestingly attacked and bombed Red T.I indicators, which would indicate PFF involvement. ??
    The G-H equipped No.218 were operating in the conventional role and not marking using GH. It maybe worth checking the PFF squadrons involved. To add to weight to the Ruisseauville raid theory, I have checked another document at my disposal, the rather long-winded document “ RECORD OF ATTACKS CARRIED OUT BY No.3 GROUP TAKEN FROM No.3 GROUP HEADQUARTERS OPERATIONS RECORD AND CONTROLLERS RECORD OF OPERATIONS (Air 14/ 2369). This document records the following:

    24/25th June 1944

    RIMEUX : Squadrons 90 622 75 514 218
    RUISSEAUVILLE : Squadron 149
    GARDENING : Squadron 218

    I will keep checking.

    Regards

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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