57 Squadron & The Wesseling Raid
21/22 June 1944

57 Squadron Roll of Honour for the Wesseling Raid 21/22 June 1944


John Maunsell, Navigator, F/L Bayley's Lancaster LM115 DX-M

John Maunsell was the navigator of F/L Bayley's Lancaster LM115 DX-M of 57 Squadron based at EAST KIRKBY: “On the way back from WESSELING we were hit by a nightfighter just after we began corkscrewing to avoid it - both the gunners opened fire. Our starboard wing was on fire and both engines stopped. The Bomb Aimer (Naysmith) and Flight Engineer (Jordan) went out ahead of me from the front hatch and the Mid-Upper (Marshall) went out of the rear door.”

“Our W/Op (Harwood) was found with a half opened chute and the Pilot and Rear Gunner (Donovan) were presumed unable to bale out.”

“I came down near OUD TOURNHOUT near TURNHOUT in Belgium and managed to evade. I met a Flemish farmer who found a French speaking friend to interpret - and by 5am I was sitting down to breakfast in the farmhouse.”

“I was told to stay put until liberated, which in my case was by the 1st Canadian Army. The rest of those who survived could not find each other and were soon rounded up and made POW. Naysmith, our Bomb Aimer found a 630 Sqn casualty whilst searching for the rest of our crew. The casualty later turned out to be Sgt MJ McNaughton-Smith, Navigator in TG Hart's crew (630 Sqdn ME782 LE-N). Unfortunately he could not be revived so Naysmith closed his eyes for him and did what he could. [correspondence/calls with the editor Nov/Dec 1991]

Eric Raffill, Rear Gunner in GP Guy's Lancaster LM580 DX-L

Eric Raffill, R/G in GP Guy's 57 Sqn Lancaster LM580 DX-L, based at EAST KIRKBY, was shot down in the same area as Mike Solly’s 207 Sqn EM-M.

“My last words to Guy on the intercom were ‘Skip, there's about 19 going down in flames astern’ to which he replied ‘that's nothing, there's 20 in front!’. We were shot down on the way to WESSELING. We had no warning and the starboard wing was on fire. I thought it might have been flak but it could have been a fighter. Guy was the only casualty, he's buried in AS Communal Cemetery. Our Navigator, Vic Spalding, was the last to see him and he was not wounded.”

“What happened to the crew?: The F/E, Cyril Hatter evaded. The Navigator, Vic, who was ex Halton, ran into a patrol and was POW (no. 6309) in SAGAN (Eric traced him from a POW reunion. Vic stayed in the RAF on his return, trained for TIGER FORCE, went into Movements Section in the Far East and later to Fighter Control, retiring as a Squadron Leader.). The Bomb Aimer, Doug Jennings, evaded and went on to 9 Sqn doing specials alongside 617 Sqn. Lofty Hydes, the W/Op was only 16 when he joined and used his dead brother's name. He was a POW in LUFT 7 BANKAU with Eric. He now lives in Vancouver. Our Canadian M/U, Applegarth, was a POW in LUFT 7 as well.”

As for Eric: “I got to a farmhouse in the forest. Somehow word got down to the local village and a Canadian WOII came up in broad daylight, followed by the Germans. The Canadian spoke German and was never seen in the POW camp! I was on a forced march at the end and lost four and a half stone in weight, ending up at LUCKENWALD [Peter Phelps of 207 Sqn was there too, after the Luftwaffe got him out of BUCHENWALD – editor], which was eventually liberated by the Russians. This was near BERLIN and we were able to watch the many consecutive Mossie raids. There was a big group of British sergeants there from DUNKIRK and they were known to be out to 'get' the French POWs, of whom there was no high opinion. Within half an hour of the Russians telling us we could go, the French had vanished.” [ER/VS phone conversations with the editor December 1991]

Doug Jennings, Bomb Aimer in 'Ginger' Guy's crew,

Doug Jennings, Bomb Aimer in 'Ginger' Guy's crew, evaded and his story Jump or Die was published in 2005. He was helped by the publisher's aunt in Eisden. He maintains, contrary to other sources, that they were shot down by flak and not by a night fighter.

57 Squadron Roll of Honour
for the Wesseling Raid 21/22 June 1944

57 Sqn Lancaster I LM115 DX-M
Op: Wesseling t/o 2306 East Kirkby - F/L AF Bayley

Crashed at Oud Turnhout (Anterwerpen), 3 km E of Turnhout. Those who died were taken to Antwerpen-Deurne, since when their remains have been exhumed and reinterred at Schoonselhof Cemetery.

Pilot F/L Alan Frederick Bayley RAF
F/E Sgt R Heasman pow
Nav F/O JR Maunsell evd
B/A F/S QD Naysmith evd
W/O Thomas Francis Beecher RAAF age 30
M/U Sgt VL Marshall RCAF pow
Sgt John Henry Donovan RAFVR age 19

57 Sqn Lancaster I NN696 DX-H
Op: Wesseling t/o 2300 East Kirkby - F/L RAW Beaumont DFC

Attacked by a nightfighter and crashed W of Geilenkirchen. Five are buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery, while panels 216 and 214 at Runnymede respectively commemorate the names of F/S Clark and W/O Hurley.

Pilot F/L Ronald Alfred William Beaumont DFC RAFVR age 24
F/S Maurice Arthur Clark RAF age 28
P/O Denis Joseph McCrudden RAFVR age 34
P/O Thomas Henry Mayne RCAF
W/O Charles Henry Thomas Hurley RAFVR age 23
F/S Geoffrey Ronald Ansdell RAFVR age 21
WO2 Edward Henry Goehring RCAF age 20

57 Sqn Lancaster III JB526 DX-D
Op: Wesseling t/o 2300 East Kirkby - P/O S Weightman

Intercepted by a nightfighter, outbound, and crashed 1 km NW of the small town of Koslar, some 3 km W of Julich. Those who died lie in Rheinberg War Cemetery.

Pilot P/O S Weightman pow
Sgt Albert James Osborn RAFVR
F/S Donald George Townsend RAFVR
F/O Chester Syzmanski RCAF age 22
F/S Harold Lawrence Barron RAAF age 24
Sgt William Ronald Parkinson RAFVR
Sgt Henry William John Yardley RAFVR age 33

57 Sqn Lancaster III LK573 DX-U
Op: Wesseling t/o 2310 East Kirkby - P/O NR Carr RAAF

Crashed between Vlijmen (Noord-Brabant) and Nieuwkyk, 6 km W of the Dutch town of s'Hertogenbosch, where those who died were initially buried. Their graves are now located in Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery. Both air gunners were aged 19.

Pilot P/O NR Carr RAAF pow
Sgt Ernest Edward James Harris RAFVR age 21
F/S Ronald George Odden RAFVR age 31
F/O Angus John Black RCAF
P/O Samuel Ewart RAFVR
Sgt Jacky Ratcliffe RAFVR age 19
Sgt Kenneth Thomas Robbins RAFVR age 19

Note. In respect of the last two summaries, captured German documents establish that a night-fighter was responsible for the destruction of P/O Weightman's Lancaster, though no such mention is made concerning the loss of P/O Carr's aircraft. However, both machines are known to have caught fire in the air and then exploded. Thus, it is likely both pilots were thrown clear.

57 Sqn Lancaster III LM580 DX-L
Op: Wesseling t/o 2307 East Kirkby - P/O GP Guy

Outbound, shot down by a night-fighter from astern. Six baled out as the Lancaster fell at As-en-Campine (Limburg) some 8 km NE from Genk, Belgium. P/O Guy lies in As-en-Campine Communal Cemetery, near the crew of a 219 Squadron Wellington which crashed nearby in July 1941.

Pilot P/O Guilyn Penry Guy RAFVR age 22
F/E Sgt CC Hatter evd
Nav F/O VG Spalding pow
B/A F/O DA Jennings evd
W/Op Sgt GG Hydes evd
M/U Sgt TA Applegarth RCAF pow
R/G Sgt ES Raffill pow

57 Sqn Lancaster III ND471 DX-A
Op: Wesseling t/o 2302 East Kirkby - P/O AE Nicklin RNZAF

Ditched off the East Anglia coast, from where all were rescued by an ASR launch RML514 out from Yarmouth.

Pilot P/O AE Nicklin RNZAF
F/E Sgt GD Copeman
Nav F/O WF Martin
W/Op Sgt F Foster
M/U Sgt J B Johnson
R/G Sgt J Hobbs

last updated 15 Aug 2005