619 Squadron & The Wesseling Raid
21/22 June 1944

In June 1944 No.619 Squadron was based at Dunholme Lodge, as was No.44 Squadron.

Steve Rew's revised history of No. 619 Squadron (1988) says of this Wesseling raid:

"The shortest night of the year was the squadron's worst night ever, and indeed a bad night for No.5 Group generally. Sixteen aircraft from 619 were among those which set off to attack a synthetic oil plant at Wesseling, a small town on the Rhine about 10 miles South of Cologne.

P/O Morcom in 'A' was forced to return early with a failure of the DR Compass, and no less than six of the squadron's aircraft failed to return. They were 'D' flown by P/O Johnson, 'G' flown by P/O Davis, 'H' flown by F/L Saunders, 'S' flown by P/O Crawford, 'V' flown by F/Sgt Buckley,and 'W' flown by P/O Baker.

No.44 Sqdn. also lost six aircraft, as did No.49 Sqdn. at Fiskerton, while the three or four squadrons at East Kirkby base lost 17 aircraft between them. F/Sgt Buckley was flying 'V' on her 71st trip, far more than any other aircraft in the Squadron.

The reason for these heavy losses was a combination of factors. The aircraft were bombing above cloud, against which the aircraft were silhouetted by brilliant moonlight, and were thus easily visible to the exceptional concentration of night fighters which gathered to defend this vital target. Nevertheless, despite their efforts, and very intense flak, the target was very severely damaged."


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

619 Sqn Lancaster I LL808 PG-D
Op: Wesseling t/o 2329 Dunholme Lodge - P/O P Johnson

Those who lost their lives rest in Rheinberg War Cemetery. It is noted that F/O Pearson RAAF had accompanied the crew as a second air bomber.

Pilot P/O Peter Johnson RAFVR age 22
F/E Sgt M E Mansbridge pow
Nav F/S G H Trantor pow
F/S James Vaughton RAFVR
B/A2 F/O P A Pearson RAAF pow
Sgt Richard Brown RAFVR age 23
M/U Sgt G I Martin pow
R/G Sgt T H Tuckwell pow

619 Sqn Lancaster I LL977 PG-H
Op: Wesseling t/o 2307 Dunholme Lodge - F/L DC Saunders

Outbound, hit by flak at 17,000 feet in the vicinity of Aachen, In the ensuing explosion, F/L Saunders was thrown out of his cockpit. Those who died, including the second air bomber Sgt Johnston, are buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery.

Pilot F/L D C Saunders pow
Sgt Colin William Goodwin RAFVR age 21
F/S John Edward Gifford Whittome RAFVR
Sgt Clarence Clyde Flewelling RCAF
Sgt John Oswald Johnston RAFVR
W/O Charles Henry Sheridan RAFVR
Sgt Alan John Handford RAFVR
Sgt John Lawrence Halpin RAFVR

Note. Built by the Armstrong Whitworth facility, this Lancaster was accepted by 619 Squadron, ex-works, on 13 May 1944. At the time of being reported missing, it had flown 67.55 hours.

619 Sqn Lancaster I ME846 PG-C
Op: Wesseling t/o 2301 Dunholme Lodge - P/O MAH Davis

20 year P/O Davis is commemorated on panel 211 of the Runnymede Memorial. His two 19 year old air gunners rest in Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerpen having been brought here from nearby Deurne.

Pilot P/O Mark Anthony Hamilton Davis RAFVR age 20
F/E Sgt W D Helshaw pow
Nav F/S L E J Taylor pow
B/A F/S P E Knox RAAF pow
W/Op Sgt T A Newberry pow
Sgt George Harry Moggridge RAFVR age 19
F/S John Ernest Ralph Bowering RCAF age 19

619 Sqn Lancaster III ED859 PG-V
Op: Wesseling t/o 2312 Dunholme Lodge - F/S JA Buckley

Caught by a nightfighter and crashed at Hetzerath, 3 km SW of Erkelenz. All were buried at Hetzerath, but since the cessation of hostilities their bodies have been recovered to the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.

Pilot F/S John Arthur Buckley RAFVR age 21
Sgt Jack Ronald Wallis RAFVR age 21
F/O Leslie John McKinnon RAFVR age 21
Sgt Martin L Morrison RCAF age 23
Sgt Archibald James Walker RAFVR
Sgt Kenneth Frederick Rice RAFVR age 21
Sgt Anthony Leslie Jamieson RAFVR

619 Sqn Lancaster III ND986 PG-S
Op: Wesseling: t/o 2324 Dunholme Lodge - P/O KE Crawford RAAF

Hit by flak and fell into the Rhine between a road bridge and a rail bridge at Duisburg. All bodies were recovered and interred at Dusseldorf in the Nordfriedhof. Their graves are now in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Although by no means unique, it was unusual to have three Commonwealth and Dominion air forces represented in one crew.

Pilot P/O Kent Elliott Crawford RAAF
Sgt William Arthur Loose RAFVR
P/O Geoffrey Norman Rackley RAFVR age 22
F/O Keith Alexander Galloway RNZAF age 24
Sgt Arthur Roy Ward RAFVR age 23
Sgt Thomas Edward George Howe RCAF
Sgt John Cutting RAFVR

619 Sqn Lancaster III NE151 PG-W
Op: Wesseling t/o 2310 Dunholme Lodge. P/O GA Baker

Those who died are buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery.

Pilot P/O Geoffrey Anthony Baker RAFVR
Sgt Alan Charles Dalman RAFVR
Nav WO2 S Malick RCAF pow
Sgt Elmer Nels Kullberg RCAF
W/Op Sgt L Sargent pow
Sgt Earl David Kidd RCAF age 21
Sgt Hedley John Cossey RAFVR age 23