207 SQUADRON ROYAL AIR FORCE HISTORY
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
B/A F/S James Vaughton RAFVR
B/A2 F/O P A Pearson RAAF pow
W/Op 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
F/E Sgt Colin William Goodwin RAFVR age 21
Nav F/S John Edward Gifford Whittome RAFVR
B/A Sgt Clarence Clyde Flewelling RCAF
B/A2 Sgt John Oswald Johnston RAFVR
W/Op W/O Charles Henry Sheridan RAFVR
M/U Sgt Alan John Handford RAFVR
R/G 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
M/U Sgt George Harry Moggridge RAFVR age 19
R/G 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
F/E Sgt Jack Ronald Wallis RAFVR age 21
Nav F/O Leslie John McKinnon RAFVR age 21
B/A Sgt Martin L Morrison RCAF age 23
W/Op Sgt Archibald James Walker RAFVR
M/U Sgt Kenneth Frederick Rice RAFVR age 21
R/G 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
F/E Sgt William Arthur Loose RAFVR
Nav P/O Geoffrey Norman Rackley RAFVR age 22
B/A F/O Keith Alexander Galloway RNZAF age 24
W/Op Sgt Arthur Roy Ward RAFVR age 23
M/U Sgt Thomas Edward George Howe RCAF
R/G 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
F/E Sgt Alan Charles Dalman RAFVR
Nav WO2 S Malick RCAF pow
B/A Sgt Elmer Nels Kullberg RCAF
W/Op Sgt L Sargent pow
M/U Sgt Earl David Kidd RCAF age 21
R/G Sgt Hedley John Cossey RAFVR age 23