LOSS OF LANCASTER ED711
AND ALL ITS CREW
ON 16 APRIL 1943
DURING A RAID ON THE SKODA ARMAMENTS FACTORY
AT PILZEN IN CZECHOSLAVAKIA

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From:                    John Knilands (knilands@powerup.com.au)
Date:                    10 Dec 1997

SUBJECT:          460 SQUADRON

Dear Peter,

I found your home page while researching my family history. I don't have much information on Sgt B. Knilands other than his being a cousin of my father. I do have a head and shoulders photo of him in his RAAF uniform if it is of any interest.

It is quite unusual finding that one of my family members had been in the RAAF as I spent 21 years with the RAAF (1967-1988) without knowing of him. I live in Morningside if you want to view the photo.

Kind regards,

John Knilands.

 

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Subject:   Sgt Bruce Knilands
Date:             Mon, 5 Jan 1998
From:           william john knilands knilands@powerup.com.au

Dear Peter,

I hope that you and your family had an enjoyable holiday season. I managed to spend a day in the State Library reading their copy of "Strike and Return" to see if I could get any information on Bruce and his efforts.

From my researches I have found out the following:-

On the night of 16 April 43 , Lancaster ED711 Mk III (UV-U) took off at 2059 hrs from Breighton. Crew Listing was ; F/Sgt D.E.White, DFM, RAAF; Sgt J.S.Stewart, RAAF, (Unfortunately this was his first flight as he had just landed at the squadron and was only flying as second pilot to gain experience); Sgt B. Knilands, RAAF; W/O W.R.K.Charlton, RAAF; F/Sgt F.S. Ward, RAAF; F/Sgt A.K.Parker, RAAF; F/Sgt A.K. Smith, RAAF; F/Sgt R.H. Baker. All the crew were killed on the night and are buried in Durnbach War Cemetery. Site of the crash is unknown.

They were part of a force of 327 aircraft - 197 Lancasters, 130 Halifaxes tasked to attack the SKODA armaments factory at PILZEN in Czechoslovakia.

According to M.Middlebrook and C.Everitt in their book "Bomber Command War Diaries 1939-1945":-

"The raid took place by the light of a full moon but was not a success. In a complicated plan, the Main Force was ordered to confirm the position of the SKODA factory visually; the Pathfinders markers were only intended as a general guide. In the event, a large asylum building 7 miles away was mistaken for the factory and only six crews bought back bombing photographs which were within 3 miles of the real target. The SKODA factory was not hit. One report said that 200 german soldiers were killed when their barracks near the asylum was bombed. A further 271 aircraft - 159 Wellingtons, 95 Sterlings and 17 Halifaxes also attacked MANNHEIM on this night. It is noted that the aircraft losses on this night were the highest so far in the war."

In W.R.Chorley's book "RAF Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War" he states:-

"In bright moonlight, most crews mistook an asylum building 11km distant from the factory as their target and bombed accordingly. If this error was not enough, the Luftwaffe came upon the Main Force and was responsible for most of the thirty six crews reported missing".

Their Lancaster was the first Mk III reported missing from 460 Squadron.

I also found a site at http://www.nucleus.com/~ltwright/home.htm run by Mr Larry Wright who provided me with the following information on the Lancaster that they were flying on the night:-

Lancaster ED711
Mark III
Aircraft's Nickname None Traced
Total Known Ops 2 (Essen 3/4-4-43, Pilsen 16/17-4-43)

Service History:
460 Sqn AR-U, UV-U
Listed as :         Missing on Operations -night of 16/17 April 1943.
Target :             Pilzen
Crashed Site :    Unknown

Specific raid information for ED711:
Take off 2059 Breighton. Part of a force of 327 aircraft tasked to attack Pilzen. 36 aircraft, 11.00 percent of the forces were lost. Cause of the aircrafts loss is not recorded. All of the crew are buried at Durnbach War Cemetery.

My next mission is to write to RAAF records to see if I can find out a little more on Bruce. I still have no idea of his mustering although my family records believe him to have been a pilot. I find it unusual that there would be three pilots in the same aircraft.

I have enjoyed the update of your site and was interested to see that Clarrie Taylor was involved in the fateful raid on Pilsen.

I have attached a scanned photo of Bruce (see above). I hope that it will be of use to you or someone that may remember him.

Will keep in touch and advise you of any further information that comes my way.

Kind Regards,

John Knilands

 

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Subject:     460 Squadron Web Site
Date:              Thu, 13 Jan 2000 04:30:54 +1100
From:            Bruce Hall <oakleigh@acenet.com.au>

Peter, I have just completed a short account of the life of my late father-in-law Flight/Sgt Frank Ward DFM who flew with 460 Sqdrn and was lost over Germany in 1943.

The material is based on records I got from National Archives plus his log books and diary and some photos that my wife already had.

Your web site has been very helpful in that I was able to make contact with a relative of one if Frank's crew mates, Sgt Bruce Kniland, whose info came up when I clicked on Frank Ward's name.

I would like to email my material to you so that you can include something on Frank Ward in the 460 Sqdrn web site.

Awaiting your response.

Bruce Hall
Email Address: oakleigh@acenet.com.au
Postal Address: PO Box 812
Bowral NSW 2576
Australia

 

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The following story on Frank Ward was written by Bruce Hall (oakleigh@acenet.com.au)

 

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Distinguished Flying Medal Citation

 

Flight Sgt. Francis Henry Ward D.F.M.

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Compiled by Bruce Hall
Bowral

December 1999

The late Frank Ward is my father-in-law, father of my wife Elizabeth and the first husband of Elizabeth's mother, Mary Woodhill (nee Thompson). Neither Elizabeth or I have met Frank because he was killed in action over Germany during World War II, aged only 26 years, when Elizabeth was just a baby of 10 months. This brief account of his short life will, I hope, place on record the character of the man and his war time exploits.

Frank was born at Darlinghurst NSW on 13th July 1917. His father was Henry Herbert Ward, a Grocer and his mother was Ellen (new Stewart). The Ward family lived in the Darlinghurst area and later moved to "Hillside" 91 Elizabeth Street, Ashfield NSW.

Frank had a brother, Jim and a sister, Vera, both older than he.

His primary schooling was at St. Mary's Cathedral School in Sydney. Later he attended Christian Brothers High School, Lewisham from February 1929 to July 1933. He sat for the Intermediate Certificate in November 1932 and gained passes in Physics, Chemistry, English, Maths II, French & Latin. He failed in History and Maths I. It appears that he left secondary school part of the way through fourth year and did not carry on to sit for the Leaving Certificate.

Frank was a keen sportsman playing Rugby, Tennis and Golf. He was also involved in swimming and athletics.

He may have worked for a short while in the grocery game with his father after leaving school. However, his first recorded job after leaving school was as a messenger with the Commonwealth Department of Health where he commenced work on 12th April 1933. On 16th January 1934 he commenced work as a Clerk with the Metropolitan Business College. On 5th August 1937 he started work at Sydney Pincombe Pty Ltd, 48 Hunter Street, Sydney where he eventually held the position of Assistant Accountant and Credit Manager.

(In 1987 the writer spoke to a member the 460 Squadron Association who worked with Frank at Sydney Pincombe. He recalled Frank and said that he was a good lad, very keen and enthusiastic.)

Frank commenced part time study in Accounting at the Metropolitan Business College and passed the Intermediate Accountants and Auditing examination in November 1939 with passes in Intermediate Accounting I & II and Intermediate Auditing. His aim was to qualify as an Accountant with the Association of Accountants of Australia.

At this early stage of Frank's life, the War with Germany intervened. His first experience of military life was three months compulsory training with the Army Signals Corps, 36 Bn. He also commenced voluntary attendance at N.C.O. classes, two nights per week.

Perhaps army life was not to Frank's liking and in July 1940 he applied for selection as Air Crew with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He was placed on the Air Crew waiting list.

 

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In the meantime, Frank met Mary Thompson in August 1940 whilst holidaying with friends at Rosnel Guest House at Bundanoon NSW. He contacted Mary again and they started going out together. They became engaged on 6th May 1941.

Then, at the age of 23 years and 9 months, Frank was called up at No.2 Recruitment Centre, Lindfield NSW on 26th April 1941and was posted to No.2 ITS for initial flight crew training. On 26th June that year he was posted to No.5 Elementry Flight Training School at Narromine NSW where he undertook basic flying training on De Havilland DH82 Tiger Moth aircraft. He held the rank of Leading Aircraftman (LAC).

On 12th September 1941 he returned to No.2 ITS Lindfield.

 

Frank and Mary were married at St Josephs Catholic Church, Belmore on Saturday 20th September 1941. The reception was held at Parry's Pavilion, Belmore where the Belmore Sports Ground is now located. Belmore is an inner western suburb of Sydney.

After a short honeymoon in Sydney, Frank returned to his unit at Lindfield. Mary continued to live with her mother at Burwood Road, Belmore NSW.

On 11th October he was posted to No.2 ED at Bradfield Park, Sydney and embarked at Sydney with his unit for further training in Canada on 13th November 1941. He disembarked in Canada on 1st December 1941 and was posted to No.1 Air Observer School at Malton, Ontario.

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In March 1942 he attended a Bombing and Gunnery School at Jarvis, Ontario and in late April he attended an Advanced Navigation School at Penfield Ridge. He was promoted to Sergeant on 25th April 1942. In late May he was posted to No.1 "Y" Depot at Halifax pending a posting to a unit in the UK.

On 14th June 1942 he embarked for the UK, arriving on 24th June. He was attached to the Royal Air Force (RAF) and posted to No.2 Operational Training Unit (O.T.U) at Tatenhill in Staffordshire. There he trained on Avro Ansen and Vickers Wellington aircraft doing cross-country navigation, air gunnery, bomb aiming and second pilot duties.

 

Training at Tatenhill continued until early October, after which he was posted to 460 Squadron, based at Breighton in East Yorkshire. 460 Squadron was an Australian RAAF unit formed in November 1941. Initially it was equipped with Vickers Wellington aircraft and at the time of Frank's posting had been converted to the larger Avro Lancaster four-engine heavy bomber.

In December 1942 he commenced training on Manchester bombers at 1656 Conversion Unit, Lindholme. In January 1943 training commenced on Avro Lancaster heavy bombers at Lindholme doing circuits and landings.

On 16th January 1943 after a final air test, Frank flew his first mission, which was a raid on Berlin in Lancaster No. D4776. He was the Bomb-Aimer. At this point he had a total of 224 flying hours logged, including 63 hours night flying. This first mission involved 7 hours 20 minutes night flying. Due to a late take-off (5.25pm) they did not reach Berlin and bombed a secondary target at Rostock from a height of 17000 feet. No enemy aircraft were encountered but they flew through medium flack without suffering any damage.

His second mission on 17th January was also to Berlin, which they reached on time and successfully bombed. German defences were better prepared and the bombers faced determined and powerful opposition from both ground and air defences on this raid. Frank's aircraft was damaged by heavy flack but returned safely after 8.5 hours in the air. This was his first taste of real warfare and must have been a terrifying experience.

It is worth noting that the aircraft flown on the second mission (number G.4781) is referred to as "G George" in Frank's diary. The Lancaster now known as "G for George" is numbered W.4783 and survived 90 missions to be withdrawn from active service and used as a war-time promotional aircraft back in Australia. So we must assume that the aircraft flown on Frank's second mission is not the aircraft now owned by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. A photograph of the members of 460 Squadron, including Frank, was on display in the main hall at the War Memorial alongside G for George until early 1999 when the aircraft was moved to Treloar Technology Park to undergo a full restoration.

Further training in circuits and landings and all weather flying was done from Lindholme in late January. After 48 hours leave in Sheffield, he rejoined 460 Squadron at Breighton on 27th January 1943. Breighton is a small village about 20 kilometers south of the City of York. The airfield is right next to the village and is now used for general aviation. Frank wrote of Breighton in his diary "..when we arrived at Breighton found it the usual old place, unaltered from when we were here before. The place is covered with mud and to speak mildly, it is a bloody awful place"

Bomber Command was at this time under great pressure to escalate bombing attacks on Nazi Germany and other occupied countries. The targets were generally heavy industrial centres, munitions factories, arms and vehicle manufacturing plants, military bases, etc.

Frank's situation in being sent on night bombing missions with the barest of operational training was typical of the time. Unfortunately, the allied losses of aircraft and crews was heavy and the chances of any airman completing the required 32 missions before being allowed any respite were slight, to say the least.

After just 18 months since joining the RAAF and only eight weeks since leaving Sydney, Frank and his mates found themselves in one of the darkest periods of the war facing the very real prospect of not returning from each mission. After 8 or so hours in the air at night over enemy territory, the crews returned mentally and physically exhausted, sometimes in a badly damaged aircraft barely able to stay in the air. Daylight hours would have been spent in fitful sleep followed by the essential briefing sessions before the next mission.

On one occasion Frank and his fellow crew were given weekend leave, so they headed for Doncaster and stayed in a hotel. They were so exhausted that they spent most of the weekend sleeping, so a weekend of fun and frivolity was out of the question.

Upon joining 460 Squadron at Breighton, Frank and his crew mates did local and cross country flying with their new pilot, Flight Sgt White. The crew were:  Flight Sgt D E White Pilot, Flight Sgt F H Ward Bomb-aimer & Air Gunner, Flight Sgt A K Parker Wireless Operator, W/O W R K Charlton Navigator, Sgt B Knilands Flight Engineer, Sgt N Simpson Air Gunner and Flight Sgt A K Smith (RAF) Air Gunner

 

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Extract from 460 Squadron photograph taken at Breighton - U711 crew is in the second row

F/Sgt White          Sgt Knilands                  ?                   F/Sgt Ward                    ?                          ?                       ?         

 

All were Australians except Smith who was attached to the Squadron from the RAF. White was from Colac Victoria, Charlton was from Sydney, Alan Parker was from Mosman NSW, Knilands was from Hornsby NSW and Simpson from Queensland.

On 4th February 1943 Frank flew his third mission bombing Turin in Italy, a nine hour operation. Missions against Lorient (2), Bremin and Milan followed during February without mishap. They aborted the Milan flight one and a half hours out from base due to an oxygen system failure. Of the Bremen mission Frank wrote in his diary "not a bad trip - 10/10ths cloud most of the way & over target. Bags of flak over target and all the way out. Didn't know whether we were coming or going half the time".

In March they flew missions against Hamburg, Essen (twice), Nurnburg, Munich, Stuttgart and St Nazaire. All went without suffering any damage except for the last mission against a German submarine base at St Nazaire on 22nd March.

Just before reaching the target they were shot-up be a JU88 German night fighter. The rear and mid-upper gun turrets returned fire. In the ensuing engagement the rear turret, fuselage, tail-plane and starboard wing were damaged by cannon fire. The rudder and elevator trim were shot away and the aircraft went out of control, diving steeply. White managed to regain control, pulling out of the dive at 4000 feet. Although the damage was serious, they continued on and bombed the target.

On completion of the bombing run, Frank discovered that one bomb had not released from the bomb bay. Facing a certain crash landing back in England their attempts to jettison the bomb were unsuccessful until Frank managed to dislodge it after half an hour of effort. He then assisted White who was having great difficulty controlling the damaged aircraft. They crash-landed on British soil in South Cerney. The plane was destroyed by fire. No mention is made in Frank's log book and diary about any injuries or loss of crew from this crash. They all must have been able to get clear of the aircraft before it caught fire.

 

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 In recognition of the efforts he made to release the stuck bomb and the assistance he provided in getting the damaged aircraft back over English soil, Frank was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM). The citation included the words "for displaying great skill, courage and resolution".

 

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Page from Frank's log book showing entry for St Nazaire mission

 

At the end of March 1943 Frank had flown 87.4 hours on operations, all at night.

Following the loss of their Lancaster No. D4879 on the St Nazaire raid, Frank and Flight Sgt White tested a new aircraft on 2nd April and found it to be unserviceable. The following night they resumed operations in Lancaster No. U711 with a raid on Essen. On the return leg, they landed at Church Fenton base where they stayed until 6th April, possibly due to aircraft problems. The day they returned to Breighton they practiced cross country, low level, formation flying involving 60 aircraft for three hours.

Missions to Duisburg and Spezia followed on the 13th and 14th April. Then on 16th April Frank and his crew mates set out with fourteen other Lancasters from 460 Squadron to bomb the Skoda arms works at Pilsen in Czechoslovakia.

The Pilsen raid was different from the previous missions they had done. It was staged during a full moon period in the hope that the target could be identified visually, and to offset the danger from fighters, full-scale diversionary raids were made on cities in Western Germany.

Navigational difficulties were encountered in locating Pilsen. We know that one Australian crew bombed Nuremberg instead whilst two others searched over a wide area without finding the Pathfinder flares that were supposed to have been dropped beforehand on the Skoda works and then set course for base, attacking Erlangen and Koblenz en route. Night fighters harried the Lancasters, which found the bright moonlight a hazard that outweighed the expected advantage of easier navigation. Consequently, heavy losses were experienced.

460 Squadron lost three aircraft that night, including Lancaster No. U711.

Frank's aircraft crashed near the small town of Boeblingen, 20 km south west of Stuttgart. Eight bodies were brought in to Steinhalde Cemetary in Stuttgart by German Luftwaffe authorities on 18th April 1943. It was stated that the aircraft had crashed in or around Boebligen. The airmen were given full military honours at burial, with a Luftwaffe Chaplin present to conduct the ceremony. Each was laid to rest sometime during the afternoon of 20th April 1943. (The eighth crew member was Sgt J S Stewart who had just completed pilot training. This was his first mission and he was aboard U711 as second pilot to gain operational flying experience.)

Particulars of the burial were recorded thus:

Separate graves for eight airmen, with small white cross inscribed in black lettering name and rank, where possible, and for the unknown in the three cases, "Unbekannte Englische Flieger 20/4/43". Each grave contains a coffin."

The five bodies identified by the Luftwaffe authorities were:

F H Ward, D E White, A K Parker, B Knilands, R H Baker

However, after the war the bodies were exhumed by the British authorities. In October 1948 Frank's wife Mary received a letter advising that the identification of five RAAF members had been established but the identification of Frank Ward, Flight Sgt Stewart and Flight Sgt Smith could not be effected. The remains of the entire crew were re-interred in adjacent graves in the Durnbach British Military Cemetery 28 miles south of Munich.

 

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Graves at Durnbach in 1948

 

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Graves at Durnbach in 1987. Centre grave at front is Frank Ward.

 

What were the events leading up to the loss of Lancaster No. U711 and its crew?

Official reports on the Pilsen raid mention navigational difficulties that prevented the bombers from locating the correct target. Consequently, secondary targets at Nurnburg, Erlangen and Koblenz were attacked instead.

Nurnburg and Erlangen are located just north of a straight line drawn between Pilsen and the crash site at Boebligen. We do not know whether U711 dropped its bomb load on Pilsen or secondary targets at Nurnburg or Erlangen. In the moonlit conditions that night the large Lancaster bombers would have been easily sighted by German fighter pilots. We can only surmise that one of these fighters spotted U711 during or just after the bombing run, attacked with machine gun or cannon fire and succeeded in destroying the aircraft. The crash site is over 200 kms from Nurnburg and Erlangen, so it appears that U711 was attacked as it headed back to base.

In 1947, the British authorities attempted to identify the exact crash site at Boebligen but could find no trace of a crash or any aircraft remains. Another 460 Squadron aircraft crashed near Ludwigshaven about 160 kms north west from Boebligen. The wreckage and remains of the crew were found over 50 years later submerged in a fishing lake near Ludwigshaven.

Postscript

Frank Ward was a typical Australian young man of his time who enlisted to help defend the British Empire against the Nazi tyranny unleashed by Adolf Hitler. Married to Mary only weeks before he left Australia, he found himself embroiled in an air war far worse than anyone could have foreseen.

The final months of his life at the 460 Squadron base at Breighton were miserable with the cold winter weather, the stress from undertaking night-time sorties over enemy territory and a longing for Australia and his loved ones. Frank and his crew mates would have developed a strong bond, as most bomber crews did, and the short leave breaks would have been largely spent together over drinks, card games and story telling. They flew together during one of the most dangerous periods of the war when bomber crew losses were very high, particularly amongst the Australian Squadrons.

The war dragged on for another two and a half years after the U711 crew met their fate. Many more airmen died over Europe before Nazi Germany was forced in to submission. The missions they flew played a major part in crippling the German war machine.

I hope that this account of Frank's short life will serve to perpetuate his memory across future generations of his descendants, so that his sacrifice will not be forgotten.

 

Bruce Hall
Bowral NSW

December 1999

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Franks Air Observer's Wing

 

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Operational Log Book - Flt Sgt Frank Ward (AUS 411207)

No. 27 Operational Training Unit

Tatenhill - Staffordshire

Date Hour Aircraft Type & No. Pilot Duty Remarks Flying Times

Day

Night

1942

        Time Carried Forward

95.45

33.05

Aug 15

1145

Anson P/O Hood X Country Base-Hatfield-Peterborough

2.10

 

16

1000

Wel 1c 609 F/S John X Country Base-Douglas-Codling Bk-Conway

3.20

 

18

1350

Anson 244 F/S Machin X Country Base-Cottesmore-Swindon-Shawbury

3.00

 

21

0920

Anson 244 F/S Machin X Country Base-Wittering-Whitchurch

2.50

 

23

1450

Wel 2782 Sgt White BA Aircraft Test

1.20

 

24

1630

Wel 2511 Sgt White BA 2nd Pil Ferry to Bassingbourne

1.55

 

26

1100

Wel 5709 F/S Cook BA 2nd Pil Air gunnery-2000rds-drogue

4.00

 

27

1130

Wel 1815 Sgt White BA 2nd Pil Base-Rhyl-Mull o Gallway-Bardsey Is.-
St Bees Hd-Rhyl-Base

6.00

 
               
          Total Hours-August 1942

24.35

 
          Grand Total

120.20

33.05

               

Sep 1

1335

Wimp 8767 Sgt White BA-2ndPil-FG Base-Cottesmore-Newbury-Warminster

3.30

 

4

1015

Wimp 8949 Sgt White BA-2ndPil-FG Spalding-Base-Cottesmore-Digby-
Bassingbourne-Harwell-Wittering-
Catterick-Demden-Cramwell.
Dist 735 miles. 3 bombs

7.35

 

6

1015

Wel 1c 7815 Sgt White BA-2ndPil-FG 15 bombs. Cannock

2.25

 

6

1400

Anson 243 W/O Tye BA Fradley-Return

.20

 

8

0910

Wel 1c 2782 Sgt White BA 2nd Pil 15 bombs. Photography.

2.10

 

11

1330

Anson 503 F/S Peatfield BA Fradley-Return

.35

 

14

1400

Wel 1c 8767 F/S Chidgey BA Temsford-Return

2.00

 

15

  Wel 1c 8949 Sgt White   Cancelled    

20

2055

Wel 1c 5724 F/S Turner

Sgt White

  Check. C&L. Church Broughton  

.20

20

  Wel 1c 5724 Sgt White BA 2nd Pil Solo. C&Ls  

2.45

22

2015

Wel 1c 1645 F/S Turner

Sgt White

BA FG Base-Cottesmore-Goole-Wyton-Base  

3.20

23

2000

Wel 1c 853 Sgt White BA-2ndPil-FG Base-Melton-Monbray-Cottesmore-
Goole-Peterborough-Abingdon-
Cottesmore-Base
 

3.50

24

1940

Wel 1c 5724 Sgt White BA-2ndPil-FG Bulls Eye Exercise-Return Fradley  

6.45

25

2000

Wel 1c 853 Sgt White BA-2ndPil-FG Base-Conway-Mull o Oa-Douglas-PtLynas-Cannock-
Base.  (81.R.Douglas) 8 Bombs.
1 Flash. 1 Flare.
 

6.00

30

1400

Anson 243 F/S Turner 2nd Nav Base-Rhyl-CofMann-PtLynas-
Rhyl-Base

2.30

 
               
          Total Hours-Sept 1942

21.05

23.00

          Grand Total

141.25

56.05

               

Oct 1

2000

Well 8847 Sgt White X Country Cancelled-A/C U.S.  

1.00

2

1940

Well 8949 Sgt White BA-2nd Pil Base- MktH-Northampton-
Cottesmore-Base
 

1.20

6

1915

Well 8767 Sgt White BA-2nd Pil Base-Conway-Calf of Mann-
Pt Lynas-Cannock-Base.
51.R. 10 bombs. 1 Flash. 1 Flare
 

4.10

8

1910

Well 1645 Sgt White BA-2nd Pil Bombing Cannock. 1 Flash.
1 Flare. 10 Bombs.
 

1.00

               
          Total Hours-October 1942  

7.30

          Grand Total

141.25

63.35

 

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1656 Conversion Unit - Lindholme

Date Hour Aircraft Type & No. Pilot Duty Remarks

Flying Times

Day

Night

1942

        Time Carried Forward

141.25

63.35

Dec 9

  Manch 5830 W/O Banks   Circuits & Landings

2.00

 

9

  Manch 5830 Sgt White   Circuits & Landings

2.30

 

9

    Sgt White   Circuits & Landings

.50

 

11

  Manch 7464 W/O Banks   Circuits & Landings

.25

 

11

  Manch 7464 Sgt White   Circuits & Landings

.30

 

13

  Manch 7464 W/O Banks   Circuits & Landings

.30

 

15

  Manch 7479 W/O Crawford   Circuits & Landings

.35

 

17

  Manch 7464 Sgt White   Local Flying

1.10

 

17

  Manch 7464 Sgt White   Local Flying

1.45

 

20

  Manch 7434 Sgt White   Local Flying

2.15

 

22

  Manch 7515 Sgt White   Local Flying

2.30

 
               
          Total for December

15.00

 
          Grand Total

158.20

63.35

               

1943

             

Jan 2

1015

Lanc 4781 G F/S Caldon   Circuits & Landings

1.30

 

3

0940

Lanc 4777 F/S Caldon    

.45

 

3

1515

Lanc 4777 F/S Caldon    

1.00

 

3

1614

Lanc 4777 Sgt White    

.30

 

9

2130

Lanc 381 B F/O Smith DFC      

2.10

13

1340

Lanc 324 K Sgt White    

1.30

 

13

1830

Lanc 4776 D Sgt White      

1.35

15

1135

Lanc 316 L Sgt White    

2.30

 

16

1350

Lanc 4776 D F/O Smith    

.40

 

16

1725

Lanc 4776 D F/O Smith

Crew:
W Charlton
R Baker
R Smith
N Clarke
B Knilands

BA Operation No.1 - Berlin

Late take-off-Bombed secondary Rostok-14 SBC Incend-No E/A operation-Medium Flak-No damage-Ht 17,000 ft

 

7.20

17

1650

Lanc 4781 G F/O Smith

Crew:
AK Parker
W Charlton
A Smith
R Baker
B Knilands

BA Operation No.2 - Berlin

Reached target on time. 14 S.B.C.

Bombed before PFF-No E/A opposition-1 ME sighted over target-Photograph taken- Aircraft damaged by heavy flak- Ht 16,500 ft

 

8.35

28

1830

Lanc 4779 S/L Holford   Weather Test  

.30

28

1945

Lanc B 381 S/L Holford   Circuits & Landings  

.45

28

2045

Lanc B 381 Sgt White   Circuits & Landings  

3.30

 

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460 Squadron - E. Yorkshire

Date

1943

Hour Aircraft Type & No. Pilot Duty Remarks

Flying Times

Day

Night

               

Jan 29

1810

Lanc D 4325 Sgt White BA Local Flying  

1.50

Feb 1

1850

Lanc F 4310 Sgt White BA Cross Country  

4.30

4

1750

Lanc K Sgt White

Crew:
Parker
Charlton
Knilands
Simpson
Smith

BA Operation No. 3 - Turin

1 X 4000 & incends - DCO

 

9.20

7

1930

Lanc M 4789 Sgt White

Crew:
Parker
Charlton
Knilands
Simpson
Smith

BA Operation No. 4 - Lorient

1 X 4000 & incends - DCO

 

5.20

Feb 13

1750

Lanc M 4789 Sgt White

Crew:
Parker
Charlton
Knilands
Baker
Smith

BA Operation No. 5 - Lorient

5 X 1000 AP 2 x 30 incen 5SBC X 4 incend DCO

 

6.20

14

1840

Lanc M 4789 F/Sgt White BA Operation - Milan

Turned back - no oxy.

 

3.05

17

  Lanc M 4789 Sgt White BA Air Firing - Practice Bombing

2.50

 

21

1825

Lanc M 4789 F/Sgt White

Crew:
Parker
Baker
Charlton
Smith
Knilands

BA Operation No. 6 - Bremen

1 X 4000 - incend

 

4.45

               

Mar 3

1845

Lanc M 4879 F/Sgt White

Crew:
Charlton
Parker
Smith
Baker
Kniland

BA Operation No. 7 - Hamburg

1 X 4000 4 X 30 SBC 8 X 4lb SBC

Clear over target. Numerous searchlights.

 

5.15

4

1530

Lanc M 4879 F/Sgt White

& crew

  Airfiring & bombing at Finningley

2.15

 

5

1930

Lanc M 4879 F/Sgt White

Crew:
Charlton
Parker
Smith
Baker
Kniland

BA Operation No. 8 - Essen

1 X 4000 4 X 30lb SBC 8 X 4lb SBC

Concentrated attack on Krupps

Large fire - natives very hostile

 

4.25

8

1935

Lanc M 4879 F/Sgt White

Crew:
Charlton
Parker
Smith
Baker
Kniland

BA Operation No. 9 - Nurnberg

1 X 4000 4 X 30lb SBC 8 X 4lb SBC

Coned at Mannerheim & over target.

Photo. All fire tracks & Searchlights.

 

8.00

9

2010

Lanc M 4879 F/Sgt White

Crew:
Charlton
Parker
Smith
Peterson
Kniland

BA Operation No. 10 - Munich

1 X 4000 3 X 30lb SBC 6 X 4lb SBC

Good Trip. Numerous Searchlights.

Good photography.

 

8.30

11

1955

Lanc M 4879 F/Sgt White

Crew:
Charlton
Parker
Smith
Peterson
Kniland

BA Operation No. 11 - Stuttgart

1 X 4000 4 X 30lb SBC 8 X 4lb SBC

Quiet trip. 2 good photographs.

Night fighters active over route.

 

6.50

12

1950

Lanc M 4879 F/Sgt White

Crew:
Charlton
Parker
Smith
Peterson
Kniland

BA Operation No. 12 - Essen

1 X 4000 4 X 30lb SBC 8 X 4lb SBC

Bags of heavy flak & searchlights.

Fighters very active. 2 sightings.

Photograph obtained.

 

4.20

18

1520

Lanc D 4879 F/Sgt White   Local formation flying

1.00

 

22

1850

Lanc D 4879 F/Sgt White BA Operation No. 13 - St Nazaire

Shot-up by JU88 just before target. Rear turret, fuselage, tailplane, starb'd mainplane damaged by cannon . Rudder & elevator trim shot away.

Rear & mid upper returned fire. Carried on and bombed target- 1 Hang-up jettisoned manually- crash landed South Cerney- kite destroyed by fire.

Load: 9x1000lb AP, 1x1000lb GP delayed action.

 

5.35

April 2

1555

Lanc V 4320 F/Sgt White Air Test Aircraft U/S

.20

 

3

2000

Lanc U 711 F/Sgt White

Crew:
Charlton
Parker
Smith
Baker
White

BA Operation No. 14 - Essen

Load: 1x4000lb GP, 12x4lbSBC Incend.

Good trip-Strong S/light & flak opposition over target-photograph.

Landed Church Fenton.

 

4.10

4

1125

Lanc U711 F/Sgt White   Church Fenton to Base

.20

 

6

1430

Lanc U 711 F/Sgt White   Cross country formation-low level-60 A/craft.

3.10

 

8

2110

Lanc U 711 F/Sgt White   Operation No. 15 - Duisburg

Load: 1x4000lb GP,6x30SBC, 6X4SBC.

Bombed on ETA in cloud 18000'

 

5.10

13

2020

Lanc U 711 F/Sgt White   Operation No. 16 - Spezia

Load: 5x1000lbGP, 3x30 SBC.

Landed harwell.

 

9.40

14

1340

Lanc U 711 F/Sgt White   Harwell to base

1.00

 

16

2040

Lanc U 711 F/Sgt White   Operation No. 17 Pilsen

Missing.

   
               
          Total Hours Flown

177.40

182.0

 

Note: Last three entries shown in italics were written into Frank's log book by another party.

Crew on last operation no. 17 were:

 

Flight /Sgt D E White Pilot
Sgt J S Stewart 2nd Pilot (first operation)
P/O W R K Charlton Navigator
Flight/Sgt F H Ward Bomb Aimer
Flight/Sgt A K Parker Wireless operator & Air Gunner
Sgt B Knilands Flight Engineer
Flight/Sgt R H Baker Air Gunner
Flight Sgt S Smith (RAF) Not specified. Assumed Air Gunner

 

image17.jpg (71059 bytes)

Check list found in Frank's log book


 

Subject:   460 Sqdrn - Frank ward Story
Date:           Sun, 26 Mar 2000 17:46:25 +1000
From:          Bruce Hall <oakleigh@acenet.com.au>

Thanks Peter. Much appreciated.

PS. How can I determine whether the Lanc referred to a G for George in Frank ward's log is the same a/c that is at Canberra? The ID noted in his log is different from that referred to by the War Memorial. Could there have been more more than one G for George?

Regards,

Bruce Hall

 


 

Subject:   WW2 Photos
Date:           Sat, 8 Apr 2000 20:18:49 +1000
From:          "Bruce Hall" <oakleigh@acenet.com.au>

Hello Peter.

Rummaging thru some old aviation stuff left by my late father, I found a few photos of RAAF Wirraways and views of Archerfield taken by a WW2 photographer named W Myers.

One of these is attached. It is a Wirraway from 23 Squadron RAAF being flown by "Pop" Wood (whoever he is) in 1941.

wirra01.jpg (32035 bytes)

If you are interested in this sort of material, I will send a few more as time allows.

Regards,

Bruce Hall

NOTE:- Bruce has sent me more photographs of 23 Squadron RAAF and other aircraft such as a Liberator that General Douglas MacArrthur was using at Archerfield airfield during WW2. Rather than show them all here, I have created another page below.

 

More information and photographs
from Bruce Hall on other matters

 

Bruce Hall received a letter from a relative of 460 Squadron member Flt/Sgt Maurice Capon, a RAF Reservist who was a crew member of W4331 lost on the Pilsen Raid. He had read Bruce's story on Frank Ward and asked for a photo of the squadron personnel taken at Breighton in early 1943. Bruce sent him a copy of the photograph. He hopes that some surviving relatives will be able to identify Capon for him.

I received the following Postscript on the fate of Lancaster ED711 from Bruce Hall on 23 January 2007:-

POSTCRIPT

Further information regarding the fate of ED711 has come to light in March 2005 from a Heinz Bardua via Peter Cunliffe who is doing research into the Plzen raid.  Heinz Bardua lives in Stuttgart and was sixteen years old in 1943 at the time of the raid.  He was training as an aircrew volunteer on gliders and on the night of the raid was on “fire watch” in Stuttgart.  He remembers clearly seeing a Lancaster bomber appear from the south at 0.55 hours on 17 April and receive direct hits from light anti-aircraft fire.  The aircraft (ED711) was set on fire and jettisoned its bombs as an emergency procedure.  The bombs exploded in the Upper Rosenberg Street area (not an intended target), killing one person and injuring 58.

As the aircraft descended in flames, one of the ED711 gunners (Heinz thinks it was the mid-upper turret) continued to fire at a flak battery near where he was positioned.  The bomber flew right over the building he was in and exploded on impact in the wooded Heukopf above the Feuerbach Valley.  He went to the crash site in the forest the next day and saw the partly burnt bodies of the eight crewmembers.   A photograph of the crash site is held by an archive in Stuttgart.  Another bomber (Halifax DT773) was also hit later that night over Stuttgart and crashed at the Max-Eyth-See a drained lake near Stuttgart Hofen.

 Peter Cunliffe thinks that Herr Badua’s report is correct as he was actually there watching the raid on a clear moonlit night and, furthermore, his other work stands up to scrutiny.  The recording of Boebligen as the crash site appears to have originated from a report to the Air Ministry London submitted in 1947 by No.3 Missing Research and Enquiry Unit that includes a statement from a Cemetery Report made by Friedhofmaster Otto Lohall in 1943 in which he says “the bodies were brought in for burial by the Luftwaffe authorities from Boebligen on the 18th April 1943, and was stated to him that the aircraft had crashed in or around Boebligen”.  On a visit to Boebligen by No.3 MREU no trace could be found of wreckage etc., hence the actual crash point was stated to be “unknown”.

Bruce Hall

 


 

Subject:   JIM STEWART
Date:       Thu, 4 Oct 2001 18:15:49 +1000
From:       "kerarbury" <kerarbury@webfront.net.au>

DEAR PETER

I have not had enough time to view your web site thoroughly however what I have seen is most impressive.

I have a strong interest in the squadron as my Uncle was Jim Stewart who went missing on his first bombing operation on the 16th April 1943 over Pilsen. I have been in contact by mail with Peter Hodson who enlisted at the same time as Jim and I hope to gather some more information from Peter. 

My Grandfather applied for and received Jim's logbook which I have here. If you have any further information on Jim I would be most grateful.

Regards
Ross Stewart

 

I need your help

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This page first produced 30 December 1997

This page last updated 31 August 2015