Friday, 22 January 2010

153 Sqn 22nd Jan 1945 - Duisburg

Flying through a flak barrage.

These posts follow 153 Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time.

Due to hostile weather conditions, only two further attacks would be mounted in January. On the 22nd, 19 aircraft left Scampton at 1645 and joined an attack on the Benzoil plant in the Bruckhausen district of Duisburg. The target was clearly identified by moonlight; the attack was concentrated and reported as most successful. Further bombs also crippled the nearby Thyssen steelworks.

Bomber Command lost only two aircraft that night- both from 153 Squadron.

NG 185(P4-A) flown by 33 year old F/O Ken Winder (RAF) with his two Canadian and four RAF (VR) crew was shot down over Holland. At 18, Sgt Hamilton was one of the youngest Canadians killed in Bomber Command . F/O K.W.Winder KIA . Sgt D.B.George KIA. Sgt A.J.Rabin KIA. F/O M.A.Smith RCAF KIA. SAgt R.Evans KIA. Sgt G.B.Hamilton RCAF KIA. Sgt T.O'Gorman KIA

Flight Engineer David George
{Photo courtesy of Shelagh and Sue Wright}
Ken Winder and crew.
{Photo courtesy Shelagh and Sue Wright}

PB 636(P4-D) flown by F/Lt Alan Jones (RAF) with his two Australian and four RAF (VR) crew (including the 39 year old Flight engineer, Syd James) was never heard of again. At 39, Sgt James, whose second Christian name was Strettle, was well over the age of operational aircrew. F/L A.E.Jones DFC KIA. Sgt S.S.James KIA. F/SJ.J.L.McDonell RAAF KIA. F/S C.L.Cullen KIA. W/O J.E.Bateup RAAF KIA. Sgt R.V.Trafford KIA. Sgt A.Simpson KIA.

Sgt. Sid James

Sgt Reuben Trafford.
Jack James Lewis Mcdonell {on right}
Photo courtesy of Guy Mcdonell

All are commemorated at the Runnymede Memorial.

The Ruhr -  'Happy Valley'

A major logistical center in the Ruhr and location of chemical, steel and iron industries, Duisburg was a primary target of Allied bombers. As such, it is considered by some historians to be the single most heavily bombed German city by the Allies during World War II, with industrial areas and residential blocks targeted by Allied incendiary bombs.

The Ruhr valley was known by aircrew euphemistically as 'Happy Valley' due to its intense concentrations of anti aircraft guns, searchlights and extensive cover by German night fighter squadrons. It was the industrial heartland of wartime German heavy industry and many key targets were within this area.

Lancaster in action

A total of 299 bombing raids almost completely destroyed the historic cityscape. 80% of all residential buildings had been destroyed or partly damaged. Almost the whole of the city had to be rebuilt after the war, and most historic landmarks had been lost. 

THe Air Forces Memorial, Runnymede.

The Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede commemorates by name over 20,000 airmen and women who were lost in the Second World War during operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe, and who have no known graves. They served in Bomber, Fighter, Coastal, Transport, Flying Training and Maintenance Commands, and came from all parts of the Commonwealth. Some were from countries in continental Europe which had been overrun but whose airmen continued to fight in the ranks of the Royal Air Force, some from USA {and other countries} who joined the RAF to fight before their country joined the war. The names in their thousands are inscribed on panels in a courtyard.

The memorial sits on a hill overlooking an historic part of the Thames Valley where Magna Carta, enshrining basic freedoms in English law, was signed in 1215.
The Memorial commemorates by name, inscribed on stone panels, some 20,389 airmen and women (including those of 153 Squadron) lost on operations from UK & NW European bases during WWII in the fight against tyranny.

All have no known grave.

The memorial is cared for by the National Trust and is open 7 days a week. Entry is free.


Morning's Minion said...

"No known grave." Beliefs and traditions differ according to upbringing and choice, but is there anyone whose heart is not chilled by the circumstances which result in an unknown resting place---something in most of us wants to know. We can be thankful for the efforts which create a memorial--at least a name is there, fingers can trace the letters and try to remember tales of an individual. A small enough honor.

Jared Winder said...

Kenneth Winder, was my grandad. I visited his grave at Venray 7 years ago. It took some finding and I onlly had a short timeas I was over in Holland on business.

We sadly lost my nan 3 years ago but she has a great photo of him. I will ask dad to scan it and send so you can add it.


Jared Winder

Alistair said...

Hello Jared - I'll be pleased to add the photo of your Grandad to this post. With your permission I'll also pass it on to 153 Sqdn Association for their archives to help preserve the memory of him and his comrades.

I've been contacted by several relatives of 153 sqdn aircrew as a result of these posts. Their history and their memory is treasured by many families all over the world.

kind regards

sue_twin2 said...

Hi Al,

Thank you for this blog memorialising my Uncle David - Sergeant ( Flt. Engr. ) David Burrows George - among others. Please see his Find A Grave Memorial: Number 18397410 for some further information and a photograph of him.

Kind regards,

Alistair Robertson said...

Hi Sue,

Thanks for writing.

I hope you found the information useful. If you need any more information on his time with 153 Squadron please let me know as I have quite extensive records.

I had a quick look at the grave info but couldn't find a link to a photo {I'll go back again later with a bit more time} With your permission I'll add the photo here as a mark of respect and remembrance if I can.

sue_twin2 said...

Hi Al,

I did indeed find your information useful and I'm sure my twin and I will want as much further information as possible to enhance our understanding and appreciation of Uncle David and the other crew members lost.

Hopefully this link to a photo of Uncle David will work:

My twin, Shelagh Wright, posted the photo and we'd both be delighted if you'd share it too.

Kindest regards,

Alistair Robertson said...

Thanks Sue,

On going back to the page I realise I completely ignored the tab at top which goes straight to photo. Thanks for that. I'll add it now.

I'm on holiday abroad at the moment but I'll dig out some stuff for you when I get home next week. If you don't hear very soon give my an email via the info on the facebook icon on my page {I'm at that forgetful age!}

I used to have relatives who lived in West Kingsdown and have memories of summer holidays there in the 60's though no doubt like almost everywhere it'll be unrecognisable almost by now.....

sue_twin2 said...

You're very welcome and thank you so much for adding Uncle David's photo so rapidly - very much appreciated. I'm the only member of the family to have visited his grave so far but my twin and I are hoping to visit this autumn when our grand nephew will be laying a wreath.

I'll stop pestering you now and let you enjoy your holiday, and look forward to hearing from you when you're home again.

Very best wishes,

Shelagh said...

Thank you very much for adding the photograph of the crew. I really appreciate it.

Kind regards

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