Sunday, 18 April 2010

153 Sqn. 18th April 1945 - Heligoland

Low level At Sea

Continuing the story of my late Dad's Lancaster Squadron From Jan 45 to the end of hostilities in May.


For the crews of 153 Squadron, targets were now proving elusive as the allied armies pushed ever onwards into German territory. On many days the squadron was stood down, occupying the time by continuing with low level flying practice and map reading, honing the various skills and reflexes needed to perform this safely for long periods at a time. So it was a relief of sorts to be returned to 'normality' when ordered to attack the island of Heligoland on 18th April.


A Near Miss

By 'borrowing' an aircraft from 625 Squadron, 153 Squadron was able to dispatch 19 crews to join almost 1000 aircraft attacking the naval base, airfield and town. This included 5 crews undertaking their first operation, 2 (F/Os Sinnema and Tobin) completing their tours, and W/Co Reddick (from HQ 1 Group) making a 'guest' appearance with the crew of F/O Red Penman. The 'payload' for each aircraft was an unprecedented 14,000lbs weight of high explosive bombs.  The operation itself proved to be little more than a training exercise. Perfect weather meant clear skies all the way and the target was visible from 30 miles out. The attack was intense, accurate and lethal. Slight defensive flak soon stopped as the targets were overcome.  The bomber stream was supported by Spitfires and Mustangs which were superfluous in the event.

It would probably have been some comfort to the men of 153 Squadron to be striking back at an airfield and naval base which was heavily involved in the defense of the Kattegat area and therefore potentially responsible for some of the difficult times and heavy losses the crews had experienced over the previous weeks on gardening missions

0
Rear Gunner Position



S/Ldr J C Day and his crew joined the squadron on 18th April to replace S/Ldr John Gee as Commander, 'B' flight when he was posted out of the squadron on the loss of his crew.

 For the story behind this click here

4 comments:

TJ Lynde said...

Thanks for your encouragement from across the Atlantic. A Spring toast to you and men like your Dad in the Lancaster Squadron who handed down much good stuff, even the freedom to go paint spring landscapes!
Best Regards,
Taylor

Alistair said...

Many thanks TJ and thanks too for signing up to the blog. I look forward to chatting and visiting with you again soon.

regards....Al.

Anonymous said...

Hello from Coltishall in Norfolk I have a nose shot of Lanc Vicious Virgin with my late father in law Armourer Sgt Tony Doult and other erks in a posed photo shot. I believe this aircraft was on 153 sqdn would you like copy of it? Gil Harding ex WO Eng 54(F) Sqn Jaguars

Alistair Robertson said...

Hello Gil,


Love to have a copy along with any names etc if known. With your permission I'd be happy to add it into these posts as a mark of respect and recognition too. It's overlooked how tough, demanding - and critical - the role of ground crew was in operations.

There is a photo of the lanc 'Vicious Virgin' on here -in the post for 'Gardening 4th April'

Thanks and regards.

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