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Article RAF Bombing Raid on Krefeld 22th June 1943.

Discussion in 'World war two' started by Matzos, May 29, 2013.


  1. Matzos United Kingdom

    Matzos Moderator Moderator

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    I have a personal reason for relating this event, but first I wish to outline the raid itself.

    In the early morning of the 22nd June 1943 the RAF undertook another bombing raid over Germany, this time the target was to be Krefeld.

    The information below is taken from RAF Report AIR 14/3441

    Plan of Attack.

    The aircraft came for various RAF Bomber Command Groups:

    1 Gp – 119 Lancaster's & 37 Wellington's.
    3 Gp – 99 Stirling's & 11 Lancaster's.
    4 Gp – 132 Halifax & 40 Wellingtons.
    5 Gp – 92 Lancaster's.
    6 Gp – 44 Halifax's & 22 Wellingtons. (Royal Canadian Air Force Bomber Group)
    8 (Pathfinder) Gp – 12 Mosquitoes, 19 Stirling's, 33 Halifax's & 49 Lancasters.

    Zero hour was 01:30 hours and with the period of the raid to be 01:27 to 02:20 hours. The weather at the RAF bases was listed as light cloud between 2 - 3,000 feet and good visibility. Weather over the target was reported as being; 4-6/10ths thin patches of cloud, topping at 8-10,000 feet with occasional patches at 8/10ths thin cloud through which markers could be seen plainly. Visibility, moderate to good, with a slight ground haze.

    Between 01:27 and 02:19 hours 10 Oboe* Mosquitoes were to mark the aiming point for the raid with red Target Indicates (TI's). To guard against failure of the Mosquitoes, two further waves of the aircraft, 18 a t01:30 and 13 at 01:57 hours were detailed to drop yellow TI's blindly on H2S** if no red TI's were seen on arrival. Between 01:32 and 02:18 hours, 37 “back-ups” were to drop green TI's at the red if seen,but otherwise at the estimated centre of the concentration of yellow TI's. If neither red or yellow TI's were seen, green TI's were to be aimed at the established centre of the existing pattern of green. All TI's dropped after 01:45 hours were to cascade from 10,000 feet, before this time all were to be dropped from 3,000 feet.

    The routes for the raid were to be:

    8 Gp – Aldeburgh – TARGET – turn left – Noordwijk –Happisburgh.
    1 Gp – Southwold – TARGET – turn left – Noordwijk –Mablethorpe.
    3 Gp – Aldeburgh – TARGET – turn left – Noordwijk –Southwold.
    4 Gp – Southwold – TARGET – turn left – Noordwijk –Southwold.
    5 Gp – Routes passed verbally, unknown to author.
    6 Gp – Base – TARGET – turn left – Noordwijk - Base

    The Attack

    9 out of the 10 Oboe Mosquitoes detailed to mark the target dropped their red TI's accurately but at irregular intervals. The use of the “back-up” marking aircraft was excellent and a concentrated attack was delivered on the centre of Krefeld. Although there was a tendency for the attack to drift backwards along the line of approach, night photography indicated that about 75% of the force bombed within 3 miles of the aiming point. Eleven identified factories and 12 other small industrial areas were destroyed or severely damaged. The gas works was damaged along with 2 gas holders damaged by fire. However, the greatest damaged was to business and residential property, including many public buildings.

    Enemy Defences.

    Flak and Searchlights

    Ground defences at Krefeld consisted of moderate heavy flak and very little light flak. Predicted heavy flak decreased in intensity as the attack proceeded and in the later stages some barrage fire was reported. Only a smaller number of searchlights exposed and these operated to the North and South of the target. They were hampered by smoke and moonlight and gave little assistance to the flak. En route, heavy flak was reported over Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Leyden and also from the Dutch Islands and a ship off Noordwijk, and some intense light flak was reported from Katwijk. In all 28 aircraft were damaged by flak, two being totally destroyed and five other seriously damaged.

    Fighters

    Intercepted enemy wireless traffic disclosed 12 enemy patrols. It was estimated from reports of returning aircrew that 8 aircraft were shot down by flak and 30 by fighters. Of the aircraft lost, one was seen to crash near the Dutch Island, the cause being unknown.


    Official recored RAF Losses Were:


    1 Gp
    1 Lancaster - 460 Sqn
    1 Lancaster - 101 Sqn
    1 Lancaster - 100 Sqn
    2 Wellingtons - 305 Sqn
    1 Wellington - 300 Sqn
    1 Wellington - 166 Sqn

    3 Gp
    2 Stirling - 218 Sqn
    1 Stirling - 149 Sqn
    1 Stirling - 90 Sqn
    1 Stirling - 15 Sqn

    4 Gp
    1 Halifax - 158 Sqn***
    3 Halifax - 77 Sqn
    1 Halifax - 51 Sqn
    1 Wellington - 431 Sqn

    5 Gp
    1 Lancaster - 619 Sqn
    1 Lancaster - 57 Sqn
    1 Lancaster - 44 Sqn

    6 Gp
    4 Wellingtons- 429 Sqn
    1 Wellington - 419 Sqn
    3 Wellingtons - 408 Sqn

    8 Gp
    1 Halifax - 405 Sqn
    1 Lancaster - 156 Sqn
    2 Lancasters - 83 Sqn
    6 Halifaxs - 35 Sqn
    4 Stirlings - 7 Sqn

    *Oboe was a sophisticated set of electronic equipment that could receive radio signals from transmitters in England. The difference in the pulse times etc could be worked out by the receiver and give an exact location over the enemy target. When this information was computed the bomb aimer was given a signal exactly when to drop his marker or bomb load.

    **H2S was the first airborne ground scanning radar system and on 30[SUP]th[/SUP]January 1943 it was used by the RAF bombers for navigation for thefirst time, so became the first ground mapping radar to used incombat. At first fitted to Stirling and Halifax bombers.

    ***This aircraft crashed at Skellingthorpe near Lincoln soon after takeoff. It was reported that the aircraft dived vertically into theground from 6,000 feet, all the crew were killed.


    The reason why I have posted this is that a number of years ago I was given, by my wife, the Flying Log Book of grandfather, Sergeant John Atkinson. He was a crew member of the only Stirling bomber that was lost from 149 Squadron on the raid of the 22th June. The aircraft was reported as crashing at 02:39 hours into the Ijsselmeer off Makkum, The Netherlands.

    He was 28 years old when we died, one of the oldest members of the crew who's average age was just 23 years. John had been posted to 149 Squadron from 1657 Conversion Unit on the 18th April 1943 and took up his duties as a Flight Engineer. We was to undertake only 9 operational sorties before his death and had only been on the Squadron for 66 days.

    There is one entry in his log that has and I think will always stick in my mind, it is on the 25th May 43 on a sortie over Dusseldorf which he states “Both wing bomb doors hand wound down and up at 16,500 ft”

    In all he completed just over 63 daylight flying hours and 75 nighttime hours.

    The crew on that last flight were:

    Sergeant James Lowrie, 148179, Pilot, RAFVR aged 21. James commission to Pilot Officer had come through, but never got to wear it.
    Sergeant John Atkinson, 1017417, Flight Engineer, RAFVR aged 29.
    Flying Officer Donald Harrison Lyne, 125540, Navigator, RAFVR aged 23.
    Sergeant Alexander Coull, 1559064, Bomb Aimer, RAFVR aged 19.
    Sergeant Donald Charles Holmes Fudge, 1312340, Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, RAFVR aged 22.
    Sergeant Ernest Claude Waite, 1279016, Mid Upper Gunner, RAFVR aged 21.
    Sergeant Ernest Graham Hird, 1319154, Rear Gunner, RAFVR aged 29.

    The morning after the crash local people collected the remains of the crew and they were buried in mass grave, except for two gunners Sgts Hird and Waite, they were buried separately. Later the Germans salvaged most of the wreck.

    The crew is now buried at the Wonseradeel (Makkum) Protestant Churchyard, The Netherlands.

    Further research reviled that BK799 was shot down by Oblt Ernst Drunkler of 12./NJG1. He recorded the combat at 5,000 mtrs and claimed the aircraft came down about 2 kms west of Makkum. He lived through the war and was credited with 47 “kills” of which 45 were night attacks.

    As an Ex-member of the RAF, I feel honoured to have this Flying Log, it gave me an insight into the life of bomber aircrew and just showed how short their life could be. Also, it gave me the chance to undertake research for my wife and give her information about her grandfather whosee never knew.


    Mick Gladwin 29th May 2013
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2016
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  2. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

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    Excellent information about the raid mate and also about the service of Sgt John Atkinson, you and your wife are clearly very proud of his service and rightly so. thanks for posting this it was a brilliant read. (Y)
     
  3. Matzos United Kingdom

    Matzos Moderator Moderator

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    Thanks Bombardier, I now have another project to do, I have the wife's great grandfathers WW1 medals to research. Who said retirement was boring?
     
  4. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

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    LOL yes I can imagine you are very busy now you don't have to work. I retire from my job in 5 years and my wife is already putting together a list of things for me to do.;)
     
  5. 904safc

    904safc Mi Recruit MI.Net Member

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    Krefeld bombing raid.

    Can i just say a big thank you for producing this written piece. Ernest Graham Hird was my uncle, my father's brother and the eldest child in the family.
    I would have liked to have got to know him, but the fate of that flight has deprived me of this. I hope one day to visit his grave in Makkum to pay my respects. The information in the report has helped me to better understand what happened on that fateful night, a fate which befell so many brave airmen during WW2.
    I have spoken to aircrew survivors even a Battle of Britain Hurricane fighter pilot and they all have one thing in common..they count themselves very fortunate to have survived and are humble about their achievements.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2013
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  6. Matzos United Kingdom

    Matzos Moderator Moderator

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    Thank you for your comments,
    There are nights where I sit and think about these young men who flew sometimes night after night never knowing if they would be alive the following day. This week was 70 years to the day that they undertook their last mission and we owe a great deal to these people.
    I have a number of documents relating to BK799 and the missions it undertook, even a copy of a map produced by the Dutch Underground of the crash site. My plan is one day to get it scanned and put together a complete history of the aircraft and the 9 missions which John Atkinson and the other crew members flew on. The only thing I'm missing is a photo of BK799 code- OJ-O, hopefully I will find one soon.

    Mick
     
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  7. Remko United Kingdom

    Remko Mi Private MI.Net Member

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    Hi Matzos;
    I have read with interest your message about the Stirling OJ-O BK799. I have been in our village of Makkum for a year or two to find out about the aviators who are in the cemetery with us and the one more successful than with the other. From the flight of OJ-O BK799 I'm still looking for data and photos of the aviators as well as the plane. If desired, I can also contact you by email. I hope you can help me with missing information and maybe you too. Every year on May 5, there is the national death commemoration of cases from the 2nd world war. On the evening before Christmas there are lot of places in the Netherlands also in Makkum (what I organize) of these candles. I can send you pictures if you want. I hope you can help me further to give these guys a face again.
     
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  8. snapper United Kingdom

    snapper Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator Mi.Net Supporter

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    Would be nice to see pictures of remembrance like that
     
  9. Remko United Kingdom

    Remko Mi Private MI.Net Member

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    [​IMG]

    Available at Amazon for 3.99 pounds
     
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  10. Remko United Kingdom

    Remko Mi Private MI.Net Member

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    upload_2017-7-28_22-1-46.png
    Text for the top photo.

    In the Netherlands you have to pay for everything.
    Nevertheless, you never received an account for your freedom.

    Why not?

    They have already paid for it!

    The following pictures during the annual commemoration on May 5 for the soldiers who are fallen during WO2.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    On Christmas eve dec 24e a candle for every fallen warrior.




    I hope you can get such an impression
     
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  11. Remko United Kingdom

    Remko Mi Private MI.Net Member

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    On Christmas eve dec 24e a candle for every fallen warrior.




    I hope you can get such an impression
     
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  12. Remko United Kingdom

    Remko Mi Private MI.Net Member

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    On Christmas eve dec 24e a candle for every fallen warrior.

    Oorlogsgraven lichtjes herdenking Makkum 24-12-20161139.JPG Oorlogsgraven lichtjes herdenking Makkum 24-12-20161165.JPG


    I hope you can get such an impression
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2017
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  13. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

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    Thats amazing @Remko thanks for sharing these pics and respect to you mate ;)
     
  14. Remko United Kingdom

    Remko Mi Private MI.Net Member

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    Thank you for your comment Bombardier.
     
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