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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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7 Squadron Crest
10/11.09.1942 7 Squadron Stirling I W7630 MG:M Flt.Lt. Barr DFC & Bar

Operation: Düsseldorf

Date: 10th/11th September 1942 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: 7 Squadron (motto: Per diem, per noctem - By day and by night)

Type: Stirling I

Serial: W7630

Code: MG:M

Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire

Location: Echt, Netherlands

Pilot: Flt.Lt. Leslie Ronald Barr DFC & Bar. 43627 RAF Age 28. Killed

Pilot: Plt.Off. Irwin Dale Fountain J9420 RCAF Age 27. Missing - believed killed

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Maurice Sidney Pepper DFM. 565929 RAF Age 27. Missing - believed killed

Nav: Plt.Off. Philip Gustav Freberg DFC. J6659 RCAF Age 26. Evaded (1)

Air Bmr: Plt.Off. Ernest Ronald Maurice Runnacles 118622 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Plt.Off. Eric Hubert Cook 123290 RAF Age 24. PoW No: 6457 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan

Air Gnr: Sgt. John Greenwood 1113288 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Peter Bertram Penton Price 1266398 RAFVR Age 34. Missing - believed killed


It is hoped that after a great deal of work over several years a recovery of W7360 remains will be made during September 2019, largely owing to the efforts of the Stichting Berging Stirling W7630 Foundation, with whom we are in regular contact.



REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 20:13 hrs to bomb Düsseldorf. A huge force took off - a total of 479 aircraft made up of 242 Wellingtons, 89 Lancasters, 59 Halifaxes, 47 Stirlings, 28 Hampdens and 14 Whitleys.

The Pathfinders marked the target area successfully using the 'Pink Pansies' in converted 4,000 lb. bomb casings. The city was hit in all areas apart from the north. Also hit was the neighbouring town of Neuss.

'Pink Pansies' were incendiary bombs - 2,800 lbs. - used as a target marker and made up from Benzol, rubber and phosphorous.


Reports are that 39 industrial firms in Düsseldorf and a further 13 in Neuss were damaged to the extent that no production could take place for various periods. 8 public buildings were destroyed and 67 damaged. 911 houses were also destroyed, 1,506 seriously damaged and another 8,340 lightly damaged.

On the ground 132 people were killed, made up of 120 in Düsseldorf and 12 in Neuss. A further 11 people were classed as "missing" 2 days after the raid. 19,427 people were made homeless.

Left: Hptm. Siegfried Wandam

The raid took its toll on the Allies though with 33 aircraft lost. (20 Wellingtons, 5 Lancasters. 4 Stirlings, 3 Halifaxes and 1 Hampden) with 60 crewmen killed, 1 injured and 13 made PoW.

Stirling W7630 was initially hit by anti-aircraft fire and then attacked and shot down by Hptm. Siegfried Wandam of 3./NLG1 at 23:32 hrs. This was his eight claim of the war. He was killed the following year. Information and photograph courtesy of the Kracker Archive on our website.

7 Squadron was the first RAF squadron to operate four engined bombers during the Second World War, flying the first bombing raids with the Stirling against oil storage tanks near Rotterdam on the night of 10th/11th February 1941.

Burial details:

Flt.Lt. Leslie Ronald Barr DFC & Bar. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Joint grave 12.D.8. Son of Thomas and Catherine Susan Barr and husband of Lilian Elsie Barr, of Kingswood, Gloucestershire, England. Grave inscription reads: "In Proud And Loving Remembrance "We Will Remember Them".

Flt.Lt. Barr’s DFC was awarded whilst with 15 Sqn, Gazetted 26th May 1942.

His Bar to DFC was awarded whilst with 15 Sqn, Gazetted 7th August 1942. Citation: Flight Lieutenant Barr was the captain of an aircraft detailed to attack submarine slipways at Lubeck. In adverse weather and in the face of strong enemy ground defences, he vigorously attacked the target from an extremely low level although his aircraft had been hit many times by shell fire. This officer is an extremely cool and courageous captain whose persistence and determination to ensure success have been outstanding.

Plt.Off. Irwin Dale Fountain. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 100. Born on the 29th August 1915 at Abbotsford, the son of John and Dorothea J. Fountain, of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.

Sgt. Maurice Sidney Pepper DFM. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 91. Son of Sidney Thomas Bates Pepper and May Pepper, of Handsworth, Birmingham, England.

Sgt. Pepper's DFM was awarded whilst with 15 Sqn, Gazetted 10th February 1942.

Citation reads: "One night in January, 1942, Sgt. Briggs and Pepper (15 Squadron) were wireless operator and flight engineer respectively of an aircraft which carried out a successful operation against Munster. On leaving the target area, the aircraft was caught in a belt of searchlights and attacked by enemy fighters. During the first attack Sgt. Briggs was wounded in the leg. Despite considerable pain and loss of blood, he coolly continued his wireless duties until the aircraft reached this country. Sgt. Pepper was wounded in the hand and knee but he bravely made his way to the astro-dome, where, although suffering much pain, he rendered most valuable assistance to his pilot by directing the necessary avoiding action through a succession of attacks. He thus played a great part in the safe return of the aircraft to this country".

(Editor's note: This aircraft, Stirling I N6093 LS:P was flown by Plt.Off.Leslie Ronald Barr who managed to crash land the aircraft at their base at RAF Wyton - all 8 crew survived).


Maurice Sidney Pepper attended Holly Lodge High School for Boys, Smethwick from 1927 to 1931. Above are images from the pages in the School Book of Remembrance which relate to Sgt. Pepper. (Courtesy of David Redhead)

Plt.Off. Ernest Ronald Maurice Runnacles. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Joint grave 12.D.8. Son of Maurice Arthur Runnacles and of Margaret Helen Runnacles (née MacFarlane), of General Lavalle, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ornithologist. Grave inscription reads: "Splendid You Passed. . . . Into The Light That Nevermore Shall Fade".

Sgt. John Greenwood. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 84. Son of Herbert and Edna Greenwood, of Lower Darwen, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Peter Bertram Penton Price. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 91. Born in 4th quarter of 1907 at St. John’s Wood, Middlesex. Son of Charles Morgan and Kathleen Emily (née O’Farrell) Price from Middlesex, England. His father predeceased him in February 1942.

(1) Plt.Off. Freberg evaded capture and return to the UK on the 24th October 1942 with the great assistance by various organisations. Further detailed information can be found here.

Plt.Off. Freberg's DFC was awarded whilst with 7 Sqn, Gazetted 8th January 1943. Citation reads: This officer, as navigator, has participated in a number of operational sorties during which he has displayed a high standard of courage and tenacity.

On the 10th/11th April 1943 whilst still with 7 Squadron he was lost on an operation to Frankfurt. Stirling I R9275 MG:Y Flown by 20 year old, Plt.Off. Frank Arthur Terry 139509 RAFVR was lost over Luxembourg - all 7 crew were killed.

Plt.Off. Philip Gustav Freberg DFC. Luxembourg Communal Cemetery (Hollerich). Collective grave 12-17. Born on the 11th November 1915 in Vancouver. 3719 Willingdon Avenue, Burnaby, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. Son of Gustave and Caroline Freburg of Burnaby, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.

Page researched with the assistance of Rebecca Dutton, niece of the Flight Engineer. Thanks to David Redhead for the images relating to Sgt. Pepper. David attended Holly Lodge Grammar School for Boys from 1955 to 1962 and is currently researching the lives of the 41 Old Boys whose names were reverently read out at the Armistice Day Assemblies during his time at the the school (Sep 2020). Additional research to update missing information by Aircrew Remembered (Sep 2020).

RS 02.09.2020 - Update to include information re Sgt. Pepper and missing information.

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Acknowledgements
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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