01/02.02.1945 No 101 Squadron Lancaster I ME863 SR-K Fl/Lt. Robert D. Boyd
Date: 01/02nd February 1945 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: 101 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire
Location: Sorneville, France
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Robert Douglas Boyd AUS/419026 RAAF Age 24. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. John McAllister Johnston 1826329 RAFVR Age 30. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Kenneth Redfern Moore 1805235 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Desmond Henry Widdows 1399743 RAFVR Age ? Killed
W/Op. Special duties: F/O. Kenneth Gordon Fenske J/45367 RCAF Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Edward Thomas Summerson AUS/432903 RAAF Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. James O’Donnell 1795363 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Walter Hodder 1899122 RAFVR Age ? Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Ludford Magna in Lincolnshire at 15:57 hrs to bomb Ludwigshafen, with the attack due to commence at 19:15 hrs.
382 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes took part from which 6 Lancasters were lost (3 from 101 Squadron alone) a total of 56 crew members killed, 3 more being made PoW.
The raid destroyed or damaged 900 homes but also the railway yards were seriously damaged and one of the Rhine bridges was hit by 2 bombs and was temporary closed. 25 people were killed on the ground and a further 6 injured. The lack of casualties on the ground suggest that the town had been evacuated or were well protected with shelters.
For additional details of this loss, please see the loss page for the other Lancaster III JA715 SR-C involved in this tragic mid air collision.
Apart from these two Lancasters lost from the squadron on this operation a further Lancaster crew from 101 was also lost:
Lancaster III PB256 SR-P - Flown by 27 year old, F/O. Robert John Clark NZ/4210919 RNZAF from Auckland City, New Zealand - killed with all 7 other crew.
Fl/Lt. Robert Douglas Boyd. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.1. Son of James and Gladys Pearl Boyd, of Finley, New South Wales, Australia.
Sgt. John McAllister Johnston. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.5. Son of John and Elizabeth Johnston, of Killeonan, Campbeltown, Argyllshire, Scotland.
Sgt. Kenneth Redfern Moore. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.3. No further details - are you able to assist?
Fl/Sgt. Desmond Henry Widdows. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.6. No further details - are you able to assist?
Fl/Sgt. Edward Thomas Summerson. Sorneville Communal Cemetery (Only CWWG) Born on 20th September 1924, the son of John Shepherd Summerson and Frances May Summerson, of Thornleigh, New South Wales, Australia. Enlisted on the 30th January 1943.
F/O. Kenneth Gordon Fenske. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.7. Son of David and Alma Fenske, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Sgt. James O’Donnell. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.4. No further details - are you able to assist?
Sgt. John Walter Hodder. Choloy War Cemetery. Grave 1.E.2. No further details - are you able to assist?
Compiled with research by Jack Squires - May 2016. Other sources as quoted below.