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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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106 Squadron Crest
16/17.09.1942 No. 106 Squadron Lancaster I W4179 Sq/Ldr. Howell

Operation: Essen

Date: 16/17th September 1942 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 106 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: W4179

Code: ZN-?

Base: RAF Conningsby, Lincolnshire

Location: Laurensberg (Aachen), Germany

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Cecil Moreton Howell 70332 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Pilot: P/O. Henry William Long 120559 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Leslie Tate 617977 RAF Age 21. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Joseph Smillie Balfour 656517 RAF Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Michael Joseph O’Sullivan J/15443 RCAF Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Terence George Clark NZ/402983 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. John Donald MacLeod J/10161 RCAF Age 20. Killed


Taking off from RAF Conningsby in Lincolnshire at 20:30 hrs. 369 aircraft taking part to bomb the Krupps works at Essen. Although it is reported at the majority of the bombing was scattered, this was described as the most successful on what was known to be a difficult target.

33 large fires with a further 80 medium sized fires with 8 industrial and 6 transport premise being hit. The Krupps works were also damaged, hit by 15 high explosive bombs - further damage was caused when one of the allied aircraft crashed into the target full of incendiary bombs - 47 people reported killed on the ground with a further 92 suffering various degrees of injuries.The scattered bombing also hit Bochum causing 50 fires with a reported 13 killed. The towns of Herne and Cochem were also hit - killing a further 15 people on the ground.

The aircraft was was hit by 1/schw Flak Abt 514 and crashed at Laurensberg (Aachen) at 2345 hours (Night Fighter War Diaries - Theo E W Bolten)

The Squadron were to lose 3 crews during this operation, the others:

Lancaster I W4178 Flown by P/O. Desmond James Downer 111550 RAFVR killed with all his 6 crew.
Lancaster I R5681 Flown by P/O. William Ogwyn Williams 46839 RAF killed with all his 6 crew.
(1) The Krupps factory was headed by Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach (1870–1950), who assumed the surname of Krupp when he married the Krupp heiress, Bertha Krupp. After Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, the Krupp works became the centre for German rearmament. In 1943, by a special order from Hitler, the company reverted to a sole-proprietorship, with Gustav and Bertha's eldest son Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach (1907–67) as proprietor. After Germany's defeat, Gustav was senile and incapable of standing trial, and the Nuremberg Military Tribunal convicted Alfried as a war criminal in the Krupp Trial for "plunder" and for his company's use of slave labor. It sentenced him to 12 years in prison and ordered him to sell 75% of his holdings. In 1951, as the Cold War developed and no buyer came forward, the authorities released him, and in 1953 he resumed control of the firm.

Burial details:

Crew initially buried at Aachen on the 19th September 1942 - reinterred after the end of the war.

Sq/Ldr. Cecil Moreton Howell. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 5.E.18. Son of Frederick Valentine and Kathleen Rose Howell, of Sutcombe, Devon, England. Holder of a B Sc in Engineering. Joined the Metro-Vicker's Comapny as a Probationary College Apprentice in October 1934 and returned as a College Apprentice in October 1938. Joined the RAFVR in which he held the rank of Pilot Officer and was later promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader. Grave inscription reads: “Thank God For His Courage Humour And Integrity”.

P/O. Henry William Long. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 5.E.15. Son of Henry William and Lucy Edith Long, of Forest Gate, Essex, England. Grave inscription reads: “In Everloving Memory Of Henry Our Beloved Only Son Mum, Dad And Family”.

Sgt. Leslie Tate. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 5.E.16. Son of Frederick and Theresa Tate, of Houghton-le-Spring, County Durham, England. Grave inscription reads: “Ever Remembered By His Father And Mother Freda Isabella And Brother Frederick”.

Sgt. Joseph Smillie Balfour. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 5.E.21. Husband of Lizzie Laura Paul Balfour. Grave inscription reads: “In Loving Memory Of My Dearly Beloved Husband Joseph Smillie”.

P/O. Michael Joseph O’Sullivan. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 5.E.20. Understood to be from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Next of kin details not known, are you able to contribute?

Fl/Sgt. Terence George Clark. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 5.E.19. Son of Eliza Jane Clark, of Wellington City, New Zealand. A total of 252 flying hours logged and on his 12 operation.

P/O. John Donald MacLeod. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave 5.E.17. Son of John and Henrietta MacLeod, of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Above 2nd from right: Fl/Sgt. Terence George Clark, extreme right Sgt. Mel Banks, both of 106 Squadron. Carolyn sent this into us in order that someone is able to identify the other two aircrew members and perhaps when and where it was taken?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Carolyn Clark - relative of the Mid Upper Gunner, Fl/Sgt. Terence Clark. Thanks to John Jones for the Theo E.W. Bolten information. Other sources as quoted.

RS 13.08.2019 - Update for the loss of the aircraft

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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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