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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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426
426 Squadron Halifax VII LW206 P/O. Robert Lamb

Operation: Volkel airfield

Date: 03rd September 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 426 Squadron. (motto: 'On Wings Of Fire'). 6 Group

Type: Halifax VII

Serial: LW206

Code: OW-Q

Base: RAF Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire

Location: Pampisford, Cambridgeshire

Pilot: P/O. Robert Arthur Lamb J/87830 RCAF Age 27. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Norman Kingsley Robinson 183935 RAFVR Age 40. Killed

Nav: P/O. Robert E.B Mallalue J/87902 RCAF Survived

Air/Bmr: P/O. E.T Longley J/20860 RCAF Survived

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Robert M. Kipfer R/201012 RCAF Survived

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Albert Anthony Joseph Willis R/221202 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Baker Wright R/251792 RCAF Age 23. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Weather conditions on takeoff 15:17 hrs: 6/10 cloud at 3,100 ft, 10/10 cloud at 14,000 ft, visibility 3 miles with a 5 mph SW surface wind.

Weather conditions at the time of accident 16:30 hrs: 1/10 cloud at 2,500 ft, 10/10 cloud at 14,000 ft, visibility 9 miles with a 5 mph SW surface wind.

Halifax took off at 15:17 hrs on an operation to attack the airfield at Volkel in the Netherlands. The bomb load was made up of 9 x 1,000 lp bombs, 4 x 500 lp bombs.

675 aircraft taking part in heavy attacks on several Luftwaffe bases in the south of Holland. Reports state all the raids were a success. Three aircraft were lost on this operation, the others:

Halifax III MZ758 MH-V from 57 Squadron. Flown by 23-year-old, W/O Kenneth Potts 183583 RAFVR. Forced landing on return at 19:25 hrs. due to double port and hydraulic engine failure. No serious injuries were reported although on the 05th January 1945 the then F/O. Potts DFC was listed as missing - believed killed whilst with 35 Squadron.

Halifax III NA616 L8-? from 347 Squadron. Flown by Adj. Henri René Rouillay FFAF. Hit by flak and crashed at Bochult at 17:15 hrs. At least 2 crew baled out and made PoW, with 5 others killed. Some reports state that three of the crew were murdered on the ground by German soldiers.

After take-off, they flew down country in the cloud at around 14,000 ft. P/O. Mallalue had just given P/O. Lamb an alteration in the course and the turn commenced when the aircraft went into a flat spin. Corrective action had no effect and the pilot ordered the crew to bale out. Three did so successfully but Sgt. Norman Robinson's parachute lines were cut by the aircraft. It was presumed that the pilot and rear gunner were still in the aircraft when it crashed.

The wreckage was scattered over a wide area by the explosion of the bomb load. Where the aircraft crashed there was a crater approximately 25 yards in diameter, 16 ft deep, and half-filled with water. The force of the explosion was so violent that no large pieces of the aircraft were available for examination and many pieces were in the branches of the surrounding trees. Several cottages were damaged by the blast and a small hutted camp was demolished. A tree that was probably alongside the aircraft after it had crashed was blown approximately 40 yards by the explosion and fell across a lane killing 3 Americans, it also killed another American and a civilian. Several American vehicles were damaged.

The subsequent court of inquiry reported that the wind was found to be stronger than had been forecast and as a result 'dog legs' were flown to waste time.

The navigator gave the last course alteration, 120˚ to port, to bring the aircraft to the turning point on time.

The pilot had been using the automatic pilot but he disengage it before starting the turn. When the aircraft had about 40˚ of bank on and had completed about 15˚ of the turn it slipped away in a diving turn to port and then went into a flat spin. Four members of the crew baled out but one parachute was hit by the aircraft and the shroud lines were cut.

The aircraft crashed in woodland and caught fire. Shortly afterwards the bomb load exploded, causing extensive damage killing six others and several other personnel suffering various injuries.

The cause of the crash is obscure but as the aircraft went into a spin it most probably stalled first and it is assumed that the pilot eased the control column too far back in the turn. After the aircraft started spinning the pilot did not appear to be taking the correct action to bring it out of the spin.

As witnesses only saw 4 bodies leave the aircraft and saw one hit by the aircraft this must have been the flight engineer, Sgt. Robinson. Why the mid-upper gunner, Sgt. Willis was not wearing a parachute harness is unexplainable, but he is not considered to have jumped and fallen through his harness. It is considered that the parachute seen hanging in a tree by the 11th witness was blown there by the explosion.

The flight authorization book, pilots flying logbook, airframe, and engine log cards were all in order.

The Group Commander stated that he concurred with the investigation that the cause of this accident is obscure but it would appear that the pilot eased the control column too far back and used more aileron than was necessary for the turn. The aircraft stalled and spun in.

It is recommended that the correct method for bringing a four-engine aircraft out of a spin, is given to all pilots at Heavy Conversion Units.

The Commander-In-Chief added the attention of Groups has been drawn to the revised flying instructions regarding the flying characteristics of the Halifax aircraft. In addition, a representative from R.A.E is visiting conversion units to lecture on the same subject.

Experience of the pilot: 1666 OTU Assessment - 'Average'. 24 OTU Assessment - 'Average'. 11 (P)AFU Assessment - 'Average, needs watching'. 3 SFTS Canada Assessment - 'Average, rough on controls, airmanship careless'.

Burial Details:

We hope in time to be able to identify the Americans also killed in this crash accident.

brookwood military

Brookwood Military Cemetery

P/O. Robert Arthur Lamb. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Plot 43 Row I Grave 7. Born on the 13th April 1917 in Vancouver. Son of Addie Ellie Lamb, of 3654 5th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Grave inscription: 'In Sacred Memory Of A Loving Son'. A total of 419 flying hours were logged with 143 on the Halifax. Trained with No. 3 Service Flying Training School in Canada. No. 11 Pilot Advanced Flying School, 24 Operational Training Unit, and 1666 Heavy Conversion Unit.

Sgt. Albert Anthony Joseph Willis. Brookwood Military Cemetery Plot 43 Row I Grave 6. Born on the 24th November 1921 at Regina. Enlisted on the 30th March 1943 at Windsor, Ontario. Worked as a mechanic for General Motors. Son of Anthony and Barbara Willis, brother of Donald, Louise and Shirley of 1746 Tourangeau Road, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription: 'Here Rests A Soul Good And True Dearest Son, We Miss You So. Rest In Peace'.

Fl/Sgt. William Baker Wright. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Plot 43 Row I Grave 8. Born on the 31st May 1921 in Toronto. Studied at Western Technical School in Toronto. Worked as a receiver for Bauer and Black. Son of Norman Sangster Wright and Margaret June Baker Wright, of 328 Sunnyside Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

cambridge city cemetery

Cambridge City Cemetery

Sgt. Norman Kingsley Robinson. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 14102. Studied at Windsor High School. Son of Thomas William (died 23rd October 1956, age 75) and Eveline Annie Robinson (died 15th September 1957, age 76) and husband of Margaret Robinson, of Durham, England. Grave inscription: 'Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends'.

Civilian:

Frederick Stanley Teversham. Worked as a cattle farmer and a member of the Home Guard. Son of Albert and Mary Jane Teversham of 18 Council Houses, Fulbourn. Husband of Vera Teversham (née King), father of Marjorie Kathleen of Netherhall Farm Cottages, Queen Edith's Way, Cherry Hinton.

USAAF Personnel:

We have been unable to find details of the 5 killed.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to John Jones for information and photographs, Steven Oatway, American Battle Monuments Commission, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 29-12-2021

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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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