27/28.04 1944 No. 101 Squadron Lancaster I LL750 SR-P W/O. Bertram B. Noble MiD
Date: 27/28th April 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: No. 101 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire
Location: Alp Grappelen, Switzerland.
Pilot: W/O. Bertram Bernard Noble MiD. 2 bars 562236 RAF Age 32. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. R.K. Bridges Survived - Interned
Nav: F/O. John Raymond Burton 151079 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. H.S. Prowse RCAF Survived - Interned
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Gowland Anderson 1501026 RAFVR Age 21. Killed (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Maurice George Smith 1817166 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. Oscar Jacob Albrecht J/92032 RCAF Age 39. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Francis Henry Bathmaker 1892488 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 21.40 hrs from RAF Ludford Magna to attack the small town of Friedrichshafen the reason being that it contained important factories manufacturing gearboxes and engines for the German tank force. The attack was arranged on a moonlit night to make the bombing more successful. Although more dangerous doing this, the town was south of the country and on the very limit of Luftwaffe night-fighters.
The bomber stream approached and bombed the target with no interception from fighters. However, during the attack the Luftwaffe arrived. 18 of the 322 Lancaster's were brought down.
The attack itself proved very successful with 1,234 tons of bombs being dropped resulting in an estimated 99 acres (67%) of the town being devastated - the gearbox factory was destroyed along with other important buildings. Civil reports state that 136 people were killed and a further 375 injured, with 656 houses destroyed and 421 damaged to a severe degree.
Right: Hptm. Gerhard Friedrich (courtesy Kracker Archive)
Lancaster LL750 was one of two 101 Squadron losses on this raid and was shot down by Hptm. Gerhard Friedrich (2) of 1./NJG6 at 02.19 hrs. with combat taking place at 6.300 mtrs. The Lancaster had left the target and the attack occurred within 5 minutes of that. The aircraft crashed after exploding at between 11,000 and 9,000 ft throwing the two air gunners clear. After a brief period as internees they were allowed to cross into France.
The other aircraft lost from this squadron was that of Lancaster III LM493 SR-X. Flown by Fl/Lt. B.N. Dickinson taken PoW with 4 others. 3 crew were killed when it crashed at Oberwinden near Elzach.
(1) Sgt. William Gowland Anderson was a former pupil of Moseley Grammar school
(Now secondary/grammar school). We are working very closely with the school's historians to remember all the ex pupils who died whilst serving with the RAF and recorded on the school memorial.
(2) This was Hptm. Gerhard Friedrich’s 13 confirmed claim of the war. He went on to claim a total of 30 kills before he was himself killed on the 16/17th March 1945 near Stuttgart after a collision with a 576 Squadron Lancaster PB785 UL-L2. The pilot of that aircraft, Fl/Lt. Frank Dotten J/12642 RCAF and all 7 crew were killed. (6 Canadians and 1 British)
W/O. Bertram Bernard Noble MiD. 2 bars. Vevey Cemetery. Grave 96. Son of Albert Edward and Amy Louise Noble, husband of Dorothy Emily Noble, of Awbridge, Hampshire, England.
F/O. John Raymond Burton. Vevey Cemetery. Grave 94. Son of John Alfred and Mary Leslie Burton, of Hutton Rudby, Yorkshire, England.
Sgt. William Gowland Anderson. Vevey Cemetery. Grave 92. Son of William and May Anderson, of Murton, Co. Durham, England.
Sgt. Maurice George Smith. Vevey Cemetery. Grave 95. Born in August 1924. Prior to enlisting he was for a short time librarian at Birmingham Central Library. NoK details to follow.
P/O. Oscar Jacob Albrecht. Vevey Cemetery. Grave 93. Son of Louis B. and Elizabeth Albrecht, husband of Julia O'Connor Albrecht, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Sgt. Francis Henry Bathmaker. Vevey Cemetery. Grave 97. Son of H. George and Winifred Alice Bathmaker, of Kensal Rise, Middlesex, England.
Researched for relatives of the crew. For further details our thanks to the following, Clive Davies, nephew of Sgt. Maurice Smith. Keith Townsend historian of Moseley Secondary/Grammar school memorial records, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), 'Paradie Archive'. Commonwealth War Graves Commission.