20/21.04.1944 No. 44 Squadron Lancaster III ND573 KM-S F/O. George Skinner
Operation: La Chappelle
Date: 20/21st April 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 44 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Dunholme Lodge
Location: Described as ‘lost without trace’
Pilot: F/O. George Alfred Skinner AUS/425232 RAAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Alan Farmer 2204356 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed
Nav: Sgt. William Thomas Freeman 917954 RAFVR Age 25. Missing - believed killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. David Prewer 1681110 RAFVR Age 30. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Dudley Ward 1579650 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Younger Scott 1568179 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. William George Singfield 1261285 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 22:44 hrs on a 2 part bombing raid on the railway yards at La Chapelle, with an interval of one hour. 269 aircraft taking part. Bombing was considered very accurate as they were using a new target marking method. No reports were available as to actual damage and casualties in the target area.
No nightfighter claims for this aircraft and listed as lost without trace. However, Major Wolfgang Ameise Thimmig (1) of Stab NJG4 made a claim (his 19th) for a Lancaster at 00:38 hrs, over Morsang south of Paris from the La Chappelle force - but it could not be identified. (shown below)
Rear: Sgt. David Prewer, F/O. George Skinner, Sgt. William Singfield, Sgt. John Scott. Front: Sgt. William Freeman and Sgt. Alan Farmer.
The Missing Research and Enquiry Unit (No 1 MREU, No. 3 Section) tried to establish the location of the graves for these crew members and a report sent into the Air Ministry on the 07th June 1946. They established that a four engined aircraft had crashed in the Morsang-Sur-Orge area at 00:30 hrs on the 21st April 1944. The team visited the crash site but as it had since been cultivated no remains of the aircraft had been found apart from a relief valve with a serial number S/A/270 R.7622 by a local man Monsieur Cicchelero. No one in the area could state how many bodies were found but that they thought they had been taken away by the Germans to Bretigny-Sur-Orge. The team inspected that cemetery but nothing corresponded to this crash.
A further investigation took place on the 09th May 1947 to try and establish further information. Nothing definite was established and it was concluded that very few remains were found at the time of the crash as the aircraft had exploded. The Germans were unable to recover the engines after the crash as they were buried too deep. They stated that the remains found were possibly buried with others at Clichy cemetery.
One witness stated that he thought the pilot had tried to find open ground to crash to avoid hitting nearby homes.
(1) Major Wolfgang Ameise Thimmig - a Luftwaffe ace - survived the war with 24 claims, passed away on the 06th November 1976 in Stockholm, Sweden, age 64.
F/O. George Alfred Skinner. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 259. Born on the 21st November 1917, the son of George Walter and Marion Eileen Skinner of Commercial Road, Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia. Instructor, Surf Life Saving Association of Australia.
Sgt. Alan Farmer. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 229. Son of Harold and Alice Farmer of Burnley, Lancashire, England.
Sgt. William Thomas Freeman. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 229. Son of Arthur Albert and Ellen Freeman and husband of Vera Rosetta Freeman of Upper Stratton, Wiltshire, England.
Sgt. David Prewer. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 236. Son of Frederick John and Elizabeth Prewer of Penlon, Anglesey, Wales.
Sgt. Thomas Dudley Ward. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 239. Son of Cecil and Florence Iris Marjorie Ward of Handsworth, Birmingham, England.
Sgt. John Younger Scott. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 237. Son of David Baillie and Nan Younger Scott of Broughton, Peebles, royal burgh in Tweeddale, Scotland.
Sgt. William George Singfield. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 237. Son of Albert and Rose Singfield of Five Elms, Dagenham, Essex, England and husband of Jessie Eileen. William Singfield was a machine operator before enlisting on the 9th August 1940.
Researched for Aircrew Remembered by Linda Ibrom - May 2017 with thanks to Patricia Dunnage (Daughter of William Singfield) for the many photographs submitted. Page dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to additional sources shown as well as the National Archives of Australia.