29/30th August 1944 83 Squadron Lancaster III PB249 Sq/Ldr. Sparks DFC
Operation: Köningsberg (now Kalingrad)
Date: 29/30th August 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: No. 83 Squadron (motto: 'Strike to Defend'). 5 (PF) Group
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire
Location: Zielkeim (now known as Petrovo)
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. 'Ned' Ernest Neville Monkhouse Sparks DFC. 43633 RAFVR PoW Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang (L1)
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Lawrence George Batchelor 1735257 RAFVR PoW No. 749 Stalag Luft Bankau near Kreulberg Upper Silesia (L7)
Nav: Sq/Ldr. Robert Henry Schofield 120349 RAFVR Age 33. Missing - believed killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. William Edgar Pearson DFC J/21611 RCAF PoW No. 5296 Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang (L1)
Spec/Op: Fl/Lt. Edwin John Clessie Richardson DFM 113496 RAFVR Age 36. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Leonard John Daniels 174043 RAFVR PoW Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang (L1)
Air/Gnr: F/O. John Hudson Wilkinson DFC Aus/400444 RAAF Age 30. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. George William Chesters 636624 RAFVR PoW No. 768 Stalag Luft Bankau near Kreulberg
Upper Silesia (L7) / Stalag Luft Luckenwalde (3A)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Coningsby at 20:21 hrs. for an operation against Königsberg.
Hit by Flak, which killed F/O. Wilkinson RAAF. With the others who died, he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Crashed Zielkeim (Now Petrovo Poland) 12km North West of Koningsberg (Kaliningrad).
Sq/Ldr. Sparks had only recently resumed operational flying since evading in the wake of the Mailly-le-Camp raid on the 03/04th May1944. Lancaster III JB402 OL-R shot down by Oblt.Dietrich Schmidt 0f 8./NJG4 at 00:46 hrs near Missy Condé, France. Six of the crew evaded with two taken PoW. With assistance from the Burgundy Line he returned to England on the 22nd June 1944. His DFC gazetted 25th January 1946. Effected from the 28th August 1944.
F/O. Wilkinson RCAF was awarded DFC whilst with 83 Squadron. Gazetted 19th September 1944.
'P/O. Wilkinson is an Air Gunner of great ability and determination. He has taken part in a large number of operational sorties, many of which have been against some Germany’s most heavily defended targets.On one occasions, in March 1944, when engaged in an attack on Stuttgart, Junkers 88 attacked the aircraft five times, but P/O. Wilkinson, by his accurate directions to his captain and coolly aimed return fire, drove off the enemy aircraft in a badly damaged condition. At all times his unwavering devotion to duty and constant alertness have inspired confidence in his crew'.
F/O. William Edgar Pearson was awarded DFC (effective 28th August 1944) whilst with 97 Squadron. Born on the 18th April 1922 - passed away on the 15th October 2018, age 96.
Fl/Lt. Richardson has flown his first tour with 54 Squadron, his DFM being Gazetted on the 06th June 1941.
Sq/Ldr. Ernest Neville Monkhouse Sparks was later awarded the DFC and the AFC.
Fl/Sgt. Lawrence George Batchelor was a part of Trupp 33. He arrived at Bankau on 19th September 1944.
Fl/Sgt. George William Chesters arrived at Bankau on 25th September 1944.
Almost certain those killed were buried at Koningsberg but the MREU post war were not permitted access by the Russians to retrieve the bodies.
Sq/Ldr. Robert Henry Schofield. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 201. Also remembered at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar Schoo, Blackburn Flew 28 operations with 49 Squadron. Son of Henry Schofield and of Helena May Schofield (nee Holgate) and husband of Helen Schofield, of West Brompton, London.
Fl/Lt. Edwin John Clessie Richardson DFM. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 203. Born on the 29th February 1908. Son of Edwin Waters (died 02nd June 1936, age 69) and Catherine Beatrice Richardson, (née Thomas) of 2 Woodland Place, Ochrwyth, Risca, Monmouthshire, Wales.
F/O. John Hudson Wilkinson DFC. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 257. Born on the 18th February 1914 at Rutherglen. Enlisted 02nd September 1942. Son of Hudson Hall Wilkinson Died 27th July 1961, age 56) and Mary Ann Wilkinson, of Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia. Chemist.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to John Jones, Oliver Clutton-Brock - 'The Long Road' and 'RAF Evaders', Risca Branch The Royal British Legion, other sources as quoted below: