09/10.08.1943 No. 102 Squadron Halifax II JB782 DY-W Sgt. V.H. Thomas
Operation: Mannheim, Germany
Date: 9/10th August 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 102 squadron
Type: Halifax MkII
Base: RAF Pocklington
Location: Spesbach, Landstuhl Germany
Pilot: Sgt. V.H. Thomas 1338790 RAFVR PoW No: 43241 Camp: Stalag luft Heydekrug (L6)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Cecil Lafford 945774 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Norman Wilbraham 1503859 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Alan Claude Marsh 1322114 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
W.Op./Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Henry Buffery 1194248 RAFVR Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Anderson Walls 1340054 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. T.F.P. Perry 1320453 RAFVR PoW No: 1330 Camp: Stalag luft Heydekrug (L6)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Part of a large raid on the twin cities of Mannheim and Ludwigshafen on the banks of the Rhine, Halifax JB782, together with 456 other aircraft including Halifaxes and Lancasters. JB782 took off from RAF Pocklington at 22:56 hours.
Reportedly, upon reaching the target area, it was cloud covered and not well marked by the Pathfinders which resulted in widely spread bombing of lesser important targets.
Although the flak and searchlight batteries surrounding Mannheim and Ludwigshafen were fairly ineffective, the night fighters managed to down nine aircraft including JB782 which crashed at Spesbach-Landstuhl in Germany at 02:36 hrs.
Shot down by German Nightfighter ace Hptmn. Heinrich Wohlers I/NJG6, his 17th claim of the war.
(1) Hptmn. Heinrich Wohlers: killed in a flying accident on the 15th March, 1944 4 km east of Echterdingen when he crashed Wk. No. 5353 during a landing in heavy fog. Buried Hamburg/Ohlsdorf. A total of 28 claims. (courtesy Kracker Archives)
102 Squadron lost another aircraft during this operation:
Halifax II JD408 DY-R Flown by Sq/Ldr. L.J. Partridge taken PoW with 5 others from his crew, 2 were killed.
Above and below: postcard sent by Sgt. Alan Marsh to a member of his family
Sgt. Cecil Lafford. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20.A.20-22. Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Lafford, of Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, England.
Sgt. Norman Wilbraham. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20.A.20-22. Son of James Walkden Wilbraham, and of Amelia Wilbraham, of Whitefield, Lancashire, England.
Sgt. Alan Claude Marsh. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20.A.20-22. Son of Sydney William and Eveline Henrietta Marsh, of Sanderstead, Surrey, England.
Sgt. William Henry Buffery. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20.A.20-22. No further details - are you able to assist?
Sgt. John Anderson Walls. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. Coll. grave 20. A. 20-22. Son of Janet Walls, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland.
Michel Beckers research - November 2016. With thanks to Des Philippet, Laurence Hennessy for grave photographs, others from the Michel Beckers collection.