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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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115 crest

Operation: Massy Paliseau Chevreusse - Communications

Date: 08th June 1944 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 115 Squadron (motto: 'Despite the elements')

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND790

Code: KO-H

Base: RAF Witchford, Cambridgeshire

Location: St. Clair-Houdan area, France

Pilot: P/O. Sydney Frederick Francis 54718 RAF Age ? Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Albert John Sellick 1177392 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: F/O. William Arthur Horace Fountain 132839 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. George Edwin Hitchcock R/146998 RCAF Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Albert Wharton 1610054 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Halvar Leo Fred Moller J/92035 RCAF Age 34. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Henry Joseph Lawrence Michael Lane 1853600 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Witchford at 00:34 to bomb communications at Chevreusse.

A costly raid for the allies losing 28 of the 337 aircraft. However 115 Squadron suffered heavily, with 5 others also lost:

Lancaster I HK548 KO-W Flown by P/O. Eric Aubrey Law Aus/422207 RAAF - evaded capture with 4 others, 2 killed.
Lancaster I HK552 KO-J Flown by P/O. John Edward Todd Aus/418889 RAAF - Killed with 5 others, 1 evaded capture.
Lancaster I LL864 A4-H (C Flight) Flown by P/O. Ronald Peter Maude 174531 RAFVR - with all 7 crew killed.
Lancaster III ND760 A4-K (C Flight) Flown by P/O. Charles Henry Quinton 175619 RAFVR - with all 7 crew killed.
Lancaster III ND761 A4-C (C Flight) Fl/Lt. Peter Wingate Norbury 87027 RAFVR - with all 7 crew killed.

ND790 the following pilots could claim this aircraft:

Lt Gerhard Wagner 8/NJG5 – St Clair-Houdan area (UD-AD): 1,600m at 02:03 or Mantes-Houdan area (AD): 1,600m at 02:06.

Lt Martin Tschiersch 6/NJG2 - St Clair-Houdan area (UD-AD) at 02:08.

The aircraft crashed and exploded with a full bomb load at Houdan,Yvelines area, killing all 7 crew members.

Above L-R: P/O. Sydney Francis, F/O. William Fountain, Fl/Sgt. George Hitchcock. (see credits)

Above L-R: Sgt. Albert Wharton, P/O. Halvar Moller, Sgt. Henry Lane. (see credits)

Burial details:

After formal identification by Fl/Lt. J.H. Leiper and Fl/Lt. R.S. Clifton No.1 Missing Research and Enquiry Unit on the 07th March the graves were marked accordingly in a collective grave.

P/O. Sydney Frederick Francis. Houdan Communal Cemetery. Collective Grave. No further details - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Albert John Sellick. Houdan Communal Cemetery. Collective Grave. No further details - are you able to assist?

F/O. William Arthur Horace Fountain. Houdan Communal Cemetery, Collective Grave. Son of William and Louisa Maria Fountain and husband of Maud Spencer Fountain, of Camberwell, London. Grave inscription: 'Words Fail Our Loss To Tell; In Heaven We Hope To Meet Evermore With Him To Dwell'.

Crew graves, then an now (see credits)

Fl/Sgt. George Edwin Hitchcock. Houdan Communal Cemetery, Collective Grave. Son of Edwin and Lilian E. Hitchcock, of Charing Cross, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription: 'He Died The Helpless To Defend A Gallant Airman's Noble End'.

Sgt. Albert Wharton. Houdan Communal Cemetery, Collective Grave. Son of Smith and Mina Wharton, husband of Florence Isabella Wharton, of Syresham, Northamptonshire.

/O. Halvar Leo Fred Moller. Houdan Communal Cemetery, Collective Grave. Son of Arvid A. A. Moller and Emmy C. Moller, of Edberg, Alberta, Canada. Grave inscription: 'We Love Him Still. His All He Gave That Those He Loved So Well Might Live'.

Sgt. Henry Joseph Lawrence Michael Lane. Houdan Communal Cemetery, Collective Grave. Son of Thomas Patrick and Pauline Lane, of Copnor, Hampshire. Grave inscription: 'Rest In Peace'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to John Jones and Colin Jarrold for information and photographs, Paradie Archive, Theo Boiten - Nachtjagd Combat Archives 1944 Part 3, Kracker Archive, other sources as quoted below:

JJ / KTY 03-03-2021

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', 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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