Personnel Index - Detail

Name
ANCELL
First Names
Robert Hasting
Rank
Sgt
Service
RAF
Service Number
1399793
Crew Position
Air Gunner
Age
39
Cemetery

 

Photographed by Malcolm Brooke
 

23/24 May, 1943; DORTMUND:

On this Sunday night, a tremendous force of 826 bombers was launched against Dortmund. In clear weather conditions, the PFF marked accurately and a devastating attack was the result. Large areas of the town were destroyed and nearly 2,000 buildings flattened and for the first time Bomber Command had dropped over 2,000 tons of bombs and incendiaries in one night. RAF losses amounted to 38 aircraft. 49 Squadron had dispatched 13 aircraft into the fray, with two new crews being blooded; those of F/Os Millar (ED726) and Thomas (ED813). Authorised bombing height was 20,000ft, but due to the failure of one engine, P/O Tom Taylor (ED721) and crew found themselves approaching the target at considerably less height than that; after having to weave through searchlights and run the gauntlet of flak, they eventually released their load at 14,000ft! Things were not much safer at 19,500ft where F/Lt Munro (ED625) and crew were once again having their share of excitement; shortly before 'bomb release', a cluster of 30lb incendiary bombs rained past them striking their starboard wing. Despite the damage, they continued the bombing run and lucky B-Baker brought them safely home once again. The returning squadron crews brought back graphic descriptions of the burning town. It soon became clear after de-brief that once again 49 had yet another 'new crew' missing; sadly F/O Thomas's aircraft had been brought down near Essen.

ED813 (EA-W)
F/O I.W. Thomas Pilot (P.o.W.)
P/O J. Grant F/E (P.o.W.)
F/O Duthie NAV (P.o.W.)
P/O R. Christy WOP (Killed)
Sgt G.R. Evans A/G (Killed)
P/O T.G.H. Lewis B/A (Killed)
Sgt R.H. Ancell A/G (Killed)

Crew on their 1st operation