Personnel Index - Detail
9/10 August, 1943; MANNHEIM:
Three planned operations had been cancelled but on the 9th, 457 bombers managed to set out for Mannheim. The squadron, now back to full strength was able to put up 17 Lancasters. Two new crews were operating; Sgt Webb (ED721) and Sgt Stanton (JA851).
All 49's aircraft returned safely, with one exception: Sgt Watson (ED719) and crew flying K-King were well into France when trouble first struck The port-outer engine started to overheat and had to be shut down. Bert Cole the crew's bomb aimer continues the story:
"A discussion broke out amongst the crew as to whether we should carry on or not... with a tail wind of 70 knots and the security of the bomber stream we opted to head into Germany, so Cliff Green our Welsh navigator gave our skipper the course. Incendiaries were shed to lighten the load, but as we progressed the port inner engine suffered the same symptoms as the outer. Since we had come so far, we once again decided to 'press on' arriving over the target much later than the Main Force. We crabbed our way over Mannheim on the two good engines all by ourselves and totally unopposed. Away went the 'cookie', but as we departed the target flak and searchlights started up again... they must have feared a second wave of attacks. Not long after leaving the target the Lancaster was becoming too difficult to fly and 'Lol' Watson our skipper could not keep her straight any longer. In his usual laconic Yorkshire accent Lol instructed us to put on our parachutes. I said that mine had been on for the last hour! so he then told me to open the nose escape hatch... I did that half an hour ago came my reply!"
All the crew parachuted down safely to become PoWs for the rest of the war.
Lancaster ED719 (EA-K)
F/S L.E. Watson Pilot (P.o.W.)
Sgt E.C. Lynch F/E (P.o.W.)
F/S C.T. Green Nav (P.o.W.)
Sgt J. Goodall W/AG (P.o.W.)
Sgt J.W. Turner A/G (P.o.W.)
Sgt H. Cole B/A (P.o.W.)
Sgt M.E. Scarfe RCAF A/G (P.o.W.)
Crew on their 11th operation
Bert Cole has written his memoirs........click here to download them (3.0mb)