Personnel Index - Detail
Rear row: L to R
Sgt E Battye (AG), Sgt S D Bolton (Nav), Sgt J Houghton (AG), Sgt W Cooper (F/E)
Front row: L to R
P/O I G Williams (W/Op), F/O E C Maul, F/Sgt A L Jackson
Image kindly provided by Peter Harvey.
21 November, 1944; GRAVENHORST (MITTELLAND CANAL):
Whilst a 5 Group force of 123 Lancasters attacked the Dortmund-Ems Canal, 10 aircraft from 49 Squadron joined 128 other 5 Group Lancasters in bombing the Mittelland Canal at Gravenhorst. The Main Force, led by 6 Mosquitoes arrived in the target area shortly before 21.00hrs. Orbiting the target, the Controller originally ordered the forces to stay at pre-briefed bombing heights, but at 20.58hrs, he then ordered the Main Force to attack from below the cloud base which was given as 4,000ft. These instructions were subjected to severe jamming of W/T which caused much confusion. The controller next ordered the crews to bomb the southern red T.I's as planned. Consequently some crews bombed through cloud and others from below, with the markers being visible through the cloud layers. In the light of photo flashes, some 49 crews did obtain visual identification and despite the communication problems, the canal was successfully breached. 49 Squadron de-briefs show that the crew's of F/Lt Len Mellor (PB373), F/O Jock Galloway and F/O Carlyle (PB484) bombed below the clouds, whilst five other crews bombed red T.I's from above.
This just left the two aircraft being flown by F/O Maul (PB354) and Grp/Cpt Weir (PB300) - it has been speculated that one of these two aircraft exploded after being hit by bombs from above, which in turn caused the other aircraft nearby, to also explode. This speculation is confirmed by the fact that there were no Nachtjagd claims for the whole raid and all the Flak reports in Northern and Western Germany make no reference to a claim in this area.
Lancaster PB354 (EA-G)
F/O E.C. Maul Pilot (Killed)
Sgt W. Cooper F/E (Killed)
Sgt S.D. Bolton NAV (Killed)
P/O I.G. Williams W/AG (Killed)
Sgt E. Battye A/G (Killed)
F/S A.L. Jackson B/A (Killed)
Sgt J. Houghton A/G (Killed)
Crew on their 12th operation
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary (November 2014) a memorial service was held in Gravenhorst to remember all those who died.