Personnel Index - Detail
3/4 November, 1943; DÜSSELDORF:
It wasn't until 3rd November that Bomber Command was able to send a large force out again, when almost 600 bombers were sent against the German city of Düsseldorf. The 'rest' period had enabled most squadrons to replenish their establishment of aircraft and 49 was no exception. Now re-settled back at Fiskerton (from Dunholme Lodge), the unit was able to provide 18 aircraft for the evening’s operation. The raid was successful with many fires reported but Command did lose 18 aircraft and crews.
For the second raid in succession 49 Squadron lost two aircraft. The second aircraft reported missing, was that piloted by F/Lt Carfoot (JB305) and crew on only their second trip.
F/Lt Norman Carfoot had previously served in Coastal Command (having flown over 2,000hrs) before volunteering for Bomber Command... in search of more excitement! Over Düsseldorf, his Lancaster became coned in searchlights and almost instantly suffered hits from heavy flak. Sgt Church, the crew's navigator, recalls the final moments aboard the aircraft:
"Flak set the port wing on fire and the next moment tracer shells from an attacking JU88 passed inches in front of my chest (Sgt Wood, the W/Op, was killed instantly during this attack). The pilot ordered us all to bale out, but first he asked me to check if the rear gunner was OK; just then, over the intercom, the Aussie voice of F/Sgt Steve List confirmed that he had in fact heard the bale out order. I then put my chute on and followed the flight engineer, Sgt Mason down the steps into the nose ready to jump; the bomb aimer, Sgt Putnam RCAF went first. I turned to take one last look at my skipper, Norman Carfoot, silhouetted by the flames from the blazing wing as he held our doomed Lanc as steady as a rock... he just waved ... I think we both knew then that he wasn't going to make it." Just those three crew members who jumped from the nose hatch survived; Sgt Church believes that the Lancaster must have exploded shortly after he left the aircraft.
Lancaster JB305 (EA-E)
F/L N.H. Carfoot Pilot (Killed)
Sgt J.S. Mason F/E (P.o.W.)
Sgt H.D. Church NAV (P.o.W.)
Sgt H.L. Wood W/AG (Killed)
Sgt W.H. Marson A/G (Killed)
F/S S.G. Putnam RCAF B/A (P.o.W.)
F/S S.M. List RAAF A/G (Killed)
Crew on their 2nd operation
John's son tells this most poignant story:
When dad was dying, I asked him if he was scared of death, his reply was,
"Scared! No son, scared is flying over Germany at 37,000 ft and anyway I'm just off to see some friends I haven't seen for 60 years."
This airman flew Lancaster ED999 at least once....click for an image and information about this aircraft.
"Posted out" 1999