Personnel Index - Detail

Name
WALLNER
First Names
John Isidore
Rank
F/Sgt
Service
RCAF
Service Number
R143738
Crew Position
Air Gunner
Age
23
Date of Death
18/08/1943
Cemetery

 

Photographed by Malcolm Brooke




 

17/18 August, 1943; PEENEMUNDE:

This was a 'special' raid in which Bomber Command was tasked to attempt a night time precision raid on the German research establishment at Peenemunde, on the Baltic coast. It was here that the V-2 rockets were built and tested.
It was essential that a decisive blow be struck against this target, and crews were made well aware at briefing that they would have to return the following evening if sufficient damage was not incurred. Such was the importance of this raid, that most of the squadrons operating, were led by their Wing Commanders. A force of 596 bombers started leaving their home airfields on a pleasantly warm summer’s evening. Twelve Lancasters had been detailed from the squadron and at 21.35 the first aircraft and crew speed down Fiskerton's runway. Five miles beyond the runway’s end lay the city of Lincoln with its majestic Cathedral silhouetted against the setting sun. Most of 49 Squadron's aircraft bombed from about 7,000ft. By this time, the German controllers had realised the real target and had re-directed the night fighters. In conjunction with strong flak defences, the fighters took a heavy toll of bombers, especially the 3rd and final wave. For the first time the German fighters were using a new weapon, codenamed 'Schrage-Music'. It consisted of two 30mm cannon mounted to point upwards from the fuselage. So equipped the pilot slipped underneath an unsuspecting bomber and aimed shells up into the wing fuel tanks. Once perfected, an experienced crew could bring a bomber down using very few rounds. Forty aircraft fell, with 5 Group losing 17 - Fiskerton had 4 Lancasters shot down, one-third of those dispatched by 49 Squadron.

Sgt Charles Robinson and crew were attacked and shot down after bombing. The fighter attacked from the rear... rear gunner F/Sgt Jack Wallner RCAF managed to shout a warning to the pilot before both he and the enemy opened fire. Five of the crew managed to make their desperate escape but unfortunately both gunners perished.
 

Lancaster JA892
Sgt C Robinson Pilot (P.o.W.)
Sgt W. Boyd F/E (P.o.W.)
F/O P.F. Duckham Nav (P.o.W.)
Sgt A.E. Anderson W/AG (P.o.W.)
Sgt D. Parkin A/G (Killed)
F/O W.J. Lowe B/A (P.o.W.)
F/S J. Wallner RCAF A/G (Killed)

Crew on their 13th operation
 

Click here for a crew photo extracted from the Squadron photograph of April 1943.
 

Jim Lowe's story about his capture and life as a PoW is in the Documents section