49 Squadron Awards
21/22 June, 1944; WESSELING:
A force of over 130 Lancasters from 5 Group was to attack the synthetic-oil plant at Wesseling, 15 miles south of Cologne - marking would be by 5 Group Mosquitoes using the 'Newhaven' method.
At 03.32hrs, combat exhausted 49 Squadron crews began landing back at Fiskerton. Their opening remarks gave the first hints of the disaster that had befallen the aircrew of 5 Group. S/Ldr Botting (ND957) and crew began first; they reported; "enemy a/c seem to be exceedingly accurate tonight - saw several aircraft shot down."
Then, just after 04.00hrs, F/O Bill Green RNZAF (JB178) and his tired, battle-chastened crew shuffled into the interrogation room and flopped down; they then commenced to report the following:
"We saw many aircraft shot down... we were attacked twice - after the first attack our rear guns went u/s but we went on... after the second attack the port-inner engine had to be feathered and the bomb load jettisoned as we were losing height rapidly."
Later, whilst sitting back and feeling a little more relaxed as they sipped their rum laced cocoa, the pilot concluded his report by adding: "My crew behaved exemplarily!"
For his actions this night, New Zealander F/O William Raeburn Green was awarded the DFC... sadly, within a month, Bill and his gallant crew would all lie at rest together in a French Cemetery.