Personnel Index - Detail
21/22 June, 1944; WESSELING:
There was nothing unusual about Wednesday 21 June, 1944; the weather, as with previous days remained dull and the slight northerly wind kept temperatures a little chilly.
For aircrew the morning passed slowly, whilst activity on the airfield indicated that ops were on the menu for that evening. There had been no operations for the past five days so just after lunch a small crowd had gathered as an airman pinned up the Battle Order; twenty aircraft were detailed with the main briefing at 20.00hrs. For those crews listed, the usual pre-operational routine began, then later, after a noisy meal in the Sgts' Mess and with coffee flasks filled, crews walked or were ferried over to the main site for specialist briefings and then the main briefing. The tape on the wall map showed a route ending just below the Ruhr... Germany for a change.
Two tortuous hours now for aircrew, as they awaited the take-off time of 23.00hrs. With oleo legs compressed by their heavy bomb loads, each Lancaster rumbled around to the active runway threshold; a flash of green from the control caravan sent the first aircraft (piloted by F/Lt Johnny Hill) speeding down the concrete strip. On this, the longest day of the year, daylight still lingered during double British summertime, even at such a late hour. As F/Lt Hill's aircraft accelerated past the ever-present group of well wishers, waves and gestures were exchanged by the smiling Lancaster crew but this was to be this particular crew’s final take-off, for within just a few short hours, all seven members were to perish over Holland, victims of a deadly German night-fighter.
Lancaster ME675 (EA-R)
F/L J.R. Hill Pilot (Killed)
Sgt G.F. Witty F/E (Killed)
F/O K.W. Jones RNZAF NAV (Killed)
Sgt T.B. Whewell W/AG (Killed)
Sgt T.A. Hall A/G (Killed)
F/S D.M.F. Bell B/A (Killed)
F/S G.F. Wood A/G (Killed)
Crew on their 9th operation
Information via Colin Cripps (49Sqn Researcher)
Lancaster ME675 was claimed by Oblt. Fritz Lau of 4./NJG1 as his 9th Abschuss at 01.12hrs, south west of Eindhoven. ME675 was also claimed by Flak of 3. & 4./gem. Flak Abt. 155. OKL confirmed claim to Oblt. Lau on 6.9.1944.
Lau was promoted to Hptm and survived the war with 23 victories.
Sgt Hall is remembered in the village church at Waterfall, Staffordshire.