Personnel Index - Detail
Awarded the DFM
The headstone photographed by Bruno Gielis
Image courtesy of Geoff Swallow.
ME808 was a possible claim of Ofw Heinrich Kuseling of 12./NJG3. He claimed an 'Abschuss' at 02.12hrs, west of Eindhoven, at a height of 2,800 metres
ME808 blew up in mid-air scattering debris which landed 25 metres from the farm house in the yard.
The above pictures were supplied by Guido Van Wassenhove, Chairman of the 2nd Branch of the Polar Bear Association.
The plaque was unveiled on the 4th of May 2013 in the presence of a party of Polar Bears, the insignia of the 49th West Riding Division, who were the liberators of the town in October 1944. The Crew of ME808 are also listed in the remembrance register near the Polar Bear Monument in the town.
When ME808 crashed, the farm was owned by Jozef Van Looveren, his grandson Geert Van Looveren is now the owner of the farm.
On the photo you'll see a little chapel with the statue of Lady Mary. This was built by Jozef Van Looveren after the crash on request of his wife as a token of gratitude for the protection given by Lady Mary. Although the farm was renovated by Geert Van Looveren, most of the buildings were kept the same as they were in 1944
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.
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.
The experienced S/Ldr Leonard Cox and crew, were killed when their Lancaster was brought down over Belgium; they are all buried in the Antwerpen Cemetery.
Lancaster ME808 (EA-D)
S/L L.E. Cox Pilot (Killed)
F/O J.H. Ingram F/E (Killed)
F/O J.M. Freckleton DFM NAV (Killed)
F/O W. Mather DFM W/AG (Killed)
F/O W.E. Day A/G (Killed)
F/O M. James DFC B/A (Killed)
F/O A. Hambly A/G (Killed)
Crew on their 2nd operation with 49 Sqn
Additional photographs courtesy of Geoff Swallow.
Previously, in 1942, William had flown operations with 97Sqn.
Click the image to view a larger version in a new window......note that his pilot was David Maltby who became well known with the 1943 Dambusters.
Following a course at No:5 LFS at the end of May 1944, he was posted to 49Sqn.
To read a short biography of William Mather click this link (page opens in a new window).
All images and information are courtesy of RAAF researcher Geoff Swallow.