Personnel Index - Detail
Part of the panel at Runnymede
4 April, 1945; NORDHAUSEN (DAYLIGHT):
A total of 243 Lancasters led by 9 Mosquitoes (all 5 Group) attacked German barracks in the town of Nordhausen during the morning of Wednesday 4th; an attack made in support of our quickly advancing troops. From a bombing height of 16,000 feet, the target and town were both severely damaged.
Flak or night fighter opposition proved non-existent, but one Lancaster from the force did failto return, and it unfortunately came from 49 Squadron: F/O Arthur Fisher RAAF (ME308), aged 21, and crew were tragically all killed when their aircraft F-Fox, was seen to explode over the target. Pat Walters, pilot/rear gunner in F/Lt Bromfield's (PB484) crew had just rotated his turret in time to see the Lancaster disintegrate in a ball of flame; F/O Bob Soutar RNZAF (NX581) and crew also witnessed the explosion.The remaining squadron aircraft landed back at Fulbeck around lunchtime, and during interrogation there was much conjecture and speculation as to the reason for the loss of F/O Fisher's crew. Some thought the aircraft had been hit by bombs from other Lancasters. Another theory was that the bomb load had been released all at once i.e. the 'Cookie' and 15x500lb bombs together, and that one of the 500 pounders may have touched the cookie. (The cookie being barrel shaped has a slower trajectory than the streamlined bombs, and should therefore always be released last).
However, a report has recently been obtained from WO Dennis Over, Rear Gunner on a 227 Squadron aircraft, flown by S/L Meagher, Flight Commander.
"On a daylight raid to Nordhausen we were several minutes from target with aircraft converging towards the target run up. There were clear conditions, no flak or fighters. I saw a Lancaster suddenly break in half, I believe forward of the mid upper turret. I was looking directly at the aircraft, it was flying straight and level and suddenly snapped in two. It was 500 yards low on my starboard quarter.
The two halves plunged vertically to the ground, no parachutes deployed, no fire or explosion. The forward part descended at an angle, the aft part dropped vertically. The aircraft broke up in a clear space between two clouds, we were both in that clear area for about ten seconds. As we were still two minutes to target, no aircraft were bombing at the time.
We logged the incident and gave details to the Intelligence Officer at de-brief. It was confirmed as being a 49 Squadron, it being the only loss.
A couple of years ago I read an article on the incident. I understand that the official records of the loss read 'believed to have been hit by a friendly bomb from another aircraft whilst in cloud'.
It definitely was not in cloud and no bombs had been released."
Lancaster ME308 (EA-F)
F/O A.B. Fischer RAAF Pilot (Killed)
Sgt D.G. Parbery F/E (Killed)
F/S H.R. Sproston NAV (Killed)
Sgt F.F. Sinclair W/AG (Killed)
Sgt F. Wright A/G (Killed)
Sgt G.H. Simmonds B/A (Killed)
F/S T.B. Moore A/G (Killed)
Crew on their 4th operation