Personnel Index - Detail
The early grave markers.............note misspelling of 'Thompson'
Image courtesy of Michael Hardy from the the Ryton and District War Memorials Project.
24/25 June, 1944; POMMEREVAL:
For the following two nights after the Wesseling catastrophe, the squadron was stood down. On Saturday 24th, BBC radio news reported that to date, 750,000 allied troops had been landed in Normandy. But the flying-bomb threat was the main concern of Bomber Command this night; 739 aircraft were detailed to attack 7 different launch sites. Despite its grievous losses 49 Squadron was able to offer 13 crews for an attack on Pommerval. The names of three new crews appeared on the Battle Order for the first time; they were piloted by F/O Taylor (LM572), P/O Poole (ND957) and F/O McCracken (LM541).
A clear moonlit night gave ideal bombing conditions, but it also gave the German night fighters a keen advantage. In all, 22 Lancasters failed to return, and sadly one of them carried the 49 Squadron crew of F/O Taylor, on only their first operation; four crew members managed to escape with their lives, but sadly the other three (including 39 year-old F/O James Judd W/AG) did not survive and are buried in a Somme Churchyard.
Lancaster LM572 (EA-P)
F/O G.B.L. Taylor Pilot (P.o.W.)
Sgt J.R. Sidebottom F/E (P.o.W.)
Sgt D. Reid RCAF NAV (Evaded)
F/O J.F. Judd W/AG (Killed)
Sgt R. Thompson A/G (Killed)
Sgt E.A. Milligan B/A (P.o.W.)
Sgt D.A. Wilson A/G (Killed)
Crew on their 1st operation
The 'Taylor Crew' (image courtesy of Deborah Taylor)
Click the image or this link for a larger version (opens in a new window)
F/O Taylor's wings are clearly visible, Sgt Sidebottom is centre/rear row and Sgt Wilson is RHS/rear row
Robert Thompson's name is recorded on the Ryton War Memorial (Tyne & Wear)
Sgt Thompson's death was not confirmed until March 1945
The newspaper articles are from the Newcastle Chronicle, Roll of Honour section, 25 June 1945 (the first anniversary of his death)
Images courtesy of Debbie Taylor (daughter of pilot G.B.L.Taylor)
Further details of their loss have been discovered:
At 00.12hrs, Oblt Adolf Kaiser of 1/NJG2 intercepted LM572 at a height of 1,900 metres over the Foucarmont area. Feldwebel Jasiniecki (Kaisers' Flight Engineer) recorded in his Logbook:
“Attack from behind and below from a range of 30 meters. Strikes in the fuselage and both wings. Disintegrated into three pieces while still in the air. Crash observed in Planquadrat RD 4 (Foucarmont).”
The claim was confirmed on 28 August 1944. One of the four surviving aircrew of Kaiser’s victim, Sgt Reid RCAF, later stated that his aircraft was hit at approximately 00.10 hrs, shortly after ‘bombs away’, and saw two fighters engaging two other Lancasters with forward-firing armament during his descent. Before he landed, he saw three aircraft burning on the ground.
Courtesy of Alain Trouplin, who has been researching the crashes around Massey from the Pommereval raid, we have an accurate map of the crashsite of LM572 (and that of LL975 ZN-H from 106Sqn).
The map opens in a new window.
Photographs of the inauguration of a monument in memory of the crew of Lancaster LM 572 (EA-P) can be viewed by clicking this link.