Personnel Index - Detail

First Names
John Charles
Flight Sergeant
Service Number
Crew Position
Air Gunner
PoW Date
18/07/1944 (captured 10/08/1944)
Lancaster PB231
PoW Camp(s)
PoW Number


Image courtesy of Joanne Real

Standing (from left to right):
W B Barlow (mid upper), V Callagher (bomb aimer), C Lacy (pilot), J C Wellein (rear gunner)
D J Ryan (wireless operator), L B Holmes (navigator)

18/19 July, 1944; REVIGNY:

Crews, exhausted from their pre-dawn exploits were roused from their beds to be told they were 'on' again that night. Two railway targets at Aulnoye and Revigny in France had been selected for attack by 253 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitoes of 1,3,5 and 8 Groups. Both targets were hit, severing the rail lines to the battle front, although several bomb aimers reported confusion caused by fires burning near the Red Spot. At interrogation, crews once again reported an extremely large amount of fighter activity.

F/O Cliff Lacy DFC, and his experienced crew including two Aussies and one Canadian, also fell victims during the savage air battle over Revigny. The two gunners, Sgt Barlow and P/O Wellein RCAF, were the only survivors and were taken to Luft 7. The remainder lie at rest in St Ouen-en-Domprot Churchyard near Marne.

Lancaster PB231 (EA-H)
F/O C. Lacy DFC Pilot (Killed)
Sgt I. Shingles F/E (Killed)
W/O L.B. Holmes RAAF NAV (Killed)
F/S D.J. Ryan RAAF W/OP (Killed)
Sgt W.G. Barlow A/G (P.o.W.)
F/S V. Gallagher A/B (Killed)
Sgt J.C. Wellein RCAF A/G (P.o.W.)

Crew on their 16th operation

Details of their loss researched by Colin Cripps:
Two night fighters claimed Lancasters but it cannot be ascertained who shot down which aircraft.

Ofw Herbert Altner of 8./NJG5 claimed a Lancaster as "Abschuss", his 17th kill. The Interception was at 01.25hrs in the Maillly le Camp area at a height of 2,400m. This was either PB231 or another 49 Sqn Lancaster JB178.

Fw Gunter Zimmermann of 8./NJG4 claimed a 4 motored aircraft as "Abschuss, his 2nd kill. Interception was at 01.33hrs in the Mailly le Camp area at a height of 1,800m. This was either PB231 or another 49 Sqdn Lancaster JB178.

Altner survived the war with the rank of  Leutnant having 22 night victories and 1 day.
Zimmermann was posted "Missing" overnight on the 6-7th of August 1944, during a night fighter sortie in the Mortain-Avranches area.
He attained 2 victories.

Joël Charton contacted the 49Sqn Association with a remarkable story. His father-in-law bought a farm near St Ouen-en-Domprot, a village where Lancaster PB 231 crashed in 1944.
The previous owner had witnessed the crash and had kept the "dog-tags" of F/Sgt Wellein in a small coffee tin.

The Barrington Coffee tin with Sgt Wellein's tags.
Note that Barrington Coffee is an American company.

'Posted Out' in May 1983.