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  #1  
Old 4th January 2011, 07:43
Bandlaw Charlie Bandlaw Charlie is offline
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Re: 156 Squadron Lancaster crash

Hello.

I'm doing some research into a pathfinder lancaster lost over Germany on the 31st of March 1945...on a sortie to Hamburg.

The crew and plane were part of 156 Squadron..codes GT-O (PB517) and this was the second to last lanc to be lost by this squadron.

What I want to try and find out was why she came down...I'm assuming that since she was to the South West of Hamburg, that she may have been the victim of an enemy fighter....I've read that there were quite a few ME262s about...

Any help from German researchers would be very much appreciated....

cheers and a Happy New Year to all.
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  #2  
Old 4th January 2011, 12:10
Icare9 Icare9 is offline
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Re: 156 Squadron Lancaster crash

Hi and Happy New Year (albeit wet) to you...
I assume from your comment that it was the penultimate 156 Squadron loss, that you have already checked out the 156 Squadron Roll of Honour?
PB468 was also lost that night, also with 8 crew aboard, so they lost 13 RAF and 3 RCAF killed, quite a high price so near the end of the War.
156 was as you no doubt also know, was a pathfinder squadron, so in addition to extra crew member to assist with navigation or H2S, or radio intercepts and misdirection, they would also spend extra time orbiting to ensure bombing was on the correct markers.
No doubt that additional time over target contributed to the fighters and flak being able to home in on them.
As they took off just after 06:30, it would be daylight by the time they reached Hamburg. The crew have individual graves, so at least they were identifiable, and now lie alongside each other in death, as they did as a crew.
Whilst there were no RAAF casualties, there were RCAF crew, so it may be worth searching how to contact them for their records, as sometimes more info is available in RAAF/RCAF records than in RAF files!
Munro's citation for his DFC is noted on the Air Force Association of Canada website http://airforce.ca/awards.php?search...mem=&type=rcaf and reads:-
MUNRO, F/L Lorne Earle (J29516) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.156 Squadron - Award effective 10 May 1945 as per London Gazette dated 22 May 1945 and AFRO 1147/45 dated 13 July 1945. Born 1912; home in Brantford, Ontario (salesman); enlisted in London, Ontario, 28 July 1942. Trained at No.1 ITS (graduated 19 March 1943) and No.5 AOS (graduated 20 August 1943). Commissioned 1943. Killed in action 31 March 1945 (Lancaster PB517) during daylight sortie to Hamburg. Medal presented to his mother at Governor House, 7 November 1949. No citation other than "completed...numerous operations against the enemy in the course of which [he has] invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty". Public Records Office Air 2/9070 has recommendation dated 18 February 1945 when he had flown 33 sorties (173 hours 50 minutes), 20 July 1944 to 7 February 1945.

20 Jul 44 Courtrai 19 Oct 44 Stuttgart
25 Jul 44 Stuttgart 23 Oct 44 Essen
28 Jul 44 Stuttgart 25 Oct 44 Essen
3 Aug 44 Chantilly 28 Oct 44 Cologne
4 Aug 44 Pauillac 20 Nov 44 Colbenz
7 Aug 44 Caen 21 Nov 44 Ascheffenburg
10 Aug 44 Paris 27 Nov 44 Freiburg
11 Aug 44 Fontaine le Pin 29 Nov 44 Essen
16 Aug 44 Stettin 30 Nov 44 Duisburg
25 Aug 44 Russelheim 4 Dec 44 Karlsruhe
29 Aug 44 Stettin 6 Dec 44 Osnabruck
30 Sep 44 Bottrop 21 Dec 44 Bonn
6 Oct 44 Sterkrade 16 Jan 45 Zeitz
7 Oct 44 Cleve 22 Jan 45 Hamborn
14 Oct 44 Hamborn 1 Feb 45 Mainz
14 Oct 44 Duisburg 7 Feb 45 Goch
15 Oct 44 Wilhelmshaven

Flight Lieutenant Munro has completed 33 operational sorties, the majority of which have been on German targets; 22 of these have been with the Pathfinder Force.
This officer is a reliable and efficient navigator and has always maintained a high standard in his operational work. He is keen and determined and his zest for operational work is worthy of high praise.
He has shown loyalty and devotion to duty of a high order and I recommend him for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Trust that helps a little.
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  #3  
Old 5th January 2011, 04:57
Bandlaw Charlie Bandlaw Charlie is offline
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Re: 156 Squadron Lancaster crash

Thanks for that.....much appreciated...

What I'm trying to find out, if possible, is how the aircraft was lost. According to Chorley's works, the lanc came down in either two locations, which are not a million miles apart. One is a municipality and the other is a village within it...a place called Stemmen...which is South West of Hamburg....

I don't have a time of crash, so I can't tell if the lanc and crew were lost en-route or outward bound...

I know that German ME262s were out on that day and about and I wonder if they were victims of a day fighter attack....it must have been frustrating for the victims families not to know what had happened to them....only of course that they were killed..and so close to the war's end...

Are there any German researchers on this site that could help??
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Old 5th January 2011, 12:54
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: 156 Squadron Lancaster crash

A long shot but you can try this e-mail spurensuchesh@gmx.de.

This guy is studying crashes in Schelswig-Holstein (sp?), so more north, but may have info on battles around Hamburg, or contacts with German researchers in the right area.

According to the 156 Sqn report (http://www.156squadron.com/display_m...?MissionId=247) the squadron was engaged by Me 262.

According to an entry with no given source in the www.crashplace.de database (search by date, 31 März 1945), this Lancaster was probably shot down by Oblt Fritz Stehle of 2./JG 7 and fell bei Rotenburg an der Wümme.

Good luck

Laurent
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Old 5th January 2011, 22:46
Icare9 Icare9 is offline
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Re: 156 Squadron Lancaster crash

Merci beaucoup, Laurent, and that's what I would have suggested, a daylight operation, so other aircraft, especially those nearby, taking off at around the same time, may well have recorded attacks.
Additionally, after the War, the bodies were reburied, so perhaps the CWGC have the initial burial site in their records. Can't hurt to email and ask if they have anything on the original crash site, or where that info might be found.
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  #6  
Old 6th January 2011, 02:33
Bandlaw Charlie Bandlaw Charlie is offline
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Re: 156 Squadron Lancaster crash

To both of you guys..my sincere thanks.

This is definately putting me in the right direction.

I've contacted the War Graves Commision to see if Tony and his crew were re-interred....as Becklingen is a long way South of the supposed crash site.

I've found a claims list for JG7 and it's a wee bit ambitious..as they have claimed 15 lancasters that day..4 more than the total losses accepted by bomber command..and they included Halifaxes and I think from memory a mosquito as well....

Fritz Stehle sounds like the person responsible...I've never heard of him myself...I wonder if he still lives......

Thanks all or your help......you've been great.
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  #7  
Old 10th January 2011, 08:14
David P. Williams David P. Williams is offline
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Re: 156 Squadron Lancaster crash

I am in regular contact with a member of 156 Squadron who took part in that raid, he was the rear gunner.

The raid was carried out in day light. He saw Me 262s attack the formation and saw the Lancaster attacked and go down.

I will confirm this with him today as i know he is still in contact with the daughter of one of the crew men that was killed.

David
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  #8  
Old 12th January 2011, 02:39
Bandlaw Charlie Bandlaw Charlie is offline
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Re: 156 Squadron Lancaster crash

Ah,
Mr. Williams...the illusive pimpernel..and a great writer to boot...you're a very difficult man to track down....

Your help would be much appreciated as I'm undertaking quite a bit of research into this crew specifically and the mission itself...

Strange thing is that I've looked through the ORBs and still can't see any information about the presence of Me262s...although historically that day was a relative success for the German airforce..and the last time they would record successes in double figures....

Please get in touch when you can.

Andy.
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  #9  
Old 1st December 2014, 12:12
David Saunders
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Re: 156 Squadron Lancaster crash

I am researching my Dad's cousin Sqn Ldr Anthony Saunders, who was killed along with his crew whilst on the fateful Leipzig raid of 19/20 Feb 1944, flying GT-T ND358. I have had contact with a NZ author who wrote Under a Bombers Moon, and we can deduce the possibility the Paul Zorner may have been the night fighter pilot. Records say the aircraft crashed near Zasenbach. I know little else, and would be delighted if family or friends of his crew would like to make contact. Crew list is readily available and I have it recorded as: F/L Sterns, WO Gibb, F/Sgt Taylor, F/O Gough, F/L RAAF, F/O Reeves. This one of two 156 Sqn aircraft downed that night. More info can be found here...
http://www.156squadron.com/crew_saundersad.html
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