Waddington’s Lancasters arrived back from Stettin between 08.27 and 09.37 this morning.
Except for three.
One diverted to Wigsley (and was “outstanding for a while” until it was reported that he was safe on the ground there) but two remained missing. Pilot Officer Frank Connolly and crew, in ED547, disappeared without trace. Flying Officer Colin Reynolds and crew, in ED994, crashed north of Stettin. Only the flight engineer, Sergeant W King, survived.
The feint attack on Berlin worked as planned, successfully drawing defenders away from the main force, but even so the missing Waddington aircraft were two out of a total of 27 bombers lost in last night’s trip. 467 Squadron crews reported “one very big explosion” over the target and “all considered this the best effort for months”, with fires visible 200 miles away. Heavy damage was caused in the central part of Stettin, though the phenomenon of ‘creepback’ led to undershooting and scattered the bombing a little to the west of the aiming point.
At Waddington itself, it was a clear day, but both Squadrons were stood down and nothing much happened during the day. After the very late return this morning from the operation, there were “very few aircrews who were on last night in evidence”.
One of the few not needing to sleep off the operation, Phil Smith wrote to his mother with his first impressions of his new posting: “As I expected I am now on an Australian squadron – my new station is a prewar one and very comfortable. I have not seen enough of the squadron to be able to pass any real comments but so far as I can see I think life will be very much the same as with an ordinary RAF unit over here.”
This post is part of a series called 467 Postblog, posted in real time to mark the 70th anniversary of the crew of B for Baker while they were on operational service with 467 Squadron at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. See this link for an in-depth explanation of the series, and this one for full citations of sources used throughout it. © 2014 Adam Purcell