Flying Officer John Henry Richards RAFVR and crew - 103 Sqn and 576 Sqn
This crew were posted to 103 from 1667 Heavy Conversion Unit at RAF Lindholme near Doncaster on the 28th Sept 1943.
The crew consisted of :-
Flying Officer John Henry Richards RAFVR - Pilot. Age 29. Son of Edmund and Maud A. Richards; husband of Avis M. Richards, of Sandford, Somerset.
Sergeant Hubert (Bert) Stanley Mitchell RAFVR - Flight Engineer. Age 39. Son of Francis and Eleanor; husband of Marion, of Port Isaac, Cornwall.
Flight Sergeant Kenneth Earl Bartleman RCAF 1st op, Sergeant J R Evans 2nd/3rd/4th/6th ops, - Sergeant G Evans RAFVR 7th/8th ops - Air Bomber.
Bartleman went on to fly with 156 Pathfinder Squadron, was commissioned and awarded a DFC. The Sgt J R Evans and Sgt G Evans may well be
the same man and this is a discrepency in the 103 Sqn and 576 Sqn ORBs. The crew for the 5th op is unknown as it was cancelled due to high winds before all the aircraft
had taken off so the crew is not recorded.
Sergeant Arthur Edward Hooper RAFVR - Navigator.
Sergeant Sidney Walter Irons RAFVR - Wireless Operator. Age 34. Son of Thomas and Jessie; husband of Rose Lucy, of Edmonton, Middlesex.
Sergeant Charles Milburn RAFVR - Air Gunner. Age: 19. Son of Charles and Jessie Milburn, of Rothbury, Northumberland.
Sergeant Harold Johnson RAFVR - Air Gunner. Age 19. Son of William and Florence Johnson, of Bolton, Lancashire.
On their fatal operation an 8th crew member was added to this crew - Flying Officer Bertie James Marks RAFVR - Second Pilot. Age 27. Husband of J. L. A. Marks, of Bexleyheath, Kent.
Operations flown with 103 Squadron.
20-Oct-43 Leipzig Lancaster ED913
22-Oct-43 Kassel Lancaster ED913
10-Nov-43 Modane Lancaster ED913
18-Nov-43 Berlin Lancaster JA868
22-Nov-43 Berlin Lancaster W4337
23-Nov-43 Berlin Lancaster ED417 - DNTO - Cancelled due to high winds which caused some aircraft to swing on take off
26-Nov-43 Berlin Lancaster ED913- Diverted to Croft because of bad visibilty at base.
In late November 1943 F/O Richards and his crew were transferred to the newly formed 576 Sqn also at Elsham Wolds.
Operations flown with 576 Squadron.
02-Dec-43 Berlin ED913
23-Dec-43 Berlin ED913 FTR - Reportedly crashed near the near the village of Altkuenkendorf, Germany. Details unknown but probably night fighter victim.
The Air Bomber, Sgt G Evans, escaped by parachute and was taken POW. He survived the war.
The deceased are buried at the 39/45 Berlin War Cemetery.
Lancaster ED913 was a long serving machine at Elsham Wolds having flown over 50 ops from May 1943.
Item written by David W Fell.