Pilot Officer James O B Mooney RNZAF and crew. 103 Sqdn
Jim Mooney was born in Northern Ireland and emigrated to New Zealand in the mid 1930s. At the start of WW2 he joined the RNZAF and trained as a pilot. He arrived in England in 1942 and joined 103 Sqdn at Elsham Wolds with his crew in March 1943.
Jim and his crew successfully completed 5 operations ( 4 to Germany and 1 to Italy ).
On the night of 16/17th April 1943 103 Squadron took part in a raid on the Skoda armament factory at Pilsen Czechoslovakia. This distant target proved very difficult to find and the raid was not a success.
Avro Lancaster W4848 and crew from 103 Squadron failed to return.
The crew consisted of:-
Pilot Officer J O B Mooney RNZAF
Sergeant S Biggs RAFVR
Pilot Officer A H Gipson RCAF
Sergeant H J D Rouse RAFVR
Pilot Officer F J Hudson RAFVR
Sergeant V J Merefield RAFVR
Sergeant R W Harley RAFVR
The aircraft crashed at 0038 local time on the site of a German Luftwaffe flak battery near Ludswighafen am Rhein. It appears that the Lancaster hit the ground with considerable force and exploded. Both Sergeant Biggs and Sergeant Rouse baled out and survived to be taken prisoner of war at Stalag 357 Kopernikus. The other 5 members of the crew were killed and now rest at the Durnbach War Cemetery.
Item written by David Fell