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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn A to M] [Frank Law and crew 103 Sqn]

P/O Frank Law RAFVR and crew – 103 Squadron – RAF Elsham Wolds – 1943/44

Failed to Return – 19/20th February 1944 – Avro Lancaster III – ND408 – Op Leipzig

Frank Law and his crew were posted to 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds October 1943.

During Law's short tour his crew was much changed for a variety of unfortunate reasons which was not at all ideal. He was lost on his 12th operation. See below :-

18-Nov-43 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB550 – F/S F Law – Early return - Hit by flak. Starboard outer  engine unserviceable. Bombed flak concentration near Hanover.

22-Nov-43 – Berlin – Lancaster – LM381 – F/S F Law

23-Nov-43 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB550 – F/S F Law – Early return - Navigator sick.

26-Nov-43 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB550 – F/S F Law – Early return

05-Jan-44 – Stettin – Lancaster – JB745 – F/S F Law

20-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB278 – F/S F Law

21-Jan-44 – Magdeburg – Lancaster – JB278 – F/S F Law

27-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – ND408 – F/S F Law

28-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – ND408 – F/S F Law

30-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – ND417 – F/S F Law

15-Feb-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – ND408 – W/O F Law

19-Feb-44 – Leipzig – Lancaster – ND408 – W/O F Law – FTR – Night fighter victim. Crash landed S of Paderborn, Germany.

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....103 Squadron Law and crew

Above - Frank Law 5th from the left with his air and ground crew

P/O Frank Law RAFVR – Pilot - 21 – 103 Sqn - Son of Frank and Charlotte Mary Law of Glasgow – Hanover War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt Donald C Bell – 103 Sqn – POW – Camps L6/357 – POW no 1726

F/S Kenneth William Flowers RAFVR - Navigator - 21 – 103 Sqn - Son of Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Flowers of Forest Gate, Essex - Hanover War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt Albert Henry Daines RAFVR – Air Gunner - 21 – 103 Sqn - Son of Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Daines of Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex - Hanover War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt Cecil J D Baldwin RAFVR – 103 Sqn – POW - Camps L6/357 – POW no 1703

Sgt Ronald Sidney Johnstone RAFVR – Wireless Operator / Air Gunner - 24 – 103 Sqn - Son of Andrew M. and Barbara C. Johnstone; husband of Hazel Johnstone of Newcastle, Staffordshire - Hanover War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt Alfred John Bristow RAFVR – Air Gunner - 20 – 103 Sqn - Son of Alfred William and Alice Muriel Bristow of Bethnal Green, London - Hanover War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt Bristow was Brian Lydon's regular rear gunner and was very experienced. He was flying as a replacement with Law's crew that night.

For more information and photos see John Proctor's interesting web page relating to Frank Law and his crew here.

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19-Feb-44 – Leipzig

103 Squadron detailed 15 aircraft with two reserves for this attack on the distant German city of Leipzig. This almost virgin target was again attacked through cloud. The bombing was carried out between 22000 ft and 24000 ft on sky markers. Crews reported Pathfinder marking to be well concentrated and plentiful. The winds given seemed to be out and the timing not all it might have been. Crews also reported seeing a number of combats. F/L Russell-Fry returned early due to electrical failures and oxygen failure caused W/O Frost to bomb Leeuwarden before returning. Two aircraft piloted by W/O Warner and F/S Gumbrell collided on landing. Five of Warner's crew were killed and two seriously injured. F/S Armstrong and W/O Nimmo landed at Kirmington. W/O Law and Sgt Bradley are missing from this raid. All other aircraft returned to base.

For this attack on Leipzig Bomber Command detailed a total of 823 aircraft - 561 Lancasters, 255 Halifaxes, 7 Mosquitos. 78 aircraft - 44 Lancasters and 34 Halifaxes - lost, 9.5 per cent of the force. The Halifax loss rate was 13.3 per cent of those dispatched and 14.9 per cent of those Halifaxes which reached the enemy coast after 'early returns' had turned back. The Halifax IIs and Vs were permanently withdrawn from operations to Germany after this raid.

This was an unhappy raid for Bomber Command. The German controllers only sent part of their force of fighters to the Kiel minelaying diversion. When the main bomber force crossed the Dutch coast, they were met by a further part of the German fighter force and those German fighters which had been sent north to Kiel hurriedly returned. The bomber stream was thus under attack all the way to the target. There were further difficulties at the target because winds were not as forecast and many aircraft reached the Leipzig area too early and had to orbit and await the Pathfinders. 4 aircraft were lost by collision and approximately 20 were shot down by flak. Leipzig was cloud-covered and the Pathfinders had to use skymarking. The raid appeared to be concentrated in its early stages but scattered later.

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Lancaster – ND408

103 Squadron  Lancaster ND408

Above - Wreck of ND408

This machine was lost on its 6th operation.

21-Jan-44 – Magdeburg – Lancaster – ND408 – F/O AJ Hiscock

27-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – ND408 – F/S F Law

28-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – ND408 – F/S F Law

30-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – ND408 – P/O ET Jones RCAF - Combat with 3 single engined night fighters. Evaded. Damaged port mainplane. Bombed flak concentrations.

15-Feb-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – ND408 – W/O F Law

19-Feb-44 – Leipzig – Lancaster – ND408 – W/O F Law – FTR – Night fighter victim. Crash landed south of Paderborn, Germany.

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F/S Kenneth William Flowers RAFVR

103 Squadron 576 Squadron Flowers

Sgt Flowers ( pictured above ) flew a number of ops in the crew of W/O M J Graham and crew of 103 Sqn and 576 Sqn before joining Frank Law’s crew. I believe he trained as a pilot in the USA but was later transferred to a Navigator’s course

Item compiled by David Fell with photos from my archive except the Flowers photo which came from the family.

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* 1st December 2023 - Photos of F/L Jacob t'Hart DFC and bar

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1st August 2023 - Numerous additions and updates throughout the site

Also of local RAF Bomber Command interest are the

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