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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn A to M] [John W Armstrong and crew 103 Sqn]

P/O John W Armstrong RNZAF and crew – 103 Squadron – RAF Elsham Wolds – 1944

Failed to Return – 10/11th April 1944 – Avro Lancaster III – JB732 – OpAulnoye.

103 Squadron Armstrong John W

John Armstrong ( pictured above ) was posted to 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds in January 1944 and flew the following operations. This crew were lost on their 12th trip which included one where they did not take off. See below :-

28-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

30-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

15-Feb-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

19-Feb-44 – Leipzig – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

20-Feb-44 – Stuttgart – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong – Did not take off

24-Feb-44 – Schweinfurt – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

22-Mar-44 – Frankfurt – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

24-Mar-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

26-Mar-44 – Essen – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

30-Mar-44 – Nuremberg – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

09-Apr-44 - Gdynia Bay – Lancaster – JB732 – P/O JW Armstrong

10-Apr-44 – Aulnoye – Lancaster – JB732 – P/O JW Armstrong – FTR – Flak or fighter victim – Crashed near Meharicort, France.

This aircraft was thought to have been hit by heavy flak underneath just after leaving the target. However there was little heavy flak around Aulnoye and it seems possible it was a night fighter attacking from underneath. The aircraft burst into flames and the pilot immediately gave the order to bale out. The intense practise and escape drills this crew had  undertaken during their training and their tour paid off and 4 crew members left the aircraft in less than one minute. The aircraft then exploded and crashed. One crew member recalls this clearly and said that the wreckage landed about a quarter of a mile from his position as he was in the final stages of his descent.

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103 Squadron Dillon M F

P/O John Walter Armstrong RNZAF – Pilot – 28 - 103 Sqn – Meharicort Communal Cemetery, France.

Sgt J H Beddis RAFVR - 103 Sqn – POW – Camp L3/L6 – POW No 4177

F/O A W Drage RAFVR - 103 Sqn – Evader – Liberated by British Armoured Division. Details not known.

F/O Michael Frederick Dillon RNZAF ( pictured above ) – Air Gunner - 26 - 103 Sqn - Son of Capt. David Dillon and Jane Dillon of Dacca, East Bengal, India – Meharicort Communal Cemetery, France.

F/S A J McCauley RAFVR - 103 Sqn - Evader – Liberated by British Armoured Division. Details not known.

Sgt L Fisher RAFVR - 103 Sqn - POW – Camp L3 – POW No 4186

Sgt Reginald Patrick Bowler RAFVR – Air Gunner - 19 - 103 Sqn - Son of Clifford and Mabel Margaret Bowler of West Hampstead, London– Meharicort Communal Cemetery, France.

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103 Squadron detailed 12 aircraft for this attack on the French railways at Aulnoye. The outward route was cloud as far as the French coast and some cloud in the target area. A searchlight belt was reported in the Amiens area. There were a lot of fighter sightings and several aircraft were seen shot down. Light tracer in the target area was intense. Crews report discrepancies in the Red and Green markers and according to reports the Master of Ceremonies was vague in his directions. Bombing was from between 10000 ft and 11000 ft. The attack would seem to have been moderately successful but could have been more concentrated. F/O Way and P/O Rowe both had combats but successfully evaded. P/O Armstrong and crew are missing from this operation. All others returned to base

For this attack on Aulnoye and other railway targets in France Bomber Command detailed a total of 180 Lancasters of No 5 Group to Tours (1 aircraft lost); 157 Halifaxes of No 4 Group and 10 Pathfinder Mosquitos to Tergnier (10 Halifaxes lost); 148 Lancasters and 15 Mosquitos to Laon (1 Lancaster lost); 132 Lancasters and 15 Pathfinder Mosquitos to Aulnoye (7 Lancasters lost); 122 Halifaxes of No 6 Group with 10 Pathfinder Mosquitos to Ghent in Belgium (No losses). With the exception of the raid at Laon, all the attacks inflicted heavy damage on their intended targets.

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27-Jan-44 – Berlin

This machine was lost on its 15th trip most of these being with the Armstrong crew. See below :-

27-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB732 – F/L HD Churchill

28-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

30-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

15-Feb-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

19-Feb-44 – Leipzig – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong - Landed at Kirmington

20-Feb-44 – Stuttgart – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong – DNTO

24-Feb-44 – Schweinfurt – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong - Landed at Market Harborough

15-Mar-44 – Stuttgart – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S CH Ogden - Landed at Foulsham

18-Mar-44 – Frankfurt – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JJ Rabchak RCAF

22-Mar-44 – Frankfurt – Lancaster – JB732 F/S JW Armstrong

24-Mar-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong - Landed at East Moor

26-Mar-44 – Essen – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

30-Mar-44 – Nuremberg – Lancaster – JB732 – F/S JW Armstrong

09-Apr-44 - Gdynia Bay – Lancaster – JB732 – P/O JW Armstrong

10-Apr-44 – Aulnoye – Lancaster – JB732 – P/O JW Armstrong – FTR - Flak or fighter victim . Crashed neat Meharicourt, France.

Item compiled by David Fell.  Armstrong and Dillon photos courtesy of the Auckland War Museum on Line Cenotaph

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