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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn A to M] [Kenneth W Mitchell and crew 103 Sqn]

P/O Kenneth W Mitchell RAFVR and crew – 103 Squadron – RAF Elsham Wolds – 1944

Failed to Return – 15/16th May 1944 – Avro Lancaster I – LL963 – Op Minelaying Kiel Bay.

103 Squadron Mitchell Ken

Kenneth Mitchell ( pictured above ) and his crew were posted to 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds from Heavy Conversion unit in late January / early February 1944. Rear gunner Tommy Wright was on his second tour. This excellent and experienced crew were lost on their 18th operation.

24-Feb-44 – Schweinfurt – Lancaster – ND411 – Sgt KW Mitchell

25-Feb-44 – Augsburg – Lancaster – ND411 – Sgt KW Mitchell

15-Mar-44 – Stuttgart – Lancaster – ND411 – Sgt KW Mitchell - Landed at Burlingthorpe

18-Mar-44 – Frankfurt – Lancaster – ND411 – Sgt KW Mitchell

22-Mar-44 – Frankfurt – Lancaster – ND411 – Sgt KW Mitchell

24-Mar-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – ND411 – Sgt KW Mitchell

26-Mar-44 – Essen – Lancaster – ND411 – Sgt KW Mitchell

30-Mar-44 – Nuremberg – Lancaster – ND411 – P/O KW Mitchell - Landed at Hunsden

09-Apr-44 - Gdynia Bay – Lancaster – ND411 – P/O KW Mitchell

10-Apr-44 – Aulnoye – Lancaster – ND411 – P/O KW Mitchell

23-Apr-44 - Borholm & Pomeranian Bay – Lancaster – ND411 – P/O KW Mitchell

24-Apr-44 – Karlsruhe – Lancaster – ND411 – P/O KW Mitchell

26-Apr-44 – Essen – Lancaster – ND411 – P/O KW Mitchell

27-Apr-44 – Friedrichshafen – Lancaster – JB655 – P/O KW Mitchell - Hit by flak over target

01-May-44 – Lyons – Lancaster – ND411 – P/O KW Mitchell

10-May-44 - Heligoland Bight – Lancaster – ND624 – P/O KW Mitchell

11-May-44 – Hasselt – Lancaster – NE117 – P/O KW Mitchell – Aborted - Returned with bombs as per instructions from Master Bomber

15-May-44 - Kiel Bay – Lancaster – LL963 – P/O KW Mitchell - FTR - Night fighter victim. Crashed into sea near Avernako, Denmark.

There were two claims for this aircraft:-

a. Hptm Franz Busmann Stab IV/NJG3 - 5-20km NNE of Nordborg (QU 4-5): 5,300m at 00:45.

b. Uffz Heinz Koppe 10/NJG3 - near Avernako (QA 8/8, Fledermaus): 5,200m at 00:50.

Both claims confirmed as full victories on 7 October 1944.

(Nachtjagd Combat Archives 1944 Part 3 - Theo Boiten) - Per John Jones

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103 Squadron Tapp Ralph

Ralph Tapp

103 Squadron Wright Tommy

Tommy Wright

P/O Kenneth Walter Mitchell RAFVR – Pilot - 103 Sqn - Aastrup Churchyard, Denmark.

Sgt David Howells RAFVR – Flight Engineer - 29 - 103 Sqn - Son of David and Mary Ellen Howells of Clydach Vale, Glamorgan - Drejdo Cemetery, Denmark

F/S William Kelly RAFVR – Navigator - 22 – 103 Sqn - Glasgow - Faaborg New Cemetery, Denmark

+Sgt Douglas Frank Pegrum RAFVR - 103 Sqn - Son of James Arthur Pegrum and Jessie Pegrum of Maymyo, Burma - Runnymede Memorial

+F/S Ralph Aubrey Tapp RAFVR ( pictured above ) – Air Bomber - 103 Sqn - Avernako Churchyard, Denmark

F/S Claude Frederick Bish RAFVR – 21 - 103 Sqn - Son of Charles Frederick and Florence Eva Bish of Horsted Keynes, Sussex - Runnymede Memorial

P/O Thomas Kitchener Wright RAFVR ( pictured above ) - Air Gunner - 32 - 103 Sqn - Son of Robert Edmund Wright, and of Rosina Wright of Walthamstow, Essex - Runnymede Memorial

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15-May-44 - Kiel Bay

103 Squadron detailed 5 aircraft for this minelaying operation in Kiel Bay. H2S sets were used to check visual marking. Two aircraft brought their mines back because of failure of the H2S sets. The outward trip was uneventful but fighters were noted in the target area. On return severe icing was encountered. Sowing of the veg ( laying the mines ) was from 15000 ft and a photograph of the visual aiming point was taken. Back plotting showed one aircraft correct and one 3 to 4 miles out. F/L Allwood and W/O Rabchak returned early. P/O Mitchell and crew is missing from this operation. All other aircraft returned to base.

The Main Force was stood down on this night but Bomber Command detailed a total of 43 Mosquitos - 30 to Ludwigshafen, 10 to Carpiquet airfield near Caen and 3 to Leverkusen, 1 RCM sortie, 2 Serrate patrols, 43 aircraft minelaying from Kiel to Biscay, 6 aircraft on Resistance operations, 24 OTU sorties. 3 Lancaster minelayers and 1 OTU Wellington lost.

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Lancaster - LL963

This machine was lost on its 2nd operation. See below :-

11-May-44 – Hasselt – Lancaster – LL963 – F/O L Young - Aborted - Returned with bombs as per instructions from Master Bomber

15-May-44 - Kiel Bay – Lancaster – LL963 – P/O KW Mitchell - FTR - Night fighter victim. Crashed into sea near Avernako, Denmark.

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P/O Thomas Kitchener Wright RAFVR

Tommy was lost on his 59th operation all with 103 Squadron covering 2 tours between January 1942 till he was lost in May 1944. During this period he flew 3 types - Wellingtons, Halifaxes and Lancasters and flew with some very distinguished captains - David Holford for one.

As far as I am aware the only other 103 airman that flew more ops with 103 Squadron was the Belgian Florent Van Rolleghem who finished at 63 - all on Lancasters.

In the next month or two I will do a separate Profile for Tommy as he was a fine and brave airman who served the Squadron with great distinction.

Thanks to Bobbie Grew for the prompt and copy of Tommy’s excellent log book

Tommy Wright Log Book Page here

Item compiled by David Fell. Photos from Ebbe Borq and the late Phyllis Wright. Also Bobby Grew and John Jones.

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