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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn N to Z] [Lawrence E Westcott and crew 103 Sqn]

P/O Laurence E Westcott RAFVR and crew – 103 Squadron – RAF Elsham Wolds – 1944

Crashed on Return – 25/26th August 1944 – Avro Lancaster III - ND632 – Op Russelheim.

ND632 Crew Picture

Above - Wedding photo of Lawrence Westcott and Irene. L to R – Norman Lewis, Lawrence Westcott, probably William Voellner or Ernest Bull, Irene Westcott, James Crickshank. Allen Tebbutt, Norman Burges and unknown possibly friend of groom or family.

Lawrence Westcott and his crew were posted to 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds on the 1st July 1944. Westcott flew his first operation as co-pilot with P/O L J L Green and crew to Sanneville on the 18 July 1944 in PA985.

He then captained his own crew on 10 successful operations before being lost on the 11th.

Their tour was as follows :-

20-Jul-44 – Wizernes – Lancaster – JA962 – P/O LE Westcott

Daylight attack. V2 launch complex Large underground complex built to assemble and launch V2 rockets. It was enclosed by a huge concrete 'cuppola'. This was dislodged by 617 Sq. (Dam Busters) using 'tallboy' bombs 3 days before this raid. The site was then abandoned.

23-Jul-44 – Kiel – Lancaster – JA962 – P/O LE Westcott - Combat. Attacked by twin engined night fighter before bombing but evaded.

Night attack. Port facilities 612 aircraft bombed for 25 minutes. All parts of Kiel were hit, particularly heavily in the port areas and important U-boat yards. JA962 was attacked by a twin-engine night-fighter on way to target but evaded like many other bombers prob. by corkscrewing

25-Jul-44 – Stuttgart – Lancaster – JA962 – P/O LE Westcott

Night attack. City raid 2nd of 3 raids on city and most 'successful' in destroying the city.

28-Jul-44 – Stuttgart – Lancaster – JA962 – P/O LE Westcott

Night attack. City raid 3rd raid attacked by night-fighters all across France on moonlit night, 39 of the 494 Lancasters were shot down.

31-Jul-44 - Le Havre – Lancaster – JA962 – P/O LE Westcott

Daylight attack. Port facilities 52 Lancasters bombed port area. Smoke covered target but 1 U-boat probably hit. 1 Lancaster lost

03-Aug-44 – Trossy-St-Maximin – Lancaster – LM292 – P/O LE Westcott

Daylight attack. V weapons Many hundreds of Lancasters & Halifaxes attacked flying bomb storage site. Escorted by fighters. 5 planes lost. Intense flak over the target.

04-Aug-44 – Pauillac – Lancaster – LM272 – P/O LE Westcott.

Daylight attack. Oil storage facilities 306 Lancasters attacked facilities around Bordeaux. 8-9 hour trip over Bay of Biscay. Flew very low over water for 2 hours (one plane hit and blew up) then climbed high to bomb. Clear weather.

07-Aug-44 – Fontenay-le-Marmion – Lancaster – JA962 – P/O LE Westcott

Night attack. Army support 1019 aircraft attacked five aiming points. Carefully controlled —only 660 actually bombed. Raid successful with no Allied tanks hit.

16-Aug-44 - Pomeranian Bay – Lancaster – JA962 – P/O LE Westcott

Night attack. Mine laying in Baltic Large German army surrounded by Russians trying to evacuate through Stettin. Mining operation in deep water channel from port. Mines laid from 300ft under intense flak along fixed path — similar to Dambusters style attack. 2 Lancasters lost off Swinemunde

18-Aug-44 - Ertvelde Rieme – Lancaster – JA962 – P/O LE Westcott.

Daylight attack. Oil storage Petrol dumps bombed from 3000ft (below cloud-base) and barges and facilities machine-gunned. No enemy fighters, light flak.

25-Aug-44 – Russelheim – Lancaster – ND632 – F/O LE Westcott - Crashed on landing at Ford.

Night attack. Opel factory 412 Lancasters attacked the Opel motor vehicle factory at Russelsheim near Frankfurt. 15 aircraft were lost. Clear night with many night-fighter actions (3 shot down by Lancasters of 103 Squadron). ND632 was badly damaged and crashed on landing at RAF Ford.

….......

Lancaster ND632'Y' was detailed for bombing operations on the night of 25/26th August 1944. The target for that night was the Opel motor vehicle factory at Russelsheim near Frankfurt. 412 bombers took off and 15 were lost. ND632, PM-Y for Yoke, took off at 8:13 in the evening. This plane had been with the squadron since Feb and had done 319hrs. On its return to base Norman's aircraft flew over Ford (Sussex) Aerodrome at approximately 03:15 on 26th August and, owing to inflicted damage (possibly friendly fire) fired a red verey light and was given permission to land. After making a round circuit approach, the Lancaster missed the runway in the mist and dark and hit 4 parked aircraft (2 Mosquitos and 2 Beaufighters of the Fighter Interception unit) and finally a hanger. The aircraft caught fire and all 7 crew members were killed in the crash.

….................

F/O Lawrence Edward Westcott RAFVR – Pilot - 22 – 103 Sqn – Husband of Irene Westcott of Barnsley, Yorkshire - Littlehampton Cemetery, Sussex.

Sgt Ernest Bull RAFVR – Flight Engineer - 21 – 103 Sqn – Son of Ernest and V Bull of Hull – Hull Northern Cemetery, Hull, Yorkshire.

F/O Norman John Lewis RAFVR  ( See photo and details below ) – Air Bomber - 23 – 103 Sqn - Son of John J. Lewis and Catherine (Katie) Lewis of Abergavenny - Llanover St Bartholemew Churchyard, Monmouthshire, Wales.

Sgt Allen Parker Tebbutt RAFVR – Navigator - 21 – 103 Sqn - Son of William Parker Tebbutt and Gertrude Jessie Tebbutt of Geddington - Geddington St Mary Magdelene Churchyard, Northamptonshire.

Sgt James Alexander Cruickshank RAFVR – Wireless Operator / Air Gunner - 21 – 103 Sqn - Son of Alexander and Mary Cruickshank of Knockando, Morayshire -  Littlehampton Cemetery, Sussex.

F/S Norman George Albert Burges RAAF – Air Gunner – 19 – 103 Sqn - Son of Frederick Oswald and Winifred Gertrude Helena Burges of Wincham, New South Wales, Australia - Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey.

Sgt William Voellner RAFVR – Air Gunner - 23 – 103 Sqn - Husband of Elsie Voellner of  Newton Heath, Manchester - Littlehampton Cemetery, Sussex.

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25/26th August 1944 – Op Russelheim.

103 Squadron detailed 18 aircraft for this attack on Russelheim. the weather was good for take off and continued the whole trip to the target. This was clear and the markers clearly seen, well placed and concentrated. The bombing was spot on and from all reports this was a very good attack. Bombing was carried out from between 16000 ft to 18000 ft. Defences at the target consisted of heavy flak in moderate barrage with plenty of searchlights. Intense fighter activity was encountered and many combats reported. three fighters were claimed as destroyed and one damaged. F/O Westcott crashed in this country on return at Ford and he and his entire crew were killed. All the remaining aircraft returned and landed safely at base.

For this attack on the Nazi industrial city of Russelheim Bomber Command detailed a total of 412 Lancasters of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups to attack the Opel motor factory. 15 Lancasters were lost, 3.6 per cent of the force. The Pathfinder marking was accurate and the raid was successfully completed in 10 minutes. An official German report. says that the forge and the gearbox assembly departments were put out of action for several weeks, but 90 per cent of the machine tools in other departments escaped damage. The assembly line and part of the pressworks were able to recommence work 2 days later and lorry assembly was unaffected because of considerable stocks of ready-made parts.

..........

Lancaster ND632

This machine gave good service completing 41 operations with 2 Early Returns and being lost on the 44th.

It was first flown by F/L M I Cox RAFVR and crew on the 9/10th April 1944 to Villeneuve-St-George

P/O J J Rabchak RCAF and crew flew ND632 19 times and F/L J T A Marsden RAFVR and crew 13 times

..........

Norman Lewis

Norman Lewis  Col 1

Flying Officer Norman John Lewis (153471) Record of Service Born 14 Mar 1921, Abergavenny. Trained at Usk Agricultural College.

18 Apr 41 - Enlisted - Oxford (age 20) (RAF volunteer Reserve)

19 Apr 41 - Reserve (worked in greenhouses on Ruther's fruit farm)

22 Jun 42 - No 1 Aircrew Reception Centre (Mobilised)

11 Jul 42 - No 26 Wing, (Ludlow Shropshire)

29 Jul 42 - No 7 Initial Training Wing (Newquay, Cornwall)

10 Oct 42 - Training as pilot and promoted to Leading Aircraftman

23 Oct 42 - Aircrew Despatch Centre

23 Oct 42 - No 2 Elementary Flying School (Staverton nr. Cheltenham).

21 Nov 42 - Placed under training as an Air Bomber

Aircrew Despatch Centre.

18 Feb 43 - Canada

28 Feb 43 - No 31 Personnel Depot (Moncton, New Brunswick)

28 Mar 43 - No 37 Service Flying Training School (Calgary, Alberta). Now Calgary airport – Avro Ansons

15 May 43 - No 8 Bomber & Gunnery School (Lethbridge, Alberta). South of Calgary

7 Aug 43 - No 2 Air Observers School (Edmonton, Alberta). Course mainly for navigators with Air Bombers for a shorter period

17 Sep 43 - Granted probational commission as Pilot Officer

9 Oct 43 - No 7 Personnel Reception Centre for return to UK

14 Dec 43 - No 4 (Observers) Advanced Flying Unit — Training (Scotland). RAF Freugh near Stranraer – Avro Ansons.

1 Feb 44 - No 18 Operational Training Unit (Finningley, Yorkshire). Crew self formed at Operational Conversion Unit except Flight Engineer and Mid Upper Gunner who joined at Heavy Conversion Unit – Wellingtons.

17 Mar 44 - Promoted to Flying Officer.

4 May 44 - No 11 Base —1656 Heavy Conversion Unit (Lindholme nr Doncaster). Halifaxes and Lancaster.

1 Jul 44 - No 103 Squadron — Air Bomber (Elsham Wolds)

26 Aug 44 - Raid on Russelsheim - Killed in Action (age 23)

….................

 

Item written by Alan Jones with a few small additions and edits by David Fell. Photos courtesy of Allan Jones.

 

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