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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn A to M] [Maurice Lambert and crew 103 Sqn]

P/O Maurice Lambert RNZAF and crew – 103 Squadron – RAF Elsham Wolds – 1944

Failed to Return – 16/17th June 1944 – Avro Lancaster I – LM173 – Op Sterkrade.

Maurice Lambert and his crew were posted to 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds on the 27th May 1944 from Heavy Conversion Unit. This crew were lost on their second operation. See below :-

14-Jun-44 - Le Havre - Lancaster - JB555 - P/O M Lambert RNZAF

16-Jun-44 - Sterkrade - Lancaster - LM173 - P/O M Lambert RNZAF - FTR – Probable night fighter victim. Lost without trace.

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P/O Maurice Lambert RNZAF – Pilot - 28 – 103 Sqn - Son of Apostle and Annie Lambert; husband of Veronica Lambert of Plimmerton, Wellington, New Zealand – Runnymede Memorial

Sgt David Lumgair Whamond RAF – Flight Engineer - 22 - 103 Sqn - Son of James and Jane Amn Kydd Whamond – Runnymede Memorial

Sgt George James Ware RAFVR - 20 - 103 Sqn - Son of George Anthony and Alice Emma Ware of Bromley, Kent – Runnymede Memorial

Sgt Douglas John Lawler RAF - 24 - 103 Sqn - Son of Patrick and Nellie Lawler; husband of Stella Zoe Lawler of Ipswich, Suffolk – Runnymede Memorial

Sgt John McMinn RAFVR - 23 - 103 Sqn - Son of John and Ada Annie McMinn of Carlisle.

Sgt Frederick Ralph Hardy RAF - 23 - 103 Sqn – Runnymede Memorial

Sgt Roland Fitchett RAFVR - 20 - 103 Sqn - Son of Percy and Violet Fitchett of Grimsby, Lincolnshire – Runnymede Memorial

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16-Jun-44 - Sterkrade

103 Squadron detailed 21 aircraft for this attack on the synthetic-oil plant at Sterkrade/Holten Oberhausen, Germany. The weather was poor for take off with cloud base at 1500 ft. Cloud covered the target. The Musical Parramatta method of marking was employed by the Pathfinders and due to cloud crews had to bomb the estimated centre of the target indicators glow. Bombing was from between 18000 ft and 23000 ft. Flak was reported as heavy intense and accurate. Night fighters were very active. Several combats were seen and several aircraft going down in flames. P/O Dyer was attacked by two night fighters over the target but evaded with no damage sustained. P/O Hayes was attacked by a fighter and the aircraft slightly damaged. The rear gunner was wounded in both legs. P/O Lambert and crew are missing from this operation and the remainder landed safely at base.

For this attack to attack the synthetic-oil plant at Sterkrade/Holten, Oberhausen Bomber Command detailed a total of 321 aircraft - 162 Halifaxes, 147 Lancasters, 12 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups The weather forecast was poor and the target was found to be covered by thick cloud and the Pathfinder markers quickly disappeared. The Main Force crews could do little but bomb on to the diminishing glow of the markers in the cloud. RAF photographic reconnaissance and German reports agree that most of the bombing was scattered, although some bombs did fall in the plant area, but with little effect upon production. Unfortunately, the route of the bomber stream passed near a German night-fighter beacon at Bocholt, only 30 miles from Sterkrade. The German controller had chosen this beacon as the holding point for his night fighters. Approximately 21 bombers were shot down by fighters and a further 10 by flak. 22 of the lost aircraft were Halifaxes, these losses being 13.6 percent of the 162 Halifaxes on the raid. No 77 Squadron, from Full Sutton near York, lost 7 of its 23 Halifaxes taking part in the raid.

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Lancaster - LM173

This machine was lost on its 1st operation. See below :-

16-Jun-44 - Sterkrade - Lancaster - LM173 - P/O M Lambert RNZAF - FTR – Probable night fighter victim. Lost without trace.

Item compiled by David Fell

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