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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn A to M] [S K Knott RAFVR and crew 103 Sqdn 166 Sqdn]

F/S Sydney Kenneth Knott RAFVR and crew – 103 Squadron / 166 Squadron – 1943

Failed to return – 27/28 September 1943 – Hannover – Avro Lancaster - ED372

The Knott crew were posted to 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds around July/early August 1943 from 11 Base Heavy Conversion Unit.

This crew consisted of :-

Sgt KS Knott RAFVR

Sgt JH Brewer RAFVR

Sgt R Wild RAFVR

Sgt M Guerin RAFVR

Sgt S Bunyan RAFVR

Sgt LWH Butler RAFVR

Sgt RJ Franklin RAFVR

The crew flew unchanged as follows:-

Ops 103 Squadron

15-Aug-43 – Milan - Point of Aim – Lancaster – JA704 – Sgt SK Knott 

23-Aug-43 – Berlin - Point of Aim – Lancaster – JA868 – Sgt SK Knott - Combat. Seriously damaged over the target when coned and attacked by six night fighters.

27-Aug-43 – Nuremberg - Point of Aim – Lancaster – ED713 – Sgt SK Knott

29-Aug-43 – Munchengladbach - Point of Aim – Lancaster – ED731 – Sgt SK Knott

03-Sep-43 – Berlin - Point of Aim – Lancaster – LM335 – Sgt SK Knott 

05-Sep-43 – Mannheim - Point of Aim – Lancaster – LM335 – Sgt SK Knott

06-Sep-43 – Munich - Point of Aim – Lancaster – ED881 – F/S Sk Knott

At this point the Knott crew were transferred to 166 Squadron at nearby RAF Kirmington which had converted to Lancasters at this time

Ops 166 Squadron

22-Sept-43 – Hanover – Point of Aim – Lancaster – LM335 – F/S SK Knott

23-Sept-43 – Mannheim – Point of Aim – Lancaster – LM335 – F/S SK Knott

27-Sept-43 – Hanover – Point of Aim – Lancaster – ED372 – F/S SK Knott – FTR – Probable flak victim - Crew included special cine unit.

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ED372 was home bound after successfully bombing the target when it was attacked from underneath by a night fighter and the Lancaster exploded soon after the attack. Crashed Gross Giessen Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, Germany

Claim by FW Hurbert Herre 7/JG300 - Gross-Giessen 6km North of Hildesheim: 5,000m at 23:03 (ASM)

Claim by Fw Herre not listed in OKL/RLM 7/JG300. Confirmed Abschussubersicht, rejected and victory credited to 15 Flak Division. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive 1943 Part 3 - Theo Boiten)

……….

F/S Sydney Kenneth Knott RAFVR – Pilot – 22 – 166 Sqn – Camp L6– POW No 640

Sgt John Harrison Brewer RAFVR – Flight Engineer – 166 Sqn – Hanover War Cemetery, Germany

Sgt Reginald Wild RAFVR – Air Bomber – 19 – 166 Sqn - Son of Reginald and Beatrice Wild, of Timperley, Altrincham. Cheshire - Hanover War Cemetery, Germany

Sgt Matthew Guerin RAFVR – Navigator  - Camp – POW No N/K  - Camp N/K – Thought to have been repatriated due to injuries received when landing by parachute

Sgt S Bunyan RAFVR  - Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner – Camp L6 - POW No 641

Sgt Lionel Wembley Henry Butler RAFVR – Air Gunner – 19 – 166 Sqn - Son of Henry and Mary F. S. Butler, of Edinburgh - Hanover War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt R J Franklin RAFVR – Air Gunner – 166 Sqn – POW No 629 – Camp L6 – Evaded captured until 2 October 1943 when captured near Dutch frontier.

Cine Unit

F/L James Douglas Hill DFC RAFVR – Film Unit – POW No 3132 – Camp L3

2Lt Finn Bergan RAFVR – Film Unit – POW No 3128 – Camp L3

……….

Sidney Kenneth Knott

Born 1921 in Chorlton Lancashire. Attended Manchester Central High School for Boys and was a member of the Ar Cadet Corps. On leaving school in 1938 he became a draughtsman and joined the RAF in 1940. Post war he continued in the RAF completing a flying instructors course and was commissioned in 1953. In 1958 he was posted to West Germany to train pilots in the West German Air Force and continue in that role until 1963. Later he became adjutant of the Oxford University Air Squadron.

James Douglas Hill DFC

A very interesting chap who came from Eldwick, Bingley Yorkshire. A village I know well. He attended the Belle Vue Boys Grammar School in Bradford.

There is an excellent obit for James Hill in the Los Angeles Times. See link below

James Hill Obituary

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1994-10-15-mn-50408-story.html

….......

166 Squadron ORB

27/28 September 1943 - The Squadron was detailed to provide 16 aircraft to attack Hanover. All 16 aircraft took off successfully 12 of which attacked the primary target and reported a successful attack with much enemy opposition from night fighters. Two aircraft failed to return and 2 returned early one of which crashed attempting to land at Caistor. Weather conditions for take off, en route and over the target were good but conditions at base deteriorated badly by return, cloud being from 900 ft upwards accompanied by heavy rain  and strong squally wind. All aircraft landed at base with the exception of the one mentioned above.

….......

27/28 September 1943

Hannover: 678 aircraft - 312 Lancasters, 231 Halifaxes, 111 Stirlings, 24 Wellingtons. 5 B-17s also took part. 38 Bomber Command aircraft - 17 Halifaxes, 10 Lancasters, 10 Stirlings, 1 Wellington - lost, 5.6 per cent of the force, and 1 B-17 also lost. The use by the Pathfinders of faulty forecast winds again saved the centre of Hannover. The bombing was very concentrated but fell on an area 5 miles north of the city centre. No details are available from Germany but RAF photographic evidence showed that most of the bombs fell in open country or villages north of the city.

21 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of No 8 Group carried out a diversionary raid on Brunswick which was successful in drawing off some night fighters. 218 people were killed in Brunswick - 51 Germans and 167 foreigners. 1 Lancaster lost.

9 Mosquitos on another diversion to Emden, 5 Mosquitos on Oboe tests to Aachen (3 were successful), 19 aircraft minelaying in the Kattegat and the Frisian Islands, 4 OTU sorties. No losses

Item compiled by David Fell

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

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

1st November 2023 - Mine laying Biarritz / Biscay coast - 21 November 1942

1st November 2023 - Billie - Lancaster - W4364 - 103 Squadron

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* 1st August 2023 - Defensive Armament - 103 Squadron and 576 Squadron

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*1st July 2023 - Armed Reconnaissance/Leaflet Raid – Koblenz area – 20/21 March 1940

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Also of local RAF Bomber Command interest are the

166 Squadron website

and the

550 Squadron and North Killingholme website.