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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn N to Z] [Samuel L Saxe and crew 103 Sqn]

F/O Samuel L Saxe RCAF and crew – 103 Squadron – RAF Elsham Wolds – 1944

Failed to Return – 7/8th March 1945 – Avro Lancaster I – NF913 – Op Dessau

103 Squadron Saxe

Samuel Saxe ( pictured above ) and his crew were posted to 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds from Heavy Conversion Unit 11 Base on the 23rd October 1944. They were lost on their 17th operation. See below :-

09-Nov-44 - Wanne Eikel - Lancaster - PB528 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF

18-Nov-44 - Wanne Eikel - Lancaster - NF909 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF - Bad weather at base. Diverted

21-Nov-44 - Aschenaffenburg - Lancaster - NG276 - F/O SL Saxe  RCAF

29-Nov-44 - Dortmund - Lancaster - LM682 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF

24-Dec-44 - Cologne/Nippes - Lancaster - ED888 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF - Bad weather at base. All aircraft diverted to Old Buckenham

31-Dec-44 - Osterfeld - Lancaster -  JA857 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF

02-Jan-45 - Nuremberg - Lancaster - PD427 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF

07-Jan-45 - Munich -  Lancaster - NG360 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF

14-Jan-45 - Merseburg - Lancaster -  NF913 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF

28-Jan-45 - Stuttgart/Zuffenhausen - Lancaster - NF913 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF

01-Feb-45 - Ludwigshafen - Lancaster - NF913 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF - Landed at Woodbridge with instrument troubles

03-Feb-45 - Bottrop - Lancaster - NF913 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF

07-Feb-45 - Kleve - Lancaster - NF913 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF

14-Feb-45 - Chemnitz - Lancaster - NF913 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF

20-Feb-45 - Dortmund - Lancaster - NF913 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF

23-Feb-45 - Pforzheim - Lancaster - NF913 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF

07-Mar-45 - Dessau - Lancaster - NF913 - F/O SL Saxe RCAF - FTR - Crashed in Germany.



F/O Samuel Leo Saxe RCAF - 23 – 103 Sqn - Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Saxe of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada - Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt J J Bent RAFVR – 103 Sqn - POW – Camp N/K – POW No N/K

F/S Robert Leslie Leavers RAFVR - 34 - 103 Sqn - Son of Robert and Annie Leavers; husband of Ada Annie Leavers of Basford, Nottingham - Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

F/O Michael Shatzky RCAF - 103 Sqn - Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

F/S Keith Charles McGinn RAAF ( pictured below ) - 20 - 103 Sqn - Son of Charles Hume McGinn, and Mona Margaret McGinn of Mackay, Queensland, Australia - Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

W/O A L Cruikshank RCAF - 103 Sqn - POW – Camp N/K – POW No N/K

F/S Reginald C Snell RCAF - 103 Sqn - POW – Camp N/K – POW No N/K

103 Squadron McGinn

F/S Keith Charles McGinn RAAF


07-Mar-45 - Dessau

103 Squadron detailed 15 aircraft for this attack on Dessau. All took off in poor weather. F/L Anderson returned early with wireless and navigational aid problems. En route and over the Ruhr some trouble was encountered with defences and several aircraft were seen to go down. On arrival in the target it was found to be covered in 10/10ths cloud although it was fairly light and some ground detail and target indicators could be made out. On the Master Bomber's instructions all crews bombed the Wanganui sky markers. These were fairly well concentrated and results were thought to be good. Many explosions and fires were seen. Bombing took place from between 13000 ft and 15000 ft. Defences were quite active a moderate heavy flak barrage and also many fighters. Some were thought to be armed with rockets as several were observed by various crews. S/L Butler was attacked by a fighter but sustained no casualties or damage. F/O Saxe, F/O Nightingale and F/O Havell are missing from this operation. All remaining crews returned to base.

For this attack on Dessau Bomber Command detailed a total of 526 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups. 18 Lancasters lost, 3.4 per cent of the force. This was another devastating raid on a new target in Eastern Germany with the usual town centre, residential, industrial and railway areas all being hit.


Lancaster - NF913

This machine gave excellent service and was lost on its 57th operation. It was first flown operationally by S/L Van Rolleghem and crew in August 1944. See below :-

10-Aug-44 - Dugny - Lancaster - NF913 – S/L FVP Van Rolleghem


F/S Reginald C Snell RCAF

Reginald Snell, a devout Christian, was an experienced Air Gunner by March 1945. He recalled the circumstances of the loss of this crew years later in a book published some years ago. For this operation his Gunnery Leader for some reason recommended he use a back parachute instead of the normal clip on which was stowed inside the aircraft. That night two of the crew, the Air Bomber and Wireless Operator, were replaced by new airmen. Whilst approaching the target they were attacked form underneath by a night fighter which ignited the incendiary load in the bomb bay. The fuselage immediately became a raging inferno and the pilot ordered the crew to bale out. Reg could not get to the side fuselage door because of the flames and decided to bale out by turning the turret abeam and diving out of the turret doors head first. This was not recommended as the force of the slip stream could sever one or both legs. He said a quick prayer, curled himself up and rolled out head first. He pulled the rip chord of his parachute as he fell away and thankfully his parachute opened. He looked down at his legs and to his great relief found he had sustained no injury but he had lost his flying boots. He landed safely and was taken prisoner and survived the war. Post War Reg was ordained and became a minister of religion.

Item compiled by David Fell with thanks to Phil Laviolette for his input. Photos from the McGinn family and the Canadian Virtual War Memorial


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