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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn A to M] [William L Bradley and crew  103 Sqn]

Sgt William L Bradley and crew – 103 Squadron – RAF Elsham Wolds – 1944

Failed to Return – 19/20th February 1944 – Avro Lancaster III – JB745 – OpBerlin

William Bradley was posted to 550 Squadron at RAF North Killingholme from 1667 HCU on the 18 December 1943 and flew his first operation as second pilot with F/O Maule on the 23 December 1943

He was later posted to 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds on the 5 February 1944 and lost on his second operation with 103. See below :-

15-Feb-44 -  Berlin – Lancaster – JB745 – Sgt WL Bradley

19-Feb-44 – Leipzig – Lancaster – JB745 – Sgt WL Bradley – FTR - Crashed in Germany.

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Sgt William Leslie Bradley RAFVR ( pictured below ) – Pilot – 24 – 103 Sqn - Son of Wilson W. S. and Beatrice Bradley of Selby, Yorkshire – Hanover War Cemetery, Germany

Sgt Francis James Taylor RAFVR – Flight Engineer - 21 – 103 Sqn - Son of Francis James Taylor and Cathrine Taylor, of Bolton, Lancashire – Hanover War Cemetery, Germany

F/S Thomas Frederick Johnston RAFVR – Navigator - 24 – 103 Sqn - Son of Thomas Frederick and Julia Johnston, of Coulsdon, Surrey – Hanover War Cemetery, Germany

Sgt Frederick George Francis Osborne RAFVR – Air Gunner - 19 – 103 Sqn - Son of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Osborne of South Kensington, London – Hanover War Cemetery, Germany

F/S Jack Luck RCAF ( pictured below ) – Air Bomber - 22 – 103 Sqn - Son of Harold John and Charlotte Luck of Newmarket, Ontario, Canada – Hanover War Cemetery, Germany

Sgt Ernest William Hamilton RAFVR – Wireless Operator / Air Gunner - 103 Sqn - Hanover War Cemetery, Germany

F/O Arthur Stevens RAFVR – Air Gunner - 37 – 103 Sqn - Son of Herbert Frank and Ethel Mary Stevens; husband of Celia Frances Stevens of Richmond, Surrey - Hanover War Cemetery, Germany

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103 Squadron Bradley L W Cutting 1

103 Squadron Bradley L W Cutting 2

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103 Squadron Luck

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Claim by Ofw Rudolf Frank 3/NJG3 - Nordkampen/Walsrode area (ET 6 to EU 4): 6,400m at 02:38.

Same claim as Oblt Brinkhaus at 03:01. Victory for Ofw Frank confirmed 19 June 1944.

Claim by Oblt Franz Brinkhaus 7/NJG2 - Fallingbostal/Hermannsberg area (EU-EA) SW Uelzen: 6,400m at 03:01.

Coned by 1-4/Flakscheinw Abt 269 and  also claimed by Flak of 2/schw Flak Abt 542, schw Flak Abt 5919 z.b.V.,  1&2/schw Flak Abt 262 and 4&6 Flak Abt 222 (Lancaster near  Dushorn 03:00, 8 Flak Division + Jager).

Victory for Oblt Brinkhaus confirmed on 24 June 1944.

(Nachtjagd Combat Archives 1944 Part 1 - Theo Boiten) Per John Jones

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19-Feb-44 – Leipzig

103 Squadron detailed 15 aircraft with two reserves for this attack on the distant German city of Leipzig. This almost virgin target was again attacked through cloud. The bombing was carried out between 22000 ft and 24000 ft on sky markers. Crews reported Pathfinder marking to be well concentrated and plentiful. The winds given seemed to be out and the timing not all it might have been. Crews also reported seeing a number of combats. F/L Russell-Fry returned early due to electrical failures and oxygen failure caused W/O Frost to bomb Leeuwarden before returning. Two aircraft piloted by W/O Warner and F/S Gumbrell collided on landing. Five of Warner's crew were killed and two seriously injured. F/S Armstrong and W/O Nimmo landed at Kirmington. W/O Law and Sgt Bradley are missing from this raid. All other aircraft returned to base.

For this attack on Leipzig Bomber Command detailed a total of 823 aircraft - 561 Lancasters, 255 Halifaxes, 7 Mosquitos. 78 aircraft - 44 Lancasters and 34 Halifaxes - lost, 9.5 per cent of the force. The Halifax loss rate was 13.3 per cent of those dispatched and 14.9 per cent of those Halifaxes which reached the enemy coast after 'early returns' had turned back. The Halifax IIs and Vs were permanently withdrawn from operations to Germany after this raid.

This was an unhappy raid for Bomber Command. The German controllers only sent part of their force of fighters to the Kiel minelaying diversion. When the main bomber force crossed the Dutch coast, they were met by a further part of the German fighter force and those German fighters which had been sent north to Kiel hurriedly returned. The bomber stream was thus under attack all the way to the target. There were further difficulties at the target because winds were not as forecast and many aircraft reached the Leipzig area too early and had to orbit and await the Pathfinders. 4 aircraft were lost by collision and approximately 20 were shot down by flak. Leipzig was cloud-covered and the Pathfinders had to use skymarking. The raid appeared to be concentrated in its early stages but scattered later.

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Lancaster – JB745

This machine was lost on its 9th operation. Six of those were with the redoubtable Edgar Jones. See below

29-Dec-43 – Berlin - Lancaster – JB745 – P/O ET Jones RCAF - Strayed south off course and severely damaged by flak near Osnabruck. Landed Woodbridge

01-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB745 – P/O ET Jones RCAF

02-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB745 – P/O ET Jones RCAF - Landed at Bradwell Bay owing to bad weather at base

05-Jan-44 – Stettin – Lancaster – JB745 – F/S F Law

20-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB745 – P/O ET Jones RCAF

21-Jan-44 – Magdeburg – Lancaster – JB745 – P/O ET Jones RCAF

27-Jan-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB745 – P/O ET Jones RCAF

15-Feb-44 – Berlin – Lancaster – JB745 – Sgt WL Bradley

19-Feb-44 – Leipzig – Lancaster – JB745 – Sgt WL Bradley – FTR - Crashed in Germany. Details unknown.

Item compiled by David Fell with thanks to John Jones. Newspaper cutting courtesy of Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Thanks also to Gareth Hanson for the Bradley cuttings and info

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