156 Squadron Log
Award Date Citation / Reference Squadron
CGM  15/05/1945  JOINT COMMENDATION

Distinguished Flying Cross Acting Flying Officer Gilbert Barrett HAMPSON (184183), R.A.F.V.R., 156 Sqn.

Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying).
961648 Sergeant Dennis Ronald BOWERS, R.A.F.V.R., 156 Sqn.

Distinguished Flying Medal.
1589153 Flight Sergeant John Rouffignac MANN, R.A.F.V.R., 156 Sqn.
1233251 Flight Sergeant Francis Geoffrey REYNOLDS, R.A.F.V.R., 156 Sqn.

Sergeant Bowers and Flight Sergeants Mann and Reynolds were flight engineer, rear gunner and second navigator respectively in an aircraft piloted by Flying Officer Hampson detailed to attack Harpenerweg in March, 1945.

When nearing the target the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant Bowers was severely wounded in the leg. In spite of this he remained at his post. Almost immediately, another shell burst underneath the aircraft and caused extensive damage. The bomb bay was wrecked. A fire started and the fuselage became filled with smoke. The aircraft began to lose height and it seemed as though it would have to be abandoned, but Flying Officer Hampson succeeded in regaining control. Just then, the aircraft was again hit. Sergeant Bowers sustained further in jury. His leg was almost severed.

Whilst Flying Officer Hampson was taking evasive action, Flight Sergeants Mann and Reynolds went to the assistance of their badly wounded comrade to whom first aid was given. Afterwards, they did everything possible to assist their pilot and captain in his endeavour to fly the crippled aircraft home.

Grievously wounded as he was, Sergeant Bowers also was fully determined to be of assistance. After dragging himself nearer to his instrument panel he kept his pilot advised of the fuel position and gave directions regarding the changing of the respective fuel tanks.

Finally, Flying Officer Hampson reached an airfield. The bomb doors were open. The hydraulic gear and the flaps were unserviceable. Nevertheless, the undercarriage was lowered by means of the emergency system and Flying Officer Hampson brought the severely damaged aircraft safely down. This officer displayed the finest qualities of skill, courage and coolness.

Flight Sergeants Mann and Reynolds gallantly supported their captain and their conduct throughout was exemplary. Sergeant Bowers, though grievously injured, set a magnificent example of courage, fortitude and devotion to duty. His example will long be remembered. 
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