156 Squadron Mission Details
Target: Kassel
Mission Date: 27/08/1942
Mission Comments: Fourteen aircraft detailed. All aircraft took off. Four returned early. Very fine show by F/L GILMOUR in marking target. Three aircraft failed to return. F/Sgt SAVAGE, F/Sgt LONGHURST, Sgt JAMES and crews.
Rego Type Captain Departed Over Target Height Returned Flight Time Comments ORB Slide
BJ883  Wellington III  Sgt. BOWKER            After crossing at Southwold, pilot began to suffer from severe head pains (9,000 ft). Bomb aimer kept A/C steady for 5 minutes until pilot recovered.
Bombs then jettisoned from 8,000 ft 52.28N 0230E and course set for base, pilots vision being seriously affected.
 
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X3728  Wellington III  F/Lt GILMOUR  20:20  23.30  15500  02:15    Task.. Kassel. Target positively identified and flares dropped 2320 hrs from 15,500 ft, seen to ignite on aiming point.
Bombed at 2330 hrs from 10,000 ft and A/C hit by heavy flak on port side of fuselage.
About 20 S/Ls working. Two photographs attempted with flares.

Very fine show, highly commended by H.A.

Bomb load 12 x 3 flares, 6 x 500 lb G.P. 025 
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BJ789  Wellington III  S/L COLLIER  20:20  23.55  11000  02:30      059 
BJ600  Wellington III  P/O BROUGH  20:35  23.23  15000  01:55      059 
DF666  Wellington III  F/Sgt MACKENZIE  20:43  23.40  14000  02:00      059 
BJ716  Wellington III  Sgt. DOUGLAS  20:50  23.40  12000  02:30    Hamm/Munster 2253 hrs 12,000 ft. Rear gunner fired two burst at S/E E/A making stern attack, hits registered E/A peeled off.
Hit slightly by flak same area. 
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X3367  Wellington III  F/Sgt SAVAGE  20:26          T/o Warboys. Shot down by a night fighter (Hptm Wolfgang Thimmig, III./NJG1) and crashed 2325 onto the Laurenz Textile Factory at Epe, 4 km S of Gronau, Germany. All were buried in the Evangelical Freidhof at Rheine, but they now rest in the Reichswald Forest Cemetery.

Article below from http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/features/3567985.Keeping_the_memory_alive_of_one_of_the_RAF_s_top_guns/

AT 20.26hrs on August 27, 1942, a Vickers Wellington Mk III hurtled down the runway at RAF Warboys in Cambridgeshire, pointed its blunt nose into the night sky and headed off to attack the Fiesler aircraft factory in Kassel, Germany.

On board, young Fred Shepherd from St Johnís, Worcester, settled into the tail gunnerís seat and checked again his two 7.7mm machine guns. It was a routine he had carried out many times before, because although only 22 years old, Fred was one of the RAFís top guns.

A sergeant, highly skilled and experienced despite his comparative youth, he had taken part in three of the Alliesí thousand bomber raidsĒ on Cologne, Essen and Bremen earlier in the year and survived a fire on board his aircraft returning from Warnemaunde.

This was to be his 13th mission with the recently formed 156 Squadron of Bomber Command, but he was unlikely to have been superstitious.

However, the night of August 27 did not promise well for bombers.

Clear and moonlit, conditions were ideal for the German defenders, particularly the Messerschmitts of Nachtjadgeschwader 1, the home sideís crack nightfighter unit and no British airman was under any illusions about what was coming.

As a member of the elite Pathfinder Force (motto: We light the way), Fredís Wellington was one of 30 going ahead to mark the target for the main bomb carriers, a job that put them seriously in harmís way as they met the full force of the enemy welcome.

The Pathfinders gained height over the Southwold sector of East Anglia and flew across the southern North Sea to Edam in Holland, where they turned south east, passing south of Munster, before approaching Kassel. Where all Hell let loose.

Given free rein by the clear weather, the Messerschmitts swooped and a BF110 nightfighter piloted by German ace Hauptmann Wolfgang Thimming locked on to the Wellington carrying Fred and his five fellow crewmen.

A burst of fire raked the Pathfinder and sent it spinning from the sky. It crashed on to the Laurenz textile factory at Epe, four miles south of Gronau, killing everyone on board. The time was 23.25 on August 27, 1942.

Fast forward 46 years to 1988 and Paul Smith is serving with the RAF in Germany. The son of Fred Shepherdís great Worcester boyhood pal Arthur Smith, Paul decided to spend a leave visiting the Arnhem battlefields in Holland.

While travelling near Kleve, Worcesterís twin town, I happened to spot a sign for the Reichwald Forest War Cemetery,Ē he said. My father had often talked about Fred, so I decided to see if he was buried there.

I knew that he had originally been buried at the Evangelical Friedhof at Rheine, but later all British Forces graves were relocated in Commonwealth War Cemeteries.

After about half-an-hour looking around the Reichwald Forest cemetery, I found Fredís grave. I took a photograph of it and signed the visitorsí book. When I returned to Worcester, I visited Fredís sister, who then still lived in St Johnís. I entered the house thinking she might want to forget about what had happened to her brother, as it was all a long time ago.

But to my surprise there was a huge photograph of Fred hanging over the fireside. I gave her a copy of the photograph of the grave and she was really overwhelmed that somebody had actually gone to visit Fred.

I told her all I knew about what happened to him and over the next few years I carried on visiting her.

Sadly she died five years ago.

And that might have been the end of the story, Except it isnít. Paul Smith, who lives in Thames Close, Worcester, and has served for 24 years in the RAF, both as a regular and reservist, is determined that Fred Shepherd is one son of Worcester who will never be forgotten.

He has researched as much as he can about Fredís life and death and every Remembrance Sunday places a cross with Fredís name on at the war memorial outside Worcester Cathedral. Last year he placed a framed photograph. It suffered weather damage over the winter and so on August 27, the 66th anniversary of Fredís death, Paul is renewing it. He says: ďFred was only one of more than 55,000 brave men killed with RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War, but by keeping his memory alive I hope people never forget the sacrifice they all made.

Thereís a postscript to that summer night in 1942. Hauptmann Wolfgang Thimming, the Nachtjadgeschwader commander who shot down Fred Shepherdís Wellington, went on to become a highly decorated nightfighter ace with 24 allied aircraft to his name.

He was twice awarded the Iron Cross and received other wartime honours. After the war he served as a West German diplomat in Sweden, where he died in 1976 having received the Svardsorden, a Swedish order of honour, a rare occurrence for a foreigner.

An RAF report on the Fiesler raid reported that 306 aircraft set off, of which 222 attacked the target, which was ďseverely damagedĒ.

The Germans claimed to have shot down 35 aircraft, while Bomber Command admitted to 30 losses with another 40-plus aircraft damaged by enemy aircraft or flak.

Conditions over the target were described as *pretty rough*. 
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BJ613  Wellington  F/Sgt CASE  20:30  22.30  16000  02:15      060 
DF667  Wellington III  Sgt. JAMES  20:35          T/o 2035 Warboys. All rest in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.  060 
Z1613  Wellington III  P/O LONGHURST  20:39          T/o 2039 Warboys. Shot down by a night fighter (Hptm Werner Streib, I./NJG1) and crashed 2323 near Elsendorp (Noord Brabant), 20 km NNE of Helmond, Holland. All are buried in Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery. Sgt Millidge was a gifted musician and had played with the BBC Empire Orchestra, the Buxton Municipal Orchestra and the National Opera Company Orchestra. He was a graduate of the Guildhall School of music.
Chorleys account of the loss of this aircraft, attributed to Hptm Werner Streib, I./NJG1 is contradicted by Boiten's "Nachtjadg War Diaries" which gives the time as 23:35 hrs at Gemert, 10 km. North of Helmond (5B): 5800 m. by Oblt. Hans-Dieter Frank. 2/NJG1 (His tenth victory).
Given the time and location I tend in this case to favour the Boiten account. 
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X3422  Wellington III  Sgt. THOMPSON  20:40      00:20    At position 52.23 N 02.56 E 2150 hrs. Me110 attacked from 400 yds. Rear gunner fired burst and E/A broke off on second burst, last seen diving on sea.

Ijmuiden 2210 hrs. Attacked by two S/E E/A. Combat lasted ten minutes and E/A finally shaken off after rear target u/s. Sortie abandoned.

[ED] - See DFM citation for Sgt Belton regarding this mission [ED] 
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X3672  Wellington III  Sgt. HODGSON  20:45  23.40  15000  02:25    A/c was coned by app 20 S/ls and was hit by heavy and light flak.
Starboard wing fabric stripped between engine and fuselage. dinghy tore loose and ripped fabric to rear turret. S/B engine pitot control u/s.
A/C seen shot down Egmond 2227 hrs. 
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BJ640  Wellington  Sgt. MAYHEW  20:49      22:40    Both engines overheated and pilot unable to reduce heat or climb at more than 125 IAS  060 
BJ709  Wellington  Sgt. LONGMORE  20:55  23.35  15000  02:15      060