156 Squadron Log
Date Weekday Activity Target
1/03/1945  Thursday  11 aircraft detailed for a daylight attack on MANNHEIM. 1 aircraft returned early (S/L J. A. Robertson). The whole attack was late as the Main Force were behind time. The Squadron orbited until the Main Force arrived. A good concentration of blue smoke puffs was kept up. Owing to weather 10/10ths tops 10/12,000 feet, the bombing could not be assessed, but the aircraft concentration seemed good. Engine in F/O Keeler's aircraft cut out 50 minutes from the target, but he arrived on time and returned to base on three engines. He believes his aircraft was hit by pieces of an aircraft which blew up. An engine also failed in F/O Boggiano's aircraft two hours from the target. He pressed on and bombed late. He was picked up by our fighters as a straggler, and again escorted from the target. He sucessfully crept back and landed at base 1 hour 20 mins after the others had landed. 7 non operational flights.  Mannheim         
2/03/1945  Friday  8 aircraft detailed to attack COLOGNE in daylight. Considerable enemy troops and armour were reported concentrated in the city. S/L P.F. Clayton, DSO DFC was Master Bombr and F/L W.J. Cleland DFC was Deputy. The A/P was soon blacked out by smoke, and there is no doubt that the built-up area and the A/P received the full weight of the attack. Our crews saw two aircraft fall in flames in the target area and burn on the ground. Five parachutes were seen from one of these aircraft. Initial report indicate that the attack was a highly successful one. Two aircraft were slightly damaged by flak. 8 non operational flights.  Koln         
3/03/1945  Saturday  22 non operational flights.           
4/03/1945  Sunday  16 aircraft detailed for operations which were later cancelled. 15 non operational flights.           
5/03/1945  Monday  16 aircraft detailed for a night raid on CHEMNITZ. 1 aircraft withdrawn at take off with engine failure. A close clump of skymarking started at 21.39 hours. Later there appeared to be a short gap in the marking, but this was soon made good, and marking continued to the end of the attack. The marking was good and the bombing fairly well placed. The raid appeared to be a good one, and might prove to be a substantial help for our Russian allies. S/L P.P. Hague's aircraft developed engine trouble on the way to the target, and the Starboard Inner engine became unserviceable. He pressed on on three engines, attacked on time, and landed at Manston on return. 17 non operational flights.  Chemnitz         
6/03/1945  Tuesday  5 non operational flights.           
7/03/1945  Wednesday  16 aircraft detailed for night operations against German fighter production area of DESSAU. The attacked opened in 10/10th cloud, and the Main Force R/T talking interfered with the reception of the Master Bomber. T.I's cascaded into cloud and more illuminators formed a very good concentration. On the whole, the raid was rather scattered. An aircraft bombing on a later stage reported fires burning over a wide area. Mosquito aircraft on a "Siren Tour" reported a mass of fires 2 miles long and one mile wide on the built up area. 5 aircraft were seen shot down, one by a F.W.190 just south of Dortmund. All our aircraft returned. One aircraft damaged by flak. 16 non operational flights.  Dessau         
8/03/1945  Thursday  16 aircraft detailed for night operations against the U-Boat docks of Hamburg. 1 aircraft did not proceed owing to brake trouble. The raid was directed by S/L P.F. Clayton DSO DFC as Master Bomber, and F/L T.S. Harris as Deputy. Illuminating flares were on time and excellently placed permitting earlier crews to identify the A/P. with the river, lake and docks. The Main Force bombing was rather scattered, but several explosions were reported. 1 non operational flight.  Hamburg         
9/03/1945  Friday  nil           
10/03/1945  Saturday  23 non operational flights.           
11/03/1945  Sunday  The Squadron made a small contribution for day operations against Essen, in what might well prove to be the final liquidation of the target. Over a thousand bombers pounded the city, and 7 aircraft proceed from this Squadron as Blind Sky Markers and Visual Centerers. The attack was carried out in conditions of 10/10ths cloud and results could not be observed, but dense smoke was rising up to about 7,000 feet. Bombing on Skymarkers seemed good, and the raid appeared to be successful and concentrated. 10 non operational flights.  Training  Essen       
12/03/1945  Monday  The deletion of Dortmund from our future target list was effected today when 5,000 tons of H.E. cascaded on the partially ruined city. This Squadron contributed 12 aircraft. The great raid was directed by S/L P.F. Clayton DSO DFC as Master Bomber, and the analogy is that he generalled over 7,000 front line men in the attack. F/L T.S. Harris was his Deputy. The attack was carried out in 10/10ths cloud, and smoke puff markers were visible continually in good concentration. The raid should be successful as the aircraft came in on right heading in a steady stream. As the Master Bomber left the target there was a huge circle of discoloured cloud over the city. 2 non operational flights.  Dortmund         
13/03/1945  Tuesday  16 aircraft detailed for operations which were later cancelled. 4 further aircraft detailed as Supporters for a night attack on the synthetic oil plant Dahl Busch near Gelsenkirchen. An excellent concentration of marking was maintained throughout the attack, and the bombing appears to have been of an almost equally high standard. One large explosion was reported orange in colour and mushrooming up with black smoke. 14 non operational flights.  Gelsenkirchen         
14/03/1945  Wednesday  12 aircraft detailed for night operations against enemy troop concentrations and communications in Homburg.. 1 aircraft returned early with engine trouble. Illuminating flares were dropped in adequate number, and in the light of which ground detail was easily identifiable. Marking was accurate and concentrated. Bombing appeared well directed and fires developed, with smoke quickly obscuring the target. Th attack was considered most successful. 13 non operational flights.  Homburg         
15/03/1945  Thursday  16 aircraft detailed for a night attack on the Synthetic Oil Plant at Misburg, Hanover. The attack was directed by S/L P.F. Clayton DSO DFC as Master Bomber and F/L T.S. Harris was Deputy. The Main force bombing was directed on the Reds and Greens, accurately placed by the Deputy. The marking and bombing was well placed and several large explosions were recorded. Dense clouds of smoke rose to 11,000 feet at the end of the attack, and the glow of fires were clearly visible 100 miles away on the homeward journey. Flak was predicted and accurate, 25 to 30 searchlights were cluless. A very successful raid. 6 non operational flights. F/O J.H. Player and crew reported from PFFNTU (ex 100 Squadron)  Misburg         
16/03/1945  Friday  Nurnberg, the German peace time toy town and now manufacturing more lethal toys, was the target for 16 aircraft on noght operations. The first load of markers fell on the A/P, and the second close to it. Bombing was well concentrated on the markers, the target becoming rapidly obscured by smoke. The glow of fires was visible up to about 60 miles on the return journey. Numerous enemy fighters were active on the T/A. P/O Benson's aircraft was attacked by an enemy aircraft on the bombing run, and extensively damaged. The gunners retaliated and claim an M.E. 410 as probably destroyed. In this crew F/O P.C. Milner (Nav.1) F/O P.G. Mather (Nav.2), P/O F.Wilson (W/Op) and Sgt C.R. Griffiths (M/U/G) were wounded by gun shot wounds, and admitted to ELY Hospital on return. This raid cost Bomber Command 24 aircraft missing. 3 non operational flights.  Nurnburg         
17/03/1945  Saturday  2 non operational flights.           
18/03/1945  Sunday  16 aircraft detailed for night operations against Hanau. Groundmarkers were extremely well concentrated in the nuilt up area throughout the attack, and the bombing was reported good. One large explosion was reported, and good fires developed with smoke rising to 3/4000 feet. An engine in F/L W.E.B. Mason's aitcraft cut out 50 minutes from the target, and on the way back from the target he was attacked by an enemy aircraft, which he sucessfully evaded by corkscrewing. One crew reported two J.U. 88's coming out of the target area, and saw three combats take place. The raid appears to be a very sucessful one. 16 non operational flights.  Hannau         
19/03/1945  Monday  10 non operational flights.           
20/03/1945  Tuesday  15 aircraft detailed for night operations on the synthetic oil plant at Heide. Illuminating flares opened the attack, and althought flares were mostly to South of A/P, ground detail was clearly identified. Early bombing was scattered, but was quickly corrected by the Master Bomber. Several explosions, and especially two large ones were recorded. F/L T. Grant's aircraft took off 10 minutes late. The starboard engine became unserviceable on the way out, and height could not be maintained. He reached the target on time and landed at base on return. 19 non operational flights.  Heide         
21/03/1945  Wednesday  F/L D.A. Sulul and crew (ex 153 Sqdn) P/O G.N. Green and crew (Ex 460 Sqn), F/O J.Jamieson and crew (ex 625 Sqdn) reported from P.F.F.N.T.U. 8 non operational flights.           
22/03/1945  Thursday  The Squadron contributed 14 aircraft for a deep daylight penetration into Germany, with the object of obliterating the town of Hildesheim, with its troops depot. This town is a main railway junction from Berlin to the Ruhr. One aircraft developed engine trouble and returned early. The visibility was excellent and clear. The markers fell in the centre of the town, and were soon obscured by smoke. 3 non operational flights.  Hildesheim         
23/03/1945  Friday  18 non operational flights.           
24/03/1945  Saturday  9 aircraft detailed for a daylight attack on the synthetic oil plant at Harpenweg. F/L T.S. Harris was Master Bomber and F/L W.J. Cleland DFC was Deputy. S/L P.F.Clayton, DSO DFC carried out long stop duties for the raid. Bombing was well concentrated on the Master Bomber's instructions. A large explosion was seen, with flames, followed by clouds of black oily smoke. Flak was predicted and accurate and several aircraft were hit, two of which were Cat "A.C." through damage. On the run up to the target F/O G.B. Hampson's aircraft received a direct hit in the rear of the bomb bay, but the bombs did not explode. Some of the bombs fell from the shattered bomb bay. What followed was an episode of valour and courage which might never have been recorded had it not been for the superb airmanship on the part of the Captain, and the selfless devotion to duty of the survivors. After the hit the Captain was informed that the aircraft was on fire, and as the aircraft was developing a dive and was full of smoke he gave the order to abandon. In the meantime the Captain continued evasive action in view of the predicted flak. The Navigator 1 and Wireless Operator had baled out and the Mid Upper Gunner missing, but his parachute was still in the aircraft. A large shell hole was near his turret and with the aircraft full of smoke, it may be assumed that he fell through this hole. The Captain found he could control the aircraft and he signalled the Set Operator who was helping the wounded Flight Engineer through the escape hatch. The Flight Engineer was wounded in the thigh and the bone splintered, but he continued "Windowing". As the Flight Engineer was being dragged back into the aircraft another direct hit shattered his left leg at the knee, severing it except for a few tags of flesh, The Rear Gunner, who had clambered precariously from the rear turret, ove the gaping holes in the fuselage, and the Set Operator carried him to the flight deck beside the Pilot. The Flight Engineer (an ex Medical Orderly) directed and assisted the dressing of his own wounds, and injected himself with morphia in the left wrist. In spite of his wounds he continued giving advice to the Pilot regarding fuel state and changing fuel tanks, and dragging his maimed body nearer the switch board, continued giving instructions to the Pilot. The Set Operator plotted a course for home, and the Rear Funner remained assisting the Captain. The aircraft landed at Manston, and was graded Cat "E" (beyond repair). S/L Clayton DOS DFC on Long Stop duties over the target, was repeatedly hit by flak, on on landing at base, the aircraft was graded "Cat A.C" 6 non operational flights.  Harpenwerg         
25/03/1945  Sunday  10 aircraft was detailed to carry out a daylight attack on Munster. F/L W.J. Cleland DFC was Master Bomber and F/L I. Deramore-Denver was Deputy. Bombing was rather scattered at first, mainly in the built up area. This was soon rectified by the Master Bomber's persistent instructions to the Main Force. The A/P quickly became obscured by smoke and dust. Should be a good raid. 2 non operational flights.  Munster         
26/03/1945  Monday  18 non operational flights.           
27/03/1945  Tuesday  13 non operational flights.           
28/03/1945  Wednesday  16 aircraft detailed for operations which were later cancelled. 1 non operational flight.           
29/03/1945  Thursday  2 non operational flights.           
30/03/1945  Friday  22 non operational flights.           
31/03/1945  Saturday  16 aircraft detailed fo a daylight attack on the submarine works at HAMBURG. The attack opened in 10/10ths cloud, and the crews marked and bombed on Master Bomber's instructions. Red smoke puffs fell in well-timed sucession throughout the attack, and were well concencentrated. There was heavy predicted flak which later became barrage. There was considerable fighter activity and the Squadron was involved in several combats on the target area with M.E's 262 and one M.E. 262 was claimed as damaged. Other aircraft were hit and damaged by flak. Two aircraft missing. F/L A.C. Pope and crew., and F/O H. Benson and crew. This month saw the completion of the scheme for the centralisation of personnel. All groubd personnel were posted to Station Headquarters. A new Establishment LWE/BC/3431 was received which includes only the Squadron Commander, Squadron Adjutant and operational crews. The following were awarded decorations during the month: F/O W.F. Keeler and F/O R.A. Boggiano Immediate DFC's F/L L>T>R>H> Williams, P/O F.W. Schoon, F/L M.W. Kitson, F/O T. Kennedy, P/O H.F. Wilkinson, P/O P.A. Robertson, F/L G. E. Foster, P/O B.A. Butterfield, F/O N. P. Hibbert. F/L W.E.B. Mason, S/L J.A. Wilson, F/O J Hough, F/L E.T. Cook, F/L J.Jackson, W/O H.Smith, W/O J. Crump, W/O R.N. Noye, W/O J.D. Sanders, all awarded D.F.C. F/L J.Booth DFC awarded Bar to DFC. P/O R.J. Heatrick awarded D.F.M.  Hamburg