Ausburg Raid 17th April 1942

 

From the 97 (straits Settlements) Operational Record Book 1942 and Squadron Association Historian Kevin Bending

      Six aircraft detailed for daylight ops in formation with two reserve aircraft and crews.  Seven took-off in five minutes commencing 1455 hours.  W/O Harrison in aircraft “H” went u/s.  W/O Rowlands flew as far as Selsey Bill as reserve, not being required, returned to base.  The raid being in daylight, flew in formation of 6 aircraft, the captains being S/L Sherwood DFC, F/L Hallows, F/O Rodley, F/L Penman DFC, F/O Deverill DFM, W/O Mycock DFC.  The attack was of very great importance on the MAN Diesel works – Augsburg, South Germany, being a total of 1500 miles.  All six aircraft flew over France and low over Germany and successfully reached the target, all dropped their bombs.  S/L Sherwood and W/O Mycock were seen to be hit by flak over the target, caught fire and crashed near the target area.  F/L Hallows aircraft was badly damaged and all the other aircraft received a certain amount of damage, but the all managed to reach base safely without any casualties.  The op was highly successful, the press giving excellent reports, also the BBC broadcast an account mentioning that this raid was the finest of its type during the war.  The names of the formation leaders – S/L Sherwood and F/L Penman were also broadcast.  Definite from the reports of the captains of the aircraft that large amount of damage was caused to the essential parts of the factory.  The following signals of congratulation have been received from 5 Group.

The following has been received from AOC-in-C Bomber Command – the following message has been received by the AOC from the Prime Minister – “We must plainly regard the attack of the Lancasters on the U-boat engine factory at Augsburg as an outstanding achievement of the Royal Air Force.  Undeterred by heavy losses at the outset, 44 and 97 Squadrons pierced and struck a vital point with deadly precision in broad daylight.  Pray convey the thanks of His Majesty’s Government to the officers and men who accomplished this memorial feat of arms in which no life was lost in vain”.

Message from Chief of the Air Staff – “I would like 44 and 97 Squadrons to know the great importance I attach to this gallant and successful attack on the diesel engine factory at Augsburg.  Please give my warmest congratulations and thanks”.

From Air Marshall A.T.Harris “Convey to the crews of 44 and 97 Squadrons who took part in the Augsburg raid, the following; - the resounding blow which has been struck at the enemy’s submarine and tank building programme will echo round the world.  The full effects of his submarine campaigns cannot be immediately apparent, but nevertheless they will be enormous.  The gallant adventure penetrating deep into the heart of Germany in daylight and pressed home with outstanding determination in the face of bitter and unforeseen opposition takes its place amongst the most courageous operations of the war.  It is moreover yet another fine example of effective cooperation with the other services by striking at the very sources of the enemy effort.  The officers and men who took part, those who returned and those who fell, have indeed served their country well”.    

 

17 April 1942 - Augsburg

 

L7573 K  S/L Sherwood DFC, P/O Webb, F/O Hepburn, Sgts Page, Cox, F/Sgt Harrington, F/Sgt Wilding.  Up 1455.  Leader of the formation.  Shot down over the target by flak.  Seen by other aircraft to be in flames and crash.  Missing.
R5537 B  F/O Hallows, P/O Friend, P/O Cutting, F/Sgt Louch, Sgts L.G.Jones, Broomfield, Goacher.  Up 1456  Down 2312.  Nothing of note until 2 miles from target when everything started to shoot, including heavy flak.  Visibility 20 miles and bombed from 400 feet on target, possibly overshooting owing to aim being upset by shell in starboard wing.  Leader was shot down so continued with remaining number of formation.  Successful.
R5488 F  F/O Rodley, P/O Colquhoun, Sgts Henley, Merralls, Cummings, Ratcliffe, Crisp.  Up 1457  Down 2325.  Approached enemy coast at 100 feet and from there kept just above ground to target.  No ???? of flak encountered on way.  On approach saw huge red flames leap up from the target, on entering target area much light and some heavy flak was shot up.  Visibility good, slight haze, bombed from 200 feet.  Bombs burst on part of works west of canal, saw other bombs hit the main buildings.  Saw leader smoking and then a fire grew from his inner petrol tank and crash north of town in ball of flames.  Damaged slightly by flak.  Continued home low until crossing French coast at 11000 feet amidst further flak.  Landed at base.  Successful raid.
R5496 U  F/L Penman DFC, P/O Hooey, P/O Ifould, F/Sgt Elwood, Sgts Tales, Overton, Hebdon.  Outward journey no opposition.  Navigation was perfect.  Approaching target, guns opened up on all sides and all the aircraft in the formation were hit, nos 2 and 3 catching fire.  Bombs were dropped in two sticks in centre of chimney clusters from 400’.  No 2 pocked up position leaving target.  Continued flying low until dark enough to climb to 18000 feet and home.  Damage, light flak holes.  Successful.
L7575 Y  F/O Deverill DFM, Sgt Cooper, P/O Butler, Sgts Irons, Mackay, Devine, F/Sgt Keane.  Up 1459  Down 2315.  Target attacked in formation.  No cloud, from 400 feet bombs were dropped on target area.  No 3 “P” was seen to catch fire in the air and crash.  Very heavy flak and light predicted flak and S.A tracer.  Aircraft caught fire on starboard side of fuselage and bomb bay but was extinguished by the efforts of the Wireless Operator and Mid gunner.  Both mid and rear turrets u/s from target.  Port outer engine was u/s and feathered on leaving but was restarted before reaching coast.  Formated again on No 1 “U” for protection and landed base.
R5513 P  W/O Mycock DFC, Sgt Hayes, W/O Harrison, Sgts Eades, Macdonald, Shelley, Donoghue.  Up 1500.  Entered target area, was seen to drop bombs.  Hit by flak, caught fire in the air and was seen to crash near target.  Missing. 

The Augsburg operation –  17April 1942

 

L7573 OF-K S/L Sherwood DFC & bar, P/O Webb, F/O Hepburn, Sgt Page, Sgt Cox, F/Sgt Harrington, F/Sgt Wilding.
R5537 OF-B F/L Hallows, P/O Friend, P/O Cutting, F/Sgt Louch, Sgt Jones, Sgt Broomfield, Sgt Goacher.
R5488 OF-F F/O Rodley, P/O Colquhoun, Sgts Henley, Merrals, Cummings, Ratcliffe, Crisp.
R5496 OF-U F/L Penman DFC, P/O Hooey (USA), P/O Ifould RAAF, F/Sgt Elwood, Sgts Tales, Overton, Hebdon.  
L7575 OF-Y F/O Deverill DFM, Sgt Cooper, P/O Butler, Sgts Irons, Mackay, Devine, F/Sgt Keane.
R5513 OF-P W/O Mycock DFC, Sgt Hayes, W/O Harrison, Sgts Eades, Macdonald, Shelly, Donoghue.

Extract from S/L Sherwood’s recommendation for the Victoria Cross – total hours flown on ops – 253 hours, 55mins; number of sorties carried out – 43. “Squadron Leader Sherwood DFC led his squadron on the daylight attack on the important Diesel Engine Factory at Augsburg, Southern Germany.  With great skill and ability Squadron Leader Sherwood led the formation at very low level across 900 miles of enemy occupied territory – eventually leading all his aircraft directly on to the target.  On the approach to the target itself, heavy and accurate anti-aircraft fire was experience but, with extreme daring and cool-headedness, he pressed home the attack with his Section, scoring direct hits on the Factory with his bombs from a very low level.  While bombing the target his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft guns and caught fire.  Squadron Leader Sherwood continued to lead his section away from the target with one wing well alight and until such time as the aircraft became uncontrollable.  By extreme devotion to duty, Squadron Leader Sherwood ensured the success of the operation with which he was charged, and continued his daring leadership to the end.  His conspicuous bravery on this occasion crowned a long and distinguished career in the service of his country” (sic – W/C Collier CO 97 Sqn)
“This gallant leadership deserves the highest recognition.  His example will always be remembered in this Group and in the Royal Air Force”. (sic – G/C Harries 5 Group).  “Strongly recommended”  - AM Harris. Air Ministry endorsement – “To be recd for DSO if later found to be alive”

Awards – F/L Penham – DSO (“He showed great skill in the handling of his section and the greatest determination in attacking the target from a very low level in spite of intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire”); F/L Hallows – DFC (“His leader was shot down in flames…he then took over command of the remainder of the section….throughout the whole operation, he showed the greatest possible determination and pluck”); F/O Deverill – DFC (“His aircraft was hit in numerous places causing a fire…which burned a large portion of the fuselage”); P/O Hooey – DFC – (“He greatly assisted the leader to find and bomb the target by accurate map-reading”);  P/O Ifould – DFC – (“By accurate bomb aiming under intense fire he scored direct hits on the main works”); Sgt Overton – DFM, Sgt Ratcliffe – DFM, Sgt Louch – DFM, Sgt Goacher – DFM, Sgt Irons –DFM, Sgt Mackay – DFM (Re Irons and Mackay “They dealt with the situation with great calmness and resource…putting out the fire after it had gained a considerable hold”.) 

Extract from “The Lancaster Story” by Peter Jacobs

“By the time the 97 Squadron aircraft were making their attack, every anti-aircraft gun was in full action and the crews were met with an almost unavoidable barrage of fire.  Sherwood led the attack and made a straight and very low approach and the two other aircraft in his section, flown by Flying Officers ‘Darky’ Hallow and ‘Rod’ Rodley, followed him in to attack.  Having released their bombs, both pilots then witnessed their leader’s aircraft explode on impact with the ground.

The rear section was led by Flight Lieutenant ‘Jock’ Penman DFC.  By now the German gunners had established the exact line and height of the run-in to the target and all three aircraft of the section were hit.  The number two of the rear section, flown by Flying Officer Ernest Deverill DFM, received hits in the hydraulic pipes, which put the gun turrets out of action, and hydraulic oil caught fire under the mid-upper turret.  At the same time the starboard inner engine was hit and set on fire.  The third aircraft of the section, flown by Warrant Officer Tommy Mycock DFC, also caught fire during the run-in.  He managed to hold the aircraft steady just long enough to release his bombs on target before the aircraft was seen to blow up.  The two remaining Lancasters in the section turned for home.  Deverill’s aircraft, now on just three engines, faced a long and hazardous flight.

The four surviving 97 Squadron aircraft had landed back at Woodhall Spa by midnight, with deverill’s aircraft immediately being declared a total write-off.  The eight Lancasters that reached th target had casued sufficient damage to hold up production for several weeks.”

“Sergeant Ron Irons was a wireless operator….took part in the Augsburg raid.  He recalls ‘We were flying as number two of the rear section and by the time that we arrived over the target area the element of surprise had completely gone.  The German defences were very alert and were firing everything imaginable at us, including heavy gunfire.  We were hit during the run-in to the target.  Flak had hit the hydraulic pipes, which had put the gun turrets out of action, and hydraulic oil had caught fire under the mid-upper turret.  I left my position to help the gunner extinguish the fire.  At the same time our starboard inner engine had been hit and was on fire.  Having eventually extinguished the engine fire, we faced a long and hazardous journey back to base on just three engines.’

Being the wireless operator, Ron Irons was the first to react and, together with the mid-upper gunner, was able to extinguish the fire and save the aircraft – an act which brought both men the award of a DFM.” 

Extract from Bomber Command Losses – 17.4.42

Lancaster I L7573  OF-K   Op: Augsburg.  T/O 1455 Woodhall Spa.  Hit by flak in the target area and crash-landed, on fire, near Augsburg.  Those who died are now buried in Durnbach War Cemetery. S/L Sherwood had a quite miraculous escape, being thrown from the Lancaster as it crashed.
S/L J.S.Sherwood DFC(pow), P/O A.T.Webb MiD(+), F/O D.S.R.Hepburn RCAF(+), Sgt R.S.Page MiD(+), Sgt A.M.Cox(+), F/Sgt D.W.Harrington MiD(+), F/Sgt V.Wilding(+).

Lancaster I R5513 OF-P  Op: Augsburg.  T/O 1500 Woodhall Spa.  Hit by flak and exploded over the target area.  All are buried in Durnbach War Cemetery.  F/S Donoghue was an American from Glen Head in New York State, serving in the RCAF.
W/O T.J.Mycock DFC(+), Sgt N.C.Hayes MiD(+), W/O L.Harrison MiD(+), F/S S.E.Eades MiD(+), Sgt D.Macdonald(+), F/S.W.Shelley(+),
F/S J.G.Donoghue RCAF(+).

44 Squadron
(Code Letters KM, Callsign ‘Maypole’)

1st Section


B - Baker R5508

A - Apple R5510

H - Howe L7536

S/L Nettleton (Rhodesia)

F/O Garwell DFM

Sgt Rhodes

P/O Dorehill (Rhodesia)

Sgt Dando (Rhodesia)

Sgt Baxter (New Zealand)

P/O Sands (Australia) x

F/Sgt Kirke DFM (New Zealand)

Sgt Daly

Sgt Churchill (South Africa)

F/Sgt Flux DFM

Sgt Merricks

Sgt Huntly (Rhodesia)

Sgt Watson

Sgt Wynton

F/Sgt Mutter

Sgt Edwards

F/Sgt Edwards

F/Sgt Harrison

F/Sgt McAlpine (Canada)

F/Sgt Gill

x F/Lt. McClure (Rhodesia) extra man to read maps and bomb aim.

2nd Section

P -Peter R5506

T – Tommy L7548

V – Victor L7565

F/Lt Sandford

W/O Crum DFM

W/O Beckett DFM

P/O Peall (Rhodesia)

Sgt Dedman (Rhodesia)

Sgt Moss (Rhodesia)

F/O Gerrie

Sgt Birkett

F/Sgt Ross (Canada)

Sgt Hadgraft

F/Sgt Saunderson

Sgt Seagoe

Sgt Venter (Rhodesia)

Sgt Dowty

Sgt Hackett

Sgt Law

Sgt Miller

Sgt Harrison

Sgt Wing

Sgt Cobb

Sgt Trustram

 

 

 

97 Squadron

(Code Letters OF, Callsign ‘Lifebuoy’)

1st Section


K – King L7573

B – Baker R5573

F – Freddie R5488

S/L Sherwood DFC & Bar

F/L Hallows

F/O Rodley

P/O Webb

P/O Friend

P/O Colquhoun

F/O Hepburn

P/O Cutting

Sgt Henley

Sgt Page

F/Sgt Louch

Sgt Merrals

Sgt Cox

Sgt Jones

Sgt Cummings

F/Sgt Harrington

Sgt Broomfield

Sgt Ratcliffe

F/Sgt Wilding

Sgt Goacher

Sgt Crisp

2nd Section


U – Uncle R5496

Y – Yorker L7575

P – Peter R5513

F/Lt Penman DFC

F/O Deverill DFM

W/O Mycock DFC

P/O Hooey (USA)

Sgt Cooper

Sgt Hayes

P/O Ifould (Australia)

P/O Butler

W/O Harrison

F/Sgt Elwood

Sgt Irons

Sgt Eades

Sgt Tales

Sgt Mackay

Sgt Macdonald

Sgt Overton

Sgt Devine

Sgt Shelly

Sgt Habdon

F/Sgt Keane

Sgt Donohue

 

 

The below article was recovered from an old RAF MOD site and i have tried to get permission to reproduce it here but have failed to find any information. as such i have reproduced as found and if anyone has details on how to gain permission or you own the copyright please contact the webmaster. I am happy to credit or remove. Its main focus is on 44 squadron with a little at the end for 97 Squadron so i hope to be updating our page in time. Any details welcome.