49 Squadron Awards
3/4 March, 1945; LADBERGEN (DORTMUND-EMS CANAL):
A force of 212 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitoes (all 5 Group) accomplished a successful attack on the Ladbergen aqueduct, putting the Dortmund-Ems Canal completely out of operation. 9 Squadron from Bardney, contributed 18 aircraft, all dropping 12,000lb 'Tallboy' bombs.
But as the 5 Group Lancasters turned for home some of the Luftwaffe's 'Experten' nightfighter pilots were waiting. Airborne that night was 'fighter ace' Major Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer; he shot down 2 Lancasters, his 117th and 118th victims: altogether 7 Lancaster crews failed to return.
F/O Jack Mersey (PB361) and crew were unable to attack the target; whilst taking evasive action from searchlights, the pilot blacked-out.
The aircraft was skilfully flown back to England by the bomb aimer, F/Sgt Boyes.
Thankfully, once back over England, the captain recovered sufficiently to land R-Roger at Tilstock.