Personnel Index - Detail
9/10 June, 1944; ETAMPES:
This was a 5 Group attack, led by Mosquito Pathfinders, on the railway junction at Etampes, south of Paris. It had rained for most of the day across Lincolnshire with the dull overcast bringing visibility down to 1 mile. But in the evening, shortly after 21.00hrs, a force of 108 Lancasters took to the air including 21 Lancasters from Fiskerton, all bound for France once again.
Over the target marking was accurate but late, causing the Lancasters to orbit. During this dangerous period many aircraft were seen to go down in flames.
Bombs started to spread from the junction into the town, and sadly over 400 houses were destroyed before the 'Master of Ceremonies' could halt the attack.
Back at base, it soon became clear that two of the aircraft seen being shot down in flames, may have been from 49 Squadron; one of these being the plane piloted by F/O Bryan Bell (ND533). Records show that the bomb aimer, F/O Philip Hemmens did not die until September 1944.
Altogether six Lancasters failed to return from the raid.
Lancaster ND533 (EA-M)
F/O B.E. Bell Pilot (Killed)
Sgt S.C. Holmes F/E (Killed)
F/O D. Macfadyen RAAF NAV (Killed)
Sgt J. Holden W/AG (Killed)
F/O H.D. Clark A/G (Killed)
F/O P.D. Hemmens A/B (P.o.W.
but died in Buchenwald Concentration Camp 27-09-44)
Sgt J.J. Reed A/G (Killed)
Crew on their 9th operation
There is a small memorial in Normandy remembering this crew. Click for details.
As you can see from the correspondence below there was, for some time, real doubt concerning the fate of F/O Clark.
The Association is grateful to Cecily Hanlon for these documents.