Personnel Index - Detail
14/15 March, 1945; LUTZKENDORF:
On Wednesday night, 14 March, 5 Group reverted to its solo efforts, sending 244 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitoes to attack the Wintershall synthetic-oil refinery at Lutzkendorf near Leipzig. Group requested a maximum effort, and 49 was able to provide 20 aircraft.
The bombers were confronted by extremely aggressive and accurate defences, with the result that 18 Lancasters failed to return (this represented 7.4 per cent of the Lancaster force). 49 Squadron did not escape the onslaught, with several aircraft receiving damage. F/O Littley (PB373) and crew were attacked by a Ju88 whilst on their bombing run.
The returning 5 Group Lancasters received diversion orders away from their Lincolnshire bases;
However,one 49Squadron aircraft was outstanding; F/Lt Joe McPhee RCAF (RF153) and crew, consisting of five Canadians and two British, had failed to return. Sadly, six of the crew were later confirmed as killed, whilst F/Sgt 'Corky' Corrigan RCAF (rear gunner) had escaped death and indeed custody, turning up at Fulbeck a few weeks later.
The other six members of the crew are buried alongside each other in the Berlin War Cemetery.
'Corky' Corrigan was a tough looking, swarthy Canadian NCO in fellow Canadian Joe McPhee's crew. He happened to be the proud owner of a motor bike, which he kept outside his crew's hut at Fulbeck. When he failed to return from the Lutzkendorf trip, other motor bike owners on the squadron virtually stripped Corrigan's machine for spare parts.
When F/Sgt Corrigan returned 'out of the blue' back at Fulbeck, having escaped from the Germans... mysteriously all the missing spare parts suddenly reappeared on his motor cycle overnight.
F/L J.N. McPhee RCAF Pilot (Killed)
Sgt P.F. Ivett F/E (Killed)
F/O G.A. Robinson RCAF NAV (Killed)
F/S T.G.W. Dew W/OP (Killed)
F/S E.G.C. Richards RCAF A/G (Killed)
F/O R.F. Thompson RCAF A/B (Killed)
F/S G.K. Corrigan RCAF A/G (Evader)
Crew on their 17th operation
Leutnant Helmut Bunje of 4./NJG6 attacked a Lancaster at 22.10hrs, interception at a height of 1,000m, 10km west of Leuna, his 9th Abschuss.
Bunje survived the war and finished with 11 victories.