Personnel Index - Detail
All images on this page are courtesy of Anne Richards (Sydney's daughter in law)
2/3 December, 1943; BERLIN:
Thursday 2nd December saw a continuation of the bombing attacks on Berlin. Despite high wind forecasts both at base and over Germany, 450 plus bombers set out for the 'Big City and by 16.45hrs, Fiskerton had dispatched 14 Lancasters. Bombing was scattered owing to the incorrect forecasts, but some industrial areas were hit. As well as strong winds, the bomber force also had to contend with numerous fighters. The German controllers had predicted Berlin as the target well in advance of the bomber’s arrival and as a result a total of 40 bombers with their crews were lost.
W/O Bob Petty (JB371) and crew from 49 Squadron was one of those posted missing: On their way to Berlin, J-Jig's rear gunner, Ed Smith, reported that his guns were u/s, but the crew still decided to press-on. During the bombing run they were attacked by an Me110. Owen Roberts in the top turret managed to hit the fighter’s engine before one of his guns jammed. Continuing the bomb run, Owen spotted another Me 110 just below them but when he tried to fire his guns, they were either jammed or out of ammunition. To add to their troubles, flak then struck the starboard inner engine which burst into flames immediately.
Without hesitation, Bob Petty gave the bale out order. Six members of the crew (including 2nd pilot, Sgt Tucker) survived to become PoWs. Sadly the bomb aimer, Bill Walke was killed along with the rear gunner, Ed Smith, who although seen to bale out, has no known grave.
Lancaster JB371 (EA-J)
W/O R.W. Petty Pilot (P.o.W.)
Sgt A. Tucker 2nd Pilot (P.o.W.)
Sgt G. Lumsden F/E (P.o.W.)
Sgt T. Tullock NAV (P.o.W.)
Sgt S.J. Richards W/AG (P.o.W.)
Sgt O. Roberts A/G (P.o.W.)
F/S W.A. Walke B/A (Killed)
Sgt E. Smith A/G (Missing)
Crew on their 17th operation
The telegram and letter of confirmation........"your son is missing".
German PoW photographs of Sydney Richards.
Sydney James Richards lays a wreath on the memorial at RAF Fiskerton on the occasion of his 96th birthday (May 2016).
A youthful image of Sydney Richards.
Instructions for the Wireless Operator in case of the aircraft having to ditch.
Personal items belonging to Sydney Richards.
Sgt S J Richards on the occasion of his 99th birthday (May 2019)