Lancaster (S for Sugar)

Andy Jordan

Chessington, United Kingdom

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Taken at the RAF Museum at Hendon. and shows Avro Lancaster(S for Sugar)…
Built by Metropolitan-Vickers at its Mosley Road works, Manchester. After completion taken by road to A.V.Roe plant at Woodford. Part of a batch of 100 originally ordered as Manchesters in 1939 of which only the first 43 were built as such, the remaining 57, including R5868 being completed as Lancasters as part of contract No.982866, serial numbers R5768 R5917, delivered between Mar 41 and Aug 42. 20 Jun 42 Complete and awaiting collection from Woodford following assembly and testing.
29 Jun 42 Delivered to No. 83 Squadron, RAF Scampton, Lincs. The Squadron had commenced conversion from Manchesters that April. Allocated to ‘B’ flight. The acceptance check on the airframe was carried out by LAC Pollard who, with LAC Ron Paget and Sergeants Jim Gill and Harry Taylor looked after R5868 throughout her time on the Squadron.
5 Jul 42 Flying log book of Air Gunner Flight Sergeant (Later Warrant Officer) Harry Lavey DFM (photocopy with DoRIS, ref. X002-5569/001) records one hour formation flying and fighter affiliation practice flight, with further similar flights on the 6th and7th July, with Lavey as rear gunner on all these flights.
8 Jul 42 45-minute training flight, takeoff at 14.30 – Lavey (rear gunner) logbook. Pilot for the 5-8 July flights was S/Ldr Hilton.
08/09 Jul 42 First operational sortie with No 83 Squadron. against Wilhelmshaven. Coded OL – Q .Took off at 00.05; Piloted by S/Ldr Ray L.Hilton, DFC with a load of 1260 4 LB incendiary bombs. 4 hours 13 minutes. The other crew members on this first mission included P/O D.R.Waterbury, Sgt.R.Beavan, F/Sgt H.Kitto, Sgt.C.H.Crawley, P/O A.F.McQueen, and rear gunner Sgt. H. Lavey
(See logbook copy). On later operations Beavan, Kitto and Lavey were replaced by Sgt. J.Mcfarlane, F/Sgt P.J.Moore and F/Sgt (Later Pilot Officer) Llewellyn Edgar ‘Jack’ Warren – (so named because he had been a steeplejack pre-war). Hilton was the B flight Commander, on his second operational tour. From the outset Hilton insisted that Queenie was flying one wing low. The ground crew tried everything to rectify the fault, the ground crew even flying on air test, but no solution was found. Around this time R5868 acquired her first nose art – a nude female kneeling in front of a bomb, on the port side just aft of the front turret. Operational Sortie No. (1)
11 Jul 42 Following 30 minute training flight earlier that day (Lavey Logbook – Lavey was rear gunner) flown in dusk raid on submarine yards at Danzig. Took off at 16.50. Dropped 5 1000lb high explosive bombs. 10 hours 5 minutes duration. A total of 44 Lancasters attacked the yards – the heaviest daylight attack and the most distant raid yet made against a German target by Bomber Command, involving a 1,500 mile round trip. For this and a subsequent attack on the Krupp works at Essen on 18 July, ‘Queenies’ pilot, S/L R.L.Hilton, was awarded a bar to his DFC.
The ORB records that bombs burst on or near the target and after leaving the target the gunners put out searchlights and attacked gun positions with machine gun fire. The recommendation for D.F.M of Harry Levey records that the attack was made from 2,500 feet. (DoRIS photocopy). (2)
14 Jul 42 20-minute NFT flight, take off 15.15-Mills (rear Gunner) Logbook. Pilot PO Partridge.14/15 Jul 42 Mine dropping sortie to Bordeaux. Pilot P/O J.E.Partridge.7 hours 40 minutes. Mines dropped in the Gironde River – splashes seen as mines hit the water. See also Mills logbook extract X003-3604/001 16 Jul 42 1.05 hour practice flight – formation flying. (Lavey Logbook). 17 Jul 42 40-minute training flight – Pilot F/Sgt Calvert. Logbook extract of Flight Engineer F/Lt G.Dunmore.
18 Jul 42 Daylight raid on Krupps Works, Essen. Pilot S/L Hilton DFC. Dropped six1000 pound bombs. 4 hours duration.10 Lancs, 4 of them from No 83 Squadron, took part; R5868 was one of only 3 to reach the target; en route two FW 190s were noticed approaching . Hilton received the DSO and P/O A.F.McQueen, his mid upper gunner the DFC for this raid. Rear gunner was H. Lavey – see logbook copy. His DFM recommendation records that on this occasion he directed evasive action and counter attacks against the attacking FW190s resulting in R5868 escaping damage. (4)
19/20 Jul 42 Dropped six 1000 pounders on Vegesack. Pilot F/Sgt D.Calvert. Six-hour flight. Dunmore logbook. Landed at RAF Coningsby. (5)
20 Jul 42 15-minute flight from Coningsby to base
Dunmore logbook.
21 Jul 42 30 minute training flight, take off mid-day; Lavey logbook.
21/22 Jul 42 Dropped 112 × 30 pounders on Duisburg. Pilot S/L Hilton DFC.3 hours 41minutes duration, took off at 23.45 – Lavey (rear gunner) logbook. Bomb bursts and fires seen in target area. (6)
23/24 Jul 42 Duisburg. 1 X 4000 lb, 6 X 500 lb, 2 X 250 lb. Pilot F/Sgt L.T.Goodfellow. Flight time 3 hours 57-minutes.9/10 cloud over target. (7)
25/26 Jul 42 Return raid on Duisburg. S/L Hilton.1 X 4000lb ‘Cookie’, 6 × 500 2 × 250 lb. bombs dropped.3 hours 32 minutes. Intercepted over the target by an enemy fighter, but escaped unscathed.
The interception report records that at 02.19 at 15,000 feet over Duisburg, the aircraft was intercepted by a single engined fighter, spotted by the rear gunner 300 yards away. At the same time he and the mid upper gunner saw two FW190s 300 yards away to port. The pilot corkscrewed and evaded the fighters. At 02.25 20 miles NW of Duisburg at 14000 feet the mid upper gunner saw a Bf110 1000 yards away to port, which closed twice to 5-600 yards and continued closing for another 6 minutes as the pilot took evasive action. No shots were exchanged and the 110 broke away to port. The crew on this occasion included Flight Engineer Sgt Beaven, Navigator P/O Waterbury, front gunner Sgt Gilchrist mid upper gunner P/O McQueen, rear gunner Sgt Warren and W/Op F/Sgt Kitto. (8)
26 Jul 42 35 minute training flight Lavey (mid upper gunner) logbook and Mills (rear Gunner) logbook extract, taking off at 11.30am.
26/27 Jul 42 5 hours 8 minutes flight to Hamburg, taking off at 23.05. Pilot
P/O J.E.Partridge DFC .Dropped 1,260 4 lb incendiary bombs.
Holed in port wing on way out by Flak ships.
Bombs seen to fall in centre of town about aiming point. Centre of town well alight. Searchlights shot out by gunners. Mid. Gunner – Harry Lavey, whose DFM recommendation records that the gunners shot up flak ships in then Elbe Estuary after the aircraft had been hit. Rear Gunner Sgt Edward Mills DFM and bar –photocopied logbook extract X003-3604/001. (9)
5/6 Aug 42 Damaged on minelaying sortie over the Gironde River. Pilot W/C D.Crighton-Biggie.7 hours 14 minutes. Slight flak damage. (10)
6/7 Aug 42 4 hour 3 minute flight to Duisburg. Pilot P/O J.Marchant. One x 4000 lb and 900 × 4lb incendiaries. Flash of 4000 LB seen by rear gunner. (11)
9/10 Aug 42 Bombed Osnabruck as alternative target. Pilot S/L R.L.Hilton DFC Dropped one x 4000lb and 900 × 4lb incendiaries. Flight time 3 hours 57 minutes. Bombs seen to burst but position not known. (12)
10/11 Aug 42 Bombed Mainz. Flight time 5 hours 38 minutes Pilot P/O Hodgson. One 4000lb ‘cookie’ and 8 × 30 lb bombs. (13)
15 Aug 42 Squadron moved to RAF Wyton to become a founder member of the newly formed Pathfinder Force which initially consisted of 4 Squadrons.
18 Aug 42 Participated in the first operation of the PFF, against Flensburg. Carried flares only. Pilot S/L Hilton. No attack. Flight time 5 hours 5 minutes. One of six No. 83 Squadron aircraft on the raid. Hazy conditions meant that R5868 was one of four of the six not to drop its flares. (14)
24/25 Aug 42 Frankfurt.221 × 30 lb. Pilot S/L Hilton DFC. 5 hours 45 minutes. 8/9 Sep 42 Frankfurt. 6 flares.8 × 250 lb. Pilot F/Sgt. L.T.Jackson. No attack. Flares dropped but cloud and haze plus intercomm failure prevented bombing. Flight time 5 hours 24 minutes. (16)
13/14 Sep 42 Bremen. One 4000 lb ‘cookie’ and 6 × 4 cluster flares. Pilot S/L Hilton. 4 hours 24 minutes. Bombs seen to burst amongst buildings between railway and river near the aiming point. (17)
14/15 Sep 42 Wilhelmshaven.6 X 4 flares, 8 × 250 LB. Pilot S/L Hilton. Flight time 4 hours 6 minutes. W/Op F/Sgt H. Kitto wounded by fire from another
4 engined twin fin aircraft overtaken on return flight over the sea. (18)
After this date most operations were flown as a pathfinder.
2/3 Oct 42 Krefeld. 4 × 7 flares. 10 × 250 incendiaries. Pilot S/L Hilton. Flight time 3 hours 4 minutes. Four separate bundles of flares dropped showed only fields. Area scouted for 20 minutes and finally bombed concentration of fires. 5/6 Oct 42 Following 30 minute test/training flight, mission to Aachen. Pilot F/Lt. J.E.Partridge DFC, mid upper gunner Harry Levey – see logbook copy. Rear gunner Sgt Edward Mills – see logbook photocopy X003-3604/001. Flight time 5.45 hours. No attack so 4000 lb ‘cookie’ not dropped. Weather U/S. 2 × 4 flares dropped, remainder brought back. (20)
6/7 Oct 42 Osnabruck Pilot S/L Hilton.1 × 4000 lb, 10 flare canisters, Flight time 4 ¼ hours. Bombed from 14000 feet at 21.40 hrs. (21)
13/14 Oct 42 Kiel. Pilot S/L Hilton.1 × 4000 lb 8 flare canisters. Flight time 5 hours 25 minutes. Bombs seen to burst on aiming point. (22)
22 Oct 42 15-minute NFT flight, Pilot F/L Partridge, taking off at 12.15; Mills (rear gunner) logbook X003-3604/001.
06 Nov 42 Raided Genoa, Italy, dropping a 4000-pound ‘cookie’ Pilot S/L Hilton. Bad weather caused diversion to Mildenhall on return. Flight time 9 hours 20 minutes. Of 15 aircraft sent, the squadron lost two in the target area and two more in fatal crashes whilst attempting diversionary landings.
7/8 Nov 42 Return raid on Genoa.16 flares and one 4000 lb ‘cookie’. Pilot S/L J.K.M Cooke DFC. Flight time 7 hours 10 minutes. Bombs seen to explode near north edge of river harbour. (24)
8 Nov 42 1.30 hour afternoon practice bombing flight – Pilot F/L Partridge, mid upper gunner Harry Lavey – Lavey logbook; rear gunner Sgt Edward Mills. 9/10 Nov 42 Hamburg. One 4000lb plus 10 flare clusters. Pilot S/L Hilton. Flight time 5 hours. Bad weather over target area. 4000 lb dropped near Ratziburg. 13/14 Nov 42 Genoa. Pilot S/L Hilton. Flight time 7 hours 55 minutes.15/16 Nov 42 Genoa. 9 flares and 3 × 1000 lb GP bombs. Pilot P/O R.N.H.Williams DFM. Flight time 7 hours 20 minutes. (27)
29/30 Nov 42 Turin.1x 4000 lb Pilot Sgt H.A.Partridge. Flight time 7 hours 25 minutes. 2/3 Dec 42 Frankfurt.1 × 4000 lb and 10 × 250 lb incendiary canister. Pilot P/O J.Marchant. Flight time 5 hours 55 minutes. (29)
21/22 Dec 42 Munich. 1 × 4000 lb. Pilot F/LT J.Hodgson DFC. Flight time 7 hours 7 minutes. 08 Jan 43 Pathfinder Force became No 8 (P.F.F.) Group Bomber Command.16/17 Jan 43 First of ‘Queenie’s’ eight visits to Berlin. Pilot S/L Hilton. Flares only carried. No attack claimed. Flares brought back except one canister of 4 white flares. Flight time 7 hours 20 minutes. After 25 minutes over the target area the crew could not distinguish any pinpoint in the poor visibility, so made no attack.. During a break from operations the aircraft may have been re-engined with Merlin 22s.
11/12 Feb 43 Wilhelmshaven. Pilot F/Sgt H.A.Partridge.1 × 4000 lb and 3 × 500 lb GP bombs dropped but flares and Target Indicators brought back as
instructed. Flight time 5 hours 23 minutes. A large explosion followed by a fire which could be seen for about an hour took place in the target area. (32)
13/14 Feb 43 Lorient.1 × 4000 lb plus flares. Pilot F/Sgt H.A.Partridge. Flight time 4 hours 40 minutes. Many bombs fell on the towns’ outskirts. (33)
14/15 Feb 43 Milan. Pilot S/L J.K.M. Cooke DFC. 1 × 4000 lb plus flares. Some flares brought back. Flight time 7 hours 35 minutes. New type of flak shell noted. 16/17 Feb 43 Lorient. 1 × 4000 lb plus target indicators. Pilot S/L S.Robinson DFM. Bomb sight Unserviceable. Flight time 4 hours 22 minutes. 18/19 Feb 43 Wilhelmshaven.1 × 4000 lb plus incendiaries. Rear turret unserviceable for ¾ of trip. Flight time 4 hours 22 minutes. (36)
19/20 Feb 43 Wilhelmshaven. 6 × 500 lb plus 4 red Target Indicators. Pilot W/C Hilton. Flight time 4 hours 7 minutes. The pilot had recently left the squadron after a long successful tour and was now a staff officer at Group HQ. 25/26 Feb 43 Nuremburg.1 × 4000 lb plus incendiaries. Pilot F/O F.J. Garvey, a Canadian. Flying time 6 hours 24 minutes. By this time the aircraft was apparently known on the Squadron as ‘The Queen’ (Ashton papers) and known for her mechanical reliability, never once having to return from a mission due to mechanical defects (Ashton papers) (38)
26/27 Feb 43 Cologne. 1 × 4000 lb plus incendiaries. Pilot F/O F.J. Garvey. Bombs dropped but bombing circuit unserviceable – bomb doors damaged by bombs falling on them. Flight time 3 hours 24 minutes. (39)
28/1 Mar 43 St. Nazaire. 1 × 4000 lb plus target indicators. Pilot P/O U.S. Moore DFM. Flight time 4 hours 34 minutes. Bombs seen to explode on red target indicators. 1-2 Mar 43 Berlin. 1 × 4000 lb plus target Indicators. Pilot U.S. Moore. Minor flak damage. Flight time 6 hours 15 minutes. Navigation and crew co-operation good. 8 Mar 43 One hour training flight – Pilot Garvey, rear gunner Lavey (Lavey logbook).
8/9 Mar 43 Nuremberg. 1 × 4000 lb plus target indicators and incendiaries. Pilot was again Canadian F/O (later F/L) Frederick.J.’Rickie’Garvey, who flew ‘Queenie’ more than any other pilot. Flying time 6 hours 47 minutes, taking off at 19.57. From 5 Mar to 14 Jul 43 Bomber Command was involved in the Battle of the Ruhr, hitting industrial targets in that area. ‘Rickie’ Garvey was a Canadian in the RAF, son of Art Garvey, a sports editor on the Vancouver Province Newspaper. Ricky himself became a reporter with the same paper, worked his way to England on a freighter in 1940 and was the first pilot in Bomber Command to complete 60 trips without a break. He was awarded DFC, then a DSO on completing his second tour of operations only to be killed a few weeks later on a training flight in an Oxford.)
This is the first of 32 flights in R5868 recorded in the flying logbook of Bomb Aimer Flight Warrant Officer O.L. (Len) Thomas, AFM, (X001-3548-then a Flight Sergeant); see also logbook copy of rear gunner Harry Lavey – his last flight in this aircraft. 9 Mar 43 30 Minute night flying test. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook. 10 Mar 43 1 ½ hour training flight – Dusk and dark landings Pilot S/L Shaw. Dunmore logbook.
11/12 Mar 43 Stuttgart. 1 × 4000 lb plus flares, target indicators and incendiaries. Pilot F.J. Garvey. Mid-upper turret and Gee system both unserviceable. Flight time 5 hours 37 minutes. (43)
12/13 Mar 43 Essen. 1 × 4000 lb plus 3 × 250 lb plus 5 target indicators. Pilot F/O F.J.Garvey. Flight time 4 hours 8 minutes. One big explosion seen. (44)
27/28 Mar 43 Berlin. 1 × 4000 lb plus 2 X 250 LB and 12 target Indicators. Pilot F/O Garvey. Flight time 6 hours 56 minutes. See also Thomas logbook, which records an attack by an ‘ME 109’ (45)
29/30 Mar 43 Berlin.1 × 4000 lb plus target Indicators. Pilot F/O F.J.Garvey. Aircraft suffered flak damage. Flight time 7 hours 8 minutes. Coned by searchlights for 9 minutes with a FW190 and later a Me110 on the tail at one stage. See also Thomas logbook ‘Coned. Hit in several places …Bloody Glad to get back..’. 2/3 April 43 St.Nazaire. 6 × 1000lb, 4 × 500lb and four red target indicators. Pilot F/Sgt G.A.McNichol. Flight time 4 hours 36 minutes. 9 Apr 43 30 Minute Night flying test – Pilot F/O Garvey. Thomas logbook.
13 Apr 43 40 Minute Night Flying test – Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook.
14 Apr 43 30 Minute Night Flying test. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook.
19 Apr 43 30 Minute Night Flying Test. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook.
22 Apr 43 1.20hour fighter affiliation flight. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook. Followed by a 1.15-hour night flying training flight. Landed at RAF Scampton. Pilot Garvey – Thomas logbook.
26 Apr 43 1.30 hour Night Flying Training. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook.
15 May 43 Simulation bombing and air test, 2.00 hours. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook.
18 May 43 Air Test. 2.00 hours. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook.
20 May 43 Altitude test with war load. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook. Flying time 3.25 hours. 21 May 43 Air Firing. Shot drogues away. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook. 1.15 hours. 23/24 May 43 Dortmund.1 × 4000lb HE, 6 × 1000 lb, 5 target indicators. Pilot F/O F.J
Garvey. Flight time 4 hours 33 minutes. Thomas logbook. (48)
25 May 43 30 Minutes Night Flying training. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook.
25/26 May 43 Dusseldorf. 1 × 4000lb, 4 × 1000lb, 5 target indicators. Pilot F/O Garvey. Flight time 4 hours 8 minutes. Thomas logbook. (49)
27 May 43 30-minute night flying training flight. Pilot W/Cdr Shaw. Dunmore logbook. 27/28 May 43 Essen. 1 × 4000lb, 4 × 1000lb, 6 × 500lb.Pilot F/Sgt R.King. Flight time 4
hours 34 minutes. 29/30 May 43 Wuppertal. 1 × 4000lb, 1008 × 4lb incendiaries, 72 × 4’X’ incendiaries. Pilot
F/O M.R.Chick. Flight time 4 hours 48 minutes. This was Sugars’ 50th operational mission. 11/12 Jun 43 Munster. 1 × 4000lb. Pilot F/O M.R.Chick. Flight time 4 hours 52 minutes. Aircraft coned by searchlights on bombing run. 12/13 Jun 43 Bochum.1 × 4000lb, 2 × 1000lb.12×90×4 incendiaries. Pilot F/O Chick. Flight time 4 hours 36 minutes. Bombs hung up on run over target. Finally bombed at 01.48 from 19000 feet. (53)
16/17 Jun 43 Cologne.1x 4000lb, 12X90X4 incendiaries. Pilot F/Sgt M.K.Cummings. Flight time 4 hours 7 minutes. On their return from the trip, Cummings received his commission, only to be lost with his crew in another Lancaster the next night. Bombed from 20000 feet. (54)
19/20 Jun 43 Montchanin. 5 × 1000 lb, 8 500lb.Pilot P/O H.Mappin. Flight time 5 Hours 45 minutes. Took off at 22.43, returning at 04.28. All but one of
this crew were lost over Krefeld on 20/21 June 43. They had hit the target
successfully, making the first run at 7000 feet at 140 knots, dropping the
1000 pounders near a switching station; On the second run the 500
pounders were dropped across two long buildings. (55)
21/22 Jun 43 Krefeld. 1 × 4000 lb, 12X90X4 incendiaries. Pilot F/O Chick. Flight time 4 hours 18 minutes. 22/23 Jun 43 Mulheim 6 × 1000 lb, 1x 4000 lb, 8 green target indicators. Pilot F/Lt F.J.
Garvey. Flight time 4 hours 7 minutes. Suffered slight flak damage. Thomas logbook. 24 Jun 43 1.30 hours fighter affiliation. Landed at Winthorpe. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook. 24/25 Jun 43 Elberfeld. 5 target indicators, 1 × 4000lb and 6 × 1000 lb. Pilot F/Lt
Garvey. Flight time 4 hours 24 minutes. Fires visible from 100 miles. Photo after this, the 58t operation – Flypast Oct 1991 p.61.Shows original Demon nose art. Also Claims to Fame (027910) p.33. (58)
Photo of Garvey and crew, May/June 1943, when R5868 had ‘Devils of the Air’ nose-art; Lancaster Squadrons In Focus – Special Edition (Postlethwaite 2012) It is unclear exactly when this nose art was applied – see entry for 26 Nov 43, but see photos RAFM P031148-9 after 58th sortie.
26 Jun 43 55-minute flight – Beam approach. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook.
27 Jun 43 45-minute practice bombing flight. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook.
28/29 Jun 43 Cologne. 4 green target indicators, 1 × 4000 lb, 6 × 1000 lb. Pilot F/L Garvey. Flight time 4 hours 19 minutes. (59)
03/04 Jul 43 Cologne. 4 green target indicators, 1 × 4000 lb, 6 × 1000 lb. Pilot F/L Garvey. Flight time 4 hours 45 minutes. (60)
6 Jul 43 45 Minute fighter affiliation flight – head on, tail, vertical and beam attacks. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook.
8 Jul 43 40 minutes night flying training. Pilot Garvey. Thomas logbook.
08/09 Jul 43 Cologne. 4 green target indicators, 1 × 4000 lb, 5 × 1000 lb. Pilot F/L Garvey. Flight time 4 hours 48 minutes. Windscreen holed. No injuries.
With this raid P/O (Later F/Lt) Hugh A. Ashton, Garvey’s rear gunner completed his 30th sortie and received the DFC at the end of this his first tour. 12/13 Jul 43 Turin. 8 × 500 lb 6X8X30 incendiaries. Pilot F/O Walter.R.Thompson. Flight time 9 hours 30 minutes .Poor weather en route, with thick cloud almost covering the Alps but clear over the target. Take off 10.46. Landed back at 08.15 hours.
In later years in his book ‘Lancaster To Berlin’ (Goodall, 1985) the pilot recalled (page 124) that he was not at all impressed with the way Sugar flew – the aircraft was still flying right wing low and Thompson could not trim out the fault. Take off was at 10.46; intended to hasten Italy’s’ surrender this raid followed immediately upon Mussolini being deposed. The target was the Fiat works. Sugars’ crew dropped their bombs a few seconds late but Thompson was sure the target was hit.
The route back took them over the Bay of Biscay, where they spotted a U-Boat on the surface recharging its batteries; the sighting was reported and a Beaufighter later sank the submarine. (62)
24/25 Jul 43 Hamburg. 1 × 4000 lb, 4 × 1000 lb. Flight time 6 hours 11 minutes. In 4 major raids on the city to 2 Aug 43 Bomber Command dispatched some 3000 sorties and dropped over 8,500 tons of bombs. This sortie saw the first use of window to confuse enemy defences. This first raid saw the dropping of 2,300 tons of bombs – a record for Bomber Command to that date – and the use of 16 No 83 Squadron aircraft, a record since the unit joined the Pathfinder force. Pilot
S/L R.J.Manton. (63)
25/26 Jul 43 Essen. 1 × 4000 lb, 3 × 1000 lb, 5 green target indicators. Flight time 4 hours 37 minutes. Passenger; Major-General Fred Anderson USAAF to observe the operation. One of 600 aircraft despatched. The raid left fires visible over 100 miles away, the smoke rising to 20,000 feet. Pilot – F/L Garvey. Gen. Fred Anderson was commander of the US 8th Air Force, and remarked that the fires were one of the most awe-inspiring sights he had ever seen.
Also carried was the Group Navigation Officer, S/L A.Price.
Thomas logbook. 27/28 Jul 43 Hamburg. 1 × 4000 lb 3 × 1000 lb 5 green target indicators. Pilot F/L Garvey. Flight time 5 hours 34 minutes. General Anderson again a passenger. Thomas logbook. (65)
29/30 Jul 43 Hamburg. 1 × 4000 lb 10 × 500 lb. Pilot S/L Manton. Flight time 5 hours42 minutes. 12/13 Aug 43 Milan. 1 × 4000 lb 4 green Target Indicators. Pilot F/L Garvey. Flight time 7 hours 47 minutes. Thomas logbook. – ‘13000 feet. Light flak. Easiest trip to date ‘ 14/15 Aug 43 Milan.1 × 4000 lb, 3 × 500 lb, 4 yellow target indicators. Pilot F/Lt Garvey.
Flight time 8 hours 7 minutes. Thomas logbook.
68th and Final sortie with No 83 Squadron. Air Ministry Bulletin 13750 of
26 Apr 44 records that at this time R5868 had completed 450 flying hours,
nearly 368 of them operational.
During its time with 83 Squadron the aircraft was serviced by the same
groundcrew, with Sgt J.Gill in charge.
Sep 43 Due to conversion of 83 Squadron to Lancaster Mk.III aircraft, transferred to No 467 Squadron at RAF Bottesford, Leics. Coded PO – S
Joined ‘B’ Flight as a replacement S-Sugar the previous aircraft being ED500 which crashed in Cheshire.
There has been some controversy over the total number of sorties Sugar
flew with No 467 Squadron since official records only indicate 125 sorties
not the 137 bomb symbols painted on its port side by the end of the war.
The problem is discussed at length by Stuart Howe in his 1991 Flypast
two part article. R5868’s first 12 sorties with No 467 Squadron were
credited to the Squadron’s previous ‘Sugar’ JA981 which R5868 replaced
as of 31 August 1943. JA981 crashed in the North Sea on 15 Sep 1943 with the loss of its crew.Howe points out that R5868 is known to have had 10 ‘bombs’ too many on its side which had to be flown off before more were added. The logbooks of Sgt Steve Bethell, air gunner, and Sgt Worden, also an air gunner in P/OMcClelland’s crew, both confirm that sorties 70,76, 77 and 79 were flown in R5868, with bomb aimer P/O Griffins’ logbook also recording the 76th sortie in R5868.Sortie 80 is officially recorded as having been flown in JA901, and 81 in ED547, though the logbooks of Sgt Bethell, Sgt Worden and P/O Griffin all record these two missions in R5868. However, in August 2009 Steve Bethell wrote to the RAF Museum recalling that when his crew acquired R5868 as of 1st September 1943, she had ‘about 70 bombs and a couple of gongs on the nose’
14 Sep 43 1 ½ hour practice high level bombing flight, taking off at 19.55. Flight Engineer Flying Officer Albert Wilfred Martin – logbook RAFM X002 5793 (Bethell, Griffin, Martin and Worden logbooks).
16 Sep 43 One hour training flight – Bombing, evasive action and beam approach (Bethell, Griffin, Martin and Worden logbooks). Took off at 15.40.
17 Sep 43 One hour air test including corkscrew manoeuvres and Beam practice, taking off at 15.45 – Bethell ,Griffin Martin and Worden logbooks.
27/28 Sep 43 Hanover. 1x 4000 lb, 104 × 30 lb, 1,260 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O A.M. Finch. Flight time 5 hours 23 minutes Recommended aircraft unreliable for ops. On returning ‘Sugar’ was forced to divert to Wittering due to minor defects and poor weather conditions. (69)
29 Sep 43 Bochum. 1 × 4000 lb, 104 × 30 lb, 1,260x 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O Neale McClelland, second pilot John Colpus. Flight time 4 hours 50 minutes. Took off at 18.00. (Bethell logbook). Air gunner was K.Worden (logbook extract); Flight Engineer Albert (Bert) Martin. (70)
01 Oct 43 30-minute night fighter and beam approach training flight – Bethell, Griffin, Martin and Worden logbooks.
2/3 Oct 43 Munich.1 × 4000 lb, 84 × 30 lb, 600 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot F/Lt H.B.Locke.
Flight time 8 hours 17 minutes. This was the second 1000-ton raid on
Munich in a month, with nightfighters out in force. (71)
3/4 Oct 43 Kassel. 1x 4000 lb, 24 × 30 lb, 1,440 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot 22-year old F/O John A. (Jack) Colpus. Flight time 6 hours 11 minutes. (72)
4/5 Oct 43 Frankfurt. 1 × 4000 lb, 1,440 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O B.R.Jones .Flight time 6 hours 51 minutes. All 12 of the squadron’s Lancasters returned safely. 7/8 Oct 43 Stuttgart. 1 × 4000 lb, 72 × 30 lb, 990 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot F/O Jack Colpus. Flight time 6 hours 50 minutes. Landed at RAF Tangmere. All 17 of the Squadron’s aircraft made diversionary landings, mostly at Tangmere. Due to
this mass diversion the crews were unable to take part in operations the
following night because, after getting their aircraft home to Bottesford, they
would only have got a maximum of two hours sleep. The squadron was
therefore only able to despatch four fresh crews on this next mission, to
bomb Hanover, despite having serviceable aircraft. Sugar seems to have
been lent to No 207 Squadron at neighbouring Langar for this raid, together
with one other No 467 squadron aircraft. (74)
8/9 Oct 43 Uneventful sortie to bomb Hanover with No 207 Sqn, based at Langar. Pilot -P/O Barnett. Recorded in No 207 Squadron Operations Record Book. ’Secured quite a fair prang with one particularly large explosion’ Dropped 1 × 4000 lb, 16 x incendiary canisters. Flight time 5 hrs.53 mins. 18/19 Oct 43 Hanover.1x 4000 lb, 104 × 30 lb, 1,260x 4 LB incendiaries. Pilot the late P/O Neil.M.McClelland from NSW. Flight time 5 hours 15 minutes. Records note ‘This aircraft S is only fit for a conversion unit’ – Sugar was feeling her age. Took off at 17.25
Bethell, Griffin, Martin and Worden logbooks. 3 Nov 43 Dusseldorf. 1 × 4000 lb, 108 × 30 lb, 1,560 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O McClelland. Flight time 4 hours 21 minutes.
This was another flight in ‘Sugar’ by the then 19 year old air gunner Steve Bethell, who in his letter of 15 Oct 1973 recalled that Sugar was affectionately held to be capable of finding its own way back from any target in Europe, but a navigator was carried just in case! Take off was at 17.00. (Steve Bethell, Griffin and Worden logbooks). See also Flypast April 2004 pp.38-39 for details from logbook of wireless operator Sergeant Stan Bray. 5 Nov 43 Training flight – ‘Bombing and Beam’. 1.10 hours, take off 14.30. (Bethell, Martin, Griffin and Worden logbooks, also Bray extract in Flypast).
10/11 Nov 43 Modane. 1 × 4000 lb 108 30 LB, 840 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O A.Fisher. Flight time 7 hours 35 minutes. The attacking force was over 300 Lancasters, the target the French end of the Mont Cenis railway tunnel. 11 Nov 43 Squadron moved to RAF Waddington, Lincs. Base shared with another Australian unit, No 463 Squadron. R5868 left Bottesford at 16.30 for the 30 minute flight to Waddington. (Bethell, Griffin, Martin, Bray and Worden logbooks).15 Nov 43 35-minute flight to Syerston to collect another aircraft (Bethell, Griffin Martin, Bray and Worden logbooks).
16 Nov 43 40-minute training flight (Bethell, Griffin, Martin, Bray and Worden L/Bs) 18 Nov 43 25-minute training flight (Bethell, Griffin, Martin, Bray and Worden logbooks). Photos of crew standing behind by rear door and tail of R5868 at this time; Flypast April 2004 pp.36 and 39.
18/19 Nov 43 Berlin.1 × 4000 lb, 52 × 30 lb, 1,170 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O McClelland. Flight time 8 hours 21 minutes. Shot-up over Bonn. This was the beginning of the ‘Battle of Berlin’ and R5868 was one of 20 Lancasters put up by the Squadron. Took off at 17.15. (Bethell, Griffin, Martin, Bray and Worden logbooks). Suffered damage to intercom and radio. (79)
22 Nov 43 35-minute training flight. (Bethell, Griffin, Miller and Worden logbooks) 22/23 Nov 43 Berlin. 1 × 4000 lb, 48 × 30 lb, 900 × 4 LB incendiaries. Pilot P/O McClelland. Flight time 6 hours 31 minutes.
Took off at 16.50. (Bethell logbook) Flight engineer on this raid was P/O F.G.Miller instead of the usual Bert Martin (logbook extract on file).Bomb aimer was P/O H.Griffin.(Logbook extract on file) and air gunner K.L.Worden (logbook extract also on file). Wireless operator Bray. (80)
23/24 Nov 43 Berlin.1 × 4000 lb, 64 × 30 lb, 1,230 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O McClelland Flight time 6 hours 31 minutes. Took off at 17.05. (Bethell, Griffin, Martin and Worden logbooks) (81) 26 Nov 43 Another raid on Berlin; bomb load 10,500lb. When R5868 joined No 467 Sqn the Kneeling nude was reportedly replaced by a red devil (Mephistopheles-to whom Faust sold his soul in German legend) thumbing its nose, dancing in flames with the motto ‘Devils of the Air’ beneath it. This was painted on by Sgt A.W.Martin, Flight Engineer in Pilot officer Neale M.McClelland’s crew when Sugar joined the unit. However, when Steve Bethell wrote to the RAF Museum in August 2009 he recalled no such red devil. He noted that in early October 1943 Flight Engineer Bert Martin decided to dope over the existing bomb log and replace it with a nude holding the bomb, he being the artist. He started also to replace the bombs underneath the nude, painting 10 in two blocks of five before ‘rain stopped play’; the rest of the bombs were never added, remaining in this state on this date. As ‘Sugar’s’ mission tally approached the 100 mark the press began to take an interest and ‘higher authority’ decided that the nude would have
to go. In her place was inscribed Herman Goering’s vain boast ‘No enemy
plane will fly over the Reich Territory’ applied by LAC Ted Willoughby, one
of Sugars engine fitters in Feb 1944 assisted by F/Sgt Dan Smith. An arrow
pointed to the growing number of bomb markings and the DSO ribbon
‘awarded’ after the first tour of 30 missions and a DSO after 60.Sugar was
later awarded a bar to the DFC. These also reflected awards given to
Sugars’ crew members. Aircraft and crew had a narrow escape during this mission, her 96th, when they collided with another Lancaster at 20,000 feet over the target area; In May 1974 the crew of that night – pilot Jack Colpus, F/O David Stevens, F/Sgt Dale Bridgewater, Sgt Peter MacDonald, Sgt Frank Rutt, Sgt Ken Smith and Sgt L.M.Jackson were re-united with the aircraft at Hendon. Photo – Flight International 30May 1974.The Squadron ORB recorded at the time; ‘Flying officer J.A. Colpus tried ‘Aussie Rules Football’ with another Lancaster and tried to bump it out of the sky. The aircraft went into a severe dive to port, but by applying full rudder and aileron trim the aircraft straightened, but it still needed
a lot of pressure on both the rudder pedals and the control column to maintain height. The aircraft was our old reliable ‘S for Sugar’ and it had completed nearly 80 trips. In this kite the pilot and navigator go to sleep coming home, for it knows its way back from almost any target’.
See Flt Lt Smith Flight Engineer’s logbook MF0069/17 and extract from Colpus logbook on Lancaster correspondence file, September 2012.
The collision occurred just after bombing the target, and the aircraft landed at Tholthorpe, Yorkshire. The other Lancaster, (DV311) from No. 61 Squadron, also struggled home safely. Repairs to R5868 included a complete port outer wing. Jack Colpus wrote his own account of the raid; ‘Arrived at the target on time at about 20.000 feet with no cloud cover-contrary to met forecast. The whole Berlin area was a mass of waving searchlights about 40 miles in diameter. We completed our bombing run and had just selected bomb doors closed when we were coned by searchlights. They seemed to come from all directions at once. Evasive action corkscrew turns which were made in attempt to escape, failed. Heavy flak thumped in all around us, with puffs of black smoke and cordite smell, indicating how close they were. After a while, which seemed like eternity, the flak stopped as if by magic, which meant only one thing. Fighters were coming in.
I decided on desperate action and dived steeply down to the left and picked up speed to reach 300 mph at 10,000 feet before pulling out to the right and up. At that moment the searchlights lost us, although I was still dazzled. We were climbing as quickly as possible to gain height to get away from the light flak and back into the main bomber stream when suddenly the plane lurched and dived to port.
I thought we had lost power on one engine, but the rear gunner said we had hit another Lancaster. Full right rudder, full rudder bias and full aileron trim was applied, but Sugar still kept turning to the left. Further action was necessary, so power on the engines on the port side was increased and on the starboard side decreased until we were able to fly on course. All four motors were then switched to run off the port wing fuel tanks in an effort to eventually raise the port wing to a near level position. We jettisoned the bomb containers to lighten the load. The plane was now under control flying at the slow speed of 140 mph and gradually losing height. We decided to fly home straight to base at 140 mph we would soon be out of the bomber stream which was taking a dog-leg route back. After about two hours, due to a lighter fuel load, we were able to maintain height at about 5000 feet. The crew made ready to bail out if necessary, as the amount of damage sustained could not be ascertained, and now that evasive action would not be possible, we would be sitting ducks for flak or fighters. Full right rudder was required for the 4-hour trip back. The engineer went into the bomb aimer’s compartment and assisted me by holding the rudder pedal with a strap around it, to give my leg a rest. When nearing the coast of England we were directed to land at Linton-on-Ouse as Waddington was covered in fog At Linton-on-Ouse we were given priority landing behind a plane which was overshooting. At this time we were about 500 ft too high on the approach, but I decided to land as time was getting short.
As we touched down on the runway at 120 mph (about 20 mph too fast due to the steeper angle of descent) the port wing stalled. If I had made a normal approach at the correct speed, the plane would have stalled before landing and crashed. The aircraft ground looped at the far end of the runway due to the high landing speed and excessive breaking. Inspection of the damage revealed that about 5 feet of the wing tip was missing and a portion of the remaining damaged area which was turned down at right angles, caused the
turning problem. S-Sugar was classified category Q and sent back to the manufacturers. The other Lancaster, from No 61 Squadron, was coned in searchlights and was taking avoiding action when we collided. The skipper confirmed this, when he landed at Waddington a few days later especially to see me to discuss circumstances. We were very lucky.’
15/16 Feb 44 First sortie following repair, to Berlin.1 × 4000 lb, 6 × 30 lb, 900 × 4 ‘X’. Pilot the late P/O John (Jack) William McManus from Western Australia – a Quantas pilot post-war. (Photocopy of McManus logbook held by DoRIS, ref. X002-5656). Flight time 6 hours 48 minutes. A total of 891 aircraft were despatched on this raid, 18 of them from No 467 Squadron. On take off Sugar swung twice but got off on the third attempt. Over the target the aircraft lost an engine; for rear gunner Sgt Cliff K.Fudge from Bristol it was his 8th trip; over Berlin he celebrated his 21st birthday, as featured in the Daily Sketch on the 17th. February. Although 43 aircraft were lost, all of No 467 Squadrons’ aircraft returned. (83)
19/20 Feb 44 Leipzig.1 × 4000 lb, 36 × 30 lb, 1,050 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O J.W.M.
McManus. Flight time 7 hours 24 minutes.79 bombers were lost on this raid,
mostly to fighters. This caused a suspension in raids on Berlin and other
northern targets, with the assault being switched to targets in southern
Germany, using southerly approach routes to avoid fighter concentrations.
The total attacking force was 823 aircraft, the largest yet on this target.
Sugars’ crew suffered sickness due to bad oxygen. (84)
20/21 Feb 44 Stuttgart. Pilot P/O McManus. Recorded that port outer engine shaky after
take-off, cut out at 13000 feet. Bomb load jettisoned. Returned to base after
1 hour 47 minutes. This was Sugars first abortive sortie in 85 operational
flights, taking off at 23.49 hours and returning at 01.36 hours, and was not
reckonable as a completed sortie towards the final total.
23 Feb 44 Air/sea firing. 1.20 hours. Pilot P/O/Nemworth. (McManus logbook)
24/25 Feb 44 Schweinfurt.1x 4000 lb, 104 × 30 lb, 900 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O
McManus. Flight time 7 hours 32 minutes. The 734 aircraft despatched
followed up a daylight raid by the US 8th Air Force. (85)
25/26 Feb 44 Augsburg. 1 × 4000 lb, 92 × 30 lb, 650 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O
McManus. Flight time 7 hours 45 minutes. The 594 aircraft sent
followed up a US 8th Air Force raid on the Messerschmitt works.
Sugar was searchlight coned on the bomb run and came under heavy
flak fire for 5 minutes. (86)
1/2 Mar 44 Stuttgart. 1 × 4000 lb, 72 × 30 lb, 800 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O
McManus. Flight time 8 hours 8 minutes. 557 aircraft despatched. (87)
18/19 Mar 44 Frankfurt. 1 × 4000 lb, 88 × 30 lb, 1,200x 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O
McManus. Flight time 5 hours 58 minutes. The Squadron put up a record
22 aircraft which dropped 118 tons of bombs. It was also the first time No
5 Group as a whole had dropped over 1000 tons of bombs in one night.
846 aircraft despatched. (88)
22/23 Mar 44 Frankfurt. 1x 4000 lb, 60 × 30 lb, 1,500 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O
McManus. Flight time 5 hours 12 minutes. Tail wheel tyre collapsed on
landing (possibly due to flak damage).
At one stage all four engines began to splutter but later picked up, to the relief of W/Op Sgt.M.Williams who had forgotten his parachute. (89)
24/25 Mar 44 Air Test ( McManus logbook) , followed by Ops. to Berlin. Pilot P/O McManus. No attack. Port outer engine failed. Port inner with oil leaks. Bombs jettisoned. Flight time 3 hours 19 minutes. One of 811 aircraft despatched. Sugar was trailed by a night fighter for 15 minutes but finally lost in cloud and by evasion.
This would not have counted towards a tour of operations for the crew, but
may have been counted by the groundcrew and hence another bomb
symbol-it has to be included to give the 137 sortie total. (90)
25/26 Mar 44 Aulnoye. 13 × 1000 lb. Pilot P/O R.E.Llewelyn Bombed with port outer
engine failure – returned at 5000 feet resulting in just making Tangmere..
Flight time 5 hours 15 minutes.
Railway yards were the target on this occasion. The pilot was lost on the night of 30/31 Mar.
Aircraft overhauled after this flight. (91)
10 Apr 44 Air tested for intended ops that night. File letter from Mr K.R.Goldspink, a
Flight Engineer Sergeant on that flight. This was a post
overhaul test flight, but the aircraft would not reach operational height
and it was rejected by the pilot, P/O ‘Nobby’ Clarke.
11/12 Apr 44 Aachen.16 × 500 lb, 30 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O A.B.L.Tottenham (killed in action, 26 September 1944, on ops against Karlsruche).
Flight time 4 hours 11 minutes. Another attack on railway yards and the
station at Aachen. (92)
18/19 Apr 44 Paris/Juvisy. 14 × 1000lb, fused 6 hour delay. Pilot P/O Tottenham. Flight
time 4 hours 15 minutes. An Air Ministry Bulletin recorded that Sugar flew
to the target and back faster than any other aircraft in the squadron. This
mission dropped 1,105 tons of bombs on the marshalling yards. (93)
20/21 Apr 44 La Chapelle.18 × 500 lb. Pilot P/O Tottenham. Flight time 4 hours 17
minutes. A further attack on marshalling yards near Paris with intense flak
over the French capital. (94)
22/23 Apr 44 Brunswick. 1 × 2000 lb, 12 × 500 lb ‘J’ clusters. Pilot P/O Tottenham.
Flight time 5 hours 27 minutes. Air Ministry Bulletin 13750 of 26 Apr 44
recorded that Sugar was the last aircraft in the Squadron to take off, but the
first to return. (95)
24/25 Apr 44 Munich. 6 × 500 lb, 144 × 30 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O Tottenham. Flight
time 9 hours 39 minutes .Landed at Market Harborough. (96)
RAFM photo after 96th sortie – P016764.
26/27 Apr 44 Schweinfurt. 1,800 × 4 lb incendiaries. Pilot P/O Tottenham. Flight time
8 hours 58 minutes. (97)
28/29 Apr 44 St Medard-en-Jalles. 6 × 1000 lb, 5 × 500 lb. Pilot P/O Tottenham. Flight
time 7 hours 29 minutes. The target was an explosives works.
The raid was called off due to haze causing insufficient illumination from the flares, but 25 of the 92 aircraft still attacked. (98)
Photo of nose of Sugar with bomb symbol added after the 98th operation

Bomber squadrons of the RAF p.260; Also a Very Special Lancaster
(008332) p.11; RAFM P020925.
Around this time ‘Sugar’ was adopted by girls of the sugar section of the
Australian Rationing Commission and wrote to her Australian crew
03/04 May 44 Mailly le-Camp. 1 × 4000 lb, 16 × 500 lb. Pilot P/O Scholefield. Flight
time 5 hours 33 minutes.
An Air Ministry bulletin for the Australian Press recorded that this was an attack on a concentration of German tanks and
other army vehicles at a military depot; it was a clear night with bright
moonlight .Sugars’ pilot, P/O Scholefield of Cryon, New South Wales was
quoted ‘The depot looked like an inferno. I saw my stick of bombs land on
the target. I have never seen what my bombs hit so clearly before, not even
on practice bombing. There were a lot of enemy fighters about, but they did
not interfere with our bombing run’ Contemporary press reports recorded
1500 tons of bombs dropped on the target in half an hour -it was the home
base of the 21st Panzer Division. (99)
RAFM photo after 99th operation – P249.
06/07 May 44 Sables – sur-Sarthe / Louailles 13 × 1000 lb. Pilot P/O Scholefield. Flight
time 4 hours 46 minutes. (100)
10/11 May 44 Lille. 1 × 4000 lb, 16 × 500 lb. Pilot P/O Scholefield. Flight time 3 hours 28
minutes .During this raid on marshalling yards the squadron lost three
aircraft, the heaviest loss it had suffered – the ORB noted little flak but
plenty of fighters. (101)
11/12 May 44 Flew supposedly its ‘100th’operation – actually its 102nd or103rd, counting
two early returns,‘
the crew returned to Waddington to find the station
waiting to toast the ‘centenarian’ which had just survived 10 determined
attacks by two Ju88 night fighters. Violent evasive action left the Lancaster
undamaged. Captain for the flight was New Zealander Pilot Officer T.N.
Scholefield with the target a military camp at Bourg Leopold in Belgium.
identification of the target, so no bombs were dropped to
avoid civilian casualties. On reaching the enemy coast two Ju88’s attacked
alternately from both sides over 9 ½ minutes sometimes closing to
300 yards. The Lancasters’ gunners damaged one of the attackers.
Flight time 3 hours 36 minutes. One of 211 aircraft despatched.
Because of a serious error in the forecast winds many of the force were late
on target. Sugar was one of those that had not completed its bombing run
when the order ‘stop bombing’ was given. When first attacked Sugar was
at 16000 feet but was down to 9000 feet when the attacks ended. The rear
gunner, F/Sgt K E Stewart of Sydney later described the incident;
‘We still had our bombs on board and therefore old Sugar wasn’t as easy to
handle as usual. The two fighters didn’t attack at the same time, but
came in alternately attacking first one side then the other. At times they
were firing at us from a range of only 200 yards.
The mid upper gunner (Sgt. J D Wells) and I opened fire, and we feel sure that we damaged one.
Altogether we were attacked seven times in seven minutes. It was really grand the co-operation between all the crew which enabled us to get away. ’Old Sugar’ went beautifully, and never faltered for a moment. She is a grand old bus’. Other crew included Radio Operator Flt Sgt R T Hillas, Flight Engineer R H Burgess, and bomb aimer Flt Sgt F E Hughes.
Flight engineer Sgt R.H.C. Burgess of Chester added ‘Sugar flew up to her usual standard and that is a very high standard indeed. I like old Sugar, She’s got good engines and you can trust them. The ground crew are like mothers to
her, they check everything a second time before she takes off. See Air
Ministry Bulletin 13946, 12 May 1944.
Returning to base at 1.22 AM, after the crew had rested, ‘Sugar’ was drawn
up outside the watch tower and welcomed back officially. The crew stood on
a trestle placed by the nose , while station personnel gathered round. Beer glasses were raised and as an airman painted the 100th bomb on the fuselage, the onlookers gave three cheers to plane and crew. Photo- Flypast Oct 1991
Photo taking off on this raid – Avro Lancaster in Unit service (006076)
Photo of ‘100 Not Out’ chalked on bomb adjacent to Sugar – Lancaster at
War (003650) p.122. Photo of crew after this raid – Claims to Fame
(027910) p.34. Photo of celebrations after the raid – Aviation Classics 001 Avro Lancaster (2009) p.112; Lancaster Squadrons in Pocus Special Edition. (Postlethwaite 2012)
Scholefield later took his crew to visit the Metro Vickers factory and during a
lunch break addressed the workers who had built Sugar.
‘Sugar’s ground crew at this time included engine mechanic Ronald Baulch, and armourer Gomer Mumford, both from Risca, South Wales (see file letter from Robert Baulch, April 2010)
12 May 44 Illustrated on p.519 of ‘The Aeroplane’ as having completed 98 missions at
the time of the photo by which time it had dropped over a million pounds of
bombs. Other photos of R5868 with 467 Sqn – Air Pictorial April 1961
p.123; Air Extra No 6 p.30.
23 May 44 Thorp logbook (see below) records 3.15 hour flight, taking off at 23.30hrs – ‘Special Exercise’, pilot F/O D.F. McLauchlan. This was the first flight with the Squadron by Sgt Thorp, newly posted in from training. He was with the Squadron until 19 September 1944, but made just the two flights on R5868 during this time.
28 May 44 Correspondence with Mr Derek Thorp in January 2011 indicates an additional, and previously unpublished, operational flight undertaken by R5868 on this night. The rear-gunner’s logbook of his father, Sgt J.F. Thorp of ‘B’ Flight, No. 467 Squadron (See RAFM MF 10066/20) records an operation ‘Ops – Cherbourg Area – France Bombs, taking off at 22.50 , total flying time 3 hours 40 minutes’, the aircraft being clearly recorded as Lancaster R5868 ‘S’. Pilot F/O D. F. McLauchlan, RAAF, Engineer Sgt R. Hodgkinson RAF, Navigator F/O H.C. Phillips, Bomb Aimer F/O G.P. Craven RAAF, Wireless Operator Sgt A.H. Smith RAF, and mid-upper gunner F/Sgt Eric J.L. Klemm RAAF. This was the first operational trip for this crew, and it is assumed that they didn’t have their own aircraft and R5868 was available as spare aircraft. The Squadron ORB records that on that night this crew attacked St Martin de Varrevilles, but records their aircraft as LL789. However, the ‘RAF Waddington: Raid Record Book 1943 Dec – 1944 June’ also records R5868 as the aircraft for this flight. The Bomber Command War Diaries record that on this night as part of the preparations for the D-Day landings in the area 181 Lancasters and 20 Mosquitoes bombed three coastal gun positions, with one Lancaster being lost. (103)
06 Jun 44 St Pierre du Mont.11 × 1000 lb, 4 × 500 lb. Pilot F/O I.Fotheringham. Flight
time 4 hours 12 minutes. As part of D Day operations this was a raid on
German coastal batteries by 14 of the squadron’s Lancasters as part of a
total of 114 attacking aircraft, with Sugar taking off at 02.53 hours. During
the bomb run another Lancaster was spotted right above Sugar.
Fotheringham and his crew were lost on 29 July 1944. (104)
06/07 Jun 44 Argentan. 4 × 1000 lb, 10 × 500 lb. Pilot F/O Fotheringham. Flight time 3
hours 59 minutes. This was one of a series of raids on the French railway
system to disrupt German supplies and reinforcements.
The Squadron records note that the starboard generator was u/s from the start of the trip and that allied ships were ‘trigger happy’. (105)
08/09 Jun 44 Rennes. 12 × 500 lb, 2 × 1000 lb Pilot F/O Fotheringham. Flight time 6
hours 11 minutes. Landed Metheringham. Another attack on marshalling
yards. (106)
12/13 Jun 44 Poitiers.11 × 500 lb, 3 × 1000 lb. Pilot F/Sgt K.V.Millar. Flight time 6 hours
35 minutes. Had some difficulty dropping hung-up bombs. (107)
14/15 Jun 44 Aunay sur Odon. 11×1000 lb, 4 × 500 lb. Pilot F/O Fotheringham. Army
support mission. Flight time 4 hours 35 minutes. Lost power on port engine;
to maintain correct speed for run in to target reduced height to 7500 feet.(108)
24 Jun 44 1.35 hour cross-country flight. Pilot F/Sgt M G Johnson. ’Gee’ packed up.
24/25 Jun 44 Prouville (Somme area). 2 × 1000 lb, 14 × 500 lb. Pilot F/O G.C.Skelton. ’P’ plane (V1) launching site installations. Flight time 3 hours 22 minutes. As one of 16 467 Squadron Lancasters despatched from Waddington, (of which two failed to return) this was Sugars first raid on a V1 site, one of seven such attacked by Bomber Command that night.
Coned by searchlights after bombing. One fighter contact before and on
leaving coast. Broke away after two corkscrews by Sugar. No guns fired. (109)
27/28 Jun 44 Vitry. 9 × 1000 lb, 4 × 500 lb (Two with 72 hour fuse). Pilot F/O
Fotheringham. Flight time 7 hours 31 minutes. (110)
29 Jun 44 Beauvoir. 11 × 1000 lb, 4 × 500 lb. Pilot was the newly commissioned Pilot Officer Maxwell (Max) George Johnson. Crew F/Sgts .N.J Palfery, John C. Whitelaw, Ray Dunn, E.C. Evans, F.S.Cavanagh, and Pat Hounslow. A photocopy of his logbook is held by DoRIS, ref. X001-3518/001 and records light flak during the sortie. Buzz-bomb site. Daylight attack. . Flight time 3 hours 35 minutes. This was the Squadron’s first daylight operation and Sugars first such sortie since Essen in July 1942. (111)
30 Jun 44 35-minute practice flight. Johnson logbook records ‘F/A + Monica practice’.
04/05 Jul 44 St Leu d’Esserent. 11 x1000 lb, 4 × 500 lb. Pilot F/O W.R. Williams. ‘Buzz
Bomb’ (V1) site. Flight time 4 hours 23 minutes. This was the main flying bomb storage depot north of Paris. (112)
07/08 Jul 44 Return visit to Buzz-Bomb stores site at St. Leu d’Esserent. Same bomb load. Pilot P/O Johnson. Flight time 4 hours 49 minutes. The V1s were being stored in some quarries. Photo landing after this flight – A Very Special Lancaster (008336) p.19.
Flak and fighters encountered – the Luftwaffe had concentrated their nightfighter effort, some 130 aircraft, on defence of this one target. (113)
14 Jul 44 Johnson logbook records two-hour formation practice flight.
14/15 Jul 44 Villeneuve/ St Georges. 16 × 500 lb, 2 × 500 lb with 6 hour fuse. Pilot P/O
Johnson. Flight time 6 hours 44 minutes. ‘ Medium flak ‘ recorded in Johnson logbook (114)
16 Jul 44 Johnson logbook records high level bombing practice flight, duration 2.40 hours.
18 Jul 44 Caen. 11 × 1000 lb, 4 × 500 lb. Daylight raid. Pilot F/Sgt I.R Cowan Flight Engineer F. Geoffrey W. Mills; crew’s first operational mission. Took off in darkness at 03.55, returning at 7.15am (see Lancaster file letter from Mr Mills, 16 October 2006).
Flight time 3 hours 30 minutes.1, 080 aircraft dropped 5000 tons of high
explosive on enemy strongpoints prior to the ground offensive by British
and Canadian troops. (115)
18/19 Jul 44 Mainplane damaged during night attack on railway yards at Revigny in
Northern France – medium flak and 126 rivets popped in starboard mainplane according to Johnson logbook. At first repairs not thought feasible but later carried out.
Pilot F/O Johnson Flight time 5 hours 7 minutes. Bomb load 13 x1000 l
with 12 hour delayed fuse and 4 × 500 lb also with 12 hour fuse. (116)
On recent flights increasing numbers of wing rivets had been popping and as
the squadron was now in the process of converting to H2S it was an
opportune time for repairs to be carried out.
At the time it was thought Sugar was unlikely to be returning to operational
flying ,as indicated in a contemporary press release;
‘S-Sugar, the famous veteran Lancaster of RAF Bomber Command, which
was the first heavy bomber to complete 100 war flights, is unlikely to fly
again on operations. On her last, and 114th flight to bomb the railway yards
at Revigny in Northern France, on July 18th, Sugars mainplane was damaged
and repairs are not considered feasible. When Sugar was on its way to
Revigny, an enemy fighter was observed closing rapidly at 2000 yards range.
Evasive action was taken, and the fighter broke away at 700 yards. ’I thought
we had been hit in the starboard wing’ said the pilot F/O M.G.Johnson of
Geelong, Victoria ‘but afterwards I found that the noise I had heard was the
springing of rivets.
We went on to the target, all the same, and we not only
Bombed, but obtained a photograph of the aiming point at the moment of
bombing. On the way home we were approached a second time, by a Bf
109.But this fighter sheered off without firing a shot, after our rear gunner had
given it several short bursts. We reached base with the rest of our squadron,
though we had started ten minutes after them’. One account records 128
popped rivets on this occasion.
03 Aug 44 Following dismantling by a team including Corporal H Smith (See Daily Mail, 5 February 2003), despatched for repair in works (probably Bracebridge, close to Waddington) by A.V.Roe.
The aircraft was inspected by A.I.D Inspector Mr. William Bell, who categorised it as recommended for repair, despite the fuselage skin being very wrinkled where it adjoined the bomb bay floor, but there was no major structural damage – see file letters, 14 Feb 2002 and 18 Feb 2002.
Photo of nose section at around this time after c.114 sorties – Lancaster-
Classic Aircraft No.6 (006969), also Daily Mail 5 February 2003, with Cpl H.Smith i/c the working party that dismantled the aircraft. Also Lancaster Squadrons Special edition (Postlethwaite 2012)
17 Nov 44 Awaiting collection. Had been repainted and given four new Merlin 22
engines. Extent of other repairs not known other than the fitting of H2S
and the fitting of the ‘Rebecca’ navigation aid.
03 Dec 44 Returned to No. 467 Squadron at Waddington. During ‘Sugars’ absence
Lancaster NF910 was coded PO-S, becoming PO-Q when R5868
Acceptance flight on this date by Air Commodore D Bonham-Carter DFC.
His crew included Wing Cdr Day and S/L McCabe, both engineer officers.
In his letter of 4 May 1971 Air Commodore Bonham-Carter commented
‘S for Sugar finished the war as a rather different Lanc to that of the start of
its career. At one stage it was given a new fuselage, retaining the original
wing. Later new wings were fitted!’
Photo of Sugar in late 1944 – Bomber Squadrons of the RAF p.260. Some time between this date and February 1945, ‘Sugar’ was given a yellow outline to her fuselage code letters, a practice which began for 5 Group aircraft in late August 1944.
08 Dec 44 Urft Dam. 14 × 1000 lb. Pilot W/C J.K.Douglas. Daylight attack Landed at
Ford. Flight time 4 hours 25 minutes. Pilot was the Squadron’s new CO.
The target area was obscured by 8/10 cloud; orbiting was not permitted and
the force withdrawn. Sugar was not involved in two further attempts to
breach this dam with the object of trapping German forces with the
Americans in front and floods behind. The rest of the crew on this operation
comprised Sgt.B.H.Parker, W/O J.B.Nanscawen RAAF, P/O H.M.Stuart
RAAF, P/O J.A.Strickland RAAF, F/Sgt B.O.Bean RAAF, F/Sgt M.G.
Thompson RAAF.W/Cdr Douglas was lost on 7/8 Feb 45. (117)
17/18 Dec 44 Munich. 1 × 4000 lb. Pilot S/L E.L.Langlais. Flight time 9 hours 9 minutes.
No 467 Squadron supplied 22 of the 288 aircraft despatched. This crew
was lost 4 Mar 45. (118)
18/19 Dec 44 Gdynia. 9 × 1000 lb. Pilot F/O P.K.Shanahan. Flight time 9 hours 19
minutes. This was an attack on shipping and dock installations at this Baltic
port. (119)
21/22 Dec 44 Politz. 1 × 4000 lb, 5 × 1000 lb. Pilot F/O G.A.Stewart. Landed at
Leuchars. Flight time 10 hours 51 minutes. The target was a synthetic oil
plant near Stetin in Poland.. This was Sugars longest flight of the war. The
target was the largest synthetic oil plant still in operation. (120)
27 Dec 44 Rheydt. 13 × 1000 lb. GP. Fuel load 1,650 gallons. Pilot F/Lt Maxwell George Johnson. The rest of the crew were P/O Palfrey, P/O Whitelaw, F/S Hoonslow, F’S Dunn, F/S Cavanagh, and F/S Evans. Daylight raid.
Flight time 4 hours 53 minutes. This was another attack on railway marshalling yards. (121)
Recorded in M.G. Johnson logbook as his 29th operation. See logbook photocopy X001-3518/001.
1-2 Jan 45 Gravenhorst – Mittelland Canal. 13 × 1000 lb. Pilot F/O W.K.Boxsell, Navigator V.E. Auborg (Auborg logbook). Flight time 6 hours 38 minutes. Landed at Lossiemouth due to bad weather conditions in the Waddington area. (122)
2 Jan 45 Returned from Lossiemouth to base at Waddington (Auborg logbook) Flight time 2.05 hours.
05 Jan 45 Although not recorded in the Squadron ORB, the logbook of mid upper
gunner Albert F Wallace records him flying in Sugar in an early morning flight captained by F/O Laurie W Baker ,taking off at 01.12 on a six hour round trip to Royan Port where 12,400 Lbws of bombs were dropped onto troop concentrations in the area, encountering moderate flak. (123)
13/14 Jan 45 Politz. 1 × 4000 lb, 11 × 500 lb. Pilot S/L E.L.Langlais. Flight time 10
hours 10 minutes. This was more successful than the previous attack on this
oil plant. Light flak and searchlights were encountered over the target. (124)
14/15 Jan 45 Merseberg. 1 × 4000 lb, 9 × 500 lb. Pilot F/O J.J.Cross. Landed at East Moor.
Flight time 9 hours 11 minutes. This was another synthetic oil plant. (125)
16/17 Jan 45 Brux, Czechoslovakia. 1 × 4000 lb, 12 × 500 lb. Pilot F/L Frank Lawrence; Engineer Sgt Dennis Baldry Logbook copy with DoRIS –X004-2456/001) . Hit by light flak. ‘Defences all the way’ (Baldry LB)
Bomb aimer slightly injured. Flight time 9 hours 43 minutes
A further synthetic oil plant raid, this flight to Czechoslovakia needing a maximum fuel load of 2,154 gallons. The damage occurred during the bombing run when a flak fragment pierced the perspex on the port side of the optical glass in the bomb aimer’s blister. (126)
22 Jan 45 2.15 hr flight High Level Bombing ‘Detail Finally Abandoned, due to low cloud and decreasing visibility’ (Baldry LB)

Nikon D3200 18-55mm lens UV Filter

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