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31.03.1944 No.97 Squadron RAF Lancaster III ND640 F/Lt Hyde location: M├╝nchholzhausen 5 km ESE of Wetzlar, Germany.
Mission: Nuremburg, Germany.

Date: 31
st March 1944

Unit: No.97 Squadron R.A.F.

Type: Avro Lancaster III

Serial No: ND640

Coded: OF-R

Location: Münchholzhausen, 5km ESE of Wetzlar, Germany.

Pilot: F/Lt Leonard Victor Hyde DFC
149552 R.A.F.V.R. – Killed.

Nav: F/Lt Eric Hewitt Palmer DFC
138398 R.A.F.V.R. – Killed.

A/Bmr: F/O James Craig DFC J/21466 R.C.A.F – Killed.

Flt/Eng: P/O Maurice Emerson Putt
173542 R.A.F.V.R. – Killed.

W/Op: F/Sgt Eric Hill
1109630 R.A.F.V.R. – Killed.

M/U/Gnr: F/O Richard James Weller DFM 142903 R.A.F.V.R. – Killed.

R/Gnr: P/O Richard Taylor DFC 170149 R.A.F.V.R. – Killed.

REASON FOR LOSS:


From No.97 Squadron ORB

30.3.1944 Some training was carried out prior to briefing.  14 crews were detailed to attack Nuremburg.  Weather was 7 to 10/10ths cloud with tops varying from 10,000' to 20,000' with thick haze.  2 red TI’s were seen to disappear under the cloud at 01.03 hours.  A cluster of sky markers were observed at 01.10, in a concentration east of Nuremburg with two others south of the city.  The attack tended to become scattered towards the end, however, a large explosion was noted at 01.13 hours.  The flak was moderate to heavy, no searchlights.  Fighters were up in great strength.  Command experienced their heaviest night's loss in 96 aircraft.  F/Lt Rowland’s and crews and F/Lt Hyde and crew failed to return.  P/O Edwards was badly shot up, returned safely.

Extract from "The Nuremburg Raid" by Martin Middlebrook.

"I saw the light of tracer fire and an aircraft hit and going down on fire.  Its markers must have been jettisoned for I saw them burst below.  I identified the markers as belonging to those of the aircraft which had taken off just before me and was sure then that it was my friend Len Hyde." (Flight Lieutenant C.S.Chatten, 97 Squadron)

Extract from Bomber Command Losses - 30/31.3.44

Shot down by Oblt. Martin Becker, I/NJG6
piloting a Me110. F/O Weller had previously flown with 78 Squadron, the London Gazette publishing his award in their 13 July 1943 supplement.

page-1
The locals visit the crash site of Lancaster ND640 (via Jeckel)

(1)
Another view of the large crater left by ND640 (via Jeckel)


(2)
One of the aircraft's Packard Merlin's and propeller on the edge of the crater (via Jeckel)


(3)
Overall view of the crash site (via Jeckel)


(4)
Parts Recovered over the years including many exploded bomb fragments (via Jeckel)


Eric Hewitt Palmer, the Navigator
The Lancaster’s ill-fated navigator, Eric Hewitt Palmer (via Jeckel)


Hanover Cemetery

Burial detail: Hanover War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany.

Leonard Victor Hyde. Coll. Grave 8. E. 1-5.

Eric Hewitt Palmer. Coll. Grave 8. E. 1-5.
Son of Arthur Stanley and Maud Ellen Palmer, of Kingsbury, Middlesex.

James Craig. Grave 8. E. 7.
Son of John and Elizabeth Craig, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Maurice Emerson Putt.
Coll. Grave 8. E. 1-5. Adopted son of Geoffrey Gordon Whitaker.

Eric Hill.
Coll. Grave 8. E. 1-5. Son of William and Florence Hill; husband of Miriam Hill, of Droylsden, Lancashire.

Richard James Weller.
Grave 8. E. 6. Son of Robert Henry and Mary Elizabeth Weller; husband of Elizabeth Florence Weller, of Woodfibre. British Columbia Canada.

Richard Taylor.
Coll. Grave 8. E. 1-5. Son of Theophileus Lessey Taylor and Margaret Taylor, of Pwllheli, Caernarvonshire.

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless with special thanks to Horst Jeckel, August 2013. (Updated March 2015)

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