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HAROLD ALMA CHEASMAN, born 28.4.1921, entered the School in September 1932.  He left in July 1936 and joined the Staff of Messrs. Weetabix Ltd., as a Sales Clerk. 

In 1941 he joined the R.A. F.  , and in June he became a Sgt. Observer.  He was reported missing in February 1943, after Air Operations.  He is buried in Nizmegen (Jonkerbos) British Cemetery, Holland. 

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs.G.W. Cheasman, 29 Westfields Street, Higham Ferrers.  'In Memoriam' Book

The research below shows that when he died he was the navigating sergeant of a crew of 7 of  Halifax W7880 of 102 Squadron.  A plane that was lost on a bombing operation on the 14th February 1943 on a  bombing operation aimed at Cologne. The whole crew is buried in Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

The brief description in the memorial book gives few clues as to his early forces career, but a brief search on the CWGC web site, stated not only where he died and where he was interred, Jonkerbos War Cemetery in Holland, but that he was a member of 102 squadron.  Information which allowed me to discover what he was doing when he died.  The fact that he was in 102 squadron means that he probably knew, and certainly knew of, Group Captain Leonard Cheshire.   G.Capt Cheshire, many years later, presented prizes at the school.

 

A model of a Whitley bomber is pictured below right

The information below is from the Bomber Command Diary, but whilst this identifies the planes used  it doesn’t specify the squadrons (In 1941, 102 squadron flew Whitleys and was a member of group 4).  The first bombing raids reported started in September 1941.  However, 102 is likely to have been involved in many of them:

The heaviest raid on Berlin was flown during the night of the 7th/8th September when 197 aircraft (Wellingtons, Hampdens, Whitleys, Stirlings, Halifaxes and Manchesters) attacked the German capital. Fifteen aircraft were lost.  In October there were huge raids: On one night alone 152 planes flew  to Nuremberg, 99 to Bremen, 90 to Hüls 

 

A record number of sorties was flown during the night of the 7th/8th November when 392 aircraft were despatched with the main objectives being Berlin (169 aircraft), Cologne (75) and Mannheim (55). The Berlin raid suffered not only from cloud obscuring the target, but also at the hands of flak and fighters. 21 aircraft (12.4%) were lost (10 Wellingtons, 9 Whitleys and 2 Stirlings). Overall, 37 aircraft failed to return, a rate of 9.4%. These losses were rapidly swinging the balance against Bomber Command - so less well-defended targets were chosen for future attacks. In four months, Bomber Command had lost 526 aircraft, and morale on the squadrons was low.  On the 13th November, the Air Ministry ordered that the bomber offensive in its present form should be stopped whilst the future shape and tactics of Bomber Command were debated. With the exception of a few minor raids in the following months.  Even so, in December the highest number of sorties for a single night during 7th/8th December was 251 when Aachen and Brest were the two main objectives.  Source: www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/diary1941_3.html

 

Continuous development occurred even within one series with the Halifax (two versions of the mark II are shown left.  Removal of the dorsal guns considerably increased streamlining and range.

In 1942 No 102 Squadron, based in Yorkshire and part of number 4 Group, was re-equipped with Halifax (Handley Page Halifax B.Mk II) and continued with aircraft of this type for the rest of the European war. It took part in each of the three historic 1,000-bomber raids in May/June 1942, and, later, in the battles of the Ruhr, Hamburg, and Berlin. It was well to the fore in the pre-invasion attacks on railway communications in Northern France and on the eve of D-Day sent 26 aircraft - the largest number it had yet dispatched - to bomb an enemy gun battery on the coast of Normandy.  http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/h102.html

 

In 1943 almost daily bombing raids occurred.  On the 14th of February – the day Harold died- two bombing raids are described, one over Lorient in France and  the other over Cologne in Germany.  The Cologne raid is described below:

 

14/15 February 1943

243 aircraft - 90 Halifax, 85 Wellingtons, 68 Stirlings to Cologne. 9 aircraft - 3 of each type - lost, 3.7 per cent of the force.

The Pathfinder marking was again based on skymarkers dropped by H2S (an improved form of radar) but it was only of limited success. 218 aircraft claimed to have bombed Cologne but local records suggest that less than 50 aircraft hit the target, mostly in the western districts. 2 industrial, 2 agricultural and 97 domestic premises were destroyed. 51 civilians were killed and 135 injured and 25 French workers died when their barracks at an old fort on the western outskirts of Cologne were bombed.

 

An interesting confirmation that this was the raid, was given in a general web search where I came across the following interchange on http://www.rafcommands.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=printer_format&om=3114&forum=DCForumID6:

 

Posted by Tim Jackson (Guest) on 01-Aug-03 at 06:39 PM

Does anyone have any information on;  HAROLD ALMA CHEASMAN

                   Sergeant,  1425127,  Nav./Bomber,  102 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Answer:  Posted by John Larder (Guest) on 02-Aug-03 at 08:39 AM

Tim
                    Sgt. Harold Alma Cheasman (1425127) Age 21 member of crew of
Halifax W7880 of 102 Squadron

                    lost 14/2/43 on an op to Cologne. Whole crew buried in Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

 

The original source for Tim's answer, is not known, but it fits the evidence found..

 

Bomber Command Diary 1941         Bomber Command Diary start of 1943

102 Squadron           Extra Information on 102 Squadron          Source of Extra Information on Harold Cheasman

Planes:    Whitley      Halifax     CWGC

    ________________________________________________

 

Leonard Cheshire

After the outbreak of the Second World War, Cheshire applied for a commission in the Royal Air Force and was initially posted in June 1940 to 102 Squadron, flying Armstrong Whitworth Whitley medium bombers, from RAF Driffield. In November 1940, he was awarded the DSO for flying his badly-damaged bomber back to base.  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Cheshire

 

In January 1941, he completed his tour of operations, but then volunteered straight away for a second tour. He was posted to No. 35 Squadron with the brand new Handley Page Halifax, and completed his second tour early in 1942, by now a Squadron Leader. August 1942 saw a return to operations as CO of No. 76 Squadron RAF.

was a member of 102 Squadron.  On the night of 12/13th November 1940, Pilot Officer GL Cheshire was captain of Whitley V P5005 “N - Nuts” detailed to attack an oil refinery at Wesseling, not far from Cologne. He arrived in the target area within a few minutes of the ETA but owing to intercom trouble was unable to discover his exact position until some twenty minutes later, by which time the target was blanketed by cloud. He decided to attack the railway marshalling yards at Cologne instead and while he was approaching this target his aircraft was suddenly shaken by a succession of violent explosions. The cockpit filled with black fumes and Cheshire lost control of the aircraft, which dived about 2,000 feet, with its fuselage on fire. Cheshire regained control, the fire was extinguished and the Whitley, with a gaping hole in its fuselage, was brought safely back to base after, being in the air for 81/2 hours. Cheshire gained an immediate DSO. He was later awarded the DFC for operations with No 102 Squadron.   http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/h102.html

 

In January 1941, he completed his tour of operations, but then volunteered straight away for a second tour. He was posted to No. 35 Squadron with the brand new Handley Page Halifax, and completed his second tour early in 1942, by now a Squadron Leader. August 1942 saw a return to operations as CO of No. 76 Squadron RAF. The squadron had recently suffered high losses operating the Halifax, and Cheshire immediately tackled the low morale of the unit by ordering an improvement in the performance of the squadron aircraft by removing the mid-upper and nose gun turrets along with exhaust covers and other weighty non-essential equipment. This allowed the bombers to fly higher and faster. Losses soon fell and morale rose accordingly. Cheshire became Station Officer Commanding RAF Marston Moor in March as the youngest Group Captain in the RAF, though the job was never to his liking and he pushed for a return to an operational command. These efforts paid off with a posting to succeed Wing Commander Guy Gibson as commander of the legendary 617 "Dambusters" Squadron in September 1943.

While with 617, Cheshire helped pioneer a new method of marking enemy targets for Bomber Command's 5 Group, flying in at a very low level in the face of strong defences, using first, the versatile Mosquito, then a "borrowed" P-51 Mustang fighter. This development work was the subject of some severe intraservice politics; Cheshire was encouraged by his 5 Group Commander Air Vice-Marshal Ralph Cochrane, although the 8 Group Pathfinder AOC Air Vice-Marshal Don Bennett saw this work as impinging on the responsibilities of his own command.

Cheshire was nearing the end of his fourth tour of duty in July 1944, having completed a total of 102 missions, when he was awarded the Victoria Cross. He was the only one of the 32 VC airmen to win the medal for an extended period of sustained courage and outstanding effort, rather than a single act of valour. His citation noted:

"In four years of fighting against the bitterest opposition he maintained a standard of outstanding personal achievement, his successful operations being the result of careful planning, brilliant execution and supreme contempt for danger – for example, on one occasion he flew his P-51 Mustang in slow "figures of eight" above a target obscured by low cloud, to act as a bomb-aiming mark for his squadron. Cheshire displayed the courage and determination of an exceptional leader." It also noted a raid in which he had marked a target, flying a Mosquito at low level against "withering fire."

 

CWGC

Name: 

CHEASMAN, HAROLD ALMA

Initials:

H A

Nationality:

United Kingdom

Rank:

Sergeant (Nav./Bomber)

Regiment/Service:

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Unit Text:

102 Sqdn.

Age:

21

Date of Death:

14/02/1943

Service No:

1425127

Additional information:

Son of George Walter and Clarice Jane Cheasman; husband of Gwendoline Lilian Cheasman, of Rushden, Northamptonshire.

Casualty Type:

Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference:

8. I. 4.

Cemetery:

JONKERBOS WAR CEMETERY (Holland)

 

102 Squadron      http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/h102.html

Motto: “Tentate et perficite” (“Attempt and achieve”).

Badge: On a demi-terrestrial globe a lion rampant holding in the fore-paws a bomb. The dark demi-globe on which the lion is standing is indicative of night-bombing duties.  Authority: King George VI, March 1938.

 

No 102 re-formed in 1936 as a heavy bomber squadron and when war came again it was flying Whitleys. On the second night of the war - 4/5th September 1939 - three of its Whitleys dropped propaganda leaflets on the Ruhr.

When the next leaflet raid was made - again on the Ruhr - four nights later, two of the six crews involved failed to return. Subsequently it was learned that one of these crews had forced - landed in then neutral Belgium and had been interned, and that the other had forced - landed in Germany and been made prisoners of war.

The squadron's first bombing attack of the war was made on 12/13th December 1939, when a Whitley engaged on a security patrol of Sylt attacked what appeared to be lights indicating a seaplane alighting area.

Italy's declaration of war on 10/11th June 1940, brought a swift reply. The following night seven of the squadron's Whitleys set out from an advanced base in the Channel Islands (Jersey airport) to attack the Fiat Works at Turin. Thunderstorms and severe icing were encountered and five aircraft had to return early. The other two reached Turin, where one bombed the primary target whilst the other bombed an alternative target.

 

In 1942 No 102 Squadron re-equipped with Halifaxes and continued with aircraft of this type for the rest of the European war. It took part in each of the three historic 1,000-bomber raids in May/June 1942, and, later, in the battles of the Ruhr, Hamburg, and Berlin. It was well to the fore in the pre-invasion attacks on railway communications in Northern France and on the eve of D-Day sent 26 aircraft - the largest number it had yet dispatched - to bomb an enemy gun battery on the coast of Normandy.

 

No information is given on 1943 on this web site

 

Additional 102 Squadron Information http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/diary1941_3.html

102 Squadon extra

Aircraft
October 1938-January 1940: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley III
November 1930-February 1942: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley V
December 1941-March 1944: Handley Page Halifax B.Mk II
March 1944 to September 1945: Handley Page Halifax B.Mk III
February 1945 to September 1945: Handley Page Halifax B.Mk VI

Location
11 July 1938-25 August 1940: Driffield
25 August-1 September 1940: Leeming
1 September-10 October 1940: Prestwick
10 October-15 November 1940: Linton-on-Ouse
15 November 1940-15 November 1941: Topcliffe
15 November 1941-7 June 1942: Dalton
7 June-7 August 1942: Topcliffe  Yorkshire
7 August 1942-8 September 1945: Pocklington  Yorkshire

Squadron Codes: DY

Group and Duty
On 26 September 1939: Reserve bomber squadron with No. 4 Group
By December 1941, to 7 May 1945: Bomber squadron with No.4 Group
From 8 May 1945: Transport Command

 

Bomber Command Campaign Diary  1941  http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/diary1941_3.html

 September

More favourable weather brought an increase in operational tempo during the early part of September. 140 aircraft were despatched to Brest during the night of the 3rd/4th, but were recalled due to deteriorating weather. However, 53 aircraft failed to receive the signal and continued the mission, bombing the estimated position of German warships through a smoke-screen with little success. The heaviest raid on Berlin to date was flown during the night of the 7th/8th when 197 aircraft (Wellingtons, Hampdens, Whitleys, Stirlings, Halifaxes and Manchesters) attacked the German capital. Fifteen aircraft were lost. The daylight career of No 90 Squadron and its Fortresses was brought to a halt less than two months after it had started, the type having had little success in the high-altitude daylight role since its first operation in early July.

October

The month did not start promisingly with only small-scale operations possible by day or night and then, between the 5th and 10th, no operations at all because of poor weather. It wasn't until the night of the 12/13th that any real activity was recorded. That night, 373 aircraft (a new highest total) were involved in operations - 152 to Nuremberg, 99 to Bremen, 90 to Hüls with 32 on minor operations such as minelaying. The Nuremberg raid highlights the problems of navigating by dead reckoning with a changeable wind as bombs were reported from Stuttgart, 95 miles west of the target and Lauingen 65 miles away. The crews sent to the other main targets were only marginally more successful. Two nights later, 80 aircraft returned to Nuremberg but again encountered very bad weather and only 14 aircraft claimed to have hit the intended target. The weather continued to interfere with Bomber Command's activities and it wasn't until the night of the 20th/21st, when 284 aircraft were in action, that any sizeable number of missions was flown. On that night, Bremen was raided by 153 aircraft, Wilhelmshaven by 47 aircraft, Emden by 36 and Antwerp by 35 (none of which attacked because of complete cloud cover). The remaining sorties were Gardening and Nickelling. The daylight Channel Stop operations involving the Blenheims were becoming less productive and losses were increasing and these missions finally ended in early November. The operations, it was believed, had accounted for 101 ships sunk or seriously damaged (it was, in fact, only 29) with 139 aircraft lost.

November

A new record number of sorties was flown during the night of the 7th/8th, when 392 aircraft were despatched with the main objectives being Berlin (169 aircraft), Cologne (75) and Mannheim (55). The Berlin raid suffered not only from cloud obscuring the target, but also at the hands of flak and fighters. 21 aircraft (12.4%) were lost (10 Wellingtons, 9 Whitleys and 2 Stirlings). Overall, 37 aircraft failed to return, a rate of 9.4%. These losses were rapidly swinging the balance against Bomber Command - indeed, no air force could sustain this amount of losses for any length of time and, in an attempt to rebuild the Command's confidence, less well-defended targets were chosen for future attacks. In four months, Bomber Command had lost the equivalent of its entire frontline strength, 526 aircraft, and morale on the squadrons was low.

On the 13th, the Air Ministry dropped the bombshell to the Command's AOCinC, Air Marshal Sir Richard Pierse, that the bomber offensive in its present form was to be stopped whilst the future shape and tactics of Bomber Command was debated. With the exception of a few minor raids in the following months this is exactly what happened and, by early January, Pierse had been posted from his position.

December

Operations continued at a very slow pace. The highest number of sorties for a single night during December was 251 during 7th/8th December when Aachen and Brest were the two main objectives. The Brest attack marked the operational debut of Oboe when Stirlings from Nos 7 and 15 Squadrons used the device on this raid. The remaining days and nights passed fairly quietly, but Brest was the recipient of repeated attacks, and on the 18th, a daylight raid reported that, at long last, the Gneisenau, still harboured in the port, was hit during an attack by 47 aircraft. No 2 Group's Blenheims, joined by Hampdens from No 5 Group, took part in the first combined operation of the war. While a force of Commandos was landed on the island of Vaagsö off the Norwegian coast, the Blenheims made diversionary attacks on shipping off the coast and enemy-held airfields. The Hampdens meanwhile, attempted to lay down a smoke-screen for the landing and bomb gun positions. Although the raid was deemed a success, 8 aircraft of the 29 despatched were lost (27.5%). The Blenheims also undertook a new kind of operation - night intruder attacks - on German airfields before the end of the month, successfully striking Soesterberg airfield in Holland with bombs and attacking 2 German bombers in the air with guns. The final bombing raids of note were made during the night of 28th/29th December when 217 sorties were flown with Wilhelmshaven, Hüls and Emden the main targets.

 

Bomber Command Campaign Diary  1943

source: http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/feb43.html

There were attacks throughout January

29/30 January 1943

75 Wellingtons and 41 Halifaxes of Nos 1, 4 and 6 Groups attacking Lorient encountered thick cloud and icing and, with no Pathfinder marking, the bombing was well scattered . 2 Halifaxes and 2 Wellingtons lost.

17 Wellingtons minelaying off Biscay ports and 5 OTU sorties to France also encountered bad weather. 1 aircraft from each operation was lost.

30 January 1943

2 formations, each of 3 Mosquitos, made dramatic at temps to interrupt large rallies being addressed by Nazi leaders in Berlin on this day. These raids would be the first time the German capital was bombed in daylight.
3 aircraft from No 105 Squadron successfully reached Berlin and bombed in mid-morning at the exact time that Goering was due to speak. The speech was postponed or an hour and all 3 Mosquitos returned safely.
In the afternoon, 3 Mosquitos of No 139 Squadron arrived at the time Goebbels was due to speak and again bombed at the correct time but the German defences were alerted and the aircraft of Squadron Leader DF Darling was shot down. Darling and his navigator, Flying Officer W Wright, were both killed and are now buried in Berlin

19 Wellingtons of No 4 Group and 17 Bostons to many places in Germany and Holland but only 5 Wellingtons and 1 Boston found targets to bomb. 4 Wellingtons lost.

30/31 January 1943

Hamburg; 148 aircraft - 135 Lancasters, 7 Stirlings, 6 Halifaxes - or 1, 5 and No 8 Groups carried out the first H2S attack of the war, with Pathfinder Stirlings and Halifaxes using the new device to mark the target. 5 Lancasters were lost, 3.4 per cent of the force.

Although H2S would later become a more effective device, its use was not successful on this night even though Hamburg, close to a coastline and on a prominent river, was the best type of H2S target. Bombing was scattered over a wide area most of the bombs appear to have fallen in the River Elbe or in the surrounding marshes. However, 119 fires - 71 large - were started; 58 people were killed and 164 injured.

4 Mosquitos to targets in the Ruhr, 17 aircraft minelaying off St Nazaire and in the Frisians. No losses.

2 February 1943

36 Venturas bombed railway targets at Abbeville and Bruges without loss.


2/3 February 1943

Cologne

Cologne attacked by 161 aircraft - 116 Lancasters, 35 Halifaxes, 8 Stirlings, 2 Mosquitos in another experimental raid using a 4-engined bombing force with various forms of Pathfinder techniques. Markers were dropped by both the Oboe Mosquitos and the H2S heavy marker aircraft. Again the results were disappointing, with no clear concentration of markers being achieved and with subsequent bombing being well scattered. Unfortunately, a Pathfinder Stirling on this raid was shot down by a night fighter and crashed in Holland handing the Germans an example of the H2S set on only the second night that this new device was used. The set was damaged but the German firm of Telefunken was able to reassemble it. This gave the Germans an early indication of the operational use of H2S and eventually led to the development of a device, 'Naxos', which would enable German night fighters to home on to a bomber which was using its H2S set. 5 aircraft - 3 Lancasters, 1 Halifax, 1 Stirling - lost, 3.1 per cent of the force.

13 Halifaxes of No 6 Group minelaying in the Kattegat but bad weather was encountered and only 5 aircraft laid their mines: there was 1 OTU sortie. No aircraft lost.

3 February 1943

60 Venturas to various targets in France, Belgium and Holland but only 15 aircraft bombed railway yards at Abbeville and at St Omer airfield. 2 Venturas lost.

3/4 February 1943

263 aircraft - 84 Halifaxes, 66 Stirlings, 62 Lancasters, 51 Wellingtons - provided by all groups on the first 200-plus raid for more than 2 weeks for a raid on Hamburg. Icing conditions in cloud over the North Sea caused many aircraft to return early. The Pathfinders were unable to produce concentrated and sustained marking on H2S and the bombing of the Main Force was scattered. The results in Hamburg were no better than the attack by a much smaller force a few nights earlier. The German night fighters operated effectively, despite the bad weather, and 16 bombers were lost - 8 Stirlings, 4 Halifaxes, 3 Wellingtons and 1 Lancaster, 6.1 per cent of the force.

8 Wellingtons minelaying off Lorient and St Nazaire, 4 OTU sorties. 1 Wellington minelayer lost.

4/5 February 1943

188 aircraft - 77 Lancasters, 55 Halifaxes, 50 Stirlings, 6 Wellingtons ordered to Turin of which 156 reached the target. Elsewhere in Italy, 4 Pathfinder Lancasters were sent to this Italian port to try out a new type of 'proximity fuzed' 4,000lb bomb which exploded between 200 and 600ft above the ground to widen the effects of the resulting blast. 3 aircraft dropped their bombs successfully, but this type of weapon does not seem to have come into general use. 3 Lancasters, all from the Turin raid, lost.

128 aircraft - 103 Wellingtons, 16 Halifaxes, 9 Lancasters attacked Lorient. 1 Wellington lost. This was an all-incendiary attack without the Pathfinders. Bombing was concentrated and large areas of fire were started.

Finally, 2 Mosquitos bombed Bochum and Ruhrort and 1 Wellington laid mines off Lorient

5/6 February 1943

19 Stirlings of No 3 Group were sent minelaying in the Frisian Islands; 2 aircraft lost.

6/7 February 1943

52 Wellingtons and 20 Halifaxes minelaying between St Nazaire and Texel, 2 Mosquitos to Düsseldorf, 3 OTU sorties. 3 minelaying Wellingtons lost.

7/8 February 1943

323 aircraft - 100 Wellingtons, 81 Halifaxes, 80 Lancasters, 62 Stirlings to Lorient in a well-executed raid. 7 aircraft - 3 Lancasters, 2 Halifaxes, 2 Wellingtons - lost.

2 Mosquitos bombed Essen and Hamborn without loss.


8/9 February 1943

6 Lancasters laid mines in Baltic areas without loss.

9/10 February 1943

21 Wellingtons minelaying between Brest and Texel, 2 Mosquitos to Essen and Ruhrort.

10 February 1943

12 Venturas bombed Caen railway yards without loss but the escorting Spitfires had a fierce fight with German fighters.

11 February 1943

19 Bostons attempted attacks on railway targets over a wide area. 8 aircraft bombed various locations; 1 Boston lost.

11/12 February 1943

Wilhelmshaven. This was an interesting and important raid by 177 aircraft - 129 Lancasters, 40 Halifaxes and 8 Stirlings. The Pathfinders found that the Wilhelmshaven area was completely covered by cloud and they had to employ their least reliable marking method, skymarking by parachute flares using H2S. The marking was carried out with great accuracy and the Main Force bombing was very effective. Crews saw through the clouds a huge explosion on the ground, the glow of which lingered for nearly 10 minutes. This was caused by bombs blowing up the naval ammunition depot at Mariensiel to the south of Wilhelmshaven. The resulting explosion devastated an area of nearly 120 acres and caused widespread damage in the naval dockyard and in the town. Much damage was also caused by other bombs. It has not been possible to obtain details of the casualties from Wilhelmshaven. 3 Lancasters lost, 1.7 per cent of the force.
This raid represented the first blind-bombing success for the H2S radar device.

2 Mosquitos to Bochum and Hamborn, 36 aircraft minelaying from La Pallice to the Frisians, 5 OTU sorties. No losses.

Total effort for the night: 220 sorties, 3 aircraft (1.4 per cent) lost.


12 February 1943

16 Mosquitos attacked targets in Eastern Belgium and over the German border without loss.

12/13 February 1943

2 Mosquitos bombed Düsseldorf and Rheinhausen, 38 aircraft minelaying off Heligoland and in the Frisians, 5 OTU sorties. There were no losses.

13 February 1943

34 Venturas and 22 Bostons were sent in 5 different raids to attack Ijmuiden steelworks (the Venturas) and ships at Boulogne and the lock gates at St Malo (the Bostons). 41 aircraft bombed successfully and none were lost.


13/14 February 1943

466 aircraft - 164 Lancasters, 140 Wellingtons, 96 Halifaxes, 66 Stirlings - carried out Bomber Command's heaviest attack on Lorient during the war. The ordinary squadrons of Bomber Command, not reinforced for a 1,000-bomber type raid, dropped more than 1,000 tons of bombs on a target for the first time. The raid was carried out in clear visibility and considerable further damage was caused to the already battered town of Lorient. 7 aircraft - 3 Wellingtons, 2 Lancasters, 1 Halifax, 1 Stirling - were lost, 1.5 per cent of the force.

2 Mosquitos to Duisburg and Essen, 17 OTU sorties. No losses.

14 February 1943

10 Mosquitos to Tours railway yards, which were accurately bombed by 6 aircraft without loss.

14/15 February 1943

243 aircraft - 90 Halifaxes, 85 Wellingtons, 68 Stirlings to Cologne. 9 aircraft - 3 of each type - lost, 3.7 per cent of the force.

The Pathfinder marking was again based on skymarkers dropped by H2S but it was only of limited success. 218 aircraft claimed to have bombed Cologne but local records suggest that less than 50 aircraft hit the target, mostly in the western districts. 2 industrial, 2 agricultural and 97 domestic premises were destroyed. 51 civilians were killed and 135 injured and 25 French workers died when their barracks at an old fort on the western outskirts of Cologne were bombed.

142 Lancasters of 1, 5 and No 8 Groups attacked Milan and carried out concentrated bombing in good visibility. Fires could be seen from l00 miles away on the return flight. No report is available from Milan. Italian defences were usually weak and only 2 Lancasters were lost on this raid.

An unusual story is available, however, about a Lancaster of 101 Squadron, which was attacked by an Italian CR42 fighter just after bombing the target. The Lancaster was set on fire and the two gunners were both seriously injured, although they claimed to have shot down the fighter. The pilot, Sergeant IH Hazard, had to dive 8,000ft to put out the fire and 1 member of the crew mistook instructions and baled out. The remainder of the crew completed the extinguishing of the fire, tended the wounded and eventually reached England. The only officer in the crew, Pilot Officer FW Gates the wireless operator, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Sergeant Hazard and the other members of the crew who helped to bring the Lancaster home all received Conspicuous Gallantry Medals, an unusually high number of awards of this decoration. Sergeant Hazard died with his flight engineer and navigator when their Lancaster crashed in a flying accident in Yorkshire less than a month after the Milan incident, and Pilot Officer Gates died when the Lancaster in which he was flying, with another crew, crashed when returning from Dortmund on 5 May 1943; the two air gunners in the crew appear to have survived the war.

4 Pathfinder Lancasters bombed La Spezia docks without loss.

Total effort for the night: 389 sorties, 11 aircraft (2.8 per cent) lost.

 

The Whitley was developed in response to a Air Ministry Specification (B.3/34) issued in July 1934. Armstrong Whitworth produced a two engined aircraft, with a stressed-skin construction, powered by the Armstrong Siddeley Tiger radial engine, driving three blade, variable pitch propellers. The first prototype flew on 17 March 1936. The Whitley was selected to be the standard RAF heavy bomber, and an order for eighty aircraft was placed. Production of the Whitley stopped in June 1943, after 1,814 of all versions had been produced.

Combat Record

Bomber command used the Whitley from March 1937, when No.10 Squadron converted to the new type, until April 1942 when it was officially retired from front line service. At first the RAF avoided bombing operations over Germany, so the Whitney Mk III saw most service dropping leaflets over Germany.

That changed with the German onslaught in May 1940. The Whitley was still the only heavy bomber available to the RAF (the first of the four engined heavies, the Short Stirling did not enter service until early 1941). It achieved several notable firsts – the first bombs dropped on Germany during a raid near München Gladbach on 11-12 May 1940, the first bombs dropped on Berlin on 25-26 August 1940 and the first raid over Italy on 11-12 June 1940. However this was the period where Bomber Command raids were inaccurate at best. The Whitley's low speed made it increasingly vulnerable, and it was officially retired from front line service with bomber command in April 1942, although a number did take place in the thousand bomber raid on Cologne on 30 May 1942, when every available aircraft was needed to reach the target number of bombers.

The Whitley was also used with paratroops and as a glider tug. Its most famous exploit was probably the raid on the German radar station at Bruneval on 27-28 February 1942, when Whitleys of No. 51 Squadron carried the paratroopers

 

Source below: http://www.military.cz/british/air/war/bomber/whitley/whitley_en.htm

Twin-engined monoplane bomber. The Whitley was one of the first heavy night bombers of the RAF, and the first RAF aircraft with a stressed-skin fuselage. It had a characteristic nose-down flying attitude, because of the high incidence of the wing. Performance was mediocre, and from 1942 onwards it was used as trainer and glider tug.

General characteristics Whitley V

Primary function

Heavy bomber

Power plant

Two 12cylinder Rolls-Royce Merlin X engines

Thrust

2x 1,145 HP

2x 854 kW

Wingspan

84 ft

25.6 m

Length

70.5 ft

21.5 m

Height

15 ft

4.57 m

Weight

empty

19,330 lb

8,768 kg

max.

33,500 lb

15,196 kg

Speed

max.

222 mph

357 km/h

cruising

about 185 mph

about 297 km/h

Initial climb rate

800 ft/min

244 m/min

Ceiling

20,000 ft

6,100 m

Range

1,647 mi

2,650 km

Armament

5x 7.7 mm machine gun; 3,175 kg bombs

Crew

Five

First flight

17.3.1936

Date deployed

1937 (version I)

Number built

1,737 all versions

  

 

04394 Handley Page Halifax B Mk.I/II

The Halifax is regarded as one of the most famous British World War II bombers. It was the second four-engine heavy bomber to go into active service with RAF Bomber Command in 1941. Although many problems arose during its development and the Halifax was always overshadowed by the Avro Lancaster, in the course of the war it ultimately proved to be the best-known Allied bomber. In addition to its principal role with Bomber Command (B1/B11 versions) it was often flown by RAF Coastal Command (GR 11) and Transport Command in the Near, Middle and Far East. It had a top speed of 420 km/h and a bomb load of 6,000 kg. The last Halifax was in service with Coastal Command until 1952.

Technical data on the Handley Page Halifax B.Mk III

http://www.xs4all.nl/~fbonne/warbirds/ww2htmls/handhalif.html#handhalif0

Unlike version II, which Harold flew in, the III used Hercules rather than Merlin engines.  Other changes were the revised tailwheel, revised vertical surfaces on the tail, a wing span of 104 ft 2 inch (31,75 m), wing aspect-ratio of 8.51, wing area of 1,275 sq ft (118.45 m²), provision for the H2S navigation/attack radar, and provision for a ventral blister carrying 1 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) Browning trainable rearward-firing gun.
Number built: 2.091

Powerplant

4 × Bristol Hercules XVI radial, rated at 1615 hp (1203.97 kW) each

Role during war

·                                 Heavy Bomber

·                                 Transport

Length

71 ft 7 inch

Height

20 ft 9 inch

Empty weight

38240 lb

Operational weight

54400 lb typical,
65000 lb max

Wing Span

98 ft 10 inch

Wing Aspect ratio

7.81

Wing Area

1250 sq ft

Service ceiling

24000 ft

Maximum speed

282 mph at 13500 ft

Cruising speed

215 mph at 20000 ft

Initial climb rate

960 ft per minute,
Climb to 20,000 ft in 37 minutes 30 sec

Range

1030 miles minimum,
1985 miles typical

Fuel capacity internal

1,998 Imp gal (2,400 US gal), plus provision for 576 Imp gal (692 US gal) in 6 wing weapon cell tanks

Fuel capacity external

-

Machine guns

·                                 1 × 0.303 inch Vickers 'K' trainable forward firing in the nose position, 300 rounds

·                                 4 × 0.303 inch Browning trainable in powered dorsal turret, 1,160 rounds each

·                                 4 × 0.303 inch Browning trainable in powered tail turret, 1,160 rounds each

Cannons

-

Bomb load

Up to 14,500 lb carried in weapons bay rated 13,000 lb and 6 wing cells rated 500 lb. General loadout of weapons bay:

·                                 1 × 8,000 lb bomb, or

·                                 2 × 4,000 lb bombs, or

·                                 4 × 2,000 lb bombs, or

·                                 8 × 1,000 lb bombs, or

·                                 2 × 1,500 lb mines plus 6 × 500 lb bombs, or

·                                 9 × 500 lb bombs

The wing cells could carry alternatively 6 × 500 lb or 250 lb bombs

Torpedoes/rockets

-

Crew

7: pilot, co-pilot, navigator/bombardier/gunner, radio operator, flight engineer, two gunners

Naval or ground based

Ground

First flight (prototype)

25 October 1939

Operational Service

November 1940 - March 1952

Manufacturer

Handley Page Ltd.

Number produced

6.176 total, 2.091 this version

 

 

Extra Information on Harold Cheasman

Source: http://www.rafcommands.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=printer_format&om=3114&forum=DCForumID6

Posted by Tim jackson (Guest) on 01-Aug-03 at 06:39 PM

Does anyone have any information on;

HAROLD ALMA CHEASMAN

Sergeant
1425127
Nav./Bomber
102 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Answer:

Posted by John Larder (Guest) on 02-Aug-03 at 08:39 AM

Tim
Sgt. Harold Alma Cheasman (1425127) Age 21 member of crew of
Halifax W7880 of 102 Squadron lost14/2/43 on an op to Cologne. Whole crew buried in Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

 

Cemetery in Holland

Sergeant (Nav./Bomber) Harold Alma Cheasman[Suggest a correction]

Birth:

unknown

Death:

Feb. 14, 1943

 Inscription:

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Note: 1425127

 

Burial::

Jonkerbos War Cemetery , Netherlands

Plot:

8. I. 4.

Created by: International Wargraves ...

 

Record added: Apr 2 2006