In Memoriam        Ronald Douglas Hales                                                                        Home

Photographs

Letters Sent During War Years

Letters about those who died Decorations and Awards
Officers/Draft Roll of Honour

In Memoriam Book

What Happened to Men Below Intro WW2 et al
Arthur Ernest Abbott William John Berrill Peter (F.C.) Causebrook Harold Cheaseman
Gordon Roy Coe Jack Dunkley Gordon George Elderton Peter Gifford Felce

Frederick Furr

Harold Philip Gardiner

Anthony Robert Gillitt

Ronald Douglas Hales

Norman Leonard Hornsey

Robert Howard

Edwin Hudson John Arthur Paul Loake
Richard Saxby Mutimer Raymond Reginald Norman Raymond George Osborne Brian Terence Peck
Colin Roderick Penness Douglas Arthur Prigmore John Harry Sharp Norman Perkins Sharpe
Robert Troath Died after Korean War: Raymond-Kimber Leslie Walters

 

RONALD DOUGLAS HALES, born 20 September 1923, entered the School in September 1935, and left in December 1937 to train as an Engineer at Slough, Bucks. 

In 1942 he volunteered for Air Crew in the Royal Air Force and served as a Rear Gunner in a Lancaster.  He was killed during an operational flight over France in June 1944.  He was buried in the communal grave of the cemetery at Bonnalles, near Paris. 

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Hales, 14 Thrift Street, Higham Ferrers.   'In  Memoriam' book

 

Member of 15 Squadron  and   3 Group

 

Without access to Ronald’s war record we do not know when exactly Ronald joined.  Whilst it is unlikely that he took part in the first ‘thousand Bomber Raid, it is not impossible, Dowding sent every plane even if they were manned by half trained crews:

 

The first Thousand Bomber Raid: Cologne  on 30/31 May 1942

1,047 aircraft were dispatched, this number being made up as follows:

1 Group - 156 Wellingtons.   3 Group - 134 Wellingtons,

                  88 Stirlings = 222 aircraft

4 Group - 131 Halifaxes, 9 Wellingtons, 7 Whitleys = 147 aircraft,  

5 Group - 73 Lancasters, 46 Manchesters, 34 Hampdens = 153 aircraft

91 (OTU) Group - 236 Wellingtons, 21 Whitleys = 257 aircraft   

92 (OTU) Group - 63 Wellingtons, 45 Hampdens = 108 aircraft  

Flying Training Command - 4 Wellingtons.  

Aircraft totals: 602 Wellingtons, 131 Halifaxes, 88 Stirlings, 79 Hampdens, 73 Lancasters, 46 Manchesters, 28 Whitleys = 1,047 aircraft

 

However, if trained in time, then Ronald would certainly have been involved in most of the raids his squadron was selected for in the autumn months of 42 (Squadron 15 flew Stirlings).  With virtually daily mass raids squadron’s were continually being called upon.

 

For a more detailed account of the Bomber Command raids Hales may have flown in click here, or, better check the Bomber Command diary.  Note: simply change the month and date at the end of the following address:  http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/jun44.html

 

Towards the end of 1942, bombing raids on Germany were frequent.

3/4 September 1942

Emden 11 aircraft - 7 Wellingtons, 3 Stirlings, 1 Halifax - dispatched

4/5 September 1942

Bremen 251 aircraft - 98 Wellingtons, 76 Lancasters, 41 Halifaxes, 36 Stirlings. 12 aircraft - 7 Wellingtons, 3 Lancasters, 1 Halifax, 1 Stirling - lost, 4.8 per cent of the force.

6/7 September 1942

Duisburg 207 aircraft of 6 types.  Lost 8 aircraft - 5 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes, 1 Stirling

8/9 September 1942

Frankfurt 249 aircraft of 5 types. 5 Wellingtons and 2 Halifaxes lost

10/11 September 1942

Düsseldorf 479 aircraft - 242 Wellingtons, 89 Lancasters, 59 Halifaxes, 47 Stirlings, 28 Hampdens, 14 Whitleys. Training aircraft of 91, 92 and 93 Groups took part in this raid. 33 aircraft - 20 Wellingtons, 5 Lancasters, 4 Stirlings, 3 Halifaxes, 1 Hampden - lost

 

Such raids continued throughout 1943.

25/26 October 1943

23 Stirlings minelaying in the Kattegat without loss

10/11 November 1943

7 Stirlings minelaying in the River Gironde and off La Pallice,

18/19 November 1943

The ‘Battle of Berlin’ begins.  Major diversionary raid on Mannheim and Ludwigshafen by 395 aircraft - 248 Halifaxes, 114 Stirlings, 33 Lancasters - of Nos 3, 4, 6 and 8 Groups.

19/20 November 1943

Leverkusen bombed by 266 aircraft - 170 Halifaxes, 86 Stirlings, 10 Mosquitos - of Nos 3,4,6 and 8 Groups. Only 4 Halifaxes and 1 Stirling - 1.9 per cent of the force – lost

22/23 November 1943

Berlin attacked by 764 aircraft - 469 Lancasters, 234 Halifaxes, 50 Stirlings, 11 Mosquitos. This was the greatest force sent to Berlin so far but it was also the last raid in which Stirlings were sent to Germany.

  

In December 1943 Ronald’s squadron was re-equipped with Lancasters.  By March, Ronald he would have been a rear gunner in some of the large raids over Germany. 

 

24/25 March 1944

Berlin  811 aircraft - 577 Lancasters, 216 Halifaxes, 18 Mosquitos - to Berlin. 72 aircraft - 44 Lancasters, 28 Halifaxes - lost, 8.9 per cent of the force.  This was the last major RAF raid on Berlin during the war

25/26 March 1944

192 aircraft - 92 Halifaxes, 47 Lancasters, 37 Stirlings, 16 Mosquitos - attacked railway yards at Aulnoye in France. No aircraft lost.  22 Lancasters of No 5 Group to an aero-engine factory at Lyons,

26/27 March 1944

Essen: 705 aircraft - 476 Lancasters, 207 Halifaxes, 22 Mosquitos.

29/30 March 1944

19 Lancasters of No 5 Group to the aero-engine factory at Lyons, which was bombed accurately.

30/31 March 1944

795 aircraft were dispatched - 572 Lancasters, 214 Halifaxes and 9 Mosquitos. The German controller ignored all the diversions and assembled his fighters at 2 radio beacons which happened to be astride the route to Nuremberg. The first fighters appeared just before the bombers reached the Belgian border and a fierce battle in the moonlight lasted for the next hour. 82 bombers were lost on the outward route and near the target.

95 bombers were lost in all - 64 Lancasters and 31 Halifaxes, 11.9 per cent of the force dispatched. It was the biggest Bomber Command loss of the war.

 

Ronald’s plane was shot down on the 7/8 June 1944 in support of the D Day Invasion; if he had simply been shot on board, his body would have been returned to the UK.  Ronald Hales is buried in Viroflay New Communal Cemetery in France.

337 aircraft - 195 Halifaxes, 122 Lancasters, 20 Mosquitos - attacked railway targets at Achères, Juvisy, Massey Palaiseau and Versailles. Bombing conditions were better than on the previous night. All targets were accurately bombed and, although no details are available, it is probable that fewer civilians were killed. The targets were mostly more distant from the battle front than those recently attacked and German night fighters had more time to intercept the bomber forces. 17 Lancasters and 11 Halifaxes were lost, 8.3 per cent of the forces involved.   Bomber Command:       http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/jun44.html

 

Sources used:

Squadron Information:  http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/h15.html

Bomber Command Diary eg:   http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/jun44.html

 

 

Bomber Command Diary

Information culled from Bomber Command ‘Diary’ covering the end of May and June 1942, when the first 1000 bomber raid was carried out, September and October 1943 just before Stirlings were replaced by Lancasters. and January to March 1944 after No 15 squadron had changed from Stirlings to Lancasters.   In each month, the raids selected were those using the make of plane that No 15 squadron flew.

 

Ronald's squadron is flying Stirlings

30/31 May 1942    

The Thousand Bomber Raid, Cologne 1,047 aircraft were dispatched, this number being made up as follows: 1 Group - 156 Wellingtons
3 Group - 134 Wellingtons, 88 Stirlings = 222 aircraft   4 Group - 131 Halifaxes, 9 Wellingtons, 7 Whitleys = 147 aircraft  5 Group - 73 Lancasters, 46 Manchesters, 34 Hampdens = 153 aircraft    91 (OTU) Group - 236 Wellingtons, 21 Whitleys = 257 aircraft    92 (OTU) Group - 63 Wellingtons, 45 Hampdens = 108 aircraft   Flying Training Command - 4 Wellingtons.   Aircraft totals: 602 Wellingtons, 131 Halifaxes, 88 Stirlings, 79 Hampdens, 73 Lancasters, 46 Manchesters, 28 Whitleys = 1,047 aircraft

1/2 June 1942

Essen  This was the second raid carried out by the 'Thousand Force' although the full 1,000 aircraft could not be provided on this night. 956 aircraft were dispatched: 545 Wellingtons, 127 Halifaxes, 77 Stirlings, 74 Lancasters, 71 Hampdens, 33 Manchesters and 29 Whitleys.   The plan was similar to the recent raid on Cologne except that many more flares were dropped by the raid leaders, Wellingtons of 3 Group. Crews experienced great difficulty in finding the target; the ground was covered either by haze or a layer of low cloud. Bombing was very scattered.

2/3 June 1942

Essen 195 aircraft - 97 Wellingtons, 38 Halifaxes, 27 Lancasters, 21 Stirlings, 12 Hampdens. 14 aircraft - 7 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes, 2 Lancasters, 2 Stirlings, 1 Hampden - lost.

3/4 June 1942

Bremen 170 aircraft of all standard types were dispatched on the first large raid to Bremen since October 1941. 11 aircraft - 4 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes, 2 Lancasters, 2 Stirlings, 1 Manchester - lost.

5/6 June 1942

Essen  180 aircraft - 98 Wellingtons, 33 Halifaxes, 25 Stirlings, 13 Lancasters, 11 Hampdens. 12 aircraft - 8 Wellingtons, 2 Stirlings, 1 Halifax, 1 Lancaster -lost. This was another failure, with bombing being scattered over a wide area. Essen suffered minor property damage, 10 people killed and 68 injured.

6/7 June 1942

Emden  233 aircraft - 124 Wellingtons, 40 Stirlings, 27 Halifaxes, 20 Lancasters, 15 Hampdens, 7 Manchesters - on the first large raid on this target since November 1941. 9 aircraft - 3 Manchesters, 3 Wellingtons, 2 Stirlings, 1 Halifax - lost.

8/9 June 1942

Essen  170 aircraft - 92 Wellingtons, 42 Halifaxes, 14 Stirlings, 13 Lancasters, 9 Hampdens. 19 aircraft - 7 Wellingtons, 7 Halifaxes, 3 Lancasters, 1 Hampden, 1 Stirling - lost.  Yet again, this target was not identified accurately and bombing was scattered over a wide area. Essen suffered further light housing damage, 13 people killed and 42 injured.

9/10 June 1942

Minelaying: 54 aircraft to the Frisian Islands and off Swinemünde in the Baltic.

11/12 June 1942

Minelaying: 91 aircraft to the Frisian Islands and off Swinemünde. 4 aircraft - 2 Lancasters, 1 Stirling, 1 Wellington - lost.

16/17 June 1942

Essen  106 aircraft - 40 Wellingtons, 39 Halifaxes, 15 Lancasters, 12 Stirlings. 8 aircraft - 4 Halifaxes, 3 Wellingtons, 1 Stirling- lost.  Only 16 crews reported that they had identified Essen; 56 bombed alternative targets, 45 of them attacking Bonn. Essen reports only 3 high-explosive and 400 incendiary bombs in the city with one person being wounded.  This raid concluded the series of 5 raids on Essen in 16 nights. 1,607 sorties had been dispatched and 84 aircraft (5.2 per cent) lost. No industrial damage was caused in Essen on any of these raids; a few houses were destroyed and 38 civilians were killed. Essen would not be visited in strength for 3 months.

17/18 June 1942

Minor Operations: 27 Stirlings and Wellingtons to St Nazaire but only 6 aircraft bombed, in poor weather, 46 aircraft minelaying off St Nazaire and in the Frisians, 2 Stirlings on leaflet flights. No losses.

18/19 June 1942

Minelaying: 65 aircraft to Lorient and the Frisian Islands. 1 Hampden lost.

19/20 June 1942

Emden  194 aircraft - 112 Wel1ingtons, 37 Halifaxes, 25 Stirlings, 11 Hampdens, 9 Lancasters. 9 aircraft - 6 Wel1ingtons, 2 Stirlings, 1 Halifax -lost.  131 crews claimed to have bombed Emden. Bombing photographs showed that part of the flare force started a raid on Osnabrück, 80 miles from Emden, in which 29 aircraft eventual1y joined. Emden recorded only 5 high-explosive bombs and 200-300 incendiaries with no damage or casualties.

20/21 June 1942

Emden  185 aircraft of 5 types. 8 aircraft - 3 Wel1ingtons, 2 Stirlings, 1 Halifax, 1 Lancaster - lost.  Only part of the bomber force identified the target. Emden reports about 100 houses damaged and 1 person injured.

22/23 June 1942

Emden   227 aircraft - 144 Wellingtons, 38 Stirlings, 26 Halifaxes, 11 Lancasters, 8 Hampdens. 6 aircraft - 4 Wellingtons, 1 Lancaster, 1 Stirling - lost.

23/24 June 1942

Minor Operations: 14 Wellingtons and Stirlings to St Nazaire but only 3 crews found and bombed the target, 52 aircraft minelaying off Lorient, Verdon and St Nazaire and in the Frisians,

24/25 June 1942

St Nazaire  1 aircraft. No losses.

25/26 June 1942

Bremen  The 'Thousand Force' was reassembled for this raid, although only 960 aircraft became available for Bomber Command use. Every type of aircraft in Bomber command was included, even the Bostons and Mosquitos of 2 Group which, so far, had only been used for day operations. The force was composed as follows: 472 Wellingtons, 124 Halifaxes, 96 Lancasters, 69 Stirlings, 51 Blenheims, 50 Hampdens, 50 Whitleys, 24 Bostons, 20 Manchesters and 4 Mosquitos.

27/28 June 1942

Bremen  144 aircraft - 55 Wellingtons, 39 Halifaxes, 26 Stirlings, 24 Lancasters. 9 aircraft - 4 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes, 2 Lancasters, 1 Stirling - lost.

28/29 June 1942

Minor Operations 14 aircraft to St Nazaire, 4 Lancasters minelaying in the River Gironde, 1 Stirling on leaflet flight. 1 Stirling on the St Nazaire raid was lost.

29 June 1942

12 Bostons bombed railway yards at Hazebrouck without loss. 1 of the Bostons was manned by Captain Kegelman and his all-American crew, the first Americans of the Eighth Air Force to take part in a bomber operation. Their hosts were 226 Squadron at Swanton Morley.

29/30 June 1942

Bremen  253 aircraft - 108 Wellingtons, 64 Lancasters, 47 Stirlings, 34 Halifaxes - dispatched, the first time that 4-engined bombers provided more than half of the force on a major raid. 11 aircraft - 4 Stirlings, 4 Wellingtons, 3 Halifaxes - were lost.  The Bremen report shows that 48 houses were destroyed and 934 damaged, mostly lightly. Extensive damage occured in 5 important war industries, including the Focke-Wulf factory and the A.G. Weser U-boat construction yard, and at the local gasworks, a museum and a merchant-navy college. Most of this damage was caused by fire.

 

Ronald's squadron is flying Stirlings

1/2 September 1942  

Saarbrücken 231 aircraft of 5 types. 4 aircraft - 1 Halifax, 1 Lancaster, 1 Stirling, 1 Wellington - lost

2/3 September 1942

Karlsruhe 200 aircraft of 5 types with 4 Group Halifaxes now back on major operations. 8 aircraft - 4 Wellingtons, 2 Lancasters, 1 Halifax, 1 Stirling - lost

3/4 September 1942

Emden 11 aircraft - 7 Wellingtons, 3 Stirlings, 1 Halifax - dispatched

4/5 September 1942

Bremen 251 aircraft - 98 Wellingtons, 76 Lancasters, 41 Halifaxes, 36 Stirlings. 12 aircraft - 7 Wellingtons, 3 Lancasters, 1 Halifax, 1 Stirling - lost, 4.8 per cent of the force.

6/7 September 1942

Duisburg 207 aircraft of 6 types.  Lost 8 aircraft - 5 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes, 1 Stirling

8/9 September 1942

Frankfurt 249 aircraft of 5 types. 5 Wellingtons and 2 Halifaxes lost

10/11 September 1942

Düsseldorf 479 aircraft - 242 Wellingtons, 89 Lancasters, 59 Halifaxes, 47 Stirlings, 28 Hampdens, 14 Whitleys. Training aircraft of 91, 92 and 93 Groups took part in this raid. 33 aircraft - 20 Wellingtons, 5 Lancasters, 4 Stirlings, 3 Halifaxes, 1 Hampden - lost

13/14 September 1942

Bremen Training aircraft from 0.T.U.s were again included in the 446 aircraft dispatched. 21 aircraft - 15 Wellingtons, 2 Lancasters, 1 Halifax, 1 Hampden, 1 Stirling, 1 Whitley - were lost, 41 per cent of the force.

14/15 September 1942

Wilhelmshaven 22 aircraft of 5 types. 2 Wellingtons were the only aircraft lost.

15/16 September 1942

Minelaying: 27 Wellingtons and 13 Stirlings of 1 and 3 Groups were minelaying in the Frisian Islands and off Verdon without loss.

16/17 September 1942

Essen 369 aircraft, including aircraft from the training groups. 39 aircraft - 21 Wellingtons, 9 Lancasters, 5 Stirlings, 3 Halifaxes, 1 Whitley - lost, 10.6 per cent of the force.

18/19 September 1942

Minelaying: 115 aircraft to many locations between Lorient and Danzig. 5 aircraft - 2 Lancasters, 2 Stirlings, 1 Wellington - lost.

19/20 September 1942

Saarbrücken 118 aircraft - 72 Wellingtons, 41 Halifaxes, 5 Stirlings. 3 Wellingtons and 2 Halifaxes lost, 4.2 per cent of the force.  Munich 68 Lancasters and 21 Stirlings, 3 Lancasters and 3 Stirlings lost, 6.7 per cent of the force.

23/24 September 1942

Vegesack 24 Stirlings of 3 Group; 1 lost.  25 Wellingtons and 8 Stirlings of 1 and 3 Groups minelaying at many places between Biscay and Denmark. 2 Wellingtons lost.

26/27 September 1942

52 Wellingtons and 19 Stirlings minelaying in the Frisians and off Denmark. 1 Wellington lost.

30 September/1 October 1942

20 Wellingtons and 5 Stirlings minelaying off Texel and in the Frisians.

 

Ronald's squadron is flying Stirlings

3/4 October 1943

Kassel: 547 aircraft - 223 Halifaxes, 204 Lancasters, 113 Stirlings, 7 Mosquitos.

4/5 October 1943

406 aircraft - 162 Lancasters, 170 Halifaxes, 70 Stirlings, 4 Mosquitos raided Frankfurt.

8/9 October 1943

119 aircraft - 95 Stirlings, 17 Halifaxes, 7 Lancasters of 3 and No 8 Groups to Bremen.

17/18 October 1943

8 Mosquitos to Berlin, 2 to Aachen, 2 to Hamborn, 54 Stirlings and Wellingtons minelaying in the Frisians and off Biscay ports

25/26 October 1943

23 Stirlings minelaying in the Kattegat without loss

10/11 November 1943

7 Stirlings minelaying in the River Gironde and off La Pallice,

18/19 November 1943

The ‘Battle of Berlin’ begins.  Major diversionary raid on Mannheim and Ludwigshafen by 395 aircraft - 248 Halifaxes, 114 Stirlings, 33 Lancasters - of Nos 3, 4, 6 and 8 Groups.

19/20 November 1943

Leverkusen bombed by 266 aircraft - 170 Halifaxes, 86 Stirlings, 10 Mosquitos - of Nos 3,4,6 and 8 Groups. Only 4 Halifaxes and 1 Stirling - 1.9 per cent of the force - lost

22/23 November 1943

Berlin attacked by 764 aircraft - 469 Lancasters, 234 Halifaxes, 50 Stirlings, 11 Mosquitos. This was the greatest force sent to Berlin so far but it was also the last raid in which Stirlings were sent to Germany.

26/27 November 1943

19 Stirlings and 14 Wellingtons minelaying off Texel and in the Frisians,

 

December – not shown because No 16 Squadron was re-equipped with Lancasters and would have had to be retrained.

 

Ronald's squadron is flying Lancasters

1/2 January 1944

421 Lancasters despatched to Berlin.

4/5 January 1944 

80 aircraft - 57 Stirlings, 12 Mosquitos, 11 Lancasters - to two flying bomb sites

5/6 January 1944

348 Lancasters and 10 Halifaxes in the first large raid on Stettin since September 1941.

14/15 January 1944

496 Lancasters and 2 Halifaxes on the first major raid to Brunswick of the war. 38 Lancasters lost, 7.6 per cent of the force. The German running commentary was heard following the progress of the bomber force from a position only 40 miles from the English coast and many German fighters entered the bomber stream soon after the German frontier was crossed near Bremen. The German fighters scored steadily until the Dutch coast was crossed on the return flight

20/21 January 1944

769 aircraft - 495 Lancasters, 264 Halifaxes, 10 Mosquitos - to Berlin. 35 aircraft - 22 Halifaxes, 13 Lancasters - lost, 4.6 per cent of the force.

21/22 January 1944

648 aircraft - 421 Lancasters, 224 Halifaxes, 3 Mosquitos - on the first major raid to Magdeburg. The German controller again followed the progress of the bomber stream across the North Sea and many night fighters were in the stream before it crossed the German coast.

25/26 January 1944

76 aircraft - 56 Stirlings, 12 Lancasters, 8 Mosquitos - attacked flying bomb sites in the Pas de Calais and near Cherbourg without loss.

27/28 January 1944

515 Lancasters and 15 Mosquitos despatched to Berlin.

28/29 January 1944

Berlin: 677 aircraft - 432 Lancasters, 241 Halifaxes, 4 Mosquitos.

30/31 January 1944

534 aircraft - 440 Lancasters, 82 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos - to Berlin.

8/9 February 1944

12 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron, led by its new commanding officer Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire, attacked the Gnome & Rhone aero-engine factory at Limoges in France.

12/13 February 1944

10 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron attempted to bomb the Anthéor Viaduct, an important railway link between France and Italy but, as on two earlier raids, were not successful despite low-level runs by Wing Commander Cheshire and Squadron Leader Martin.

15/16 February 1944

After a rest of more than 2 weeks for the regular bomber squadrons, 891 aircraft - 561 Lancasters, 314 Halifaxes, 16 Mosquitos - were dispatched to Berlin. This was the largest force sent to Berlin and the largest non-1,000 bomber force sent to any target, exceeding the previous record of 826 aircraft (which included Stirlings and Wellingtons) sent to Dortmund on the night of 23/24 May 1943

19/20 February 1944

Leipzig: 823 aircraft - 561 Lancasters, 255 Halifaxes, 7 Mosquitos. 78 aircraft - 44 Lancasters and 34 Halifaxes - lost, 9.5 per cent of the force. The Halifax loss rate was 13.3 per cent of those dispatched and 14.9 per cent of those Halifaxes which reached the enemy coast after ‘early returns’ had turned back. The Halifax IIs and Vs were permanently withdrawn from operations to Germany after this raid.

20/21 February 1944

598 aircraft - 460 Lancasters, 126 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos - to Stuttgart.

24/25 February 1944

734 aircraft - 554 Lancasters, 169 Halifaxes, 11 Mosquitos - carried out the first Bomber Command raid on Schweinfurt, home of Germany's main ball-bearing factories.

25/26 February 1944

594 aircraft - 461 Lancasters, 123 Halifaxes, 10 Mosquitos - on the first large raid to Augsburg.

1/2 March 1944

Stuttgart: 557 aircraft - 415 Lancasters, 129 Halifaxes, 13 Mosquitos.

7/8 March 1944

304 aircraft - 242 Halifaxes, 56 Lancasters, 6 Mosquitos - of Nos 3, 4, 6 and 8 Groups to Le Mans.

9/10 March 1944

44 Lancasters of No 5 Group attacked an aircraft factory at Marignane near Marseilles

10/11 March 1944

102 Lancasters of No 5 Group carried out moonlight raids on 4 factories in France

15/16 March 1944

863 aircraft - 617 Lancasters, 230 Halifaxes, 16 Mosquitos - ordered to attack Stuttgart.    22 Lancasters of No 5 Group to an aero-engine factory at Woippy, near Metz.

16/17 March 1944

21 Lancasters of No 5 Group, mostly from 617 Squadron, carried out a successful precision attack on the Michelin tyre factory at Clermont-Ferrand. No aircraft lost.

18/19 March 1944

846 aircraft - 620 Lancasters, 209 Halifaxes, 17 Mosquitos - to Frankfurt.

20/21 March 1944

20 Lancasters of No 5 Group - 14 from No 617 Squadron

22/23 March 1944

Frankfurt: 816 aircraft - 620 Lancasters, 184 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos.

23/24 March 1944

20 Lancasters of No 5 Group, including No 617 Squadron, bombed an aero-engine factory near Lyons without loss.

24/25 March 1944

Berlin  811 aircraft - 577 Lancasters, 216 Halifaxes, 18 Mosquitos - to Berlin. 72 aircraft - 44 Lancasters, 28 Halifaxes - lost, 8.9 per cent of the force.  This was the last major RAF raid on Berlin during the war

25/26 March 1944

192 aircraft - 92 Halifaxes, 47 Lancasters, 37 Stirlings, 16 Mosquitos - attacked railway yards at Aulnoye in France. No aircraft lost.  22 Lancasters of No 5 Group to an aero-engine factory at Lyons,

26/27 March 1944

Essen: 705 aircraft - 476 Lancasters, 207 Halifaxes, 22 Mosquitos.

29/30 March 1944

19 Lancasters of No 5 Group to the aero-engine factory at Lyons, which was bombed accurately.

30/31 March 1944

795 aircraft were dispatched - 572 Lancasters, 214 Halifaxes and 9 Mosquitos. The German controller ignored all the diversions and assembled his fighters at 2 radio beacons which happened to be astride the route to Nuremberg. The first fighters appeared just before the bombers reached the Belgian border and a fierce battle in the moonlight lasted for the next hour. 82 bombers were lost on the outward route and near the target.

95 bombers were lost in all - 64 Lancasters and 31 Halifaxes, 11.9 per cent of the force dispatched. It was the biggest Bomber Command loss of the war.

 

 

 No. 15 Squadron

Motto: "Aim Sure"
Badge: A hind's head affrontée erased at the neck between wings elevated and conjoined in base. The badge was based on a design previously used by the squadron. The squadron was equipped with Hind aircraft in 1936.
Authority: King Edward VIII, May 1936.

In 1937 the squadron was re-equipped with Fairey Battles.

On 2nd September 1939, the day before the outbreak of war, the squadron's 16 Battles flew to France as part of No.71 Wing of the Advanced Air Striking Force. Subsequently the Battles made many valuable reconnaissance flights, first from Bétheniville and, later, from Vraux. Bad weather curtailed operations and early in December 1939, No. 15 returned to England to re-equip with Blenheim IVs at Wyton.

On 14th April 1940, the squadron left Wyton for the satellite airfield at Alconbury and from there, in the afternoon of 10th May, the day that the Germans invaded Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg, it flew its first wartime bombing mission: eight Blenheims bombed Waalhaven airport near Rotterdam, which had been captured by German paratroops. From this attack all the Blenheims returned safely, although some were seriously damaged. When the squadron flew its next mission, a raid on the Albert Canal at Maastricht, on 12 May, it took a severe knock: only six aircraft and crews (half the total force) returned - and those aircraft that did come back were badly damaged.

Towards the end of 1940 No. 15 Squadron converted to Wellingtons and on the night of 2lst/22nd December used them for the first time-for a raid on the dockyards at Bremen. The squadron continued to operate with Wellingtons until the following April, when it became the second squadron to receive Stirlings. Its first mission with Stirlings was an attack on Berlin on the night of 30th April/1st May. The Stirling 'MacRobert's Reply' (N6086 "F-Freddie"), given by Lady MacRobert in memory of her three sons killed flying, was used by the squadron during the period October 1941 - January 1942. From the squadron Operations Record Book it seems that this aircraft made only twelve operational sorties - the first one on 12/13th October 1941, and the last on 29th January 1942, when, as part of a No. 15 Squadron detachment operating from Lossiemouth, it attempted (and, like the other aircraft, failed) to bomb the Tirpitz in Trondheim fjord. It was subsequently damaged in an accident at Lossiemouth and after being repaired was allotted to No. 101 Conversion Flight and thence to No. 1651 Conversion Unit. Early in 1943 it was written off.

In August 1942, the squadron moved to Bourn, and in December 1943, re-equipped with Lancasters at Mildenhall. During the period May 1944 to April 1945, No. 15 Squadron's Lancaster I, LL806 "J-Jig", one of the most famous Lancasters in Bomber Command, flew 134 operational sorties and was in the air for 765 hours.

In the autumn of 1944 No. 15 became one of the few specialised squadrons to undertake daylight precision bombing through cloud with the aid of the airborne radar equipment known as G-H.

The squadron flew its last wartime bombing mission on 22nd April 1945, when it attacked Bremen, but before the Germans finally surrendered it dropped food supplies over Holland. In seven days prior to VE Day it dropped sufficient rations for 26,000 people. In one sense this was a "repeat performance", for in March 1941, aircraft of the squadron en route to targets in Germany had dropped over populous areas of Holland small packets of tea sent from Batavia, Dutch East Indies, containing messages of hope for the Dutch people.

Personnel of the squadron earned one OBE, three DSOs, 124 DFCs, six bars to DFCs, one AFM, one CGM and 77 DFMs.

Bomber Command WWII Bases:

Bomber Command WWII Aircraft:

15 Squadron Blenheim IV

15 Squadron Stirling B Mk III

15 Squadron Lancaster B Mk 1

Code Letters:

 

CWGC

Name: 

HALES, RONALD DOUGLAS

Initials:

R D

Nationality:

United Kingdom

Rank:

Sergeant (Air Gnr.)

Regiment/Service:

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Unit Text:

15 Sqdn.

Age:

20

Date of Death:

08/06/1944

Service No:

1895806

Additional information:

Son of Sydney Morris Hales and Elsie Hales, of Slough, Buckinghamshire.

Casualty Type:

Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference:

Row A. Grave 36.

Cemetery:

VIROFLAY NEW COMMUNAL CEMETERY

 

Cemetery: 

VIROFLAY NEW COMMUNAL CEMETERY

Country:

France

Locality:

unspecified

Location Information:

Viroflay is a small town 4 kilometres east of Versailles. The cemetery is situated in the wood, south of the town, and about 880 metres from the church and town hall.

Historical Information:

There are now over 70, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site.

No. of Identified Casualties:

74