CGM

CGM

DFM

DFM

DFC

DFM

DFM

 
Warrant Officer A. J. S. Walker C.G.M, and Crew
 
A unique set of awards for a single mission.
Two Conspicuous Gallantry Medals,
One Distinguished Flying Cross
Four Distinguished Flying Medals

Crew of LM 364  on mission to Hanover on the 27/9/1943:
(Click on Service No. to display crew member details)

Service No. Rank Initials Surname Unit Role

Award

1380714 W/O A. J. S. WALKER RAF Pilot CGM
1040284 Sgt S. MAYER RAF Flight Engineer CGM
1397166 Sgt G. G. WHITTLE RAF Navigator DFM
1315458 Sgt R. HEBDITCH RAF Wireless Operator DFM
136884 F/O A. W GADD RAF Air Bomber DFC
1066653 Sgt R. STOTT RAF Mid Upper Gunner DFM
1716019 Sgt K .N. HICKLIN RAF Rear Gunner DFM


Details of C.G.M. for Arthur Joseph Samuel WALKER and Stanley MAYER. 

(from "In Action with the Enemy" by Alan W. Cooper)

Lancaster LM364 took off for Hanover on the 27th of September 1943 at 19:15 hrs. As they made their run up to the target they were coned by many searchlights and engaged by heavy flak and at the same time attacked by a night fighter.

The port inner engine caught fire and a blaze started aft of the mid-upper gunners turret. Sergeant Mayer feathered the burning engine and was later able to restart it

Warrant Officer Walker also managed to blow out the fire aft by diving the Lancaster, whilst at the same time taking evasive action which shook off the fighter and got them away from the searchlights. Nevertheless, Walker had to warn his crew to be ready to bale out, but then Mayer went back and put out what was left of the aft fire, but was overcome by fumes and had to be pulled forward by the mid upper gunner. As soon as he recovered he went back again to make certain the fire was out.

By this time Walker had hauled the Lancaster back up to 15,000 feet, still on three engines but he had to jettison the bombs when in the dive. The intercom had been knocked out, the DR compass was smashed and the trimming cables burnt through. The rear gunner too had been overcome by fumes but Mayer and the mid-upper got him out of the turret, despite a lack of oxygen.

The flight back to base was in thick cloud and on arriving back, now on four engines thanks to Mayer, they were diverted to another base and made a safe landing in appalling weather conditions.

At the time, Walker had flown fourteen operations, Mayer fifteen.

Sgt. Geoffrey Gordon WHITTLE  - D.F.M. Commendation (from Tavender's DFM Register)

London Gazette: 5/11/43. Sorties 15, Flying Hours 107.20. Navigator. Air 2/5011.

This N.C.O. was the Navigator of a Lancaster aircraft that was seriously damaged over the target when attacking Hanover on the night of 27th/28th September, 1943. The aircraft caught fire inside the fuselage and the D.R. compass was wrecked by canon shells and all intercommunications with other members of the crew failed. The situation became critical when one engine caught fire and the trimming cables had been burnt through. All the while, Sergeant Whittle, with magnificent courage, continued to carry out his allotted task with complete disregard for his personal safety which was an inspiring example to all the crew. Sergeant Whittle, with magnificent skill and while working in extremely difficult conditions, navigated his damaged aircraft through thick cloud and heavy rain back to this country. This N.C.O. has carried out 15 very successful sorties and has always set a splendid example by his determination and cheerful confidence on the above occasion, his co-operation, coolness and devotion to duty contributed in no small measure to the successful completion of this operational flight. He is strongly recommended for the Immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

Remarks By Station Commander.

As Navigator of this severely crippled Lancaster aircraft, Sergeant Whittle demonstrated determination and calm courage worthy of the highest praise. Undeterred by the perilous situation prevailing and in full knowledge that an abandonment of the aircraft might become necessary at any moment, Sergeant Whittle continued to coolly concentrate on his navigational problems without thought for his personal safety and displaying a commendable disregard for danger. By his skill and efficiency as a Navigator, by his whole hearted co-operation with his Captain and other members of the crew whilst passing through a thickly infested enemy fighter region, Sergeant Whittle undoubtedly added a magnificent contribution towards the safe arrival back in this country of his aircraft. Sergeant Whittle throughout his operational tour has shown constant courage, determination and tenacity of a high order. I strongly recommend his unconquerable spirit be rewarded by an award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

 

Sgt. Reginald HEBDITCH - D.F.M. Commendation (from Tavender's DFM Register)

London Gazette: 5/11/43. Sorties 13, Flying Hours 89.25. W.Op / Air Gnr. Air 2/5011.

On the night of 27th/28th September, 1943, Sergeant Hebditch was the Wireless Operator of a Lancaster aircraft that was very severely damaged while attacking Hanover. Fire broke out amidships and Sergeant Hebditch gave the Flight Engineer great assistance in getting it under control. With exceptional courage and complete disregard for his personal safety, he went aft to repair the intercommunication gear which had become unserviceable. All emergency oxygen had been used up and Sergeant Hebditch had to move continually between his equipment and various points in the aircraft in spite of considerable exhaustion through lack of oxygen. He stuck to his task, however, with magnificent determination and eventually partially repaired the intercommunication gear so that one or two members of the crew were able to receive messages by R/T and pass them to the Captain. This was especially important as weather conditions were appalling and the Captain was unable to transmit by R/T. When approaching Base, the mid-upper gunner was able to hear other aircraft being diverted and a safe landing was made at another aerodrome. Had this message not been heard, the pilot would have landed at base with disastrous results as the runway was obstructed by a crashed aircraft and littered with German anti-personnel bombs. The magnificent manner in which Sergeant Hebditch succeeded in carrying out a difficult task and his fine devotion to duty were undoubtedly material in saving the crew and the aircraft and he is strongly recommended for an immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

Remarks By Station Commander.

In the extremely hazardous circumstances in which this aircraft was situated, Sergeant Hebditch displayed great coolness and calm devotion to duty worthy of very high praise. With a courageous disregard for his personal safety and quite undeterred by his physically exhausted condition from lack of oxygen. he remained gallantly at his post and rendered invaluable assistance in attacking and subduing the flames. Thereafter, Sergeant Hebditch, by skilful and efficient attention to technical details effected a satisfactory repair to the radio and intercommunication apparatus which enabled his Captain to contact his Base for landing instructions, thereby contributing in large measure to the safety of his crew and aircraft. Throughout his first operational tour, Sergeant Hebditch has proved himself a man of courage and fearlessness and I strongly recommend that his outstanding fortitude and skill on the night in question should be rewarded by the immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

 

 

Flying Officer Albert William GADD  - D.F.C. Commendation (from London Gazette)

This officer is an air bomber of high merit. He has taken part in many sorties and his efforts have invariably been featured by exceptional determination.

One night in September, 1943, Flying Officer Gadd participated in an attack on Hanover. When nearing the target, the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and afterwards attacked by a fighter. One of the bomber's engines set alight and a fire started near the mid-upper turret. In spite of these harassing circumstances, Flying Officer Gadd coolly guided his pilot to the target where the bombs were released. He afterwards rendered valuable assistance in extinguishing the fire in the aircraft.

This officer has displayed great devotion to duty and his achievements have been highly commendable.

Sgt. Robert STOTT - D.F.M. Commendation (from Tavender's DFM Register)

London Gazette: 19/11/43. Sorties 15, Flying Hours 103.50. Air Gunner. Air 2/5020.

During the attack on Hanover on the night of 27th/28th September, 1943, the aircraft in which Sergeant Stott was the mid-upper gunner was severely damaged by heavy flak and an enemy fighter. Sergeant Stott's turret mechanism was hit by cannon shells and fire broke out all around him in the fuselage. With complete disregard for his own personal danger and although blinded by searchlights, he endeavoured to see the enemy fighter and drove it off. When descending from his turret in order to put out the fires, he discovered that the rear gunner had been overcome by fumes and with great presence of mid, he dragged him forward with the assistance of the Flight Engineer and then went aft and found the Flight Engineer overcome by fumes and, although suffering from lack of oxygen himself, he managed with fine endurance to drag the engineer forward and pull him around. Throughout this dangerous situation, Sergeant Stott displayed great presence of mind and gave heroic assistance to the other members of the crew so that the fires were eventually extinguished and the aircraft completed its flight without further damage. His cool courage and great endurance are worthy of high praise and he is strongly recommended for an immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

Remarks By Station Commander.

Sergeant Stott on the occasion quoted displayed exceptional courage, determination and offensive tenacity in a perilous situation by remaining at his post and continuing to fire at the enemy fighter in spite of the order to prepare to abandon aircraft.  Thereafter, seeing that the Flight Engineer was almost incapacitated by fumes and fire, Sergeant Stott showed complete disregard for his personal safety by promptly descending from his turret and, despite oxygen lack, rendering all possible aid to his comrades in subduing the flames. Sergeant Stott  has proved himself a man of skill, courage and determination throughout his operational tour and I recommend that his indomitable resolve and fearlessness in the face of danger on the night in question should be recognised by the immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

 

Sgt. George Frederick HICKLIN - D.F.M. Commendation (from Tavender's DFM Register)

London Gazette: 19/11/43. Sorties 15, Flying Hours 103.50. Air Gunner. Air 2/5020.

On the night of 27th/28th September, 1943, Sergeant Hicklin displayed great courage and devotion to duty.  The aircraft in which he was rear gunner was coned by many searchlights while attacking Hanover and immediately hit by heavy flak and engaged by an enemy night fighter. Sergeant Hicklin's turret was severely damaged and although he was blinded by searchlights and being overcome by fumes, he succeeded in driving off the enemy. After this N.C.O. had recovered from the effect of fumes, he gave excellently valuable assistance to other members of the crew in putting out the fires which had broken out amidships and as a result of their magnificent efforts, the aircraft was saved and brought back safely to this country. The fine example set by this N.C.O. throughout this hazardous situation was an inspiration to the crew and he is recommended for an immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

Remarks By Station Commander.

As rear gunner of this severely damaged aircraft, Sergeant Hicklin, with praiseworthy determination and skill, succeeded in driving off the enemy fighter and thereafter by his courageous action and commendable disregard for danger rendered invaluable aid in extinguishing the flames within the aircraft. By his coolness under fire and by his prompt action in the face of grave danger, Sergeant Hicklin was responsible in large measure for the safe return of his aircraft to this country. Sergeant Hicklin has shown a constantly cheerful courage combined with outstanding ability and a strong sense of duty and I recommend that his courageous behaviour on the night in question be recognised by the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

 

Final Flight for this crew:

Sgt G. G. Whittle (medically unfit due to a pierced eardrum) replaced by P/O J. G. Blandford.

New crew member added, Specialist Operator, Sgt. J. K. Robertson

DV285 SR-Q  26/11/43 to Berlin. T/o 1713 Ludford Magna.

Shot down by a night fighter (Hptm Eckhart-Wilhem von Bonin, II.NJG1, (35 victories, survived the war))  and crashed at Aywaille (Liege), 18 km SW of Verviers, Belgium.

The wife of P/O J. G. Blandford duly notified the authorities that her husband arrived home in October 1944.

Service No. Rank Initials Surname Unit Role Disposition
1380714 P/O A .J. S. WALKER RAF Pilot POW
1040284 P/O S. MAYER RAF Flight Engineer KIA
158898 P/O J. G. BLANDFORD RAF Navigator Evaded
1397166 Sgt R.A. HEBDITCH RAF Wireless Operator POW
136884 F/O A. W GADD RAF Air Bomber KIA
1066653 Sgt R. STOTT RAF Mid Upper Gunner KIA
1716019 Sgt K. N. HICKLIN RAF Rear Gunner KIA
1559474 Sgt J. K. ROBERTSON RAF Specialist Operator KIA

 

Geoffrey Whittle survived the war and  is the current Secretary of the 101 Squadron Association.