Operations

This crew took part in a total of 17 operations with 12 Squadron in May and June 1944, mostly in Lancaster ND424.  The following list was compiled following a visit to the National Archive in Kew, London.  The documents seem to show that Leslie missed operations 6, 7 and 8 and Doug missed operation 13.  However Leslie thinks he missed just two operations due to an eye infection.

Mike Guilfoyle had previously flown as a second pilot with Lt. Lail Dawley and crew on an operation to Dusseldorf on 21/22 April 1944 in Lancaster III ND627 PH-U to gain operational experience. Pilot Lt. Lail Keith Dawley was an American serving with the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) who was seconded to RAF Bomber Command and 12 Squadron. As well as this operation he also flew on 9 of the 17 operations flown by our crew.

From April 1944 the Allied air forces began strategic attacks in support of Operation Overlord, the planned invasion of Europe, by attacking key railway links in northern France and Germany. This series of operations carried out by Bomber Command was called the ‘Transportation Plan’.

  1. 3/4 May  –  Mailly Le Camp, France. German Panzer military camp.
  2. 7/8 May  –  Bruz near Rennes, France. Airfield and ammunition dump.
  3. 9/10 May  –  Merville-Franceville, France. Coastal gun batteries.
  4. 21/22 May  –  Duisburg, Germany. Railway marshalling yards.
  5. 22/23 May  – Dortmund, Germany.
  6. 24/25 May  –  Aachen West and Rothe Erde, Germany (1st). Railway yards.
  7. 27/28 May  –  Aachen West and Rothe Erde, Germany (2nd). Railway yards.
  8. 9/10 June  –  Flers, France (1st). Luftwaffe airfield.
  9. 11/12 June  –  Evreux. Railway yards.
  10. 12/13 June  –  Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Nordstern synthetic oil plant.
  11. 14/15 June  –  Le Havre, France. German naval forces in the port area.
  12. 15/16 June  –  Boulogne, France. German light naval vessels in the harbour.
  13. 17/18 June  –  Aulnoye-Aymeries, France. Railway junction.
  14. 22/23 June  –  Marquise-Mimoyecques, France. ‘V-3‘ supergun site.
  15. 23/24 June  –  Saintes, France. Railway marshalling yards.
  16. 24/25 June  –  Flers, France (2nd). Flying-bomb sites.
  17. 27/28 June  –  Vaires-sur-Marne. Railway yards to the east of Paris, France.
Map of the 17 operations flown by the crew of Lancaster ND424 in May and June 1944. Google Maps.

Target Distances and Aircraft Losses

The following table lists each raid, the approximate return distances flown, the number of aircraft taking part and the numbers lost. It shows a total of 183 aircraft were lost on the 17 known operations in which our crew took part, mostly in ND424, an average of just under 11 aircraft lost per raid. 12 Squadron lost a total of eleven aircraft during these operations.

The ‘Distance in Miles’ is the straight line return distance and does not include forming-up or tactical diversions.

List of operations flown by our crew mostly in Lancaster ND424. Other aircraft were flown in operations 1 and 16 as shown in brackets.
Vertical aerial photograph taken on 6 July 1944 during another daylight attack on the German V3 secret weapon site at Mimoyecques, near Marquise, France (operation 14 above). A Handley Page Halifax is flying over the target as exploding bombs send smoke and clouds of dust into the air. Photograph courtesy of the Imperial War Museum. © IWM (C4458). From http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205023318.

Training Flights & Lectures

The crew also took part in training flights and attended lectures on various topics. The ORB ‘Orders for Night Flying’ (AIR 27/171) show that Mike Guilfoyle was scheduled to fly on an operation as a second pilot in Lancaster ND627 before the rest of our crew. The date on the page is missing but it is probably 22/23 April to Dusseldorf in Germany. The crew of ND627 on this operation were Lt. Dawley, F/S Redshaw, F/S Allen, Sgt. Stephens, Sgt. Williams, Sgt. Pickering and Sgt. Percival.

Pilot Lt. Lail Dawley was an American serving with the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) who was seconded to RAF Bomber Command and 12 Squadron. As well as this operation he also flew on 9 of the 17 operations flown by our crew. For more information see the book ‘Battle Under the Moon’.

The ORB ‘Summary of Events’ (AIR 27/168) documents show our crew also took part in the following training missions and lectures during May and June 1944:

  • 2 May – Stand down. Discussion groups were held for all personnel of this station. Subject: Relations between America and Great Britain.
  • 5 May – Stand down. F/Lt L. C. Gray (DFM) gave a lecture to pilots and W. Op/Air’s (Wireless Operators) on Radio Counter Measures.
  • 8 May – P/O Guilfoyle and crew for bombing training.
  • 15 May – P/O Guilfoyle and crew H2S training and level bombsight. P/O Honor second pilot.
  • 16 May – At 14:30 all had a lecture on Army Composition by Lt. Col. Russell-Edwards.
  • 17 May – Group Tactics Officer gave a lecture at 14:00. Pilots notes on the Lancaster I, III and X received and issued.
  • 18 May – Stand down. Dinghy drills for all crews. Defence exercise during the afternoon for the whole station.
  • 20 May – P.T. (Physical Training) for the remainder of the aircrews not flying.
  • 26 May – P/O Guilfoyle and crew. Cross country.