Failed to Return
The P/O S W Nielson crew were posted to 550 Sqdn from 71 Base w.e.f. 17.2.45:
- P/O S W Nielson (P) [KIA]
- Sgt A Finnigan (F/Eng) [PoW]
- F/Sgt B M Trowbridge (Nav) [KIA]
- Sgt R Kerr (A/B) [KIA]
- Sgt J H Stuart-Ritson (W/Op) [KIA]
- Sgt Evans (MU/AG)
- Sgt R F Stevens (R/AG) [PoW]
However when Lancaster ME503/BQ-R was lost on the 7/8 March 1945 on a raid on Dessau Sgt Evans (MU/AG) was not flying and the replacement MU/AG was:
The aircraft crashed close to the village of Sollnitz, south-east of Dessau. Two of the crew survived as PoWs and were repatriated to 550 Squadron following liberation of the PoW camps they were in, the remaining five members of the crew were killed.
Other information about the flight and the target available here.
The entry on the 550 Squadron Roll of Honour is available here.
Sgt Charles A DeLaveleye (MU/AG)
|Sgt C A DeLaveleye
Thanks to Steven Volckaerts for making the photo available
The aircraft was attacked by a night-fighter during a camera run over target, set on fire and crashed shortly thereafter about 1.5 km (1 mile) east of Sollnitz, 10 km SSE of Dessau.
Reports around the same time mention another aircraft being shot down, this is PD363 of 576 Sqdn, which was downed at DESSAU-ZIEBIGK (in the NW sub of Dessau). One of the aircraft was shot down by Oblt. Peter Spoden 6./NJG 6 and the other one by Oblt. Erich Jung 5./NJG 2 - but which night-fighter pilot got which bomber is not known for certain; both claimed a four-engine hit directly over target.
Station Narrative No. 13
Station Narrative No. 13 is included in the Station Operational Record Book and records the interrogation of Sgts Finnigan Stevens on 10 April 1945 following their release from PoW camps:
|Neilson crew, Dessau, 7/8 Mar 1945
Interrogation of Sgt Finnigan & Sgt Stevens on release from PoW camps
(pg. 2 of 2)