Flight Sergeant Joseph Thompson, 69 Squadron R.A.F.V.R 08/02/1945

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Deacs, May 1, 2012.

  1. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    Another of my Cockermouth boys wondering if anyone has any details please


    Casualty
    Flight sergeant joseph thompson.
    1515590,69 sqdn,royal airforce volunteer reserve.
    Who died age 23.
    On 08 february 1945.
    Son of thomas william and j.thompson;husband of annice thompson.
    Remembered with honour brussels town cemetery.
    Also cockermouth cemetery.

    Regards Michael.
     
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Hello Michael

    002 FOWLER W 2225878 69 SQDN 08/02/1945 ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE
    003 THOMPSON J 1515590 69 SQDN 08/02/1945 ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE
    004 WALKER W 56412 69 SQDN 08/02/1945 ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE

    regards
    Clive
     
  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Details of the above loss.

    8 February 1945

    69 Squadron
    Wellington XIII NC573

    Hit by Allied anti-aircraft fire and crashed 4 miles east of B.58 (Melsbroek, Belgium)

    Crew.

    F/O. W R. Tinker +
    P/O. W. Walker +
    F/S. J. Thompson +
    Sgt. W. Fowler +
    F/S. L. Williams. injured.

    Source - 2nd Tactical Air Force. Vol.3 - C. Shores / C. Thomas.
     
    Deacs likes this.
  4. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Dear Michael,

    Read with sorrow about Flight-Sergeant Joseph Thompson RAFVR of 69 Squadron.

    My boyhood friend I grew up with, Flying-Officer John Lowrie DFC RAFVR aged 22, lost his life when flying on a reconnaissance mission with 69 Squadron in Wellington XIII NC607 shot down 16 days before Wellington NC573 on 23 January 1945 at Maasneil near Roermond where he is buried with two other members of the gallant crew.
    Casualty

    I understand 69 Squadron was part of the Photographic Reconnaissance Wing that worked for the Headquarters of 21st Army Group, their Vickers Wellington Mk XIIIs equipped for specialised night visual tactical reconnaissance and low-level photography. Their radar was removed and they had a clear perspex nose fairing in place of turret for visual observation, and could use flairs in the fuselage generally dropped at about 3000 ft and had an open-shutter moving film camera to be used at 1000 ft. The only armament two twin Browning machine-guns in the rear turret.

    As a War-time infantryman, I pay tribute to the special courage and bravery of lads like Joseph Thompson and John Lowrie of the Royal Air Force who undertook such missions, night after night. Per Ardua ad Astra

    My thread Last Flight of Wellington NC607, 23 January 1945 and John Lowrie DFC, Peebles gives an account.

    Joe Brown
     
    Deacs likes this.
  5. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    Thanks very much Joe, a very touching story indeed thanks for sharing.
    And for giving me the details of what Joseph's missions were.

    Regards Michael.
     
  6. dakettlewell

    dakettlewell Junior Member

    Michael,
    F/Sgt J. Thompson flew 27 ops with 69 Sqdn as bombardier from 12-Jun-44 to 7-Feb-45.
    23 of these with F/O W.R. Tinker, DFC
    2 with W/O D.G. Venn (missing from ops 30-Nov-44 and buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery)
    2 with W/C M.J. Shaw, 69 Sqdn CO
    Joe Thompson was part of the original intake of aircrew in May 1944 when 69 Sqdn was reformed at Northolt in preparation for the Normandy Invasion. He was one of 33 navigators half of whom became radar navigators and the other half map reading navigators with responsibility for photography (Joe was one of 17 recently graduated navigators from OTU). The extremely difficult task of locating a single crossroad, at night, over blackedout enemy territory, required two navigators. The Wellington XIII crew consisted of pilot, navigator, navigator/bombardier and rear gunner.
    One of Joe's ops was singled out when F/O Tinker was awarded the DFC for a particularly hazardous recce mission (Ref. London Gazette 27 Mar 45) Unfortunately F/O Tinker was unable to collect his DFC.
    On 29 Jan 45, F/S Thompson was credited with the best recce photos ever taken by the Sqdn (ref. 69Sqdn ORB Jan45). Photos were of Munchengladbach-Erkelenz. Nine days and 3 ops later (1st, 2nd and 7th Feb) Joe returned to the same target at Erkelenz. He did not make it home.
    More info if interested.
    Regards,
     
  7. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    I would be delighted if you had any more information.

    Regards Michael.
     
  8. dakettlewell

    dakettlewell Junior Member

    Michael,
    If you have an email or some means by which I can send you some attachments I will sort out some finer details together with scans of the original RAF documentation. I am a computer illiterate so please do not expect anything too clever. Please give me a couple of days to compile the info.
    Regards, David
     
  9. dakettlewell

    dakettlewell Junior Member

    Michael,
    Please help me by telling me what you are collecting the information for. I will try to reply with pertinent details and not burden you with irrelavancies.
    Regards, David
     
  10. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

  11. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Dakettlewell

    Do you have any info about Wellington NC607 of 69 Squadron? I lost a boyhood friend when it was brought down on 23 January 1945 ; see John Lowrie DFC, Peebles.

    Joe Brown
     
  12. dakettlewell

    dakettlewell Junior Member

    Michael,
    I have uploaded an 18KB Excel file of all of F/S Thompson's ops. Please tell me if has been received.
    david
     
  13. dakettlewell

    dakettlewell Junior Member

    Joe,
    NC flew only 3 operations all piloted by F/O K.G. Booth.
    Ops: 14-Jan-45, 22-Jan-45, 23-Jan-45.
    NC607 was taken on squadron charge ion January 1945 as one of the replacements for aircraft destroyed on the Ground at Melsbroek during the Boddenplotte raids.
    NC607 took off at 18:40, 23-Jan-45 for recce of Maasniel - Krutchen but failed to return from the operation.
    On 23-Jan-45 seven Wellington XIII aircraft of 69 Sqdn were despatched on visual reconnaissance of raods in the areas of Erkelenz, Kaldenkirchen, Geldern, Mersch, Baal, Locvenich and Maasneil. One aircraft failed to return.
    Two aircraft operating that night, operating at the same time as NC607 thought they might have seen an aircraft go down in the corridor or near Krutchen.
    More info if interested.
    Regards, David
     
  14. dakettlewell

    dakettlewell Junior Member

    Joe,
    It was with much interest that I have just read your memoirs. Sir, you have my greatest respect. I was particularly interested in your accounts of Walcheren Island.
    69 Squadron, following the battle of Normandy, moved to the reconnaissance of the Netherlands, in support of 21st Army Group and the Battle of the Scheldt Estuary, with their first recces to Ellewoutsdijk, Woensdrecht, Krabbendijk and Groenendijk on 17-Sep-44. They continued in close support of the armies with recces over all the towns, railways and canals throughout Walcheren and the Beveland Islands and all mainland communication as far north as Amsterdam before moving east to Venlo and Roermond at the beginning of November.
    I was wondering, if as intelligence office, you ever had occasion to deal with the reconnaissance sorties of 69 Sqdn; perhaps selecting recce targets or viewing their recce photos. Of course, all of 69 Sqdn photos were low level (800 ft) and at night and perhaps not as clear as the daytime photos, but perchance you used some of their intelligence.
    69 Sqdn carried out about 300 nighttime recces over Holland and one of their pilots once told me that he only survived Holland because of the phenomenal eyesight of his bombardier who was able to warn him of the power cables, a constant danger to low flying aeroplanes.
    Should you be interested I could compile a list of all 69 Sqdn recces over Holland. Perhaps there are many towns you will remember since you seem to have been in the same places at exactly the same time.
    Regards, David
     
  15. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    Michael,
    I have uploaded an 18KB Excel file of all of F/S Thompson's ops. Please tell me if has been received.
    david

    Sorry Dave nothing has arrived my end.

    Regards Michael.
     
  16. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Dear David,

    Thank you for yesterday's most interesting and informative posts. You have given me much to consider and will reply more fully in a day or so. Meantime, wanted to say I am pleased you found the War Memoirs readable and of interest. Also, to ask if you would kindly have a look at what I have written on John Lowrie DFC, Peebles about 69 Squadron as I would greatly value your comments.

    Joe
     
  17. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Dear David,

    Have been considering the very useful data you have kindly put up about 69 Squadron.

    F/O John Lowrie was serving with 140 Squadron but possibly through personal and friendship contacts with either F/O Booth or F/Sgt Broad flew with 69 Squadron on both the Resue Mission on 12/12/44 and the Recce Mission on the 23/1/45. You mention a third mission when he flew with F/O Booth and I would be grateful to know any details you have.

    You also mentioned there were seven Wellingtons taking part in the Recce Missions on 23/1/45 and referred to their task of 'recce-ing' several roads. Presumably they had different recce targets but I would be especially interested to know the specific target mission for Wellington NC607, now only knowing that their objective was 'area Maasneil-Krutchen'. Can you help? In fact it was brought down in the meadow of a farm near Maasneil, a witness hearing the crash at about 5.30 a.m. which is a good 10 hours (?) after it left Melsbroek at 18.40 hrs; something not quite right about these timings!

    My Intelligence responsibilities were at Battalion level but would expect my fellow I.O.s at HQ 52 Scottish(Lowland) Division and at Canadian Army HQ to be very much involved with the 69 Sqn's aerial photographic reports for the Walcheren Operation . However, if is not too much to ask, I would be delighted and very pleased to be able to have aerial pixs of any Walcheren recces and also the area Roermond.

    Meantime, I am going to consider the importance of the roads you have listed as recce targets.

    I am impressed you have so much data about 69 Sqn and would be pleased if you can help me make the tribute site to my boyhood friend as full and comprehensive as possible: I feel I owe it to him and to those with whom he shared his last mission.

    With warm regards,

    Joe
     
  18. dakettlewell

    dakettlewell Junior Member

    Joe,
    I hope I have not misled you. You asked the question about the aircraft NC607 which I replied as flying three ops before it was shot down. John Lowrie flew only two operational sorties with 69 Sqdn.
    John's two operations were both with F/O Booth as pilot. F/Sgt Broad was the air gunner on John's second operation. Text from 69 Sqdn ORB for Jan 45 states,
    "Unfortunately the Squadron lost one of its oldest crews who was missing from operations on the 23rd whilst doing a visual reconnaissance of roads from Maasneil to Krutchten. The crew consisted of F/O. K.G. Booth, F/O. J.M. Turner, F/O. C. Hill, F/Sgt. C.G. Broad, Sgt. W.E. Ranger and a passenger from 140 Squadron, F/O. J.W. Lowrie. It was the crew’s last sortie of the current tour, which makes the loss of “The General” and his crew seem even worse bad luck."
    I am currently without a computer. I think my modem was fried in last Tuesday's storm (neighbour's house caught fire). I go on my summer holidays next week until the end of July and will contact you when I return.
    Kind regards, David
     
  19. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Dear David,

    Thanks for making that clear, as I inadvertently misread it to mean John had been involved in NC607's three sorties. It must have been a terrifying experience for the Crews and ground staff stationed at Melsbroek on New Year's Day.

    I have incorporated most of the detail you have so kindly and helpfully given, which adds substantially to the record and background of John Lowrie. He was an only child and his Mother died soon after the news, his Father living a few years longer. We were very close pals and have missed him these past 67 years.

    I now intend to take time to interprete the intent of the reconnaissance sorties also detailed for that evening in the areas of Erkelenz, Kaldenkirchen, Geldern, Mersch, Baal and Locvenich. It would add to the background picture.

    Sorry about your computer problems. I had a similar experience and the hard drive had to be replaced just about six weeks ago and had to cope with using Mircosoft Seven, which no doubt incorporates seemingly usefully-designed programme facilities to be used by a compuer buff but for a 91-year-old a test too far . . .! Coping surprising well . . .

    Thanks, David, for all your help. Would value your comments on john-lowrie.com when you have a moment.

    Joe
     
  20. dakettlewell

    dakettlewell Junior Member

    Joe,
    If you have an email address I will send you details of all 69 Sqdn recces over the Netherlands in support of the Scheldt Estuary campaign, as promised.
    I note your belief that your friend John might have been pals with F/O Booth and F/Sgt Broad. F/O Booth probably but maybe not with F/Sgt Broad. There was still the great divide between officers and other ranks even if they were all aircrew, except members of the same crew. The book, "War in the Air" a 1990 compilation of first hand accounts, includes a 69 Squadron rear gunner's recollections which seems to dispute your thoughts. Read pages 275-282. The account, written under an assumed name, provides a good feeling of life on the Squadron (albeit somewhat exaggerated) and you might be able to put your friend John's feelings in context, while aboard the Wellington on his last flight. The book also expresses the fears which John must have felt, not only with 69 but also his own 140 Sqdn, when two aircrew sucumbed to the worst of all fears and were stamped LMF during a particularly bad period when 69 was operating over the Netherlands. A personal interview with a 69 pilot conveyed to me some years ago exactly the same feeling amongst the aircrew when they were forced to witness the humiliating experience. My blood sometimes boils at such injustice.
    I am on a loaned computer at the moment and unable to access john-lowrie.com but will do so when I return from my hols.
    Kind regards, David
     

Share This Page