Jack Hewitson,1565879,100th Sqdrn,Sgt, Rear Gunner,Lancaster ED815, KIA Schweinfurt raid 25 Feb 1944

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Graham63, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. Graham63

    Graham63 Junior Member

    Hello everyone,

    I am new to the site. I have joined as I am in the process of trying to find out about my late Uncle. Until yesterday I only knew he was a Lancaster rear gunner who was KIA. I now have found out he was Sgt Jack (John Hamilton) Hewitson of 100th sqdn. He was KIA during the Schweinfurt raid 24/25 February 1944 aged 20. He was I understand a rear gunner in Lancaster ED815. There were 2 survivors taken pow and the rest of the crew were buried at Durnbach near Munich.

    If anyone has any information about him or his crew I would be very grateful.

    Unfortunatley his siblings have all passed on and his mission diary and lucky black cat figure (which was left behind on that final mission) have gone missing in the family and I would be touched if anyone could tell me more details or point me in the right direction.

    Cheers Graham
  2. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Hi Graham and welcome to the forum.
    Sure some of the 'flying' experts will be along shortly to help you out.
    Good luck,

  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Hello Graham, welcome to the forum. the following details of the Schewinfurt raid of 24-25 February 1944 are taken from 'The Bomber Command War Diaries' -Middlebrook/Everitt

    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. 266 American B-17s had raided the factories the previous day.
    Bomber Command introduced a novel tactic on this night. The Schweinfurt force was split into two parts - 392 aircraft and 342 aircraft, separated by a 2-hour interval. Part of the German fighter force was drawn up by earlier diversions. The first wave of the Schweinfurt bombers lost 22 aircraft, 5.6 per cent; the second wave lost only 11 aircraft, 3.2 per cent, and it is believed that only 4 bombers from the second wave were shot down by night fighters. Total losses were 33 aircraft - 26 Lancasters, 7 Halifaxes - 4.5 per cent of the force.
  4. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    24-25 February 1944

    100 Squadron
    Lancaster III ED815 HW-P
    Op. Schweinfurt.

    The aicraft took off from Grimsby at 1822 hrs. Those who died are buried in Durnbach War cemetery. W/C. Dilworth had completed 31 sorties on his first operational tour and had taken part in at least 14 on his second.

    W/C. J F. Dilworth DFC + CWGC :: Casualty Details
    Sgt. A J H. Merricks + CWGC :: Casualty Details
    Sgt. E H V. Smith + CWGC :: Casualty Details
    F/S. P H. Savage + CWGC :: Casualty Details
    WO1. J G. Trumpour RCAF pow - Held Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357 pow No.2352
    Sgt. J E. Tippleston pow - Held Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357 pow No.2360
    Sgt. P R. Bourne + CWGC :: Casualty Details
    Sgt. J. Hewitson + CWGC :: Casualty Details

    'Bomber Command Losses' Vol.5 - W R. Chorley.

    'Footprints On the Sand of Time' O. Clutton-Brock

  5. Graham63

    Graham63 Junior Member

    Thanks Peter and Mike.

    Good of you to take the time to reply and great to have some more of Jacks story.

    Am going to turn to the 2 pow's from his crew. Would be amazing if they are still alive

    Cheers Graham
  6. Peter From Northampton

    Peter From Northampton Junior Member

  7. Peter From Northampton

    Peter From Northampton Junior Member


    Attached Files:

  8. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    A touch of destiny here?
    HW-P (Peter); Peter Clare and Peter from Northampton.
    The crash site seems to have been near to the Swiss border. From peters extract from the Bomber Command War Diaries, it would seem that 100 Squadron were in the first wave attacking Schweinfurt; with the heavier losses, as they took off at 18:22 on 24th Feb.
    There is a 100 Sqdn Association which has a website and might be grateful for your information too.... 100 Squadron Association - Royal Air Force
    The page for "Other Operations in 1944 does not work, but there are other Operations covered in the "Battle for Berlin" page, including Augsberg on 26th Feb, so they had a pretty busy time, one of the most efficient units in Bomber Command.
    You obviously know that Sgt Merricks was the regular captain and that W/Cdr Dilworth DFC was aboard. He had previously been CO of No 460 Squadron and took over 100 Squadron when W/Cdr Holford was killed, so the Squadron Commander was on board, perhaps a tribute to Sgt Merrick and his crew that he chose to be with them that night.

    Spidge: It seems that Dilworth was an Australian although his CWGC entry gives no hint, but here http://www.550squadronassociation.org.uk/documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/WingCmdrBryanBell/Notes/ExtractsFromNotesMadeByWingCmdrBryanBell37375RAF.pdf would seem to indicate that he was, and pre war too.. (550 Squadron was formed from "C" Flight of 100 Squadron, a common procedure during WW2)...

    Does anyone have details of how many Ops Sgt Merrick and crew had?

    One other point that caught my eye was the reference to Dixie Dean as Camp Commander (most senior NCO) at Stalag 357... plenty more info on him!

    Apologies if this seems a little callous, but it was a common practice for German night fighters to take out the rear gunner (and his 4 guns) when possible and then rake the fuselage from astern. It would seem that the bomb load detonated, blowing the two crew at the very front of the aircraft out, whilst the rest of the crew perished, if not already killed by the cannon shells down the fuselage.

    There may be some records as to night fighter claims that could correspond.

    Thanks for posting.
  9. Graham63

    Graham63 Junior Member

  10. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Spidge: It seems that Dilworth was an Australian although his CWGC entry gives no hint, but here http://www.550squadronassociation.org.uk/documents/public/Lancasters-Crews/WingCmdrBryanBell/Notes/ExtractsFromNotesMadeByWingCmdrBryanBell37375RAF.pdf would seem to indicate that he was, and pre war too.. (550 Squadron was formed from "C" Flight of 100 Squadron, a common procedure during WW2)...

    Hi Kevin,

    Apologies that I missed this thread.

    He sure was an Australian however he unlike many others who was an early Australian in the RAF is on the Australian Roll of Honour. I must think now that I/we will never know how many Aussies were killed in the RAF, the number of which I have found is now 216 all listed as UK. The CWGC details show his parents but only list his wife's address.

    (Born in Australia and served in the Royal Air Force–Killed in action 25/2/1944)
    (1) AWM Roll of Honour entry : Name : Dilworth, John Frederick, DFC,
    Rank : Wing Cdr; Unit : 100 Sqn; Service : RAAF; Place of Death : Germany; Date
    of Death : 25/2/1944; Cause of Death : Missing in flying battle.

    (2) Commonwealth War Graves : Member 100 Sqn RAF, Royal Air Force Volunteer
    Reserve. Died on 25/2/1944 age 30 years. Son of Joseph and Anne Louise Dilworth,
    husband of Vera Dilworth of Ealing, Middlessex, UK.
    Buried Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany, Grave 5. F. 19, Bad Toloz, Bayern.
    Durnbach is a village 16kms east of Bad Tolz, a town 48 kms south of Munich..
    Durnbach War Cemetery is 3kms north of the village Gmundam Tegernsee.

    (3) NAA : A705, 166/9/262 : Extract from RAAF Casualty File held by Aust
    Archives in the name of Dilworth JF 40044.
    Lancaster ED 815, (HW – P) of No.100 Sqn RAF flown by Wg Cdr Dilworth,
    Captain (Pilot) was reported missing on the night of 24/25th February, 1944. Target
    Schweinfurt, Germany. The aircraft took off from RAF Station Grimsby, Lincolnshire
    UK, at 1822 hours on 24 February 1944 Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take
    off and it did not return to base.
    The recommended route to the target was Base – 50.45N 00.15E – 50.10N 0130E –
    48.36N 08.36E – Target – 50.15N 10.25E – 50.30N 0720E - 50.00N 01.20E – 50.45N
    00.15E –Base. Thirteen other aircraft from 100 Sqn were detailed for this mission and
    two of the other aircraft failed to return.
    The main fighter activity was en route to the target particularly between Stuttgart and
    Schweinfurt. On the homeward route practically no opposition was encountered.
    Ground defences were moderate.

    Crew :

    RAF 40044 Wg Cdr Dilworth, J F, DFC Captain (Pilot)
    RAF Sgt Merricks, A J H (2nd Pilot)
    RAF Sgt Smith, E H V (Flight Engineer)
    RAF Flt Sgt Savage, P H (Navigator)
    RCAF WO Trumpour, J G T (Air Bomber) POW
    RAF Sgt Tippleston, J E (Wireless Operator Air) POW
    RAF Sgt Bourne, R (Air Gunner)
    RAF Sgt Hewitson, J (Air Gunner)

    Two of the crew were POW’s. The remainder of the crew were killed.

    The above Casualty file also records the following : Enlisted 15/7/36, Point Cook.
    General Register Office, Somerset House UK Certificate of 14/4/1958 records date of
    death as 25/2/1944 and the Place of Death as Boesinger, Germany, (30 miles south of

    (4) RAF Bomber Command Losses in the Second World War by W R Chorley, 1944,
    Page 98 records that W/Cdr Dilworth had completed 31 sorties on his first operational
    tour and taken part in at least 14 sorties on his second tour.

    (5) AWM 65 (1047) : On 1/1/1943 Dilworth records the following biographical
    details on a RAAF form required for use at RAAF OHQ at London :
    Present Appointment : CO of RAAF Sqn 460 in UK.
    Date of Birth : 17/10/1914. Born at Sydney, NSW.
    Date of entering Service : 1936. Place of Training ; Point Cook.
    Home Address : Raglan St, Turramurra, Sydney.

    (6) Units of the RAAF, A Concise History, Volume 3 Bomber Units, Page 123
    records that W/Cdr Dilworth was Commanding Officer, 460 Sqn RAAF from 14
    December 1942 to 15 February 1943.

    (7) AWM 64 A50 History sheets 460 Sqn :
    14/12/1942 : Sqd Ldr Dilworth appointed command of 460 Sq with the rank of Wg
    16/2/1943 : Wg Cdr Dilworth relinquises command of 460 Sqn.
    The above history sheets record the following missions :
    /12/1942 : W/C Dilworth Captain, Lancaster W 4329 Target : Duisberg
    16/1/1943 : W/c Dilworth Captain, Lancaster W 4327 Y Target : Berlin.
    17/1/1943 : W/C Dilworth Captain, Lancaster W 4308 C Target : Berlin
    During this period 460 Sqn was located at a satellite drome at Breighton, East

    (8) DFC Award. No Citation is available. Promulgated in London Gazette,
    21/12/1945, Page 6207, position 1, to be effective 24/2/1944.
    (Note : AWM Roll of Honour says Unit : 100 Sqn. Service : RAAF.
    Commonwealth War Graves and Angam say Unit : 100 Sqn. Service : Royal Air
    40044 Wing Commander John Frederick Dilworth, DFC

    40044 Wing Commander John Frederick Dilworth, DFC

    Date of birth1914-10-14
    Other 1936-07-15 Air cadet (RAAF).
    Date promoted 1937-08-26 Pilot officer (RAF).
    Other units 1937-09-06 No 1 Flying Training School.
    Other units 1937-12-19 No 29 (Fighter) Squadron.
    Other units 1938-10-07 Flight instructor at No 2 Flying Training School.
    Other units 1938-12-15 Flight instructor at No 12 Flying Training School.
    Date promoted 1939-05-26 Flying officer.
    Date promoted 1939-06-12 Acting flight lieutenant.
    Other units 1940-02-20 Special duties list.
    Date promoted 1940-08-03 Flight lieutenant.
    Date promoted 1941-12-01 Temporary squadron leader.
    Other units 1942-10-12 No 101 Squadron.
    Other units 1942-10-26 Commanding Officer of No 460 Squadron.
    Date promoted 1942-12-12 Acting wing commander.
    Other units 1943-02-22 No 1662 Conversion Unit.
    Other units 1943-08-21 No 101 Squadron.
    Other units 1943-11-25 No 576 Squadron.
    Other units 1943-12-17 Commanding Officer of No 100 Squadron.
    Date promoted 1944-01-11 Squadron leader.
    Date of death1944-02-25 Germany

    Roll of Honour - John Frederick Dilworth

    Service number: 40044
    Rank: Wing Commander
    Unit: 100 Squadron
    Service: Royal Australian Air Force
    Conflict: 1939-1945
    Date of death: 25 February 1944
    Place of death: Germany
    Cause of death: Missing In Flying Battle
    Source: AWM148 Roll of Honour cards, 1939-1945 War, Air Force

    Honours and Awards - John Frederick Dilworth

    Service number: 40044
    Rank: Acting Wing Commander
    Unit: 100 Sqn RAF
    Service: RAF
    Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945
    Award: Distinguished Flying Cross
    Date of London Gazette: 21 December 1945
    Location in London Gazette: Page 6207, position 1

    Distinguished Flying Cross.
    Acting Wing Commander.
    John Frederick DILWORTH (40044), R.A.F.O., 100
    Sqn., with effect from 24th February, 1944 (since
  11. Stewart229

    Stewart229 New Member

    Hi Graham, Just came across your enquiry regarding our late uncle Jack as I think you will be Graham Hewitt.I have some info about him including letters he wrote to some of the family and pictures of him and I am quite sure I have his training flight log book in the house somewhere which came to me when mum died( your aunt Molly).Send me an e-mail to stewartshannon57 @gmail.com so we can have a wee talk about Jack, I am going to be in London for the next week (21/6/14--25/6/14) but will get back to you asap.It is my intention to visit the bomber command memorial when down.


    Attached Files:

    CL1 likes this.
  12. Stewart229

    Stewart229 New Member

    Final page of Jacks flight log , picture of crew although not sure which one and his AG wing. Sorry about the quality

    Attached Files:

  13. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Stewart, Graham hasn't been on the forum since 2012.
    I have sent him a Private Message alerting him to your post.
    Peter Neve may have exchanged email addresses with him and his email address is shown in the thread, so you may want to see if you can get in touch via him....
    Good luck!
  14. Stewart229

    Stewart229 New Member

    Just had an e- mail from Grahams wife, so will keep in touch with him now
  15. Acorn50

    Acorn50 New Member

    Wow, I am so pleased I came across this thread as my grandfather was W/C John Dilworth and I am trying to find out more about him. Mum was only 9 months old when he was killed so she knew very little about him and since she died 3 years ago all I have left are a few photos...
  16. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Hello and welcome!
    That's why we do what we do, for the benefit of others, relatives, friends etc, who may not have the full background themselves.

    As you say you have a few photos, could you compare to those already on the thread so as to identify him, at least?
    Would you be able to download it for others to see, especially relatives of the other crew members that night?

    Presumably you're still in Australia, perhaps Sydney, but Spidge is in Melbourne and may be able to help you access your grandfathers file, which is probably digitised, so you can print a copy off and add to your file.

    I think we've provided a pretty detailed explanation, but if you need more, just ask and we'll do our best.
    CL1 likes this.
  17. Acorn50

    Acorn50 New Member

    Hi and thanks. Actually I live in Normandy, France and only visited my Australian relatives once in 1983 when I met my Great Uncle Arthur, John Dilworth's brother, sadly now deceased. John's wife, my grandmother, was English which might explain why he left Australia to join the RAF? I have already managed to access a couple of files from the http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/search/ website which was interesting. Attached is a photo - I have a couple more but they are too large to upload so I will try and create a link instead

    Attached Files:

  18. Acorn50

    Acorn50 New Member

  19. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    "Hi and thanks. Actually I live in Normandy, France and only visited my Australian relatives once in 1983 when I met my Great Uncle Arthur, John Dilworth's brother, sadly now deceased. John's wife, my grandmother, was English which might explain why he left Australia to join the RAF?"

    Hi Acorn 50,

    There is no doubt the English women are beautiful however I would say that the main reason so many Australians joined the RAF was their love of flying and the rumblings in Europe from Adolf and to a lesser degree Mussolini. Also if successful that 1st class passage on a ship to Britain.

    The entrance into the RAAF pre-war was very stringent and limited to a small number however a request from Britain and the RAF requested the RAAF to train candidates in Australia to be sent to the RAF on "Short Service Commissions" which was usually for 5 years.

    The number of Australians in the RAF will probably never be known because many were already attending Oxford and Cambridge or working in Britain or rejected by the RAAF and paid/worked their passage from Australia to Britain. I know of many who survived however I have found 250 who were killed. Example: 71 were killed from the start of the war until the end of the Battle of Britain on 31/10/1940.

    These accepted candidates from all over Australia would be trained at RAAF Point Cook in Melbourne and if accepted, would then be sent to Britain where they would receive further training and then be allocated to squadrons. These "Recruits" were not part of the "EATS" program (Empire Air Training Scheme) which commenced after war was declared.

    Your Grandfather was accepted into the RAF with a service number allocated and is how I was able to confirm that he was Australian after a bit of research. The consecutive numbers here show a group that trained in Australia in 1936 and was Australian and most of whom were killed.

    The photo below is one saddest clusters of pre-war Australians who were killed in the RAF. I hope this explains how your Grandfather came to being in the RAF.


    Dilworth 7.jpg
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
    dbf and Tricky Dicky like this.

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