Blenheim daylight raid Bremen 4/7/1941

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Berties Mum, Jan 4, 2022.

  1. Berties Mum

    Berties Mum Member

    Good evening everyone. I am interested in learning more of my Mother's cousin Frederick William Rodney Charles RAF volunteer. He died 4/7/1941 on a daylight raid on Bremen. I have applied for his war record and have read about Hughie Edward's leading the assault on Bremen. I have also seen a photo of the remains of the plane in the book Battleaxe Blenheims. Any other information would be most welcome.
     
  2. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    This thread may help as it concerns Blenheims in July 1941: ASRS Launch lost July 1941.

    A comment by Itdan, in Post 21:
    From: Royal Navy Officer at a Funeral in Germany- Picture Mystery

    Frederick's Service Number is 949785, he was with 105 Squadron RAF and his CWGC record is: Sergeant Frederick William Rodney Charles | War Casualty Details | CWGC Note the Concentration Report shown does not include him by name.

    His actual plane is id'd as:
    From: Dore

    I suspect your reference to Hughie Edward's leading the assault is from 'Daylight Bombing Missions' by Martin Bowman and Google books does make the relevant pgs. available via: https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Daylight_Bombing_Operations_1939_1942/k1jdCQAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq="Frederick+William+Rodney+Charles"&pg=PT94&printsec=frontcover

    There are general histories of 105 Squadron on: No. 105 Squadron (RAF) during the Second World War No. 105 Squadron RAF - Wikipedia I note Edwards won the VC for the raid Hughie Edwards - Wikipedia and the book Battle-Axe Blenheims - No 105 Squadron RAF at War 1940-1
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2022
  3. CL1

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

    SERGEANT FREDERICK WILLIAM RODNEY CHARLES
    Service Number: 949785
    Regiment & Unit/Ship
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    105 Sqdn.

    Date of Death
    Died 04 July 1941

    Age 24 years old

    Buried or commemorated at
    BECKLINGEN WAR CEMETERY

    Coll. grave 26. E. 6-8.

    Germany


    • Country of ServiceUnited Kingdom
    • Additional InfoSon of Frederick and Edith Charles, of Dore, Yorkshire. B.A. (Cantab): Peterhouse.
    • Personal Inscription"THESE LAID THE WORLD AWAY; POURED OUT THE RED SWEET WINE OF YOUTH."


    Sergeant ( W.Op./Air Gnr. ) Frederick William...
    [​IMG]
     
  4. CL1

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

  5. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    In the morning hours of July 4, 1941, the Royal Air Force flew the 69th raid on Bremen with ten aircraft. The main target areas were the harbor, as well as the armaments factories Weserflug and the Atlas-Werke and the railroad area with the main station and the large marshalling yard in Gröpelingen. Eight people were killed and twelve wounded in the city during this daylight attack, and there was considerable property damage to armaments factories and residential buildings. Bremen's anti-aircraft gun emplacements attempted to repel the air attack, hitting four of the attacking planes, which crashed at various points in the city. All of the bombers' crew members were killed in the process.

    The crash sites are:
    Harbor, Block 14
    Brockhuchtinger Landstrasse
    Seehausen
    Blockland

    Remains of the last three planes were recovered and identified by the state archaeology department between 1987 and 2015.
    If you are interested, I can ask my colleagues if there might be more detailed information archived on this subject.

    regards
    Olli
     
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  6. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Fortunately, the air war in the Bremen area is fairly well documented until mid-1943:
    Blenheim Z7486 was shot down at 0803h by 2-cm Flak of the 5th Batt/Reserve Flak Abteilung 265 and 4th Batt/Reserve Flak Abteilung 231.
    Remains of the wreckage were recovered by the Bremen Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service in 1995.

    Here is the complete listing from the records of the 8th Flak Division:
    0803h Bremen (Holzhafen) Z7426 5./265 + 4./231
    0803h Bremen (Seehausen) Z7486 5./265 + 4./231
    0800h Bremen (Blockland) V6020 5./617 + 6./342
    0810h Bremen (RAB) V6193 5./617

    Map with the approximate crash sites
    FLAK.jpg
    The asterisks show the positions of the heavy flak. (The countless positions of the light flak are missing for reasons of clarity.)

    regards
    Olli

    Internet sources:
    ARBEITSGRUPPE LUFTFAHRTARCHÄOLOGIE NIEDERSACHSEN - 04.07.1941 Operation Wreckage
    Flak-Schutz im Großraum Bremen
    Flakstellungen um Bremen - Seite 5 - geschichtsspuren.de - Forum
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2022
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  7. Berties Mum

    Berties Mum Member

    Thank you very much for your help
     
  8. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    The squadron Operational Record Books are available to download free (if you register) from The National Archives.

    The Summary of Events for July 1941 tells us that on the 4th your relative was in F/O Lambert's crew (F/O Lambert, Sgt Copeland, Sgt Charles) in a Blenheim MkIV, serial number 7486; they took off at 05.21 on a raid comprising 9 aircraft from 105 Squadron and 6 from 107 Squadron (though 3 of these turned back). They attacked Bremen in close formation at ground level, bombing the docks, railways and factories. Of the 7 aircraft from 105 Squadron which returned, all had been hit by Flak and one crashed on landing. A total of 6 men from 105 Squadron were killed and 3 wounded in this operation. Two aircraft were shot down:

    "One aircraft - SERGEANT MACKILLOP - was shot down in flames by Flak and crashed into a Factory and blew up.

    Another aircraft - FLYING OFFICER LAMBERT - failed to return. Aircraft was seen to be hit by Flak, and catch fire and when last seen was flying inland."

    To complete the sorry picture this paints, Itdan (Olli) has identified the crash site of your relative's aircraft in his post above.

    Cheers, Pat

    Edit: in the Summary of Events, there are a number of messages of congratulations sent to 105 Squadron about this particular operation, from various RAF bigwigs such as the Chief of the Air Staff.
     
  9. Berties Mum

    Berties Mum Member

     
  10. Berties Mum

    Berties Mum Member

    Thank you very much Olli. A cousin and I have arranged to go to Bremen this year and to visit Rodney's grave. I have seen a photograph in a book titled The Battle axe Blenheims showing German soldiers standing by a plane in the street, The photograph indicated this was aircraft Rodney was in.
     
  11. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    I suspect this will be Blenheim Z7426, which crashed into a warehouse.
    The plane of your relative crashed S Seehausen into an open field (see attached picture).

    If you come to Bremen, let me know in time, maybe I can find time to show you the crash site or call in an aviation archaeologist I know.

    regards
    Olli
     

    Attached Files:

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  12. Berties Mum

    Berties Mum Member

    Olli that is very helpful. Thank you very much. Our trip is 4th to 7th May. On our way to Stansted Airport we shall be visiting Duxford Air Museum. Hopefully to see their Blenheim 1V although they said to check closer to May as they shall be flying her this year.
     
  13. Berties Mum

    Berties Mum Member

     
  14. Berties Mum

    Berties Mum Member

    Hello and thank you for your information.
    I have visited Dore and seen the memorial in the church. Rodney's father and my grandmother were brother and sister.
     
  15. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Itdan / Ollie posted in Post 6 referred to information from: https://www.relikte.com/brm_flak/index.htm

    Had a chance to read through this and a couple of passages translated using Google state and with my emphasis:
    I rarely read about the air war and the scale of the Bremen defences is real gain in my understanding. Curious to see the employment in combat / combat support of the Russian POWs; which might help to explain the presence in May 1945 of Russian POWs causing issues in NW Germany, which was mentioned in a few recent threads.

    Thanks Ollie.
     
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  16. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    As a true German, I can't possibly resist being a wise guy, sorry about that:
    The Soviet "Hiwis" were predominantly used as loaders, because the students used as flak helpers were usually not able to reload the heavy shells fast enough
    The vast majority of Soviet POWs, however, were deployed in agriculture, because a certain postcard painter got into a competition with Stalin to see who could waste his soldiers more ruthlessly at the front.

    regards
    Olli
     
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  17. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    The guys from Arbeitsgruppe Luftfahrtarchäologie were kind enough to send me the following material. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to Jens-Michael Brandes and Ole Uecker from this research team for their (as always) generous and idealistic support!

    A newspaper article from the day after the attack. It is probably one of the absurdities of the war that the German side also considered the attack a great success - for themselves!
    The pictures show V6020 in Blockland, V6193, which came down some hundred meters further and Z7426, which crashed into a shed in the harbor.
    V6193.jpg V6020.jpg Z7426.jpg
    Report on the recovery of the remains of V6020:
    Bristol Blenheim Mk. IV - Bremen

    The following pictures show the sad remains of Z7486, which crashed in an open field in Seehausen
    A_Z7486.jpg B_Z7486.jpg C_Z7486.jpg D_Z7486.jpg

    Finally the Newspaper article from 25.7.1995 about the salvage operation:
    Remains of the plane were found at a depth of two meters during exploratory work (the site is built on today).
    Skeletal parts and the pilot's signet ring were also found. According to the article, these were handed over to the British Army liaison officer from Osnabrück, Jock Smith, who was present.
    Recovery Z7486.jpg

    regards
    Olli
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2022
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  18. Berties Mum

    Berties Mum Member

     
  19. Berties Mum

    Berties Mum Member

    Hi Olllie. Hope you see this after you were so helpful before. Yes we are coming to Bremen and would like to take up your offer of pointing out the crash site.
    Kind regards
    Karen
     

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