LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Allan Neil LEVY

Service No: 429153
Born: Summer Hill NSW, 28 April 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 27 October 1942
Unit: No. 50 Squadron (RAF), RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 50 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ME441), Germany, 21 March 1945, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Edward Lewis Levy and Elsie Alma Levy, of Mosman, New South Wales, Australia; husband of Margaret Levy, of Mosman, New South Wales.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 125, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Lockhart and District War Memorial, Lockhart NSW

Brother of Pilot Officer Edward Russell Levy (433020)

The Germans gave priority to repairing the Bohlen oil installations because of their relative distance from English bomber bases, and within a fortnight Bomber Command assessed that some units were again in operation. Thus on 20th-21st March No. 463 sent 16 and No. 467 17 crews in a force of 224 which in much better weather dropped 946 tons of bombs in the most concentrated of the series of attacks against Bohlen. Photographs, obtained 12 hours after the main attack, showed fires burning in various parts of the plant; apart from severe and widespread damage to vital units the internal marshalling yards had been heavily hit and it was estimated that Bohlen was unlikely to be substantially operative for at least two months. In the event, because of the progress of the armies, no further bombing attack was necessary, but this last attack was relatively costly as 10 bombers were lost, including one of No. 463 and one each piloted by Australians of Nos. 50, 57, 61, 97 and 207 Squadrons, while another Australian pilot failed to return from a small feint attack by 12 aircraft against Halle which was intended to divert enemy fighters from Bohlen.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 427

Lancaster ME441 took off from RAF Skellingthorpe at 2353 hours on the night of 220/21st March 1945 to bomb a synthetic oil plant at Bohlen, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. It was later established that the aircraft crashed at Asbach, 20 miles east of Bonn, Germany. Six of the crew were killed and Sergeant Friend successfully baled out and evaded capture.

The crew members of ME 441 were:

Sergeant Stanley Chapman (2214054) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air)
Sergeant E G Friend (1804354) (RAFVR) (Navigator) Baled out, Evaded capture
Sergeant Leonard Henshaw (1596561) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Thomas Leonard Hill (1894210) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Peter Charles Hopper (1894541) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Pilot Officer Allan Neil Levy (429153) (Pilot)
Sergeant Derrick Swingler (1623219) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)

In a later report Sergeant Friend stated “the aircraft was on its return journey when hit by anti-aircraft fire. The bale out order was given. At the time the plane was on its correct homeward course and had nearly reached allied lines. I landed near the bank of the Rhine between Remagen and Rheinbruhl, respectively 12 and 20 miles south east of Bonn.”

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster PB845 (Flying Officer Richard Stewart Bennett (436327) (Pilot)) on 21 March 1945.

No. 57 Squadron (RAF) lost Lancaster LM653 (Flight Lieutenant Aubrey Robert Palling (428261) (Pilot)) on 21 March 1945

In addition to the loss of LM 653, No. 57 Squadron (RAF) lost Lancaster RA530 (Flying Officer Charles Alan Cobern (5870) (Pilot)) which crashed soon after take-off on 20 March 1945.

No. 61 Squadron (RAF) lost Lancaster RA560 (Flying Officer John Frederick Swales (422989) (Pilot)) on 21 March 1945.

No. 97 Squadron (RAF) lost Lancaster PA973 (Flight Lieutenant John Dennis Cottman (418813) (Pilot)) on 21 March 1945.

No. 207 Squadron (RAF) lost Lancaster PA196 (Flying Officer Raymond Allan Lewis (19892) (Pilot)) on 21 March 1945.

In the small feint attack against Halle, No. 227 Squadron (RAF) lost Lancaster PA259 (Flying Officer Warren Henry Pitts (436480) (Pilot)) on 21 March 1945.

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/24/741
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line