REECE Bernard 427106

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Bernard REECE

Service No: 427106
Born: Perth WA, 22 January 1910
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 May 1942
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ME615), Germany, 29 July 1944, Aged 34 Years
Buried: Choloy War Cemetery, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George Henry and Annie Reece, of Leederville, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

On 28th-29th July the three RAAF Lancaster units provided 51 aircraft in a force of 493 sent to Stuttgart, but on this night the attackers were unfortunate in several respects. Diversionary tactics failed and a strong force of 200 night fighters harassed the bomber stream in bright moonlight all the way from Orleans to Stuttgart, but the target itself was blanketed in cloud. Before reaching Stuttgart the bomber stream had become rather dispersed in both horizontal and vertical planes and many crews could not identify either ground or parachute target indicators and were forced to aim at the often misleading glow of fires dimly seen through cloud. Thirty-nine (or nearly 8 per cent) of the Lancasters were shot down, but in spirited battles many night fighters were also claimed as destroyed or damaged. No. 460 claimed one FW-190 probably destroyed and one Me-109 damaged; Flight Sergeant Cox (1) a rear gunner of No. 463 shot down an Me-109 at very close range, and another crew from his squadron claimed an Me-210 as probably destroyed as it was seen to roll over on its back and disappear through cloud apparently out of control. Returning crews of No. 467 Squadron, although they commented on the large number of fighter flares seen along the inward route reported no combats, but the squadron lost two of its experienced crews, captained by Flying Officer Johns and Flying Officer Ian Fotheringham each of whom had completed 20 or more bombing raids.

(1) Flying Officer John Elliott Cox DFC (432496) was discharged from the RAAF on 11 September 1945.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 297

Lancaster ME615 took off from RAF Waddington at 2224 hours on the night of 28/29th July 1944 to bomb Stuttgart, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 2000 lb (pound) (900 kg) bomb, 12 x 500 ‘J’ clusters. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Nineteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these ME 615 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter and crashed at Rohrbach (Les Bitche) France.

The crew members of ME615 were:

Flight Sergeant Frank Edgar Fischer (417826) (Bomb Aimer)
Warrant Officer Norman Francis Gelder (409041) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Mervyn Walter Harrison (432668) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Brian Moorhead DFC (109518) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner and Squadron Gunnery Leader)
Flight Sergeant Bernard Reece (427106) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Ernest William Starling (623359) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer John Anthony Howard Wilkinson (417547) (Pilot)

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ME856 (Flying Officer Ian Fotheringham (418378) (Pilot)) on 29 July 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster LL846 (Flying Officer Samuel Johns (425021) (Pilot)) on 29 July 1944.

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Chorley W R, Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War – Volume 5 Aircraft and Aircrew Losses 1944, Midland Counties Publishing, 1997
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, 166/35/314