June 21st 1943…the first operation
The seven Lancasters of 49Sqn were part of a total force of 705 bombers attacking Krefeld. The raid was deemed a success with the whole centre of the city burnt out. Although the Fiskerton Lancasters all returned safely 44 aircraft (6.2%) were lost, mostly to night fighters.
For Bob and his crew the ordeal of the first operation was over.
June 25th 1943….the second operation
On this occasion Bob made a mistake in his Log Book and dated this operation the 24th June. They left dispersal "A" and this particular area can still clearly be seen today. The crew, no doubt relieved and slightly more confident after their successful Krefeld raid, are part of a 473 aircraft raid on Gelsenkirchen.
Bob's diary and the Operations Log Book record what happened that night.
"On Night Flying Test in afternoon. 2nd Ops in evening to GELSENKIRCHEN in Ruhr. 503 planes. 30 lost. Attacked by JU88 before target. Collided in mid-air. Lost ½ wing. JU88 a possible."
The raid was not a success and any loss of production in the factories attacked was made good in less than two weeks. On this night many bombs fell on Solingen a town over 30 miles away.
A very frightened crew managed to limp back to England and Bob's logbook says that they landed back at RAF Wittering.