27 Apr-3 May 1943


A terrible week for 12 Sqn, with 5 aircraft and all their crews being lost on operations, with a sixth so badly damaged it was scrapped on its return – 2 of its crew being so badly injured they played no further part in the war. These losses caused the disbandment of “C” Flight of 12 Sqn, at least for the time being. The minelaying operation on 28/29 April was the heaviest loss of aircraft for Bomber Command during the war, but the number of mines laid was the highest in one night.

Also of interest is the support given to RAF Wickenby by the local population, especially Market Rasen, only a few miles from the camp, who raised £59,000, a considerable sum in 1943 and certainly enough to pay for a Lancaster and training for some of her crew.

Extract from Station Diary

L to R: Fg Off Veira – Nav, F/Sgt Freeman – WO, Sgt Grant – AG, Sgt Elsworthy – Pilot, Sgt Downes – AG, Sgt Haddow – BA, Sgt Pye – FE – all killed on 28/29 Apr 1943. Fg Off Basil Vernon Lancelot Veira was from St Kitts but was serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force – he had previously won the DFC.
Flt Lt James Wallace Potts, aged 29, the son of Andrew Alexander Potts & Mary Elizabeth Potts of Auckland City, New Zealand. He held a masters degree from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Killed with all his crew attacking Essen on 30 Apr/1 May 1943
Sgt Leonard Gill, 22, the son of Ernest & Emily Gill of York. He was the mid-upper gunner in Flt Lt Potts’ aircraft.

Extract from the Appendix to the Operational Record Book for 12 Sqn

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