Allsebrook crew killed on Dortmund-Ems canal raid commemorated in Germany


Joerg Echelmayer of the Riesenbeck Historical Society and Chris Ward standing by the plaque depicting the Allsebrook crew at the Bergeshovede quayside. [Pic: Andreas Wachtel]

This summer has seen significant additions to the memorialisation of 617 Squadron crews on the continent of Europe. One is to the crew of Flt Lt Ralph Allsebrook DSO DFC and his crew, who were killed on the disastrous attack on the Dortmund-Ems canal in September 1943. Eight crews took part in this operation, and five failed to return with a total loss of 33 lives.

Allsebrook and his crew were the first new crew to join 617 Squadron after the Dams Raid, arriving at Scampton on 20 May 1943. On the night of the Dortmund-Ems operation, four months later, they were in Lancaster EE130, and carried an extra gunner.

On 17 June a memorial to Allsebrook and his crew was erected on the quayside of the Wet Triangle at Bergeshovede in Germany, very close to the site where they crashed after bombing the Dortmund-Ems canal. The speakers included the local Bürgermeister, David Ostholthoff, representatives of the Riesenbeck Historical Society and the Ikarus Missing Research Group, researcher Josef Brink from Hoestel and researcher Chris Ward from the UK.

The crew list read Flt Lt RAP Allsebrook DSO DFC (pilot), Flt Sgt P Moore (flight engineer), Plt Off NA Botting (navigator), Flg Off JM Grant DFC (wireless operator), Flt Sgt RBS Lulham (bomb aimer), Sgt IG Jones (mid-upper gunner), Flt Sgt S Hitchen (rear gunner) plus Flt Sgt WE Walker (extra air gunner).