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1654 HCU Lancasters

Old 18th Nov 2021, 15:00
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1654 HCU Lancasters

On the night of 3 March 1945, while converting to the Lancaster with 1654 HCU at Wigsley, Notts, my Dad was captain of Lancaster 'JF-J' which was attacked by Luftwaffe night fighters (reported as Ju 88s). One of the other Lancs in the formation was shot down and the HCU aircraft were all diverted to Fairwood Common (now Swansea Airport) The Nat Archives have a record of the Lancaster gunners' reports, but nothing else - there doesn't seem to be an ORB for 1654 HCU. I am keen to obtain a photo or two of 1654's Lancasters and would be interested to run to earth the German report of the incident. If anyone can throw any more light on the event - listed in my Dad's log book as "Exercise 14 - target 'Sweepstake'" - I'd be very interested to hear from them.
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Old 18th Nov 2021, 21:43
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"Operation Gisela" with over 140 Ju-88crews briefed to fly a mass intruder mission over England. Crews succeeded in shooting down 23 bombers and 1 Mosquito, with more than 20 other aircraft damaged.
German claims;


JF-J I have as allocated to LM736 of 1654 HCU.
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Old 19th Nov 2021, 04:34
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Originally Posted by tiny fireburn View Post
On the night of 3 March 1945, while converting to the Lancaster with 1654 HCU at Wigsley, Notts, my Dad was captain of Lancaster 'JF-J' which was attacked by Luftwaffe night fighters (reported as Ju 88s). One of the other Lancs in the formation was shot down and the HCU aircraft were all diverted to Fairwood Common (now Swansea Airport) The Nat Archives have a record of the Lancaster gunners' reports, but nothing else - there doesn't seem to be an ORB for 1654 HCU. I am keen to obtain a photo or two of 1654's Lancasters and would be interested to run to earth the German report of the incident. If anyone can throw any more light on the event - listed in my Dad's log book as "Exercise 14 - target 'Sweepstake'" - I'd be very interested to hear from them.
The reference of the ORB for 1654 HCU at Kew is as shown in the link below below:

https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/C1912991
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Old 19th Nov 2021, 13:52
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Thanks to both of you for that good stuff. Goofer3, I'm intrigued as to where you sourced the serial number of 'JF-J'. The Francis K Mason and Bruce Robertson books on the Lanc certainly confirm that LM736 served with 1654 HCU, but can you say how you managed to make the link? And while I'm at it, do you have any more serials/codes for 1654's Lancasters?
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Old 19th Nov 2021, 16:31
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As a postscript, the shot-down 1654 HCU Lancaster on 3/3/45 sounds like either Mk III PB118, recorded as being lost on that date, or LM748 which was reportedly shot down early on 4/3, so may have been the same raid, coming down at Stapleford (about 7 miles SSE of Wigsley).
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Old 20th Nov 2021, 01:59
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Information from "Avro Lancaster - The Definitive Record".

PB118 7Sq ex 32MU, 46MU, 1654CU; wrecked, burnt out 3/4Mar45
LM748 467Sq Sep44, 1654CU, burnt out 3/4Mar45

Lancasters that served in unit.

Lancasters in unit lost.


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Old 20th Nov 2021, 07:04
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
As a postscript, the shot-down 1654 HCU Lancaster on 3/3/45 sounds like either Mk III PB118, recorded as being lost on that date, or LM748 which was reportedly shot down early on 4/3, so may have been the same raid, coming down at Stapleford (about 7 miles SSE of Wigsley).
Some of the HCU's were tasked as part of a diversionary force supporting main operations hence why they were "out and about".
A bit more detail on the ones mentioned above by DR, both from the 3rd.

1654 HCU Lancaster III LM748 UG-H. Op: Diversion P/O A E Lutz, RAAF + crew.
T/O Wigsley and shot down by intruder at 0105, coming down just E. of Stapleford, ten miles SSW of Lincoln. All 7 crew killed. Due to the force of the impact 3 of the crew are inscribed on the panels of the Runnymede Memorial.

1654 HCU Lancaster III PB118 UG-Q. Op: Diversion F/S R H Pinkstone + crew.
T/O Wigsley. Partially abandoned after being shot about by intruder, coming down at 0057 near Church Warsop, 8 miles SSW of Worksop, Notts. 1 crew killed, 5 injured.

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Old 20th Nov 2021, 09:16
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Very interesting indeed - that's a satisfyingly full picture. My thanks to one and all!
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