Lutzow

Lutzow (hipper class)

·Laid down 2nd August 1937
·Launched 1st July 1939
·11th February 1940 sold to Russia
·Builders Deschimag, Bremen Germany
·Complement 1600
·Dimensions displacement 14271 tons std 18700 tons max
·Dimensions 697′ 2″ x 71′ 6″ draught 23′ 6″
·Armament main guns 8 x 8″ (2 x 4)
·Secondary guns 12 x 4.1″ (6 x 2)
·Torpedo tubes 12 x 21″ (4 x 3)
·Other weapons 12 x 40mm (6 x 2) 8 x 37mm (8 x 1)

The German pocket battleship “Lutzow” was based in the Baltic ocean being used for shore bombardment and other duties included supply and evacuation.
Commanding officer of 617 Sqn. at the time was group captain J.E Fauquier.

13th April 1945
Twenty 617 Sqn. Lancasters, each carrying either a Tallboy or 12  x 1,000lbs bombs searched for the German Navy Ships Prince Eugen & Lutzow  in the region of Swinemunde, but due to low cloud the attack failed, one aircraft suffered minor flak damage.

15th April 1945
Seventeen 617 Sqn. Lancasters carrying tallboys and three Lancasters carrying 1,000lbs bombs left England again looking for the ship but again the weather won the day.

16th April 1945
Today saw fourteen 617 Sqn. Lancasters carrying tallboys and four carrying 12 x 1,000lbs bombs escorted by mustangs from two other squadrons (442 & 611) for fighter defence. The Sqn ORB reads:
16.04.45 Eighteen aircraft operated against a shipping target at Swinemunde. Most aircraft were holed by flak. S/L. Powell failed to return. Aircraft was seen to receive a direct hit and went down out of control. One parachute seen to stream at about 2,000 ft. (Fauquier felt sure that after the last two abortive raids and the long run in involved that fighters would be ready for them this time. He asked for and obtained a long range fighter escort. There were no fighters but ferocious flak which holed most of the aircraft and downed Powell. Prinz Eugen was not present but there were some close misses on the Lutzow although the results were not clear at the time of the raid. Powell’s port wing was hit and fell off, the aircraft spinning into a wood near the target, killing all the crew. The bodies were buried on the 18th April in the Caseburg Friedhof at Swinemunde but were exhumed in 1949 and reburied at Poznan Old Garrison cemetery.)

In memory of John Leonard Powell DFC

Squadron leader 103039 pilot 617 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died: Monday, 16th April 1945.
Age: 29.
Additional information: son of David Albert and Elizabeth Powell, of Rhos, Glamorgan.
Commemorative information: Poznan old garrison cemetery, Poland
Grave reference/ panel number: coll. Grave 5. B. 1-5.
See below for cemetery details

In memory of Henry William Felton DFM

Flight sergeant 1809630 Flt. Engr. 617 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died: Monday, 16th April 1945.
Commemorative information: Poznan old garrison cemetery, Poland
Grave reference/ panel number: coll. Grave 5. B. 1-5.
See below for cemetery details

In memory of Michael Terence Clarke DFC

Flight lieutenant 151151 nav. 617 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died: Monday, 16th April 1945.
Age: 22.
Additional information: son of James Kilian Clarke and Evelyn Muriel Clarke, of Farnham, surrey.
Commemorative information: Poznan old garrison cemetery, Poland
Grave reference/ panel number: coll. Grave 5. B. 1-5.
See below for cemetery details

In memory of Alfred Laurence

Heath flying officer 148768 air bomber. 617 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died: Monday, 16th April 1945.
Commemorative information: Poznan old garrison cemetery, Poland
Grave reference/ panel number: coll. Grave 5. B. 1-5.
See below for cemetery details

In memory of William Knight

Pilot officer 195713 air Gnr. 617 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died: Monday, 16th April 1945.
Additional information: son of Thomas and Edith knight; husband of Phyllis Mabel knight, of Croydon, Surrey.
Commemorative information: Poznan old garrison cemetery, Poland
Grave reference/ panel number: coll. Grave 5. B. 1-5.
See below for cemetery details

In memory of Kenneth Arthur John Hewitt

Pilot officer 188618 W.Op./A.G. 617 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died: Monday, 16th April 1945.
Commemorative information: Poznan old garrison cemetery, Poland
Grave reference/ panel number: coll. Grave 5. B. 1-5.
See below for cemetery details

In memory of James Watson

Flying officer 174282 Air Gnr. 617 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died: Monday, 16th April 1945.
Age: 24.
Additional information: son of James and Rebecca Watson, of West Linton, Peeblesshire.
Commemorative information: Poznan old garrison cemetery, Poland
Grave reference/ panel number: coll. Grave 5. B. 1-5.
See below for cemetery details

Location
The city of Poznan is located in the west of Poland, on the main e30/2 road. The cemetery is situated to the north of the town in the district of Winogrady. Follow the e30/2 into the city and over the river. At the crossroads turn right onto the road number 196 (Gdynska) and follow this road to the next crossroads. At this junction turn right onto the road number 5 (Glowna). Follow this road to the roundabout and turn right into S.wyszynskiego. Follow this road over two rivers to the next crossroads. At this junction turn right into Garbary and follow this road under the railway bridge, take the first left hand turning after the bridge called Al Armii Poznan. The cemetery will be found along this road on the right. (n.b. Al Armii Poznan is a one way street)

Historical information
Pila prisoners of war cemetery (formerly known as Schneidemuhl prisoners of war cemetery.)Is situated within the boundaries of Poland.. The 18 casualties buried in this cemetery are now commemorated on a special memorial type “e” in Poznan old garrison cemetery, Poland. The location of the original cemetery is – Schneidemuhl is a town in Posen, West Prussia, on the polish border. Near the south end of this cemetery (about two miles east of the town) are Graves containing the bodies of a number of allied soldiers; and among them are 18 soldiers from the united kingdom (mainly guardsmen) who died in 1915. Schneidemuhl prisoners of war cemetery.

Ken and Sam Foster:
As you probably know NG228 was the last operational loss of 617 squadron. We have quite a full account of the raid and subsequent events, which we are in the process of putting in some sort of order. In a nutshell this was the third operation by the squadron against the German pocket battleship Lutzow, which was moored at Swinemunde in the Kiel canal (now Swinejousie Poland). Although immobilised through lack of fuel the warship was using its guns to shell the advancing red army. The first two raids were aborted due to bad weather. On the final raid heavy flak was encountered over the target from both the ship and shore batteries. NG228 was hit on the port (or starboard ) wing – we have two conflicting accounts and crashed in Karsibor woods. It was believed some of the crew, including Will Knight had escaped, but there were no survivors. (there are rumours that some were shot). The Poles put up part of the aircrafts tail plane as a memorial. This was refurbished and rededicated in 1998. The crew were buried near the site and in 1949 reinterred in the old Poznan garrison cemetery. Sorry this is a bit rushed but wanted to acknowledge your message – checked out your site. Interestingly Will completed his operational tour with 227 squadron and was only posted to 617 on his promotion to pilot officer. He was on ground duties but volunteered for his final fatal mission. The day after the raid the squadron was declared non-operational due to lack of serviceable aircraft.
My thanks go to ken and Sam foster for the information provided