Wizernes

Wizernes V2 Rocket base

wizernesConstruction of this V rocket site at Wizernes in an old chalk quarry was authorized by Adolf Hitler in 1943 after several other sites were put out of action by allied bombing, it was situated south of the rail line between St. Omer and Boulogne. It had a protective dome some 72 metres in diameter and several meters thick. The site had many kilometres of railway tunnels and underground galleries in which to keep the rockets safe from bombing.

 

 

20th June 1944

Seventeen Lancasters and three Mosquito’s left Britain to attack the V2 rocket base, but due to a low cloud base the raid was aborted. All aircraft returned home.

22nd June 1944

Sixteen Lancasters and three Mosquito’s flew out towards Wizernes but once again a low cloud cover called for the attack to be aborted. All aircraft returned home.

24th June 1944

This third bombing raid on Wizernes by sixteen 617 Sqn Lancasters took it’s toll and many of the Lancasters and Mosquito’s were hit and damaged by flak. They still managed to release their bombs and hit both the launching tunnel and the rail line. One aircraft, DV403 letter KC- G Type Lancaster 1 was lost.
DV403 took off from Woodhall Spa at 4.30pm armed with a Tallboy, it was hit by flak and crashed at Leulinghem.

John Andrew Edward DFC
Flight Lieutenant 51120 617 Sqdn., Royal Air Force
Died: Saturday, 24th June 1944.
Age: 29.
Additional Information: Son of Harold Westbrook Edward, and Harriet Emily Edward, of Willand, Devon.
Commemorative Information Cemetery: Leulinghem churchyard, Pas de Calais, France
Grave Reference/ Panel Number: Grave 1.
See below for Cemetery details.

Samuel Isherwood
Flight Sergeant 634050 Air Gnr. 617 Sqdn., Royal Air Force
Died: Saturday, 24th June 1944.
Age: 22. Additional Information: Son of Lucy Williams; husband of Mary Alice Isherwood, of New Springs, Lancashire.
Commemorative Information Cemetery: Leulinghem churchyard, Pas de Calais, France
Grave Reference/ Panel Number: Grave 2.
See below for Cemetery details

Leslie William John King DFC
Flying Officer 149660 Flt Engr. 617 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died: Saturday, 24th June 1944.
Age: 30
Additional Information: Son of William and Emily Maria King, of Enstone, Oxfordshire.
Commemorative Information Cemetery: Longuesnesse (St Omer) Souveneir cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Grave Reference/ Panel Number: Plot 3. Row C. Grave 4.
See below for Cemetery details

Thomas William Percy Price
Pilot Officer J/87215 Air Gnr. 617 (R.A.F.) Sqdn, Royal Canadian Air Force
Died: Saturday, 24th June 1944.
Commemorative Information Cemetery: Leulinghem churchyard, Pas de Calais, France
Grave Reference/ Panel Number: Grave 3.
See below for Cemetery details

James Ian Johnstone DFC
Flying Officer. 617 Sqdn, Royal Canadian Air Force
Died: St Omer hospital
Cemetery: Longuesnesse (St Omer) Souveneir cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Grave Reference: Not available

The remainder of the crew Flight Sergeant Gerrard Hobbs “Wireless operator”, Flight Sergeant Jackie Brook “Bomb aimer” and Navigator/Flying Officer Lorne Pritchard DFC, survived the crash, and remained as prisoners of war. Click here to GO BACK to aircraft numbers.

17th July 1944

Sixteen Lancasters, one Mosquito and a brand new never before flown Mustang took off for the fourth bombing raid on V2 rocket base, after markers had been placed, three Lancasters managed to drop tallboys within the target area to cause damage. One Tallboy caused the concrete dome to shift out of alignment, the two others had the affect of causing a roof collapse and blocking the entrance.

20th July 1944

This planned attack on the base was called off due to bad weather. The damage from the attack on the 17th was enough to put the site out of use for good.
The site was abandoned by the retreating German army in July 1944 as the Allied ground troops advanced towards it.

Leulinghem churchyard, Pas de Calais, France

Location

Leulinghem is a village an commune 40 kilometres east of Boulogne and about 7 kilometres west-south-west of St. Omer.

Historical Information

Leulinghem churchyard Index No. Fr. 325 Leulinghem is a village and commune 25 miles (40 kilometres) east of Boulogne and about 7 kilometres west-south-west of St. Omer. The nearest railway station is at St. Omer, where taxis are available. In the north-eastern part of the churchyard are the graves of three airmen, two of whom belonged to the Royal Air Force and one to the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souveneir cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Location

St. Omer is a large town 45 kilometres south-east of Calais. Longuenesse is a commune on the southern outskirts of St. Omer. Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery is approximately 3 kilometres from St Omer to the left of the D928 Abbeville road. As you leave St Omer towards Longuenesse drive up the hill for about 600 metres and the cemetery is on your left. There is a large car park to the rear of the cemetery.

Historical Information:

St. Omer became on the 13th October, 1914, and remained until the end of March, 1916, the General Headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force. Lord Roberts died there in November, 1914. It was a considerable hospital centre, more especially in 1918; the 4th, 10th, 7th Canadian, 9th Canadian and New Zealand Stationary Hospitals, the 7th, 58th (Scottish) and 59th (Northern) General Hospitals, and the 17th, 18th and 1st and 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Stations were all, at some time during the war, quartered in St. Omer. It was raided by aeroplanes in November, 1917, and May, 1918, with serious loss of life. At Elnes, 11 kilometres to the South-West, the 8th Casualty Clearing Station made a small cemetery in the summer of 1918; and the four graves from Elnes, with three others, were brought into the Souvenir Cemetery after the Armistice. There are now over 3,000, 1914-18 and nearly 450, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site. Special Memorial headstones are erected to 23 men of the Chinese Labour Corps whose graves could not be exactly located and an airman of the Royal Air Force, buried at the time in Merckeghem churchyard, whose grave is now lost. The British portion of the Cemetery covers an area of about 5,541 square metres.

Information supplied by the war graves commission.