|Crew||Sergeant James William Ralph|
|Service Number||1389591 – 171396 RAFVR|
|Squadrons||No.623 Squadron – No.115 Squadron|
|Known Movements||No.1651 Con.Unit 15.10.1043 (Out)|
|No.623 Squadron 15.10.1943 (in)|
|No.1678 Con.Unit 06.12.1943 (in) 26.12.1943 (Out)|
|No.115 Squadron 26.12.1943 (In)|
|Promotions||Promoted A/P/O 01.02.1944|
No.623 Squadron RAF Downham Market (Short Stirling Mk.III)
Returned early GEE U/S.
Duty Carried Out.
|Mining (La Rochelle)|
Gee set defective but planted mines successfully. Landed at RAF Tangmere on return.
Sgt Ralph reported seeing lots of fires below the cloud by the time he arrived over the target. The centre of the glow was through the clouds. Icing conditions made it difficult to maintain height and speed and as a result was late over the target. Sky markers were Red TI’s.
Operations flown with No.115 Squadron RAF Witchford (Avro Lancaster Mk.II)
|Squadron Leader C H Baigent RNZAF|
Identified target by means of target markers the centre of which he dropped his bombs from 21,000ft. Attack appeared to be fairly well concentrated and a large areas appeared to be burning on leaving the target .
Identified target by means of sky markers on which dropped his bombs from 20,000ft. Glow of fires seen through cloud. Photo attempted.
Identified target by means of target markers the centre of which he dropped his bombs from 20,000ft. Incendiaries fires were seen through break in cloud. Well concentrated attack.
Identified target by means of target markers and bombed red markers from a height of 20,000ft. Wide spread fires seen.
The crew departed RAF Witchford at 17.28hrs. Homeward bound the crew were attacked and shot down by Oblt Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer of 12.NJG1 at 23.19hrs (German) time. The Lancaster crashed into the Ijsselmeer 2 kms south of Hoorn, it was Oblt Schnaufer 46 victory and 2nd that night. He would claim three victories in total on this night including a fellow No.3 Group Lancaster of No.622 Squadron. Five of the crew were originals from 623 Squadron, four were killed including the pilot F/Sgt Ralph. It is reported that he did not have his parachute (Loss Card). There were two survivors, Sgt Johnson, navigator was blown out the aircraft and F/Sgt J Tomlin RCAF, bomb aimer, both landed in the water and were quickly recovered. Sergeant Johnson was an original member of the crew. The body of Sgt J Ratcliffe and Sgt Young were buried in the Hoorn General Cemetery on February 17th 1944. The remaining crew are recorded on the panels of the Runnymede Memorial.