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Mission: Leipzig, Germany.

Date: 20
th February 1944

Time: 02.35 hours.

Unit: No.10 Squadron R.A.F.

Type: Handley Page Halifax II

Serial No.LW324

Code: ZA - J

Location: In the meadow of the Kautz Family, E of Lessien, Germany.

F/Sgt Jack L. Walker (Johnny).

Sgt Robert McArthur.

Sgt T. Stewart (Blackie).

Sgt J. Thorpe.

Sgt D.H. Thomas (Taffy).

Sgt Peter Croal.

Sgt Harry Hopkinson.


Shot down by Oblt. Hans Leickhardt in a Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4 of 2./NJG5. Crew were ordered to bale out, all of whom safely evacuated the stricken bomber. They were all taken POW where they remained until the end of the war. The plane found its final resting place near Wesendorf. The crew were captured next morning unharmed and taken in captivity. Personal information from John Walker, the son of Jack Walker his father came to the end of the war in the following POW camps;

Stalag Luft VI at Heydekrug; Stalag 357 Thorn; Stalag 357 at Fallingbostel , Stalag Luft III at Sagan, Stalag IIIA at Luckenwalde.

Jack Walker was after the war until 1977, a pilot in the R.A.F. and the entire crew still met for many years with him before he died in 2004.

Halifax II’s of No.10 Squadron pictured in flight (IWM)

(2) Crew of Halifax LW324
Top: Jack Thorpe, Harry Hopkinson, Eddy Lampen, Blackie Stewart. Bottom: Bob McArthur, Jack 'Johnny' Walker, Peter Croal.(Walker)

Recollections of John Walker;

D. Thomas isn't in the photo....the photo I put up is the 'normal' crew

The 'normal' m/u was ill on the night of the raid and went AWOL after because he was so distraught and I am led to believe (although nobody knows for sure) that he committed suicide some time later.

As far as I am aware, the crew never met up in their entirety after the war. Sadly my Dad and I never asked my Grandfather any of the questions we wanted to before he died in 2004. He suffered a massive stroke in 1997 and was left mute as a result, so we have many unanswered questions about a lot of things like when he got shot down.

The last time any members of the crew met was when Bob McArthur and Jack Thorpe came to visit my Grandfather after he had had his stroke in Oxford where he lived. All three of them (the last survivors) died very close together, my Grandfather the last of the three. We have at home a picture of some of the crew together by the 10 Squadron memorial at Melbourne where they were stationed.

So, another year has passed since my Grandfather got shot down (68 years now) and it has only taken me a year to speak to Dad and find out some more details! Having spoken to Dad, he thinks it was actually Blackie Stewart who committed suicide. Eddie Lampen was devastated that his normal crew went missing on the raid and was understandably very depressed about the whole situation. He did not want to fly, but was told that if he did not, he would be labelled as a coward and reluctantly continued his flying duties.

(3) Lessien_Halifax_Walker
Crash site of “Johnny” Walker’s Halifax to the right of field in small wooded area. (Brownless)

(4) Lessien_Halifax_Walker_4
The old meadow now has a plantation of trees (Brownless)

(5) Lessien_Halifax_Walker_Fund2
Surviving weather worn relics still at the crash site (Brownless)

This small brass connector returned home from Lessien. (King)

Burial detail: None – Crew survived.

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless, David King, Rüdiger Kaufmann, with special thanks to John Walker for use of family photos. Updated January 2014.
The British Library is preserving this site for the future in the UK Web Archive at All Aircrew Remembered on our Remembrance pages, are therefor not just remembered here, but also subsequently remembered and recorded as part of our nation’s history
and heritage at The British Library.