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Mission: Leipzig, Germany.

Date: 19/20
th February 1944

Time: 0300 hours.

Unit: No.61 Squadron.

Type: Avro Lancaster I

Serial: HK538

Code: Q-RF

Base: Coningsby, Lincolnshire.

Location: Lessien, Germany.

Pilot: F/O. Hubert Wallis. 155510 R.A.F.V.R. Age 22 - Killed.

Fl/Eng: F/Sgt. T. F. Preston. 965739 - Baled out and captured POW.

Nav: W/O. L. E. Tozer. 655959 - Baled out and captured POW.

Air/Bmr: F/Sgt. Albert Alfred Pardoe. 1316665 R.A.F.V.R. Age 22 - Killed.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/Sgt. Kenneth Sims. 1577750 R.A.F.V.R. Age 21 - Killed.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. David John Brewer.1874022 R.A.F.V.R. Age18 - Killed.

Air/Gnr: P/O. Eric Bremner. 426297 R.A.A.F. Age 21 - Killed.


This aircraft was shot down en-route to the target by German night fighters, possibly that claimed by either Oblt. Hans Leickhardt of 2./NJG5 who claimed a victory NE of Gifhorn at 5,800 mts. Time: 02.57. Or Halifax at 02.58 claimed by Oblt. Werner Hopf of Stab IV./NJG5 W of Gifhorn at 5.700 mts.

Detailed below is the crash investigation findings made by F/Lt. A. M Dixon reported on 17th May 1946;

"I visited Lessien (Map Ref:M53 Y0545) and from the villagers ascertained that the Lancaster in question crashed at about 0300 hours on February 20th 1944.There is little to be seen now of the wreckage but a large crater a quarter of a mile SE of the cross-roads shown on sketch marks (no sketch with report) the possition of the jettisoned bombs. Bits of metal and fabric lie scattered in a clump of trees 100 yards nearer the cross-roads. The pilot’s body was found still in the machine which had crashed 130 yards near the crater. The aircraft had been attacked by night-fighters on the way to the target.

From the position of the bodies when found, it would appear that all of the crew had jumped except the pilot, who apparently crash landed the plane. Two of the crew made a safe descent, three others jumped at too low an altitude for the parachutes to open, whilst another was unable to jump clear and according to eye-witnesses the parachute became entangled with the aircraft.

The bodies were placed in coffins and buried on February 22nd 1944. No Military honours or Christian burial was accorded by the Luftwaffe burial party. (Statement by Heinrich Gades - Buergermeister at time of crash), The body of an officer bearing an identification disc with number 155510 was interred in Grave No.1. A second body identified as P/O Bremner 426247 was placed in Grave No.2.

The three unknown members of the crew that I exhumed and established positive identification of them all. All wore their brevets & chevrons. In addition, Sgt. Brewer's name and number was still legible on his shirt collar.

A small Iron Cross over the grave is marked "5 Unkown RAF KIA Feb 1944". A rectangular cement curb surrounds the communal grave which is overlaid with small grey stones. In the centre of the grave, small white stones are arranged in the form of a cross"

(1) Hubert Wallis
The ill-fated pilot, Hubert Wallis (A.R.Society.)

(2) Lanc HK538 crash site
Crash site located by Ruediger & Ricardo Kaufmann 2005 (A.R.S photo)

(3) DSCI0197
Founder A. R. S. members David King & Melvin Brownless (centre)
locate the crash site in the company of the current landowner (right) and young Ricardo Kaufmann (left).

Some small parts found at the crash site (A.R.S photo)

Bomb fragments found during our visit held in the King collection (A.R.S photo)

(7) Hanover War Cemetery
Hanover War Cemetery, Germany (Archive)

Burial details: Those who lost their lives now rest at the Hanover War Cemetery, Germany.

F/O. Hubert Wallis. Grave Reference 8. G. 7.
Son of Robert William Wallis, and of Alice Wallis, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

F/Sgt. Albert Alfred Pardoe. Grave Reference 8. G. 9.
Son of Albert and Florence Emily Pardoe, of Clydach, Glamorgan; husband of Ann Pardoe.

F/Sgt. Kenneth Sims. Grave Reference8. G. 10.
Son of Francis H. E. and Jessie Sims, of Leigh, Staffordshire.

Sgt. David John Brewer. Grave Reference 8. G. 11.
Son of James and Ellen Brewer, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

P/O. Eric Bremner. Grave Reference 8. G. 8.
Son of David John and Mary Smeaton Bremner, of Enoggera, Queensland, Australia.

Researched by Melvin Brownless and David King, with thanks to Ruediger & Ricardo Kaufmann. (2005).

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.