posted by Steffen » Sat 11. Aug 2012, 21:32
edited by wittyhawk » Fri 24. Oct 2014, 20:04
LA Number:
Topic Link:
(0 Posts)
Version history:
To the history
Print preview

General Information

Military Branch:
Royal Air Force (United Kingdom) 
Serial Number:
Bomber Command 
No. 582 Squadron RAF 
Airborne 16:36 on 23 Feb 1945 from Little Staughton as Master Bomber to bomb a target in Pforzheim. Sustained very severe damage over the target from night-fighters. Exercising skilful airmanship and perseverance, Capt Swales regained the allied lines and baled out his crew. Before he could make his own escape, the Lancaster hit high tension wires and crashed 3 km SSE of Denain, S of Valenciennes. Capt Swales was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, gazetted 24 Apr 1945, while F/S Bennington\'s DFM was gazetted 20 Jul 1945. P/O Wheaton was flying as Second Navigator. Capt Swales is buried at Leopoldsburg War Cemetery, Belgium. It is suggested that Hptm Gerhard Friedrich of II./NJG 1 may have fired the shots that crippled this Lancaster.

Cpt E.Swales VC DFC 6101V SAAF (Pilot) killed
F/S G.W.Bennington DFM (Flt Engr) safe
S/L D.P.D.Archer DSO DFC (Navigator) safe
P/O R.A.Wheaton RAAF (Naviagtor) safe
F/L C.Dodson DSO DFC (Bomb Aimer) safe
P/O Albert Vivian Goodacre DFC 432150 RAAF (WOp AG) safe
F/S B.Leach (MidUp AG) safe
P/O N.Bourne RCAF (Rear AG) safe


Serial range PA964 - PD196 This aircraft was one of 800 Lancasters ordered from A.V.Roe (Chadderton) Apr 1943 of which 756 were delivered as 255 Mk.Is, 500 Mk.II1s and one Lancastrian between May 1944 and Mar 1945 mainly from Chadderton with 87 from Yeadon. The Mk.IIIs had Merlin 38 engines initially installed except for the late production models with Merlin 224 engines. PB538 was delivered to 635 Sqdn Sep44, transferring to 582 Sqdn on an indetermined date. No operational history. No record of total hours.

Chorley, W R. (1999). RAF Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War, Vol 6 – 1945. Midland Publishing. ISBN: 090459792X

Citation for the award of a posthumous VC to Captain E.Swales DFC SAAF, gazetted 24 Apr 1945:

"Captain Swales was master bomber of a force of aircraft which attacked Pforzheim on the night of February 23rd, 1945. As master bomber, he had the task of locating the target area with precision and of giving aiming instructions to the main force of bombers following in his wake. Soon after he had reached the target area he was engaged by an enemy fighter and one of his engines was put out of action. His rear guns failed. His crippled aircraft was an easy prey to further attacks. Unperturbed, he carried on with his allotted task, clearly and precisely he issued aiming instructions to the main force. Meanwhile the enemy fighter closed the range and fired again. A second engine of Captain Swales aircraft was put out of action. Almost defenceless, he stayed over the target area issuing his aiming instructions until he was satisfied that the attack had achieved its purpose. It is now known that the attack was one of the most concentrated and successful of the war. Captain Swales did not, however, regard his mission as completed. His aircraft was damaged. Its speed had been so much reduced that it could only with difficulty be kept in the air. The blind-flying instruments were no longer working. Determined at all costs to prevent his aircraft and crew from falling into enemy hands, he set course for home. After an hour he flew into thin-layered cloud. He kept his course by skilful flying between the layers, but later heavy cloud and turbulent air conditions were met. The aircraft, by now over friendly territory, became more and more difficult to control, it was losing height steadily. Realising that the situation was desperate Captain Swales ordered his crew to bale out. Time was very short and it required all his exertions to keep the aircraft steady while each of his crew moved in turn to the escape hatch and parachuted to safety. Hardly had the last crew-member jumped when the aircraft plunged to earth. Captain Swales was found dead at the controls. Intrepid in the attack, courageous in the face of danger, he did his duty to the last, giving his life that his comrades might live."
Show less
Start Airport:
Little Staughton 
Loss Location:
Monchaux-sur-Écaillon France
ground or obstacle contact 
Shot by:
Luftwaffe Casualty-No.:
Former / Ehemaliger Website lostbombers.co.uk
Show less
ID Rank Name Position Destiny Date of birth Personal ID Burial Place
1 Major Edwin Essery Swales VC DFC SAAF Pilot killed 0000-00-00 6101V LEOPOLDSBURG WAR CEMETERY, 8. C. 5.
2 Flight Sergeant G W Bennington DFM Flight Engineer returned 0000-00-00
3 Squadron Leader D P D Archer DSO DFC Navigator returned 0000-00-00
4 Pilot Officer R A Wheaton RAAF Navigator returned 0000-00-00
5 Flight Lieutenant C Dodson DSO DFC Bomb Aimer returned 0000-00-00
6 Pilot Officer A V Goodacre RAAF WOp AG returned 0000-00-00
7 Flight Sergeant B Leach Mid Upper Gunner returned 0000-00-00
8 Pilot Officer N Bourne RCAF Rear Gunner returned 0000-00-00


Luftwaffe (Germany)
US Army Air Force (USA)
Royal Air Force (United Kingdom)
Armée de l’Air (France)
Regia Aeronautica (Italy)
Wapen der Militaire Luchtvaart (Netherlands)
Forces Aériennes Françaises Libres (France)
Marine Luchtvaartdienst (Netherlands)
Aviation Militaire (Belgium)
Royal Romanian Forces Air Arm (Romania)
Union Defence Force (South Africa)
Polish Armed Forces (Poland)
Finnish Defence Force (Finland)
Royal Hellenic Air Force (Greece)
Devanāgarī (India)
Flygvapnet (Sweden)
Zhōnghuá Mínguó Kōngjūn (China)
US Navy (USA)
Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana (Italy)
Aeronautica Cobelligerante (Italy)