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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 159513
Last updated: 1 November 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic LANC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Avro Lancaster Mk I
Owner/operator:153 Squadron Royal Air Force (153 Sqn RAF)
Registration: PB872
C/n / msn: P4-X
Fatalities:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Roίbach/Asch [now Hranice, Cheb, Czech Republic] -   Czech Republic
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire
Lancaster B.M.k1 PB872 "P4-X" of 153 Sqn. RAF. Took off from RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire at 16:40. Missing/failed to return on mission to Chemnitz. Claimed shot down by a Me 110 night fighter of 1/NJG.5 Luftwaffe, and came down at Rossbach, Bohemia, Germany (at approximate coordinates 50°18′16.52″N 12°10′32.78″E). All 7 crew KIA:

William Bailey – pilot {20}
Reg Adlam – navigator {21}
Edward Morris – air bomber {22}
James Howard – flight engineer {27}
Jack Dixon – wireless operator {22}
Bill Meechan – mid upper gunner {19}
Walter Simpson – rear gunner {18}

In all probability it had become separated from the main bomber stream in the dark, probably without even knowing it, perhaps due to the higher than forecast winds affecting navigational calculations by this relatively inexperienced crew.

Once alone and isolated, it would have become an obvious and easy target for night fighter attention, easily directed and guided in by their radar stations. At approximately 22:30 local time in Rossbach, Bohemia, that night the air raid sirens were activated and soon afterwards the aircraft appeared. Witnesses remember the sound of tortured engines screaming and the aircraft in a slow descending curve, trailing flame from one wing and just missing the town before there was an explosion in the burning wing - probably the fuel tank - and the aircraft crashed in a meadow outside of town.

The Fire Brigade and many local people hurried through the woods but nothing could be done and there were no survivors. The following day the crew were officially identified and buried in the town cemetery next to the church in a corner of the grounds next to some Russian prisoners of war. The details of the crash were recorded in the town police reports.

One member of the crew had attempted to bail out but the altitude was too low for the parachute to open. The other crew members were still in the aircraft when it crashed, the tail-gunner still strapped in his turret, two others had managed to put on their parachutes but had not managed to exit.

NOTE: Rossbach was at the time in the German Reichsgau Sudetenland, Landkreis Asch (belonged to Nazi German Reich since the Munich Agreement, 1938). After VE-Day (8 May 1945) the town and the area around again became part of Czechoslovakia. It was renamed Hranice. After the partition of Slovakia from the Czech Republic on 1 January 1993, it became part of the Czech Republic.


1. Air-Britain Royal Air Force Aircraft PA100-RZ999

Revision history:

29-Aug-2013 04:20 JINX Added
29-Dec-2014 03:06 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
29-Dec-2014 18:08 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
29-Dec-2014 18:08 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
06-Jun-2015 10:18 SIS07 Updated [Time, Operator, Departure airport]
12-Nov-2015 11:46 gerard57 Updated [Location, Country]
29-May-2016 16:31 Red Dragon Updated [Cn, Destination airport]
01-Jul-2018 07:19 ehren69 Updated [Location, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
01-Jul-2018 07:47 ehren69 Updated [Narrative]

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