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RAF aircraft's crash sites in Province of West-Vlaanderen:
Langemark

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Last update: 31/07/21

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Elegy to
the Heroes of Silence


* To the 463 Squadron *
* To the crew of LL882-JO-J *
* To the monument erected in remembrance *
* Cemetery where rest the crew *

Crash site of Lancaster LL882-JO-J
11/05/1944

aircraft
cest raf squadron
Unit: 463 Squadron
Aircraft: Lancaster
Code: LL882-JO-J
Base: Waddington
Mission: Lille
Crew officer: Sqd Leader Powell Mervyn
Incident: Shot down by a German fighter

Location: (Prov. West-Vlanderen)

crash

Facts

Lancaster LL882 callsign JO-J took off from RAF Waddington at 2200 hours on the night of 10/11th May 1944 to bomb the marshalling yards at Lille, France. Bomb load 1 x 4000lb and 16 x 500lb bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Fourteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and three of these including LL882 / JO-J failed to return.
Post war it was established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter, flown by Lt Hans J. Schmitz of Jagdscwhader 4N. JG1. It was attacked from below by Schmitz's Messerschmitt Bf 110G night fighter equipped with upward firing cannon, nicknamed 'schrage musik" by the Germans. This allowed the fighter to get into the Lancaster's blind spot and open fire with devastating effect. The Lancaster exploded mid-air and fell in pieces into a waterlogged clay pit at the Dumoulin brickworks some 2kms west of Langemark (West-Vlaanderen) and about 8kms north of Ieper (Ypres). Schmitz was later killed in action in September 1944.
The other losses on this night appear to have been similarly lethal with just one survivor from the total of 12 aircraft lost from No. 5 Group including the six RAAF aircraft.
All the crew of JO-J are buried in the Wevelgem Communal Cemetery which is located about 22kms east of Ieper a town centre on the Meenseweg NB connecting Ieper to Menin, Wevelgem and Kortrijk, Belgium. Exactly why they were buried so far away is unknown.

Sources:

The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)
Aircrew Remembered
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