Tempsford Hudson FK797

Royal Air Force Badge

Location: Tempsford, Bedfordshire, 3rd/4th March 1945

F/O Ragan - Pilot
F/O Bradley - Navigator
W/O Gray - Wireless Operator
F/Sgt Stead - Rear Gunner

Lockheed Hudson.

According to the Aircraft lost on Allied Force’s Special Duty Operations & Associated Roll of Honour on page 491, Hudson IIIA FK797 MA-M took off from Tempsford at 11.10 hrs on Operation WALNUT to Germany. The aircraft was hit by 20mm canon fire from a JU88 night fighter shortly after take off near Cambridge. The elevators, flaps & exhausts were hit. The aircraft returned to the airfield with elevators jammed. The aircraft was repairable but did not fly with the squadron again. F/Sgt Stead was wounded in the leg by canon fire.

A visitor to the site, Ian Hunt, has kindly provided me with an image of the 161 Squadron Operation Record which indicates the aircraft took off at 00:10 on the 3rd March, and returned to Tempsford after a one-hour flight at 01:10, having been "shot up" by the intruder JU 88 over Cambridge; the German intrusion operation was code-named "Gisela". It confirms Flight Sgt. Stead's injuries. Many thanks!

Ian and his friends on the RAF Commands web-site have more information about this event. FK797 was hit by six 20 mm cannon shells from the forward "upward pointing" guns in the nose of the JU88, a deliberate tactic of attacking enemy aircraft from below and behind. Ian seems to have narrowed down the most likely location of the attack as around 00:20 on the 4th March somewhere between Cambridge and Feltwell.