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Commonwealth War Graves Lanklaar

The old municipal cemetery in Lanklaar, Municipal Dilsen-Stokkem, contains nine Commonwealth War Graves. These are the graves of two Lancaster bombers crews who crashed on the same day.

Flying Officer Neil Joseph Smith, 415556, Royal Australian Air Force, age 22.
Sergeant (Flt. Engr.) John Douglas Barber, 1589519, age 19, RAF 44Sqdn.
Sergeant (Air Gnr.) David Blackie, 2205827, age 29, RAF 44Sqdn.
Sergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Laurence Herbert Bozier, 1463868, RAF 44Sqdn.
Sergeant (Air Gnr.) Raymond William Brett, 1807476, RAF 44Sqdn.
Flying Officer (Nav.) Thomas Sawers Calder, 142923, RAF 44Sqdn.
Flight Sergeant (Air Bomber) Michael William Beevor Steele, 1612783.

On June 21, 1944 at 2258 departed from Dunholme Lodge airfield in England, the Lancaster ND552 with the mission: a bombing raid on the synthetic oil plant at Wesseling (just South of Cologne) in Germany. The aircraft was part of a formation of 133 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos. 37 aircraft were lost during this raid, a very high loss rate, one of the highest during the war. Also Lancaster ND552 was lost after an attack by German night fighters, it crashed in a Coal Mines site near Lanklaar. All (mentioned above) crew members lost their lives, they are all buried in this cemetery.

Flight Sergeant (Air Bomber) John Campbell Willson, R/145481, Royal Canadian Air Force, RAF 44Sqdn, age 20.
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Neville John Wingrove Scholtz, 160180, age 20, RAF 44Sqdn.

Like the aforementioned Lancaster, Lancaster LM434 departed from Dunholme Lodge airfield in England on June 21, 1944, at 2255, just three minutes earlier as Lancaster ND552. The aircraft was shot down by the German night-fighter Major Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer and crashed in a Coal Mines site near Lanklaar. Two of the crew members died in the crash, they are buried in this cemetery. Of the remaining four crew members, four were taken prisoner of war by the Germans and one managed to escape.

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  • Text:
  • Photos: Luc van Waeyenberge