The History of 625 Squadron Losses
625 Squadron Lancaster III PB154 F/O. Edward Phipps Twynam

Operation: Bochum

Date: November 4/5, 1944

Unit: No. 625 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: PB154

Code: CF-Y

Base: Kelstern

Location: Bochum, Germany. Blew up over the target following a night fighter attack.

Pilot: F/O Edward ‘Ted’ Phipps Twynam A422065 RAAF Age 27 Killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt Basil Harry Petch 1592800 RAFVR Age 22 Killed (2)

Nav: F/Sgt David John Lincoln 1399207 RAFVR Age 21 Killed (3)

Air/Bmr: F/O Geoffrey William Brown A426035 RAAF Age 21 Killed (4)

W/Op/Gnr: F/Sgt Derick Bousfield 1237935 RAFVR Age 20 Killed (5)

Air/Gnr: Sgt Archibald ‘Archie’ West 2218652 RAFVR Age ? Killed (6)

Air/Gnr: Sgt Jack Jones 1647936 RAFVR Age 30 Killed (7)


P/O Ted Twynam and his crew were posted to RAF Kelstern from 11 Base, on July 29, 1944, keen and primed to start their tour of operations. They would have just over a week to absorb and adjust to the grim reality of life on an operational bomber base. Having completed their wills on enlistment, one of the first tasks assigned was to compose their last letter home in the event that they failed to return—a statistical reality. This was brought into acute focus when F/O A. Jobson and his crew failed to return from the August 3/4 Trossy-St. Maximim raid. They managed to fit in a 3.4 hour familiarization flight on August 6, for local landmarks and the chilling proximity of Binbrook and Ludford Magna airfields with their circuits separated by five miles. A perfect setup for a midair collision with fatigued pilots returning in the dark, distracted by low fuel reserves and wounded crew members.

F/O Twynam’s Crew with aircraft tractor. l to r: F/Sgt Bousfield (sparks on his arm), ground crew Driver, F/Sgt Lincoln, F/O Brown, Sgt Petch, Sgt West and Sgt Jones. (Courtesy of the Twynam and West Collections)

Photo Analysis of this photo and the following series of the crew, analyzed by John Naylor with input from Stephen Thorn and Tony West:

After extensive back and forth with faces and photos, I have come to the conclusion that the Tractor Photo was taken by F/O Twynam. Tonys' photo of the four under the nose, is, I feel correct, and this has helped me re-arrange the Tractor photo. Having looked at them again and again, and with the help of your last two photos, I am sure that we now have the proper names appropriate to each one.

These pictures were all taken in the same time frame. The tractor picture was taken first. (The covers are all on the turrets and cockpit.)

The nose picture second, as the gantry is now in place, to remove the covers.

Preflight Maintenance, PB150, CF-V.

Left: Under the nose, l to r: Sgt West, Sgt Jones, F/O Brown and Sgt Petch. (Courtesy of the Twynam and West Collections)

The dispersal picture last, as the guns are now in place and the covers removed, along with the gantry. JN

PB150, CF-V, Crew and Ground Crew.

Above L-R: Front row- F/Sgt Bousfield, Sgt Petch, F/O Twynam, Unknown.

Rear row- F/O Brown, Sgt Jones, F/Sgt Lincoln, Sgt West, Unknown, (Courtesy of the Twynam and West Collections.

The apprehension and waiting game ended on August 7, when P/O Twynam and his crew observed their names on the Battle Order for an attack on Fontenoy le Marmion, in the Normandy battle area. This would be his ‘second dickey’ op with P/O A.S. Phillips as Captain with his regular navigator and rear gunner:

  1. 7.8.44 Lanc I LL956 S Target. Fontenoy le Marmion. Target bombed at 2320 hrs from a height of 8000 feet.

P/O A.S. Phillips Captain
P/O E.P. Twynam 2nd Pilot
Sgt B.H. Petch F/Eng
F/O G.W. Brown A/Bomber
F/Sgt B.W. Rushall Nav
Sgt D. Bousfield WOP/Air
Sgt J. Jones M/U/G
Sgt D.S. Mann R/Gunner

In short order P/O Twynam and his crew were exposed to the crucible of war as they were detailed to attack a variety of targets in support of the invading ground forces, gaining a foothold and beginning their advance eastward toward Germany. This involved day and night attacks of short to moderate duration (3-4 hours) interspersed with longer night raids into the heart of Germany of moderate to long duration (5-9 hrs), invariably heavily defended with a higher loss rate.

2. 10.8.44 Lanc III PB154 Y P/O Twynam and crew Target. Ouef en Ternois (flying bomb site). Day raid, uneventful.

3. 11.8.44 Lanc III PD357 X P/O Twynam and crew Target. Douai (railway marshalling yards). Day raid, uneventful.

4. 14.8.44 Lanc I LM103 N P/O Twynan and crew Target. Fontaine le Pin (Normandy battle area). Day raid, uneventful for the crew. However this was not the case for the 3rd Canadian Division:

805 aircraft—to attack 7 German troop positions facing the 3rd Canadian Division, which was advancing on Falaise.

A careful plan was prepared with Oboe and visual marking, and with a Master Bomber and a deputy at each of the 7 targets. Most of the bombing was accurate and effective but, about half way through the raids, some aircraft started to bomb a large quarry in which parts of the 12th Canadian Field Regiment were positioned. This mistake may have been caused by the yellow identification flares which were being ignited by the Canadians. It was unfortunate that the target indicators being used by the Pathfinders were also yellow. Bomber Command crews claimed that the Canadians used the yellow flares before any bombs fell in the quarry; the history of the Canadian units says that the bombs fell first. The Master Bombers tried hard to stop further crews bombing in the wrong area but approximately 70 aircraft bombed the quarry and other nearby Allied positions over a 70-minute period. The Canadians took shelter in their slit trenches and most emerged unscathed though shaken, but 13 men were killed and 53 injured and a large number of vehicles and guns were hit.

This was believed to have been the first occasion on which Bomber Command aircraft had hit friendly troops during the Battle of Normandy. The Canadian artillery regiment was machine-gunned by R.A.F. Spitfires and U.S.A.A.F. Mustangs the following day!

5. 15.8.44 Lanc I LM103 N P/O Twynam and crew Target. Volkel (Holland drome) Day raid, uneventful.

6. 18.8.44 Lanc III PB150 V P/O Twynam and crew Target. Vincley. Night raid, uneventful.

7. 26.8.44 Lanc III LM691 O P/O Twynam and crew Target. Kiel. Night raid, uneventful.

8. 28.8.44 Lanc III PD397 X P/O Twynam and crew Target. Vincley, flying bomb sites. Night raid, uneventful.

9. 29.8.44 Lanc III PD397 X P/O Twynam and crew Target. Stettin via Sweden, 9.05 hours. Night raid, uneventful.

10. 31.8.44 Lanc III PD297 X P/O Twynam and crew Target. Raimbert, V-2 rocket stores. Day raid, uneventful.

11. 6.9.44 Lanc I LM103 N P/O Twynam and crew Target. Le Havre. Night raid, uneventful.

12. 8.9.44 Lanc III LM691 O P/O Twynam and crew Target. Le Havre. Day raid. Target not bombed on instructions from the Master Bomber.* Weather was bad with a low cloud base, only 109 of 333 a/c bombed.

13. 10.9.44 Lanc III LM691 O P/O Twynam and crew. Target. Le Havre. Night raid, uneventful.

14. 12.9.44 Lanc III PB150 V P/O Twynam and crew. Target. Frankfurt. Night raid, uneventful.

15. 16.9.44 Lanc III PB150 V P/O Twynam and crew with F/O P.L.S. Hathaway ‘spare bod’ Nav. Target. Rheine Salzbergen. Night raid, uneventful.

16. 27.9.44 Lanc III PB150 V F/O Twynam and crew Target. Calais, attacks on various German positions. Day raid, uneventful.

17. 28.9.44 Lanc III PB531 H F/O Twynam and crew Target. Calais. Target not bombed on instructions from Master Bomber.* 198 (from 301) aircraft bombed at Cap Gris- Nez due to worsening cloud conditions. M.B. cancelled the raid.

18. 3.10.44 Lanc III PB150 V F/O Twynam and crew Target. West Kapelle, sea wall breached and flooded Dutch Island of Walcheren. Day raid, uneventful.

19. 5.10.44 Lanc III PB150 V F/O Twynam and crew Target. Saarbrücken, good prang, fires still burning 24 hrs later. Landed at Coltishall. Night raid.

20. 7.10.44 Lanc III PB150 V F/O Twynam and crew Target. Emmerlich, Inland port on Rhine in support of army. Target obliterated. Day raid, uneventful.

21. 12.10.44 Lanc III PB150 V F/O Twynam and crew Target. Frederick Hendrick (ancient fort in Holland). Day raid, uneventful.

22. 14.10.44 Lanc III PB150 V F/O Twynam and crew* Target. Duisburg (Operation Hurricane). Day raid only of this one and only double-header in 24 hours, to the same target. Tragically, LL956 skippered by F/O Lloyd Hannah with a mixed crew of P/O 'Basha’ Paige on their ‘second dickey’ trip, would crash in flames six minutes after departing Kelstern. F/O Hannah and F/Sgt Lloyd Bennett, bomb aimer, from P/O Paige’s crew would lose their lives. The remaining six survived the low level bale out. More details here.

*This would be a ‘second dickey’ op for F/O Cochran and five of his crew. F/O Twynam would have the protection and guidance of his trusted rear gunner and navigator:

F/O E.P. Twynam PILOT
F/O C.K Cochran 2nd Pilot
Sgt T. Ritchie F/E
Sgt B. Murphy B/A
F/Sgt D.J. Lincoln NAV
W/O R.A. Spencer WOP/AIR
Sgt B.A. Mead M.U. GUNNER

23. 19.10.44 Lanc III PB150 V F/O Twynam and crew Target. Stuttgart, target obscured by cloud. Bombed using Wanganuie (Pathfinder Marker Flares). Night raid, uneventful.

24. 23.10.44 Lanc III PB150 V F/O Twynam and crew Target. Essen. Bad weather, icing in front to 24,000 ft. Bombed. Night raid.

1,055 aircraft participated in this raid. Eight were lost for a rate of .8%. 625 Squadron would pay dearly with three of its aircraft failing to return, its seventh and final triple loss raid of the war. Impossible to comprehend the statistical odds of this happening to one squadron!

25. 25.10.44 Lanc III NF993 T F/O Twynam and crew Target. Essen, heavy flak, severe. Night raid.

26. 29.10.44 Lanc III PB150 V F/O Twynam and crew Target. Domburg. Task abandoned as ordered by Master Bomber. Over target at 13.04 hours at a height of 8,000 feet.*

27. 30.10.44 Lanc III PB150 V F/O Twynam and crew Target. Cologne, sky markers. Night raid, uneventful.

28. 31.10.44 Lanc III PB150 V F/O Twynam and crew Target. Cologne, sky markers, Night raid, uneventful.

29. 2.11.44 Lanc III PB150 V F/O Twynam and crew Target. Düsseldorf. Night raid, uneventful.

30. 4.11.44 Lanc III PB154 Y F/O Twynam and crew Up 1715 Down — Target. Bochum - No news after take off - Failed to return.

Note 1: * Indicates three ops, cancelled by the M.B. that would count towards the thirty required to complete a tour of operations.

Note 2: Lancaster PB150, CF-V, was a talisman aircraft in the Squadron, the only one to complete 100 ops (including Operation Manna). For fourteen missions PB150 would be their trusty mount.

Note 3: Of the above eleven Lancs recorded in the Squadron ORB, two never existed and a third operated, and was lost with another squadron. PD357 never rolled off the production line and this may be a clerical error for PD375 which operated with the Squadron, code CF-R, FTR Chemnitz, 5/6.3.45. Are details here.

PD297 never existed and PD397 operated with No. 166 Sqn., Missing Cologne, 24/25.12.44.

One of our astute co-authors also discovered that the ORB credited P/O Twynam with a raid that he most likely did not participate in: 17.9.44 to Elkenhorst. He is listed as the Pilot/Captain for a different crew and the service number does not match his. Additionally, this operation is not included in his Pilot’s Log Book. Most likely another clerical glitch.


4.11.44 OPERATIONS. 25 aircraft were detailed to attack BOCHUM at the eastern end of the RUHR. The weather on the outward journey was poor, but improved later, and was very good reaching the target area. The P.F.F. marking was excellent. Many night fighters were seen whilst over the target, coupled with flak opposition, but the attack was pressed home with very good results. A heavy bomb load was delivered, and many explosions were observed in the target area. One of our aircraft “H2” - Captain and Pilot - F/L W.J. STEVENS D.F.M. was attacked by two jet propelled aircraft, and the encounter lasted for seven minutes, ending with the loss of, the jet propelled aircraft, one of them disintegrating. One of our aircraft failed to return from this Operation.


Theo Boiten has kindly shared with us, from the current edition of the Nachtjagd Combat Archives, the claimants for this loss:

Here's what I have for PB154:

Hptm. Heinz Rökker: 39 2./NJG2 Lancaster Recklinghausen-Bochum (KP): 5.000 m. 19.31 625 Sqn Lancaster PB154. Note: also claimed by Flak of 2. & 3./schw. Flak Abt. 134, 6./schw. Flak Abt. 524 and 6./schw. Flak Abt. 133 (‘Lancaster Grid Square LP 21 19.30-31 hrs’)

Unfortunately, we do not have access to the MRES investigation into this loss but it is apparent from information provided by the crew’s relatives that two Lancs crashed in close proximity, possibly on top of each other, making the task of identification impossible. Consequently, some members of the crews were buried jointly.

Loss Card for PB154. Courtesy of Roy Wilcock.


4-5 November 1944

This raid called for 749 bombers attacking the primary target, Bochum, 176 the secondary, Dortmund-Elms canal at Ladbergen and 43 Mosquitoes with a diversionary raid on Hannover. The plan was to have bombing completed and the stream on the homeward leg before the moon rose. However, a strong westerly wind and the failure of en route medium cloud coverage to materialize were just two factors contributing to a major Nachtjagd successes.

Despite a Mandrel screen and limited use of H2S radar by the Ladbergen force, Nachtjagd controllers were able to initiate a plot of this force off of Yarmouth and continued to do so for 90 km before making landfall on the Dutch coast. Consequently, the Germans had a long reaction time to position a strong Nachtjäger force to intercept the main bomber force before it reached the Ruhr.

10 Luftbeobachter (observer aircraft) were scrambled to establish contact and track the bomber stream. This enabled controllers to vector nine Gruppen into the stream—the heaviest reaction by the Nachtjagd for some weeks.

The bombers were tracked accurately onto the Dutch coast between the Hook of Holland and Haarlem. Two Gruppen were sent to Wesel and Arnhem-Deelen area to attempt an early approach-route interception. The first Tame Boars made contact with the outward bound stream at the Dutch coast. Over the Dutch-German border the bulk of the Nachtjäger were fed into the Bochum bomber stream. The air battle began over the approach to the Ruhr, with no cloud cover for the heavies to hide!

The Ladbergen force would suffer only three losses on the outbound route near the target. The majority of the Nachtjäger were diverted south in order to engage the Bochum force. The controllers correctly identified Bochum as the main objective at 19.17 hrs, five minutes before the marking began. On return the crews of this force reported twelve combats over the target, many with twin-engined fighters. The Nachtjäger attacks continued nonstop along the route departing the Ruhr. In this concentrated air battle the Nachtjagd claimed thirty-six kills. Using Schräge Musik armament in his usual mount, Ju88 G-6 4R+CK, Hptm Heinz Rökker claimed two Halifaxes and two Lancasters, between 19.31 and 20.06 hrs—a mere thirty-five minutes.


4/5 November 1944

749 aircraft - 384 Halifaxes, 336 Lancasters, 29 Mosquitoes - 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups.
23 Halifaxes and 5 Lancasters were lost; German night fighters caused most of the casualties. 346 (Free French) Squadron, based at Elvington, lost 5 out of 16 Halifaxes on the raid.

This was a particularly successful attack based upon standard Pathfinder marking techniques. Severe damage was caused to the centre of Bochum. More than 4,000 buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged; 980 Germans and 14 foreigners were killed. Bochum’s industrial areas were also severely damaged, particularly the important steelworks. This was the last major raid by Bomber Command on this target.


174 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitoes of 5 Group. 3 Lancasters lost.

The Germans had partly repaired the section of the canal north of Münster after the 5 Group raid in September, so this further attack was required. The banks of both branches of the canal were again breached and water drained off, leaving barges stranded and the canal unusable. A report from Speer to Hitler, dated 11 November 1944, was captured at the end of the war and described how the bombing of the canal was preventing smelting coke from the Ruhr mines from reaching 3 important steelworks - 2 near Brunswick and 1 at Osnabrück. In his post-war interrogation, Speer stated that these raids on the Dortmund - Ems Canal, together with attacks on the German rail system, produced more serious setbacks to the German war industry at this time than any other type of bombing.

Total effort for the night: 1,081 sorties, 31 aircraft (2.9 per cent) lost.
Bochum 3.7% and Dortmund - Ems 1.7% loss rates.


1. F/O Edward ‘Ted’ Phipps Twynam was born at Leura, NSW, Australia on 17 November, 1917.

He enlisted with the RAAF on 24 April, 1942. His log book records the progress of his pilot training:

E.F.T.S., 29 Course 5, Gypsy Moth DH82, 26/10/42, 8/11/42 Solo, 10/12/42 Final Test
Summary of Course N29, No. 5 E.F.T.S., Narromine, 15/12/42. “Generally sound, no outstanding faults.”

Flight 14 Service Flying Training School, Aylmer, Ontario, Canada.
3/3/43 Harvard, 22/3/43 Yale.
Finished flying with “C” Flight, 4 May 1943

Above: Pilot Trainees and Graduates, E.P. Twynam 3rd from right. (Courtesy of the Twynam and West Collections)

Above: E.P. Twynam Training Portrait. (Courtesy of the Twynam and West Collections)

Above: RAAF Pilot Candidates. (Courtesy of the Twynam and West Collections)

Taken from reverse signatures, some illegible (?)

Rear Row, 1-10, l to r: 1. Keith Betz, 2. J. Baisley (?), 3. L.S. Chapman, 4. Donald A. (?) Copland, 5. J. DeSalis (?), 6. D.A. Henrey (?), 7. A.W. Lawrence, 8. J. L. Lochnie, 9. P.J. McNulty, 10. W.E.J. Olley (?).

Center Row, 1-11, l to r: 1. A.C. Durand, 2. —, 3. Graham Tunnadine (Wales), 4. E. Phipps Twynam, 5. Denis K. Winfield (RAF), 6. D.J. Markerras, 7. —, 8. J.A. Allen, 9. R.J. Andrews, 10. —, 11. J.M. Burnett.

Front Row, 1-10, l to r: 1. Harold J. Alasve (?), 2. E.U. FitzGerald, 3. D.O. McLannery (?), 4. —, 5. J. Jubb, 6. F. McGee, 7. —, 8. Johnny Musselman, 9. Tom Shore, 10. —.

Above: RAAF Pilot Graduates. (Courtesy of the Twynam and West Collections)

Rear Row, l to r: Bogle, Seage, Cole, Smith.
Centre Row, l to r: Hutchins, Jeffries, Kelly, Vickers, Holland, Linch.
Front Row, l to r: Buckton, Bourne, Twynam, McKerlie, Phillips.

18(P) AFU Snitterfield, UK, Course No. 44
23/11/43, Oxford, Night flying, 27/12/43.

Summary for Course at 18(P) AFU, G/T 327 hrs 5 min.
Proficiency as Pilot on Type (Oxford) Average.
S/L Stonhill, 2 Squadron 18(P) AFU, 12.2.44.

Promoted to rank of Flying Officer: October 1944, wef November 1, 1944.

Ted Twynam is remembered on:

Roll of Honour: Taralga, NSW.
Panel 131, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT.
Memorial Plaques for Edward Phipps Twynam from his Parents and his Sisters, St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Taralga.
He is remembered in the memorial tree planting in Goulburn initiated by Mulwaree High School teacher, Bill Needham, that remembers those fallen from the Goulburn District in the First and Second World Wars.

From the Goulburn Evening Post 14 January 1946


Mr H. Twynam, of Richlands, Taralga, has received the following letter from B. W. Lincoln, of 111 Knockhall Rd., Greenhithe, Kent (Eng.).

“It is with the deepest regret that my wife, sons and I have heard the sad news of your son, P/O E. P. Twynam, and we send our deepest sympathy to you in your bereavement.

My son, Flight-Sgt. David J. Lincoln was the navigator of your son’s air craft. We have recently been informed that the Air Council have presumed that he lost his life on November 4, 1944.

Ï did not have the pleasure of meeting your son, but I do know that David had a very high opinion of him as a man and a pilot.

Ïn case you don’t know what your son did after he qualified as a pilot, I will tell you what I know. He took part in operations on Kiel, Essen, Stettin, Stuttgart, the sea wall at Walcheren on the Dutch Coast, etc., also at Falaise Gap in Normandy when the Army started the big advance towards Germany.

The operation on November 4 was the 30th and would have completed the first tour of ops. After that the crew were to be put on ground duties.”

2. Sgt. Basil Harry Petch: We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs please contact us via our HELP DESK.

3. F/Sgt David John Lincoln: We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs please contact us via link shown above

4. F/O Geoffrey William Brown: We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs please contact us via link shown above

5. F/Sgt Derick Bousfield: We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs please contact us via link shown above

6. Sgt Archibald West: Archie was my father's kid brother. As far as I know there was not much of an age gap between them, and my father was born in 1900. Archie would have been close to 40 when he died. He was married to Elizabeth, and they had three children. Peter was their eldest. At some time in the late 50s or early 60s he moved to Canada, and was killed when his car was involved in a level crossing accident.

Marian was their second child, and one of her children, Carrie Ford, became famous in the UK coming 5th in the grand National.

If you check the photo you can see the family likeness to her grandfather.

Their third child, Susan, was born after Archie's death.

Why Archie's memorial says nothing about his age or family I have no idea. Tony West.

7. Sgt Jack Jones: We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs please contact us via link shown above.


1. F/O E.P. Twynam is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, grave 28.B.5. Son Henry and Constance d’Esterre of Taralga, New South Wales, Australia.

His epitaph reads:

And how can man die better

Than facing fearful odds

2. Sgt B.H. Petch is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, joint grave 28.B.9-10. Son of Harry and Annie Petch of Doncaster, Yorkshire. His epitaph reads:

He gave all

3. F/Sgt D.J. Lincoln is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, grave 28.B.8. Son of Bertie William and Minnie Lincoln, of Welling, Kent. His epitaph reads:

Rest in peace

4. F/O G.W. Brown is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, grave 28.B.4. Son of Edgar William and Vera Hilda Eugenia Brown of Corinda, Queensland, Australia.

His epitaph reads:

He rests in peace,

His duty nobly done

5. F/Sgt D. Bousfield is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, grave 28.B.11. Son of Harry and Gertie Bousfield of Leeds, Yorkshire.

6. Sgt A. West is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, coll. grave 28.A.16-17.

7. Sgt J. Jones is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, coll. grave 28.A.16-17. Son of John William and Leonora Jones; husband of Doris Jones of Leeds, Yorkshire.

His epitaph reads:

Gone from our midst

But not from our hearts

A dear husband and daddy.



  1. F/O E.P. Twynam A422065: DFC
  2. Sgt B.H. Petch 1592800: DFM
  3. F/Sgt D.J. Lincoln 1399207: DFM
  4. F/O G.W. Brown A426035: DFC
  5. F/Sgt D. Bousfield 1237935: DFM
  6. Sgt A. West 2218652: DFM
  7. Sgt J. Jones 1647936: DFM


So close yet so far.

F/O Ted Twynam and his crew had run the gauntlet and were on the cusp of tour expiring. Before departing on the Bochum raid the crew’s credited ops stood at:

F/O Twynam and Sgt Jones; 29 ops
Sgt Petch, F/O Brown and F/Sgt Bousfield; 28 ops
F/Sgt Lincoln and Sgt West; 27.

This was the result of two ‘second dickey’ missions and F/Sgt Lincoln being replaced by a ‘spare bod’ navigator for one trip.

Theoretically F/O Twynam and Sgt Jones had the prerogative to not participate in any additional ops following the Bochum raid. In reality most crews had a pact that they had started their tour as a team and would finish it as such, even though tour expired members would be exposed to the grim possibility that they just might not survive a couple of ‘milk runs’. This was the essence of the ‘crewing up’ system of crew selection. Seven young men, in the prime of life, would chose who they would fly with, fight with and, sadly the majority would die with. The odds of a crew surviving their first tour of operations was approximately 30%.

Consequently, the majority of bomber crew members were a suspicious lot. This included the worship of talisman and numerous pre-take off rituals to ensure a safe return. Any break in the routine could convince a crew that this would be their last op. On occasion the conviction was so strong that a crew member would refuse to fly on the op, electing to go lack of moral fibre (LMF). It was not unheard of that the rest of the crew, with a ‘spare bod’ filling the vacancy, would fail to return. Many surviving crew members related they had a strong premonition they would not be returning, bit the bullet and stayed the course. Post liberation or escape as an evader they would recount their hair raising adventures in Occupied Europe. Statistically the chances of surviving this outcome were approximately 15%!

Russell Margerison in his excellent book, Boys at War, provides a vivid example of superstition and the trail of events that resulted in the loss of Lancaster LM513, 1st Lt Max Dowden and his crew. While waiting for the green light to depart, navigator, F/O Dave Weepers, discovered that he had forgotten his talisman officer’s cap, their guardian angel for all their previous ops. Max was adamant, there would be no turning back at this point. The die was cast.

The rest is history: More details here.

For F/O Ted Twynam and crew, the raid that would become to be known as Bloody Bochum, would exemplify how fate, in a chain of events, could result in the loss of a combat experienced crew on verge of tour expiring. The silly, fickle finger of fate.

As this raid was developing it became apparent that Bomber Command would suffer significant losses. Factors including a rising moon, a headwind on the journey home and good visibility over the target without any cloud refuge, coupled with the Nachtjagd force infiltrating the bomber stream outward bound could only spell disaster. This should not have been a factor for the Twynam crew. However…

“Today’s Battle Order Serial No. 190 was originally promulgated on Nov. 3rd, with 20 crews, but an amendment was published altering the date to today - Oct. 4th (sic). There were minor crew changes; F/L Wilson in “N” LM731 had Sgt Bates replace his original M/U/G Sgt Southwood and F/O Bray in “A2” PB574 had Sgt Ogrodnik replace his original R/G Sgt Mantelow. Also 5 additional crews were added to the original number… F/O Twynam and crew in “Y” PB154…failed to return… F/O Twynam and crew were added to the original Battle Order by the amendment.”

F/O Twynam and crew would depart Kelstern at 17.15 hrs in PB154 rather than their usual trusty mount, PB150. One can only imagine the intercom chatter as they waited for the green light to clear them for takeoff: Skipper, this one doesn’t feel right. However, at this point there was no turning back. 1st Lt Max Dowden was confronted by a similar dilemma when his Navigator, F/O Dave Weepers announced in the taxiing line up that he had forgotten his talisman officer’s cap. Understandably, Max refused to return to dispersal. LM513 would fail to return with Max and his Flight Engineer, Sgt Frank Moody, making the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that their crew mates would survive as POWs, and live full lives.

Sadly, the final blow would come for F/O Ted Twynam and his crew near the target when they crossed paths with an experten Nachtjagd crew and a group of crackerjack flak batteries. It is academic as to which struck the fatal blow. The damage to PB154 was catastrophic, preventing any of the crew from baling out. Ground impact at 19.30-31 hrs would spell the end for a brave young crew that had run the gauntlet…so close, yet so far.

The loss of this experienced crew would have been devastating for Squadron morale—from air and ground crew right down to admin staff. The nonspecific note in the ORB hints at the pan-Squadron impact that the loss of this crew had: One of our aircraft failed to return from this Operation. In all other notifications of a failure to return, the aircraft code and/or serial number and Pilot’s name are included in the ORB summary for the raid.

F/O Twynam and his crew were serving as role models, that it was possible to survive thirty ops and live to fight another day— after a stint as an instructor at an OTU or administration posting. The loss of this crew would have been a tough pill to swallow for their squadron mates, aspiring to complete their tour of ops! JEA


The Twynam and West Family Collections. We are most grateful to Tony West, nephew of Sgt Archie West and Stephen Thorn, nephew of F/O Ted Twynam for their contribution of documents and photographs that have brought this archive report to fruition.
625 Squadron ORB
No. 625 Squadron Diary by Eric Thale
Nachtjagd Combat Archives, November 1944 Volume, by Theo Boiten


John Naylor
Maureen Hicks
Roy Wilcock
Jack Albrecht

Submission by Tony West, Stephen Thorn and Mike Edwards

JA 23.11.2022
JA 24.11.2022 Sgt 'Archie' West bio details added
JA 06.01.2023 Reader Comments: Stephen Thorn nephew of F/O E.P. Twynam

© 2004-2024 John Albrecht