463 Squadron
The Missions
14 Aug 44
15 Aug 44
Gilze Rijen
18 Aug 44
L'Isle Adam
25 Aug 44
26 Aug 44
31 Aug 44
19 Sept 44
23 Sept 44
Dortmund Ems Canal
27 Sept 44
6 Oct 44
11 Oct 44
After arriving on August 11 1944 to command B Flight, Squadron Leader Langlois flew his first operation on August 14 to Quesnay, however his mid upper, F/O Cameron was not available and was replaced by F/O Ellis.
On their second operation on the 15th of August, to Gilze Rijen Airfield, they flew LL844 JO-R, "Ginger Meggs". As they bombed the target, another aircraft above them dropped a 500lb bomb that took out the rear turret killing F/O Hamilton. Squadron Leader Langlois was able to maintain control and bring the Lancaster back to Waddington safely.
On the 18th of August, 5 Group put up 158 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitoes on a daylight raid to attack a German supply depot at L'Isle Adam near Paris. 18 of these aircraft were from 463 Squadron including S/Ldr Langlois in PB290 (JO-K). It was discovered that the whole force was too far to port to attack the supply depot and the mission was aborted. S/Ldr Langlois returned to Waddington at 1613hr with a full load of bombs.
The crew's first night mission was on the 25/26th of August as part of 190 Lancasters, 20 from 463 Squadron, and 6 Mosquitoes were part of the first major attack on Darmstardt. During the raid the Master Bomber had to return to base before reaching the target and his two deputies were shot down. The Mosquitoes had trouble identifying the target due to the haze. S/Ldr Langlois, in LM683 (JO-L), arrived at the target at 0135hr and bombed on the 'box' from 9900ft. The target that had been marked and bombed turned out to be a field.
The next night, the 26/27th of August, S/Ldr Langlois, in LM683 (JO-L), was one of 13 Lancasters from 463 Squadron that made up the 174 strong force put up by 5 Group to attack the supply port of Konigsburg. It was considered an important target as it was the main distribution centre supplying the German troops fighting the Russians only 60 miles away. The Germans put up an effective smoke screen that obscured the target and prevented accurate marking of the target. The main concentration of the bombing to the north east of the town. The squadron had to land at Wigtown and the Station Commander flew up with 22 officers for the debrief. The crews did not return to Waddington until late in the afternoon.
Again flying JO-L, on the 31st August, S/Ldr Langlois led 16 Lancasters from 463 Squadron as part of a large force (601 aircraft) that attacked the V2 Rocket Sites in Northern France. 463 Squadron was to attack the sites at Rollencourt and, based on the photos, it was a very successful raid.
On the 19/20th September, S/Ldr Langlois, flying PB264 (JO-H), was one of 16 aircraft from 463 Squadron that was part of a force of 227 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitoes put up by 1 and 5 Group to attack Rheydt. The Master Bomber on this mission was W/C Guy Gibson. The target was well marked and the target suffered severe damage. On the return trip W/C Guy Gibson crashed and was killed.
The night of the 23/24th September was S/Ldr Langlois's first visit to bomb the Dortmund-Ems Canal at Ladbergen. Again in JO-H, he was part a force of 136 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitoes to attack the canal where it was substantually higher than the surroounding area. Although there was 7/10 cloud over the target, breaches were made in both branches of the canal causing a 6 mile section of the canal to be drained. Most of the damage was done by two direct hit with 12000lb Tallboys dropped by 617 Squadron at the beginning of the raid. Due to an technical error, 463 Squadron's markers were dropped on a Viaduct seven miles north of the original target. This was bombed and extensively damaged and caused as much dislocation of traffic as the rest of the attack.
The only major raid on Kaiserlautern was carried out by 1 and 5 Group on the 27/28th September. As part of 217 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitoes, S/Ldr Langlois, in PD330 (JO-F), was part of the 463 Squadron 15 aircraft component of the attack. The primary target was the railway yards with the rest of the town as a secondary target. Photographs showed that there was major devastation throughout the target.
On the 6th of October, 18 Lancasters from 463 Squadron, including S/Ldr Langlois, in PD330 (JO-F), was part of 246 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitoes from 1 and 5 Group that carried out the last major raid on the second largest port in Germany, Bremen. Severe damage was done to the city. Particularly to the A.G. Weser Shipyard, two Focke-Wulf factories, the Siemens Schukert Electrical Works as well as other important war industries.
A daylight assault by 1, 5 and 8 Groups was launched on the River Scheldt Gun Batteries, Fort Frederick Hendrick and Flushing, was carried out on the 11th of October. 1 and 8 Group were to attack the Fort Frederick Hendrik battery on the south bank of the Scheldt River however had to abandon the mission when smoke and dust obscured the target. 5 Group, with 115 Lancasters, 20 Lancasters, including S/Ldr Langlois in PD330 (JO-F), from 463 Squadron, were able to carry out a visual attack on the battery on the north bank at Flushing. An excellent concentration of bombs was achieved and at least two large explosions were seen from the target.
From that point onwards F/O Ellis became the crew's rear gunner.
In mid October the crew was transferred to 467 Squadron, also at Waddington, to fill a vacancy for a flight leader.
The crew in front of JO-F PD330
(David Ross)