Altrincham WW2 

Stanley Brownhill

Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:102 Sqn RAFVR
Name of Rgt or Ship:Bomber Command
Country of burial:FranceGrave Photo:Yes
Cemetery or Memorial:Abbeville Communal Cemetery
Town Memorial:Altrincham
Extra Information:
Attended Bradbury College.   Keen on table tennis and played for St.
Margaret's Institute.   Employed by David Morrison & Sons (Auctioneers),
Altrincham.      He was 21 in September 1942.

He joined the RAF early in 1940 and went to Miami University, USA to study
had been promoted to Sergeant/Navigator in November 1942.

Flying with 102 Sqn, they took off at 1702hrs from R.A.F. Pocklington,
Yorkshire, in a Halifax Mk.II, No. W7911 DY, on a bombing operation over
Mannheim.     No other details, other than the fact there were 7 crew lost,
3 of whom were Canadians.   They are all buried together in Abbeville Comm.

His parents had business premises at Shaws Rd and George St, Altrincham.  
His elder brother, Alan, aged 24, was at an Empire Air Training School in

M.I. - "At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember

Also mentioned in the 26/03/43 edition of the local newspaper.      See
Express Advertiser - 19th November 1992.

No 102 Squadron, RFC, was formed at Hingham, Norfolk, in August 1917, and
from September 1917 until the Armistice served on the Western Front as a
night-bomber squadron equipped with FE2b's; its duties included night
bombing of enemy airfields, railheads and billets, night reconnaissance and
the machine-gunning of troops and transport. During its service on the
Western Front the squadron dropped a total of almost 365 tons of bombs, 317
tons of which were dropped between 21st March 1918 - the day on which the
Germans launched their spring offensive - and the Armistice. Trains were
bombed on 93 occasions and transport on 113 occasions. 

Disbanded in 1919, No 102 re-formed in 1936 as a heavy bomber squadron and
when war came again it was flying Whitleys. On the second night of the war
- 4/5th September 1939 - three of its Whitleys dropped propaganda leaflets
on the Ruhr.

When the next leaflet raid was made - again on the Ruhr - four nights
later, two of the six crews involved failed to return. Subsequently it was
learned that one of these crews had forced - landed in then neutral Belgium
and had been interned, and that the other had forced - landed in Germany
and been made prisoners of war.

The squadron's first bombing attack of the war was made on 12/13th December
1939, when a Whitley engaged on a security patrol of Sylt attacked what
appeared to be lights indicating a seaplane alighting area.

Italy's declaration of war on 10/11th June 1940, brought a swift reply. The
following night seven of the squadron's Whitleys set out from an advanced
base in the Channel Islands (Jersey airport) to attack the Fiat Works at
Turin. Thunderstorms and severe icing were encountered and five aircraft
had to return early. The other two reached Turin, where one bombed the
primary target whilst the other bombed an alternative target.

No 102 Squadron will always be associated with the name of Leonard
Cheshire. On the night of 12/13th November 1940, Pilot Officer - as he then
was - GL Cheshire was captain of Whitley V P5005 "N - Nuts" detailed to
attack an oil refinery at Wesseling, not far from Cologne. It appears that
he arrived in the target area within a few minutes of the ETA but owing to
intercom trouble was unable to discover his exact position until some
twenty minutes later, by which time the target was blanketed by cloud. He
decided to attack the railway marshalling yards at Cologne instead and
while he was approaching this target his aircraft was suddenly shaken by a
succession of violent explosions. The cockpit filled with black fumes and
Cheshire lost control of the aircraft, which dived about 2,000 feet, with
its fuselage on fire. Cheshire regained control, the fire was extinguished
and the Whitley, with a gaping hole in its fuselage, was brought safely
back to base after, being in the air for 81/2 hours. Cheshire gained an
immediate DSO. He was later awarded the DFC for operations with No 102

In 1942 No 102 Squadron re-equipped with Halifaxes and continued with
aircraft of this type for the rest of the European war. It took part in
each of the three historic 1,000-bomber raids in May/June 1942, and, later,
in the battles of the Ruhr, Hamburg, and Berlin. It was well to the fore in
the pre-invasion attacks on railway communications in Northern France and
on the eve of D-Day sent 26 aircraft - the largest number it had yet
dispatched - to bomb an enemy gun battery on the coast of Normandy. In
September/October 1944, it undertook the transportation of petrol to
Belgium for the Second Army and in just over one week carried 134,250
gallons without mishap. In the great day and night 1,000 - bomber attacks
on Duisburg in the closing stages of the war some of its crews made two
round trips within twenty-four hours.

Among the awards gained by its personnel were 5 DSOs 115 DFCs, two bars to
the DFC, and 34 DFMs.

On 7th May 1945, No. 102 was transferred to Transport Command and in
September moved to Bassingbourn to convert to Liberators for trooping
duties to India which began in January 1946, but on the 28 February the
Squadron was disbanded. On 20 October 1954, No. 102 was reformed at
Gutersloh with Canberras as a light bomber unit and on 20 August 1956 was
renumbered No. 56 Squadron. On 1 August 1959 the Squadron's number was
given to a Thor strategic missile unit at Full Sutton which was disbanded
on 27 April 1963.

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