Billede: Kaptajn Raymond B. Lancaster på vingen sin P51 Mustang med kælenavnet Galveston Gal.
(Af 359th Fighter Group, 1943 - 1945, Facebook Group)
August 4, 1944 was an important date for Captain Raymond B. Lancaster.
On that date embarking on his 72nd combat mission he was the Flight Lead for 'White Flight' of the 370th Squadron, Call Sign ‘Redcross’, of the 359th Fighter Group of the USAAF Eighth Air Force. Flying out of an airfield at East Wrentham UK Captain
Lancaster led the White flight of four North American P-51D Mustangs on a ‘Ramrod’ (bomber escort) mission to the German V-1 Rocket Base at Peenemunde, Germany. In the formation of B-17s being escorted that day were Fortresses of the 303rd Bomb
Group (H) and 359th Bomb Squadron including, ‘Thunderbird’.
Captain Lancaster's flight was made up of Lt. T. A. Williams, White 2 – Lancaster’s wingman, flying P-51 s/n 4416878 code
CS-O, Lt. Wilson K. Baker, White 3 – the Element Lead, flying P-51 s/n 436461 code CS-Q and Lt. Richard O. Rabb, White 4 – Baker’s wingman, flying P-51 s/n 4312463 code CS-N. Having relinquished his P-51B Mustang which he named ‘Galveston
Gal’ Captain Lancaster was flying a new as yet unnamed P-51D Mustang s/n 4413939 code CS-W.
Nearing the target Lt. Williams was unable to maintain contact with the flight. Captain Lancaster's aircraft's
engine began to lose power and oil pressure. Captain Lancaster alerted the remaining two pilots in his flight of his problems. Lancaster's aircraft's engine then failed. He elected to divert to Neutral Sweden. Captain Lancaster's remaining wingmen, Lt.'s Rabb
and Baker stayed with him until they were assured he could glide to neutral territory. Captain Lancaster was able to crash land in Sweden and was initially interred at Holviken, Sweden.
Lt.s Rabb and Baker
headed home. Along the way they were attacked by a German Bf 110. After a lengthy fight they shot down the Bf 110. Now low on fuel themselves and unable to reach England both Rabb and Baker diverted to Sweden and were interned at Ljungbyhed, Sweden.
All three airmen were flown back to the UK on November 1, 1944. Per the Geneva Convention they were no longer to participate in the European Theater. Captain Lancaster ended the war in the USA as an Instrument Instructor on
North American AT-6s.
Recently the local historian in the village of Slimminge, Denmark, Mr. John Frederiksen, pieced together more of the story of the events that day. It seems that after
Lancaster had crash landed in Sweden and Lt.s Rabb and Baker headed towards England they were picked up on German radar. Incorrectly identified as a lone B-17, German authorities scrambled a Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4 to intercept. This Bf 110 s/n 720251 code
G9+HX, flown by Hauptman Baron Fritz von Bucholtz, was radar equipped and was usually employed as a night fighter.
The Bf 110 was vectored toward the contact by radar with the rendezvous made over the village
of Slimminge. Imagine the surprise when Hauptman von Bucholtz encountered two P-51 Mustangs. During the ensuing dog fight the Bf 110 was severely damaged, more than likely by Lt. Baker. Hauptman von Bucholtz ordered his crew to bail out and Unteroffizier Rudi
Freund and the Engineer parachuted to safety. Baron von Bucholtz was killed in the crash and was buried in the Vestre Cemetary in Kobenhavn.
Researched and compiled by John Sykes
Flight Museum volunteer and
personal friend of Raymond B. Lancaster
posted by Char Baldridge, 359th FG Historian