...::: MILLENNIUM II :::...
...::: THE 3RD 1000 BOMBER RAID - BREMEN :::...

On the night of 25-26th of June 1942 59 Squadron took part in the 3rd of the 1000 Bomber raids (on Bremen) known as Millennium II. Twelve 59 Squadron aircraft led by W/C Bartlett and S/L Dunkerley joined a contingent of 35 Hudson bombers (along with 206 and 224 Sqn Hudson's and possibly others - see the Mystery Force section below) that successfully attacked the Deutsche Schiff und Maschinenbau AG (abbreviated to De-Schi-MAG) U-Boat yards on the outskirts of the city, whilst the heavy bombers continued on too bomb the city proper or their prospective targets. All 59 Sqn planes and crews made it back to base safely after delivering a payload of 1000lb's each (made up of 100 &250lb bombs). All 224 Sqn aircraft made it back to base safely, however it appears 206 Sqn faired much worse... According to the CWGC, 206 lost seven airmen on the 26th including three pilots, Wing Commander HD Cooke, Squadron Leader CN Crook DFC and Flight Sergeant KD Wright and three WAG's and an AG, WAG RW Payze, WAG G McGlynn, WAG R Hubbard and P/O D Phillips AG. How they were crewed or the circumstance in which they were lost is unknown to myself at this stage... perhaps you know? I have also read that the attack on Deschimag was a "diversionary strike" so perhaps Deschimag (and other Coastal targets) were bombed first to "divert attention" from the main targets around Bremen proper.

"Using every available aircraft in RAF Bomber Command and some of other commands, a thousand bomber raid was mounted against Bremen. 1,067 aircraft (472 Wellingtons, 124 Halifaxes, 96 Lancasters, 69 Stirlings, 51 Blenheims, 50 Hampdens, 50 Whitleys, 24 Bostons, 20 Manchesters and 4 Mosquitos), 102 Hudsons and Wellingtons of RAF Coastal Command, and 5 RAF Army Cooperation Command. Those of No. 5 Group RAF - 142 aircraft – bombed the Focke-Wulf factory; 20 Blenheims were allocated to the AG Weser shipyard; the RAF Coastal Command aircraft were to bomb the DeSchiMAG shipyard; all other aircraft were to carry out an area attack on the "town and docks". source - (en.wikipedia.org)

The total number of aircraft that was assembled for the raid varies depending on the source. Some total it as over 1000 whilst others under. According to Wikipedia the force was 1067 (noted above), to the 'www.worldwar-2.net' site it was 1006 and the Book "Bombing The European Axis Powers" (Richard Davis, 2006) has the total at 1004. On the RAF Commands site, it is noted that the force was not quite 1000... and according to this 206 Sqn site, it was only 960 (of which 100-102 were from Coastal Command)...

Type VIIC U-boats under construction at Deschimag. According to the Naval History site, only two U-boats were constructed at Deschimag (U-25 & 26) as mainly ships were built... about 40 destroyers, 2 cruisers and 1 minelayer. One of these
was the German cruiser Seyditz (noted by the arrow) pictured with two or three destroyers also being fitted out. This photo was taken a month before the third 1000 bomber raid.

Results: 572 houses were completely destroyed and 6,108 damaged. 85 people were killed, 497 injured and 2,378 bombed out. At the Focke-Wulf factory, an assembly shop was completely flattened, 6 buildings were seriously damaged and 11 buildings lightly so. The Atlas Werke, the Bremer Vulkan shipyard, the Norddeutsche Hütte, the Korff refinery, and 2 large dockside warehouses were also damaged. 48 aircraft were lost (a new record, 5% of those dispatched), including 4 which came down in the sea near England from which all but 2 crew members were rescued. 5 Coastal Command aircraft were lost. 206 Sqn could possibly account for 3.

Millennium II was overall considered a limited success. Apart from the Focke-Wulfe factory little effective damage was inflicted to the German war machine. Poor weather and 10/10 cloud cover were two of the main problems for the attacking force. The 206 Sqn site features a great section on the Millennium II raid, including news clippings from 1942 collected by a pilot of 206 Sqn who also bombed Deschimag.



"... we were given ten minutes over the target, to clear the area quickly because of the risk of being bombed from aircraft at a higher altitude (a different wave of planes was coming in over us at 23,000 feet and we had to get out fast). I was in the rear turret for this raid and sat on my tin hat just in case. We found a hole in the heavy cloud, made one run, dropped our bombs and got out fast... The navigator reported that one bomb had hung up, so instead of jettison over the countryside and hitting some poor German family, we dropped it over the North Sea. We had just enough fuel to make it to base." - Sgt. H.F. Tuckwood - 59 Squadron.

Who Bombed Deschimag? According to many sources I have found, they give the impression that no other aircraft other than the Lockheed Hudson was designated to attack the Deschimag U-boat yards and the squadrons that did were 59, 224 and 206 RAF (www.historyofwar.org site makes no mention of any other Hudson squadrons). However, if the above account by Tuckwood is accurate, then who and what type of aircraft made up the second wave at 23,000ft? The Hudson did have a service ceiling (max operational altitude) of 24,500 ft, so it is possible that the second wave was made up of this aircraft type but the Coastal Hudson crews had been flying predominantly low level attacks on enemy shipping... so did they have the experience and training for "effective high altitude bombing", or was there another type of aircraft with suitable crews assigned for this task?

Most sources seem to agree that the whole Coastal Command contingent totaled somewhere between 100-102 aircraft but the make up (in terms of aircraft type and numbers) I have not been able to definitively source. Some sources note Coastal's contribution at 102 Hudson's (with no other aircraft type), which is obviously more than the 35 alone (of 59, 224 and 206 Sqn's), so where do these extra Hudson's come from and did Coastal even have 102 available to contribute? Wikipedia may lead us towards a more plausible solution, noting that the force of 102 aircraft was made up of both the Hudson and the Vickers Wellington or "Wimpy" (both of which Coastal had at their disposal at the time) and further notes that the entire Coastal contingent was sent against the Deschimag Works. This would appear to support the account of Tuckwood to some degree, as the Wellington aircraft would have been capable of a high altitude attack... but which Coastal Squadrons were flying the Wellington in June 1942, and who had the experience to bomb from high altitude? Read on...

The Others: On further research I have found that there were indeed more than 35 Hudson aircraft tasked with the bombing of the Deschimag Works and some of the mystery aircraft were from non British (RAF) Coastal squadrons. Whilst I have only been able to find mention of one of these squadrons (No.407 "Demons" Canadian) having been sent to Deschimag (Searching For the Hudson Bombers, James R Stevens) if the sources that contributed to the Wikipedia account are correct and that the "entire Coastal Contingent" bombed Deschimag, then so too did the Hudson's of No.320 Sqn Dutch, Coastal. (www.rafweb.org). The before mentioned book makes no account of 320 Sqn but it does go on to state that (some or all of) the Hudson's of 224, 206 and 407 then went on too bomb the Bremen Docks. The 'www.ibiblio.org' site states that No.16 Group was comprised of these squadrons flying the Hudson aircraft, so it seems likely that if 16 Group was involved, all these squadrons would be tasked together. I think that it is unlikely that Hudson aircraft were assigned to attack both targets and that it is more probable that there were other Hudson aircraft designated for these Bremen targets (either from the above mentioned squadrons or from anonymous sources). Or perhaps Deschimag was the primary target for the Hudson and if they had not made successful attack runs by the time the Wimpy's arrived, they were to proceed to their secondary target, the Bremen Docks?

In Training: It is also possible that No.1 OTU (C) contributed a force of Hudson's for Bremen. In the book "The Maw, Searching for the Hudson Bombers" (James R Stevens) it notes that a force of 24 Number 1 OTU Hudson's left for Thornaby to take part in the first 1000 Bomber raid on Cologne (May 1942) but on demand by the RN (Royal Navy) Coastal Command HQ pulled all their aircraft out and for Coastal crews the sortie was scrapped. The raid on Bremen used OTU crews and aircraft extensively (as had the raid on Cologne) so it is possible that for Bremen 1OTU contributed again. This is tentatively supported by a RAF site that makes note of a navigator by the name of Alan Cook who was with No.1 OTU in June 1942, stating that he took part in the raid on Bremen...

The 100 Odd: Although I have been able to source information (perhaps unsubstantiated) of involvement in the raid by those above, I have not been able to source the number of Hudson aircraft officially contributed by all and thus I am only able to make an instinctive guess that there was in all probability, one or two more Coastal squadrons that contributed Hudson aircraft. I have found note of 320 Sqn having a strength of 15 Hudson aircraft in June of 1942 and another that notes their contribution at 21 aircraft but whether or not their entire strength was contributed is unknown at this stage. It is likely that 407 Demons had a similar size force at the time, so if this were to be the case and we say that both 320 and 407 Sqn's combined contributed 25 aircraft, then that would be 60 Hudson (along with the 35 of 59, 206 and 224 Sqn's) aircraft in total accounted for... and if 1OTU again contributed 24, then that would bring the total to 84... but what of the remaining 16 odd Coastal aircraft and were they all Vickers Wellington's (aka the Wimpy)...?

The Vickers Wellington: For this force I have found that 304 Sqn Polish contributed 7 Wellington bombers and 311 Sqn Czech also contributed (possibly 7-14) Wellington's. Both of these Coastal squadrons had only recently been attached from Bomber Command shortly before the raid so they would have had the skills and experience for effective and successful high level bombing. The Wellington bomber had not been in Coastal service for very long so only a limited number of squadrons had been equipped with them. As well as those above, at the time 172 and 221 Sqn's were also flying Wellington's. although I have so far found no mention of them contributing to the raid. (left) F/L Hojowski of 304 Sqn. (above) A 304 Sqn "Wimpy".

Multiple Waves: If indeed there were multiple waves of aircraft attacking, then it is possible that the Hudson force was sent in first to attack and thus cause fires that the Wellington's. at 23,000 ft could bomb on.

Coastal Command Totals: As mentioned before the Coastal Command contingent totaled between 100-102 aircraft. If we compile the information above (confirmed or un-confirmed), then the Battle Order possibly consisted of the following: (note: 1OTU is the only unit whose involvement is yet to be fully confirmed).

Aircraft Type
Number of A/C
Lockheed Hudson
59, 206, 224
Lockheed Hudson
Lockheed Hudson
Lockheed Hudson
Vickers Wellington
Vickers Wellington

No. 304 "Slaski": On May 10th 1942, 304 became the first Polish squadron to join Coastal Command (ex-Bomber) only 5 weeks before the raid and one of the first to fly the Wellington. During the raid on Bremen, 304 lost one aircraft and crew (of seven contributed), Wellington DV441- NZ-Q (pictured above) flown by P/O Kramin and crew. This site states that the plane was lost over the Netherlands. Another aircraft that flew to Bremen was NZ-L, piloted by John Trzebski and crash landed on return due to damage by flak (crew unhurt). During their time with Bomber Command, 304 flew 488 operational sorties and suffered especially heavy losses, which according to this site is one of the reasons it was transferred to Coastal.

No. 311 Sqn Czech/Slovak: The aircraft below is Wellington Mk.Ic L1111 - KX-N, which took part in the raid flown by F/O Horejsi and crew (not known if they are the crew pictured). Like 304 Sqn, they joined Coastal Command (ex-Bomber) shortly before the June raid. Whilst with Bomber Command 311 flew 1,021 operational sorties, and dropped more than 1,300 tons of bombs on enemy targets. There is no mention of 311 being the first Czech squadron with Coastal. I have not found any record of aircraft lost for 311 on this op. Above I mentioned that possibly 14 Wellington's. were supplied by 311 Sqn but it is more likely to be 6-7 (similar to that of 304 Sqn). It was noted that 311 (possibly) along with two other Czech squadrons based at Bircham Newton contributed 14 in total, although the other two squadrons noted were attached to Bomber Command. (www.stedmundsbury.gov.uk)

High Altitude: Given that both 304 and 311 had recently been in long term service with Bomber Command, they would have been more than capable of a high altitude attack on Deschimag.


No.407: The first Canadian squadron to serve with Coastal Command. From Sept 1941 to Jan 1943, they operated as a "strike" squadron against enemy shipping with the Hudson and earned the nickname "The Demon Squadron".

In Jan 1943 they were re-designated 407 General Recon Sqn, and for the remainder of the war protected shipping from the U-Boats flying the Wellington. There is no record of aircraft or crews lost on the raid. (Wikipedia)

I have found an interesting account of an anti-shipping strike undertaken by both these squadrons in mid May 1942. These two squadrons were both attached to RAF Bircham Newton at the time of the raid, and regularly flew missions together. (www.warsailors.com)

No.320: As the Germans closed in on bases of the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service, some of its crews were able to escape to England in their aircraft. Amongst the types flown over were a number of Fokker TVIIIW seaplanes, which were sent to Pembroke Dock and formed into No 320 Squadron on 1 June 1940. (www.rafweb.org)

Motto: Animo libre dirigimur (We are guided by the mind of liberty)

320 lost one aircraft and crew on the raid, Hudson T9435 'Balikpapan' piloted by C.J. Van Der Graff. German fighter ace Werner Hoffmann is credited with the shooting down of a Hudson during the raid. He also shot down a Whitley. According to the Air War website, in June of 1942, 320 Sqn had a strength of 15 Hudson aircraft, so it is possible that this was the contribution that they made towards the 102 Coastal aircraft total. On another (Dutch) site it made note of 320 Sqn having 21 Hudson's operational for the raid.

(above left) A 320 Hudson crew - (above right) Officers of 320 Sqn.

A Bristol Blenheim Force: According to various sources, the Bristol Blenheim made up 19-20 of the total number of Millennium II aircraft. I had initially thought that 114 Sqn (Blenheim's) had contributed to the Coastal contingent as they had been detached from Bomber Command prior to the raid for about a year. The RAF Commands site was slightly confusing in the "To-Coastal and Ex-Coastal" dates and it at first appeared they were with Coastal in June 1942, however it turned out they were in fact back with Bomber in mid April 1942, thus contributing (in conjunction with 614 Sqn) 16 Blenheim aircraft and the majority of the operations Blenheim force under Bomber Command, led by W/C ME Pollard. I am unsure what all the roles of these aircraft were during the raid but I have read that "special recon duties" was one. I have also read that the Blenheim's were flown by Army Co-operation Wing squadrons but I have not confirmed this at this stage.


...::: THE 59 SQN HUDSON FORCE :::...

The following is taken from the 59 Squadron ORB for the Bremen raid:

Aircraft: Hudson AM568 'T' - Crew: P/O Neilson AR, Sgt's Menzies GI, Whitney EH, Tuckwood HF: Duty: Millennium II Time Up: 2306 Down: 0525 Target: Deschimag Works, Bremen area. Bombs dropped in target area. 11 large fires on north bank of river Weser seen through gap in clouds. Heavy flak experienced.

According to some sources, heavy flak was experienced for most of the mission by some aircraft. German flak boats attacked aircraft off the coast, as they approached the coastal city, land based flak guns then sent up a barrage of fire and some aircraft experienced flak when they strayed over the Frisians both too and from Bremen.

The Crews
(above) Crew of TR-T (L-R) - Sgt Whitney, Sgt Menzies, P/O Neilson, Sgt Tuckwood
(above) Crew of TR-X (L-R) - P/O Pennyquick, P/O Longmuir, S/L Dunkerly, F/S Drabble
(above) Crew of TR-P (L-R) - Sgt Grayson, P/O Luckwell, P/O Wecker, Sgt Gamble
(above) Crew of TR-B - Sgt Goad was crewed in place of P/O Flieger.
(above) Crew of TR-R
(above) Crew of TR-Y - Sgt Peek was crewed in place of Sgt Oakden.
(above) Crew of TR-C
(above) Crew of TR-F
(above) Crew of TR-D
(above) Crew of TR-V

The two crews not pictured are TR-H of W/C Bartlett & Crew - TR-A of F/O Osborn & Crew.

This site was created by and information compiled by L.Del Mann - © 2008