Date: 16/10/1943
Squadron Code: 'S'
Serial Number: Liberator Mk.V FL984
U-Boat details : U-844 type IXC/40- attacked/sunk
:::: Flight - Mission Details ::::....

B(back L-R) W/O R.N. Pike, F/S W.C. Wallace, F/S G.W. Gerring, Anon, Anon.

(Front L-R) F/S E. Omerod, F/S J. Seaver, F/O W.J. Thomas DFC, F/L F.N. Jenkin.

Crew photo and newspaper clipping sent in by Sally Benwell - daughter of W/O Pike.


Base: Reykjavik, Iceland
Take off time: 0453 hrs
Op: Escort to ON.206


Sunk 16 Oct: 1943 south-west of Iceland, in position 58.30N, 27.16W, by depth charges from 2 British Liberator aircraft (Sqdn. 59/S & 86/L). 53 dead (all hands lost). (

The above extract from describes both aircraft as having damaged U-844 with D/C's, however another extract from contradicts this...

"...The boat was shadowing the convoy ONS-20 about 15 miles south of the ships when they were attacked by British B-24 Liberator FL952 (86 Sqdn RAF/L, pilot F/L E.A. Bland). AA fire hit both port engines and the depth charges failed to release, but a second Liberator aircraft FL984 (59 Sqdn RAF/S, pilot P/O W.J. Thomas) joined the attack, straddled U-844 with a stick of depth charges and dropped four more on the swirl after the U-boat sank. This Liberator made it back to Iceland despite of being hit by AA fire in the starboard inner engine. (*) This crew attacked another U-Boat on return to base. The first Liberator (86/L) could not release its depth charges in a second attack and the damages soon forced the aircraft to ditch near the convoy. Two crewmen were lost and the remaining five crewmen were all injured but rescued by HMS Pink..."

(*)- According to the book U-Boat Command (Jak P Mallmann Showell) the U-boat they sighted on return to base was U-540. They were unable to complete an attack run due to heavy A.A. fire.


The 59 Sqn ORB states the following:

"Fully surfaced U/B sighted and attacked twice (190 ZZ 20) After straddling with the first four D/C's a deep red flash was seen about 30 secs later & the U/B started to submerge. 29 secs. later four more were dropped in front of the swirl. In this viborous attack. one engine (inner starb'd) was shot up & no one was injured. Position about 58'00'N, 27'20'W. On the return journey fully surfaced U/B was sighted, under flak & M.G, an attack was made."

Crew on this day: P/O W.J. Thomas (pilot) - Sgt J.P.E. Seaver - W/O R.N. Pike - Sgt E. Omerod - Sgt G.W. Gerring - Sgt J.J Prideau - Sgt W.C. Wallace


Usually a load of 8-12 x 250lbs D/C's was carried, sometimes up to 16.

16/10/1943 - Attack on U-540 - Whilst on their return to base (after attacking and sinking U-844), this crew made an attack on U-540, which was unsuccessful and fought off with heavy M.G fire. The following day, U-540 was again attacked by a 59 Liberator and a 120 Liberator and sunk...


Kept by W/O Rod Pike (sent in by his daughter - Sally Benwell)

A copied extract written down by Rod Pike.


:::: More U-boat Details ::::....

Ordered         20 Jan, 1941        
Laid down          21 May, 1942          AG Weser, Bremen (werk 1050)
Launched         30 Dec, 1942        
Commissioned         7 Apr, 1943         Oblt. Günther Möller
7 Apr, 1943 - 16 Oct, 1943           Oblt. Günther Möller
Career         1 patrol          7 Apr, 1943 - 30 Sep, 1943  4. Flottille (training)
1 Oct, 1943 - 16 Oct, 1943  10. Flottille (front boat)
Successes         No ships sunk or damaged

Sunk 16 Oct, 1943 south-west of Iceland, in position 58.30N, 27.16W, by depth charges from 2 British Liberator aircraft (Sqdn. 59/S & 86/L). 53 dead (all hands lost).

:::: Source - ::::....

During WWII, the RAF used three-letter codes to identify their aircraft from a distance. Two large letters were painted before the roundel, which signified the squadron to which the aircraft belonged, and another letter was painted after the roundel which indicated the individual aircraft. Aditionally, there was the individual serial number for each aircraft, which was painted in a much smaller size, usually somewhere at the rear of the aircraft: (more)

Codes used by RAF 59 Squadron:

PJ Sep 1938 - Sep 1939
TR Sep 1939 - Oct 1942
1 Aug 1943 - Jul 1944
WE Jul 1944 - Oct 1945
BY Oct 1945 - Jun 1946, Dec 1947 - Oct 1950