The End of the War Approaches: Wangerooge Operation

As the end of the war approached, the number of bombing sorties dropped off precipitously. The last major operations in which the Pathfinders took part were on 25 April: they were to Berchtesgaden, and to the German island of Wangerooge, the most easterly of the Frisian islands, which was home to large military installations for the defence of Northern Germany and the key port of Wilhelmshaven.

156 Squadron was on this raid and the details are recorded in its ORB. All the crews returned safely, but the raid saw one of the most tragic incidents of the war in which six Bomber Command aircraft collided with the lost of all on board except for one extraordinarily lucky pilot, Pilot Officer G W Lawson.

The 156 Squadron ORB page in question is very interesting because it reveals how close the end of the war was and how well-informed the squadron was about this. Men were still coming onto the squadron from the PFF NTU but there would be no more operational losses for this squadron or for the Pathfinders.

mercy flights, end of april 1945, 156 squadron, marked up