OP 40 - UZICE TOWN & MARSHALLING YARDS
During the day of November 23, 1944 the Squadron was detailed to attack the marshalling yards and town of Uzice, Yugoslavia.
MacIsaac and crew took off from Tortorella in Wellington LP621 "A" carrying six 500 pound bombs, twelve 250 pound bombs and ten packets of nickels at 1304 hours. The crew was joined by forward gunner Sgt. W.G. Peart.
The weather was good with patches of cloud over the Adriatic and clear over the target area. Visibility was excellent. Over the target area the crews were met by flak from several directions: moderate, accurate heavy and light caliber flak from the target area, moderate, accurate heavy caliber flak from Visegrad, and from the roads to the west of the target area and near Dobran there was slight, inaccurate heavy and light flak encountered.
A view from an RAF Liberator of "moderate, inaccurate heavy and light flak" over a target. The black puffs are exploding A-A shells.
Of the ten 37 Squadron Wellingtons detailed, nine made it through the flak and attacked the target, dropping one 4000 pound bomb, forty seven 500 pound bombs, ninety four 250 pound bombs and ninety packets of leaflets between 1500 and 1504 hours from heights of 10,000 to 11,000 feet. The target was identified first by yellow TI’s and then from the amount of smoke and dust rising from the town, where a good concentration of bomb bursts were seen, leaving a large fire. At 1502 hours two large explosions, followed by two pillars of thick black smoke (possibly from burning oil) were seen in the target area. MacIsaac dropped his bombs on the center of the marshalling yards and observed bursts in good concentration across the target area.
Wellington "V", captained by F/O Lavack, was hit by flak just after dropping their bombs, damaging the starboard wing, engine, and fuselage - the bombing panel also had a hole blown through it by a piece of flak. Cpt. Hahn, the navigator, was woulded by shrapnel and was hospitalized upon return. Wellington "T", captained by Sgt. Gaunt, was also hit, receiving two holes in an aileron.
The Wellington that MacIsaac generally flew in, LP572 "D", on this operation piloted by F/Sgt. Brookfield, failed to return. Remarkably, the entire crew of six was able to bale out safely after being hit by flak. Other than the fact they survived the war, the fate of this crew after they baled out is uncertain. Crews baling out over Yugoslavia stood a fairly decent chance of being assisted back to their bases by Yugoslavian Partisans. Unfortunately, as of the end of 1944, nothing had been heard from this crew, so it seems likely they were taken prisoner by the Germans.
MacIsaac returned safely to Tortorella at 1628 hours.
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From the No. 37 Squadron ORB, November 23, 1944:
Administration - The Officer Commanding, No. 37 Squadron published the following message of congratulations: "During the month of October the Squadron not only flew a greater number of hours than any other in the Group, but did so without accident. I wish to congratulate both ground and aircrew alike on this outstanding success which has been achieved by the unsparing energy and fine teamwork of all ranks".