Cover to mark the 60th Anniversary of this daring daylight raid on the MAN Factory at Augsburg, which was supplying the diesel engines for the German U-boat fleet. The cover artwork shows the Waddington based No 44 Squadron Lancaster R5508, 'KM-B' which Squadron Leader John Nettleton flew on the raid and whose courage and devotion to duty won him the Victoria Cross, the scene below shows the Lancaster L7573, 'OF-K' being 'bombed up' at Woodhall Spa with the four 1,000 lb high explosives, on the raid this aircraft was flown by Squadron Leader J.S. Sherwood DFC, who having led the 97 squadron contingent and bombed the factory was shot down moments later.
The raid called for the bravest of aircrew as the target was over 1,000 miles from England and to make matters worse the raid was to take place in broad daylight with no fighter escort, flying at less than 250ft in order to avoid enemy radar. Despite a diversionary raid to draw the German fighters away from the intended target and route, the six 44 Squadron Lancasters were savaged by Bf 109s and FW 190s returning home to their airfield. Only two of No 44 Squadron's Lancasters made it to the target and only Nettleton's aircraft made it back across the channel. The No 97 Squadron Lancasters all made it to the target, but two were shot down over the target. In all seven of the twelve Lancasters that took part failed to return and 49 out of the 85 airmen who took part were posted as 'missing' - however they had succeeded in causing severe disruption at the factory.
The cover bears the 33p definitive stamp cancelled with BFPS postmark dated the 17 April 2002, which shows Lancaster 'KM-B' and commemorates both the 60th Anniversary of the raid and also the award of the Victoria Cross to Nettleton.
Furthermore the covers have been flown in Lancaster PA474 of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which was formerly painted in the markings of 'KM-B'. The reverse of the cover bears an illustration of the Victoria Cross and a brief write up on the raid, along with the flight details, while inside the covers there are two detailed inserts.
Hand signed by Wing Commander Kenneth Cook DFC
300 Signed, Numbered and Certified
Kenneth Cook is Chairman of the 97 Squadron Association and a former wartime Pathfinder Force Navigator with No 97 Squadron, awarded his DFC in June 1944.