Roll of Honour

George H. Ebert DFC

George Henry Ebert, known as 'Harry' to family and friends, was born in Guildford registration district in the last quarter of 1914. The son of Henry Charles Ebert and Daisy Ebert (nee Turner) who married early in 1914.

'Harry' was their oldest son. They had five other children:
Frank A. Ebert - born 1916 in Guildford registration district.
Raymond C. Ebert - born 1920 in Dunmow registration district.
Adrian Edward Ebert - born 1926 in Felsted.
John  Desmond Ebert - born 1929 in Felsted.
Joy Mary Lilian Ebert - born 1933 in Felsted.

'Harry' joined the Royal Air Force in 1934, qualifying in fighters and bombers.

'Harry' married Christina Nelson Parker in April 1939. Christina was from Hucknall near Nottingham. RAF Hucknall was where 'Harry' was stationed in 1937, as a Sergeant pilot with 98 (Bomber) Squadron. In April of 1939 RAF Hucknall became the home of No.1 Group, Bomber Command Headquarters.

On 10th May 1940 the attack by Germany on the Low Countries and France commenced. The RAF was called upon to try and stem the advance and in the next four days the Fairey Battle squadrons took heavy losses – typically 50% was a reasonable expectation for planes returning. The Fairey Battle had a three man crew, it had the same single engine as a Hurricane fighter but carried a 4x250lb bomb load. The German main fighter – the Me 109 - was about 100mph faster. The Battle was also vulnerable to ground fire.

142 Squadron took heavy losses and George Ebert was posted to the squadron as a replacement pilot. On 19th May he took off with two other planes in daylight to attack enemy positions west of Laon. None would return – the crews of the other two planes were killed or made PoWs.

George was attacked by Me109s and force landed in Allied territory. Unusually his crashed plane was spotted by a pilot of another Battle squadron who landed and called for assistance. His Observer was wounded and taken to hospital and later died. George and his gunner, Robert Utteridge were unhurt; Utteridge went on to win a DFM in June but became a PoW.

George went on to fly at least four more missions on 23rd May, 11th June, 13th June and 14th June. Notably on the 14th  June mission he bombed Me 109s at their dispersal points on Evreux aerodrome in a daylight raid. On 16th June George flew back to England with the remnants of the Squadron from France. It had been a dramatic introduction to operational flying.

Having flown Fairey Battle light bombers with 142 Squadron during the battle for France, 'Harry' served as an instructor at 24 air School in Dunnottar, South Africa, and by 1943 he was serving as a Flying Officer with 207 Squadron flying Lancaster Bombers.

 The following Combat Report is held at the National Archive:

Aircraft: ED 832 “X”  Lancaster III
Captain: Flying Officer Ebert

Night: 12/13.6.1943

On the night of 12/13 June 1943, Lancaster “X” of No. 207 Squadron was detailed to attack Bochum. At 0137 hours, 10 -15 miles S.E. (south east) of Bochum, flying at 22000 feet, on a magnetic course of 144o, with an I.A.S. (indicated air speed) of 180 m.p.h. the front gunner sighted a ME. 110 on the port box, below, at 100 yards, flying on an opposite course. The e/a (enemy aircraft) passed to the starboard quarter and came round dead astern at 600 yards and broke away. There was no fire from either aircraft.

At 0141 hours, , the Lancaster was heading 192o, with an I.A.S. of 180 m.p.h. when the e/a, probably the same one, came in from astern, 1000’ above, firing from 200 yards, until breaking away at 100 yards on the starboard beam down.

 The Lancaster returned fire immediately.

 For both attacks the visibility was good with the moon well up. The was no ground co-operation.

Barrel corkscrew defensive action was taken each time and the Lancaster was undamaged. No claims of damage to the e/a are made.

The M.U. (mid-upper) Gunner fired 40 rounds.

Rear Gunner – Sgt Simmons – No.4 A.G.S. (air gunnery school) and 16 O.T.U. (operational training unit)
M.U. Gunner – Sgt. Miller – No.2 A.G.S. and 16 O.T.U.

George Ebert

George Ebert's D.F.C.
courtesy David Ludlow

presented by
His Majesty George VI
at Buckingham Palace
to Harry's parents on
Friday 23rd March 1945.

‘Harry’ won his Distinguished Flying Cross in June of 1943. The citation reads:
"This officer fought in France, and on his first sortie his aircraft was badly damaged by anti-aircraft fire, his observer killed, and he himself badly injured. With great perseverance he succeeded in reaching our lines and effected a landing. Subsequently Flight-Lieutenant Ebert has completed a large number of successful sorties. He has always displayed the utmost determination to press home his attacks even on the most heavily defended enemy centres."

'Harry' and Christina had one child a daughter Lesley Elizabeth Ebert who was born on 28th November 1943.

'Harry' died on 7th January 1944, and is buried at the Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery. Taking the place of another pilot who was unfit to fly George Ebert was at the controls of Avro Lancaster ED586 EM-F. The aircraft took off from RAF Spilsby in Lincolnshire just minutes before midnight on 6th January 1944. The aircraft was shot down in the target area of Stettin, which at that time was in Germany, and is now part of Poland.

George Ebert had logged 23 operational sorties. It was in this aircraft 'F for Freddie' that Wynford Vaughan Thomas did a trip to Berlin on 3 Sep 1943 to make the famous BBC recording, broadcast by the Home Service on 4th September 1943 of a Lancaster crew on a bombing raid.

Lancaster 'F' for Freddie
BBC Sound Engineer Reg Pidsley and Wynford Vaughan Thomas standing beside Lancaster 'F for Freddie'

207 Squadron Badge
207 Squadron Badge

The Crew on the night of 6th and 7th January 1944:

Pilot - Flight Lieutenant George Henry Ebert DFC RAF
2nd Pilot aboard for experience - Wing Commander Ashley Duke Jackson MiD RAF
Flight Engineer - Sergeant Bernard Owen Greenhill RAF
Navigator - Flight Sergeant Fred Thomas Murray Sidebotham RAFVR
Air Bomber -Flying Officer Peter Noel Hodgson RAFVR
Wireless Operator - Flight Sergeant Jack Thomas Toplis RAFVR
Mid Upper Gunner - Sergeant Aubrey Harris Miller RAFVR
Rear Gunner - Flight Sergeant Alfred John Simmons RAFVR  

The Essex Chronicle of Friday January 14, 1944 in it's "An Essex Man's Diary" opened with:

Missing after Stettin
I am very sorry to record that Flight Lieutenant George Henry Ebert, recently awarded the D.F.C., of Felsted, is missing after the raid on Stettin. Fifteen of the heavy bombers were lost in this attack.

Flight-Lieut. Ebert joined the R.A.F. as a sergeant-pilot in 1935. Thus he served throughout the fighting in France as a pilot of Fairey Battles.

He was officially listed wounded in action. After Dunkirk he helped bomb the "invasion ports." Then came a turn as an instructor in South Africa. On returning to England he piloted a Lancaster.

He had only one more operational flight to make to complete his present tour of operations. His last flight was his 29th.

Flight-Lieut. Ebert is married, and has one daughter. She is only five weeks old. His father, P.T. instructor at Felsted School, and his mother, are at Ross-on-Wye with the School.

Gravestone at Posnan War Cemetery

After the war George's campaign medals were sent to his wife Christina who was living at
2 Garnetts Villas, Felstead by the War Memorial Hall.

George Ebert's campaign medals and accompanying letter:
L-R: 1939-45 Star; Aircrew Europe Star; Defence Medal; 1939-45 Victory Medal