Preparation
  Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Stout  
 

F/L Geoffrey Stevenson Stout

 
Flight Lieutenant Stout was piloting Lancaster Mk.I NF-923 coded KC-M during an operation to Ladbergen on September 23/24, 1944. This op was to breach the Dortmund Ems Kanal North of Munster. They were homebound, having failed to drop their bombs owing to poor weather conditions when  they were intercepted by a night-fighter. With three engines out of action and a blaze in the bomb bay, they abandoned the Lancaster and crashed at 2300 onto the Vordense Binnenweg. Three crewmembers were killed in the crash, including F/L Geoffrey Stevenson.

The crew consisted of:

Name Service Trade Hometown  Age
F/O Geoffrey Stout  RAFVR Pilot - 23
P/O Alan Benting  RAFVR Flight Engineer Acocks Green, Birmingham 22
F/O Clyde Graham  RAFVR Navigator Leighton Buzzard, Beds 23
F/O Bill Rupert - EVD RCAF Bomb Aimer - -
F/O  Ron Allen - DFC  RAFVR W/Op/AG - 23
F/Sgt Peter Whittaker - DFM (POW) RAFVR M/Up Gunner - -
F/O Reg Petch - DFC (EVD)  RAFVR Rear Gunner - -

 Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Stevenson Stout RAFVR was the son of Jacob Stevenson  and Emma Stout of Whitehaven, Cumbria, gaining his BA at Canterbury. He trained at No 20 Empire Flying Training School on 7th January 1942,17th November1942,No 19OTU,9th February 1943 at 1660 HCU (Swinderby). On the 30th ofMarch 1943 he was granted an Emergency commission as Pilot Officer, General Duties Branch RAFVR with 9 Squadron and joined 617 squadron on 28th September 1943, being made Flying Officer on the 30th ofSeptember. From October 1943 to January 1944 he was with 619 Squadron at Woodhall Spa before re joining 617 squadron at Coningsby. Officer Stout was awarded a DFC  on 21st July 1944

 Flight Lieutenant Stout was to fly over twenty eight ops with 617 Squadron, including Le Havre,Boulogne,Brest and the raid on the Tirpitz where he and his crew scored a near hit. On the night of 23/24th September his last op was intended to take the pressure off the airborne troops at Arnheim by rupturing the Dykes of the Dortmund and preventing the Germans from using the waterways.

 His Air bomber-Bill Rupert RCAF survived the fateful op and evaded, he describes the mission  in his own words:

 “The weather  was cloudy. We flew out with the main stream to France then diverged on a more Northerly route. The air was full of aircraft that night and at the points of convergence over the coast and the continent we witnessed 2 mid air collisions. As we approached the target, I spotted a glow from the aiming point marker but could not pick out an aiming point. We went round hoping for an opening but then headed for base. We were struck from below with terrific force, at least three of the engines were on fire and they wind milled to a stop. The Hydraulics were gone. I tried to jettison our bomb but to no avail. The bomb bay was ablaze and we were falling at a fast rate. We were told to abandon the aircraft. The Navigator, Pilot and Flight Engineer were hit and we helped the wounded out of the front hatch. Geoff and I were left, so I quickly knelt down and fell out of the hatch and opened my ‘chute. The plane was now going at a terrific speed and I heard it crash and explode the Navigator and Flight Engineer were either dead on landing or shortly after.   Reg Petch, Pete Whittaker (wounded in the elbow), and myself  evaded for various lengths of time. Mine was for six and a half months. Geoff Stout was a classic example of the calibre of men the squadron attracted-unassuming, devoted to his duty and courageous to the end.”

Flying Officer Geoffrey Stout was found totally burnt, still sitting in his Lancaster’s cockpit.

F/L Stout's Grave Marker

Flight Lieutenant Stout is buried in Lochem New General cemetery. Flying Officer Graham rests in Arnhem Oosterbeek War cemetery. Pilot Officer Benting, who died of his injuries on the following day, rests in Enschede Eastern General Cemetery.

 
  Photos courtesy of Danny Burden, eyewitness account by Bill Rupert,  research by Linda Ibrom.