Woolnough had joined the RAF in February 1939 as a Wireless
Operator / Air Gunner. He was awarded the DFM for operations over Germany
whilst serving with 144 Sqn. This award was announced on 21 Nov 1941. He was
commissioned to Plt Off in April 1942..
His parents learnt of his burial with the rest of his crew in 1948 when they
received, via the Air Ministry, a letter and photo from a young Dutch
student which was taken the day after the burial. In 1949, the local
villagers erected a memorial over the grave.
Took off at 2257 from Cottesmore to bomb Cologne as part of the first 1,000
bomber raid. Shot down by a night fighter, flown by Lt Manfred Meurer,of
III/NGJ1, and crashed at 0205 near Deipenveen (Overijssel), 4 km NNW of
Hampden I P2116 GL+L2
Plt Off TEP Ramsey
Plt Off WH Gorton
Plt Off VE Woolnough DFM
Sgt FH Falk
WR Chorley "Bomber Command Losses"
Woolnough - In loving memory of my darling son, Plt Off Victor
E Woolnough DFM who was killed in action May 31 1942 and who is never
forgotten by his loving Mother and Father. 88 Sheldon Road.
Woolnough - In loving memory of our dear brother Plt Off VE Woolnough who
gave his life on air ops May 31 1942. From his sisters Gwen and Flo and
brother Bob also Maisie.
Wilts Times 27 May 1944
Tavender's DFM Register:
As Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, Sergeant Woolnough's work has
been of a very high standard. At times, Sergeant Woolnough has been called
upon to work his set under the most severe icing and electrical conditions
and on many occasions it has been due to his skill that the safe navigation
of his aircraft has been accomplished. This NCO carried out a daylight
attack on Brest as Wireless Operator/Air Gunner during July, 1941. The
operation had to be undertaken in the face of large fighter and AA
opposition. Although the aircraft was repeatedly hit by AA and the formation
almost continuously engaged by fighter aircraft, this NCO continued to
operate his guns with skill and determination.
The Hampden File by Harry Moyle p110
P2116 14OTU 30-31/5/42 Shot down my night fighter 3km N of Deventer,
Netherlands. PO TEP Ramsay (Prisoner), PO WH Gordon, PO VE Woolnough DFM,
Sgt FH Falk (all buried Diepenveen, Netherlands). Bombing Cologne.
The Hampden File by Harry Moyle p155
"....taking part in the first 'Thousand-Bomber' attack on
Cologne....P2116 had been almost shot to pieces by a night fighter over
Holland and the pilot, PO TEP Ramsay, had been the only one to survive the
onslaught; he baled out of his wrecked and blazing Hampden, and became a
prisoner of war."