Halifax HX328 (20/12/1943)

Halifax HX328 was one of twenty one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Frankfurt on the night of the 20th / 21st December 1943.

It was carrying 6 x 1000lb GP TI. Its designated Path Finder role was Visual Marker.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Douglas Julian Sale (Pilot)
  • Alan James Dowling (Navigator)
  • Gordon Henry Francis Carter (Navigator)
  • Marcus Rees (Wireless Operator)
  • Robert Lionel Lamb (Air Gunner)
  • George Carpenter (Air Gunner)
  • George Henry Cross (Flight Engineer)

The route was: 5130N 0440E, 5032N 0510E, 5015N 0730E, Target, 5005N 0902E, 5030N 0900E, 5032N 0510E, 5130N 0440E, Hornsea

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “While circling the airfield prior to landing, HX328, captained by J Sale, caught fire when a target indicator exploded. S/L Sale climbed to 2000ft, baled out five members of his crew, the mid-upper gunner (RL Lamb) unable to do so as his parachute was destroyed by the ensuing fire. S/L Sale calmly landed the burning aircraft, taxied off the runway. The aircraft exploded when he and the gunner were some two hundred yards away. The rear gunner (G Carpenter) was the only casualty, sustaining a fractured ankle after baling out.

Halifax HX328 [Source: Pathfinder Museum]


AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as FB / E (Salvage) and was struck off charge on 6th January 1944

DJ Sale Award

DJ Sale was awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Service Order for his actions. The citation reads:

One night in December 1943, this officer was the pilot of an aircraft detailed to attack a target in Germany. Although heavy cloud prevailed over the target, Sqn. Ldr. Sale displayed great persistence and made five runs over the area before releasing his bombs. The return flight was safely accomplished, but, whilst over base at a height of 1,500 feet, some stores exploded and flames burst out near the rear turret and the underside of one of the wings. The aircraft quickly became filled with smoke and fumes and the fire spread rapidly. The danger of the tanks exploding was soon apparent. Coolly, Sqn. Ldr. Sale turned away from the airfield, regained height and ordered his crew to leave by parachute. By this time, he could hardly see the instruments as the smoke in the cockpit was so dense. As he was just about to leave the aircraft himself, Sqn. Ldr. Sale saw, standing beside him, a member of the crew who had been unable to leave as his parachute was badly damaged and unusable. Sqn. Ldr Sale therefore decided to attempt to land the burning aircraft and succeeded in so doing. The floor of the fuselage, some equipment and some stores were blazing as he and his comrade got clear. When they were a bare 200 yards away, the aircraft exploded. In circumstances of great danger, Sqn Ldr. Sale displayed great courage and determination, setting an example of the highest order.