Halifax LV834 was one of seventeen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Leipzig on the night of the 19th / 20th February 1944.
It was equipped with Gee, IFF, H2S, API, Monica, GPI and Fishpond and was carrying 3 x 1000lbs MC, 1 x 500lbs MC and various flares / target indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Blind Backer Up
Its seven-man crew comprised:
- RVJ Jones (Pilot)
- HDS White (Navigator)
- R Booth (Air Bomber)
- TD Henderson (Wireless Operator)
- G Carrell (Air Gunner)
- JW Warren (Air Gunner)
- WA Jeffries (Flight Engineer)
The route was 5400N 0440E, 5240N 0810E, 5237N 1152E, 5200N 1255E, Target, 5100N 1200E, 5240N 0810E, 5315N 0400E
LV834 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”
Wartime activities relating to the loss
On 20th February 1944 the squadron informed Bomber Command, the Air Ministry and the RAF Records Office that the aircraft and crew were missing.
A telegram, along with a follow up letter from the Commanding Officer, was sent to the next of kin of each crew member advising them that he was “missing as the result of air operations on 19th / 20th February 1944”.
The crew’s kit and personal belongings were removed from their lockers and catalogued; kit was returned to stores and personal belongings sent to the RAF Central Depository at RAF Colnbrook.
The Air Ministry Casualty Branch, which was responsible for investigating, monitoring and reporting on the status of missing aircraft and airmen, subsequently published the following information regarding the crew:
- Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 379 (Flight 04/05/1944) reported RVJ Jones,
R Booth, TD Henderson, G Carrell and JW Warren as “missing”
- Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 502 (Flight 10/05/1945) reported R Booth, TD Henderson, G Carrell and JW Warren “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
Note: Presumption of death enabled a death certificate to be issued; personal belongings could then be sent to next of kin, along with any monies due.
No. 35 Squadron’s Operations Record Book shows the following information was received relating to the crew:
- 30/03/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that HDS White and WA Jefferies, missing on 19th / 20th February 1944, are prisoners of war, though WA Jefferies was wounded; also that five unknown were killed
- ??/??/????: Information received from Air Ministry that JW Warren, G Carrell, R Booth and TD Henderson, missing on 19th / 20th February 1944, were killed
Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned
HDS White and WA Jeffries survived the crash and were captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.
Their POW Liberation Questionnaires, which were completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, show the following details:
- WA Jeffries (Jefferies)
- Captured: 20 miles, SW Stendal (20/02/1944)
- Hospitalised: Hermann Goering Hospital, Berlin Feb-44 to Mar-44
- Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Mar-44
- Hospitalised: Reserve Hospital, Schliez Mar-44 to May-44
- Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug May-44 to Jul-44
- Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn / Fallingbostel Jul-44 to Apr-45
- Repatriated: May-45
- HDS White (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
- Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
Post War search for the missing crew members
After the war, an investigation officer from the Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service (MRES) was tasked with locating the remains of the missing crew member(s).
Original German documents, burial records and eye witness accounts were utilised to establish the location of the crash site, the cause of the loss and the initial fate of the crew; information was recorded in a MRES Investigation Report.
As part of the process, any remains that were located were exhumed, identified (wherever possible) and concentrated (reinterred) at one of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Cemeteries in the country that they fell, in accordance with Government policy at the time.
Graves were marked with a simple wooden cross, which was replaced by the familiar CWGC headstone during the 1950’s.
Missing airmen who could not be found, or formally identified, had their names commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, which was unveiled in 1953.
CWGC records show that the remains of RVJ Jones, R Booth, TD Henderson, G Carrell and JW Warren were located at Gohre Cemetery
Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY as follows:
- JONES, RANDALL VINCENT JOEY Flight Lieutenant ‘139585’ Grave 8. E. 9.
- BOOTH, RONALD Sergeant ‘1549733’ Grave 8. E. 8.
- HENDERSON, THOMAS DONALD Flight Sergeant ‘1126958’ Grave 8. E. 7.
- CARRELL, GERALD Flight Sergeant ‘1319244’ Coll. grave 8. G. 1-16.
- WARREN, JAMES WALTER Flight Lieutenant ‘126722’ Coll. grave 8. G. 1-16.
Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)
There are no nightfighter or flak claims for this aircraft in the latest version of the Nachtjagd Combat Archive. The original diaries showed a nightfighter claim for Fw. Gunther Bahr (3./NJG6, Gohre 15km SSW Stendal, 6100m, 03.20) but this appears to have been incorrect.