Halifax JB786 (23/08/1943)

Halifax JB786 was one of twenty three No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 23rd / 24th August 1943.

It was equipped with IFF, Gee and Nav Aid Y (H2S) and was carrying 8 x 500lbs MC and various target indicators. Its designated Path Finder role was Backer Up

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Albert Ernest Arter (Pilot)
  • Roy Horsburgh (Navigator)
  • Duncan McIntyre Miller (Air Bomber)
  • Allan Roland Ball (Wireless Operator)
  • John Joseph Butler (Air Gunner)
  • Peter Golding Boyce (Air Gunner)
  • Edwin George Cooper (Flight Engineer)

The route was East Coast, 52°50N 03°30E, Egmond, 52°50N 09°30E, 52°05N 13°47E, Berlin, 52°50N 13°40E, Mano Island, 55°00N 07°00E, East Coast

JB786 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 24th August 1943 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 23rd / 24th August 1943”.

horsburgh-extract

Extract from letter sent to the family of R Horsburgh

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. 301 (Flight 04/11/1943) reported AE Arter, JJ Butler and EG Cooper as “missing believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 449 (Flight 07/12/1944) reported AE Arter and JJ Butler “previously reported missing believed killed in action” 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:

  • 30/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Boyce and F/O Horsburgh, missing on operations 23rd / 24th August 1943, are prisoners of war and that F/S Arter, F/O AR Ball and Sgt Butler were killed [Note incorrect information regarding AR Ball]
  • 26/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/O AR Ball, missing on operations 23rd / 24th August 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 02/11/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Miller, missing on operations 23rd / 24th August 1943, is a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

AR Ball

AR Ball survived the crash and was captured and hospitalised with serious head injuries.

Information obtained to date shows the following:

  • Hospitalised: Various Lazarett Aug-43 to Nov-43
  • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Nov-43 to Sep-44
  • Repatriated: (Via Sweden) 17/09/1944
  • Hospitalised: RAF Hospital Weeton Sep-44 to Nov-44
  • Hospitalised: Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead Nov-44 until recovered (*)

[Courtesy of Juliet Stockford]

(*) Became a member of the Guinea Pig Club

DM Miller

It is understood that DM Miller suffered a broken leg and was hospitalised after his capture. It is believed that he was repatriated during 1944 (Further research required)

R Horsburgh and PG Boyce

R Horsburgh and PG Boyce 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:

  • R Horsburgh
    • Captured: South of Eberswalde 24/08/1943 (Slight facial wound)
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Obereusel, Frankfurt Aug-43 to Sep-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Sep-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag III-A, Luckenwalde Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • PG Boyce (*)
    • Captured: Berlin Aug-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg Sep-43 to Feb-45
    • Labour Camp: Rodewisch Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45

(*) Initial research suggests that at some point in time (date currently unknown) PG Boyce changed identities with an American soldier (Private Bernard Pizzo) and escaped from Stalag IV-B and ended up in Stalag Luft III, Sagan [It is presumed that this would have been at a time when American prisoners were being evacuated] Further research required

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 AE Arter,  JJ Butler and EG Cooper were located at Doeberitz Standortfriedhof.

jb786-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY on 29th October 1946 as follows:

  • BUTLER, JOHN JOSEPH Sergeant ‘1268653’ Grave 4. B. 20.
  • ARTER, ALBERT ERNEST Flight Sergeant ‘1256391’ Joint grave 4. B. 22-23.
  • COOPER, EDWIN GEORGE Sergeant ‘1219550’  Joint grave 4. B. 22-23.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim by Oblt. Lenz Finster, 2./NJG, nr. Schönerlinde (Germany), 5500m, 00.54hrs (Also, Flak Claims Halifax Schönerlinde 5300-4600m. 00.51-54 hrs) by 1.-5./schw. Flak.Abt. 605, 3./schw. Flak.Abt. 902 (Eisb.), 6./schw. Flak.Abt. 123, 1.-5./schw. Flak.Abt. 154, 3. & 4./schw. Flak.Abt. 662; claim by Oblt. Finster not listed in OKL/RLM 2./NJG1 Confirmed Abschussubersicht)

Air Historical Branch

The MRES report states that “no information is held re the exact location of JB786, but it must be assumed to be in the Berlin area. However, captured German documents show the crash site as Schonerlinde-Lindenhof (Map Reference N53 Z86)”

A report from R Horsburgh whilst a POW states: “On the night of the 23rd August, 1943 when operating over enemy territory, we encountered heavy opposition from the enemy defences. My aircraft was struck several times, wounding myself and the pilot and holed one of the tanks in the fuselage, filling the fuselage with fumes and smoke. We were then attacked and the starboard wing set on fire, and I think it was during this time that Sgt. BUTLER was killed as we got no reply from him on the intercom. I heard F/Lt. BALL who was down in the fuselage say that he thought Sgt. Butler was dead. I was next to the Captain, F/Sgt. ARTER, in the second pilot’s position assisting him in endeavouring to evade the enemy attacks. I think he must have been hit in the chest because he was crouched over his controls and did not answer me. He was, however, still quite conscious and capable of taking charge as he looked towards the wing which was on fire and motioned me to bale out. I gave him his chute and he gave an order over the intercom for the crew to bale out. The aircraft was at this time going down in a steep dive. As I could do nothing further I went down to the front escape hatch which I opened. I found Sgt. MILLER who was lying beside it with a broken leg. I went to assist him but he told me to get out first as he could manage easily by himself now that the hatch was open. I left and he followed me. Soon after I left the aircraft, I saw it apparently turn on its back and dive blazing into the ground. Later I heard Sgt. Miller was in hospital and should recover in the normal course of events. I know nothing of the fate of F/Sgt. Arter or Sgt. COOPER. I should be grateful if you could bring to the notice of our Squadron Commander the conduct of F/Sgt. Arter whose devotion to duty when probably severely wounded kept the aircraft in control, thus allowing the survivors of his crew to escape.”

DM Miller Letter

In a letter to R Horsburgh in 1984, DM Miller wrote “I got a canon splinter in my right leg which severed the nerves to my foot and, when the kite blew up, I think I must have been thrown or sucked through the escape hatch with my left hand clutching the D-ring of the chute.  In any event I came down by chute while unconscious and must have hit the deck very heavily as the fibula in the right leg was shattered and my left shoulder was also injured.”

Memorial Wreath

35Wreath_2.JPG

Memorial Wreath laid at RAF Graveley by Juliet Stockford (daughter of AR Ball) to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the loss of the aircraft (23th August 2018)

Halifax HR928 (23/08/1943)

Halifax HR928 was one of twenty three No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 23rd / 24th August 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Harry Webster (Pilot)
  • Michael Charles Xavier Mack (Navigator)
  • William Philip MacDonald McIntosh (Air Bomber)
  • Robert William Nixon (Wireless Operator)
  • Osborne Lloyd Bliss (Air Gunner)
  • Walter David Craig (Air Gunner)
  • Dennis Burke (Flight Engineer)

BV Robinson (Station Commander, RAF Graveley) was also on board

The route was East Coast, 52°50N 03°30E, Egmond, 52°50N 09°30E, 52°05N 13°47E, Berlin, 52°50N 13°40E, Mano Island, 55°00N 07°00E, East Coast

HR928 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 24th August 1943 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 23rd / 24th August 1943”.

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. 302 (Flight 04/11/1943) reported H Webster, BV Robinson, MCX Mack, WPM McIntosh, RW Nixon, OL Bliss, WD Craig and D Burke as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 401 (Flight 13/07/1944) reported OL Bliss and WD Craig “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 411 (Flight 10/08/1944) reported MCX Mack “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 413 (Flight 14/08/1944) reported H Webster and BV Robinson,  “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 422 (Flight 14/09/1944) reported D Burke “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:

  • 22/02/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that WD Craig and OL Bliss, missing on 23rd / 24th August 1943, were killed
  • 01/03/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that MCX Mack, missing on 23rd / 24th August 1943, was killed

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 all the crew members were located at Wensickendorf Cemetery

hr928-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY on 11th April 1947 as follows:

  • BLISS, OSBORNE LLOYD Warrant Officer Class II ‘R/88244’, Coll. grave 5. L. 12-15
  • BURKE, DENNIS Flight Sergeant ‘632396’, Grave 5. L. 8.
  • CRAIG, WALTER DAVID Pilot Officer ‘J/18448’, Grave 5. L. 9.
  • MACK, MICHAEL CHARLES XAVIER Squadron Leader ‘91224’, Grave 5. L. 10.
  • McINTOSH, WILLIAM PHILIP MACDONALD Pilot Officer ‘J/18231’, Coll. grave 5. L. 12-15.
  • NIXON, ROBERT WILLIAM Pilot Officer ‘J/17729’, Coll. grave 5. L. 12-15.
  • ROBINSON, BASIL VERNON Group Captain, Grave 5. L. 11.
  • WEBSTER, HARRY Flight Lieutenant ‘137191’, Coll. grave 5. L. 12-15.

[Source: Find-a-Grave]

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

  • Nightfighter Claim: Uffz. Rudi Fischer, 1./JG300, Berlin 5,000m 00.53
  • Coned by 1.-3./flaksheinw. Abt. 370 and 1./flaksheinw. Abt. 339,
  • Also claimed by 1./flaksheinw. Abt. 528 (“Halifax Wensickendorf 00.54hrs); .

Claim by Uffz Fischer not listed in OKL/RLM, 1./JG300 Confirmed Abschussunersicht)

WR Chorley (Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War)

Shot down by a nightfighter and crashed at Wensickendorf.

MRES Report (Source: WPM McIntosh Service File)

This aircraft crashed in the near vicinity of Wensickendorf (N53 Z8176) as a result of enemy action during the night of 23/24th August, 1943. The plane exploded on impact and burned fiercely. In spite of the condition of the wreckage the aircraft was identified as a British bomber by a Luftwaffe detachment who removed every part of the wreck.

As a result of the tremendous impact and fierce fire only one complete body was retrieved from the remains of the aircraft. Local knowledge had it that all the crew of seven must have perished and that none escaped by parachute.

In the WENSICKENDORF District Cemetery were three graves, marked with a decent brown varnished wooden cross to the memory of “Three British Airmen Interred Here” – written in English

Crew Information

H Webster (and possibly the main members of his crew) was posted into the squadron from 22 OTU on 16th July 1942 – read more – .

Halifax HR914 (27/08/1943)

Halifax HR914 was one of eighteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Nuremberg on the night of the 27th / 28th August 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Randall Vincent Jones (Pilot)
  • Victor Robert Hobbs (Navigator)
  • P Smith (Air Bomber)
  • Thomas Donald Henderson (Wireless Operator)
  • Gerald Carrell (Air Gunner)
  • Peter Ross Jung (Air Gunner)
  • Wilfred Arthur Jeffries (Flight Engineer)

The route was Beachy Head, 5005N / 0125E, 4915N / 0825E, 4900N / 1100E, Target, 4940N / 1050E, 5005N / 1025E, Beachy Head

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Returned early from High Wycombe 22.14 hours, 3,000 feet because generator on port inner was not working and red light showed. Aircraft vibrating excessively; 9 x 500 MC jettisoned safe at position 5220N 0257E at 23.01 hours, 4,500 feet. 1 x 500 MC hung up and brought back. Under carriage collapsed as aircraft landed and it crashed on the runway. All crew safe and unhurt”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as Cat FB/E on 28th August 1943 and it was struck off charge on 10th September 1943

Halifax HR908 (09/08/1943)

Halifax HR908 was one of fourteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Mannheim on the night of the 9th / 10th August 1943.

It was equipped with Gee and Nav Aid Y (H2S).

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Ernest Gordon Brown (Pilot)
  • Harold Luttrell Temple (Navigator)
  • Eric Charles Dobie (Air Bomber)
  • Arthur Patrick Bowker (Wireless Operator)
  • Allen Sunley (Air Gunner)
  • William Richard Pallister (Air Gunner)
  • James Ellis Jones (Flight Engineer)

The route was Beachy Head, Le Touquet, Mannheim, 4920N 0820E, Le Touquet, Beachy Head

HR908 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 10th August 1943 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 9th / 10th August 1943”.

Extract from letter sent to the pilot’s next of kin

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. 299 (Flight 28/10/1943) reported HL Temple, AP Bowker, A Sunley and WR Pallister as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 397 (Flight 29/06/1944) reported HL Temple, AP Bowker, A Sunley and WR Pallister “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:

  • 22/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Brown, P/O Dobie and F/S Jones, missing on 9th / 10th August 1943, are prisoners of war
  • 30/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/O Temple, Sgt Bowker, Sgt Sunley and Sgt Pallister, missing on 9th / 10th August 1943, were killed
  • 19/05/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that JE Jones, missing on 9th / 10th August 1943, died whilst a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

EG Brown, EC Dobie and JE Jones survived the crash and were captured, interrogated and imprisoned.

JE Jones

It is understood that JE Jones was caught stealing coal briquettes in D North Compound at Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg and was shot in the abdomen by the German guards; he died of his wounds on 2nd April 1944

EG Brown and EC Dobie

EG Brown’s and EC Dobie’s 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 regarding their capture:

  • EG Brown
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft I, Barth Aug-43 to Nov-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug Nov-43 to Jun-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Thorn / Fallingbostel Jun-44 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • EC Dobie (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:

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 JE Jones (who was shot whilst a prisoner of war) were located at Neuburxdorf (Ortsfriedhof)

jones-hr908-concentration

His remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY on 5th June 1947 as follows:

  • JONES, JAMES ELLIS, Flight Sergeant ‘610981’  Grave 6. G. 10.

CWGC records show that the remains of HL Temple, AP Bowker, A Sunley and WR Pallister were located at Wachenheim Cemetery

hr809-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY on 9th April 1948 as follows:

  • BOWKER, ARTHUR PATRICK, Sergeant ‘1194726’ Grave 18. H. 13.
  • PALLISTER, WILLIAM RICHARD, Flight Sergeant ‘627672’ Grave 18. H. 11.
  • SUNLEY, ALLEN, Sergeant ‘1302029’ Grave 18. H. 12.
  • TEMPLE, HAROLD LUTTRELL, Flying Officer ‘127971’ Grave 18. H. 14.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bomber Command Loss Card

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

No nightfighter or flak claims recorded for this loss

Post War Statement by EG Brown

“Controls, instruments shot away by flak. Aircraft commenced to dive and after trying George (automatic pilot) and tail trim with no result, I ordered the crew to abandon aircraft. It was necessary to leave the aircraft as quickly as possible owing to the fact we were carrying marker flares set to explode at 10,000 feet. The aircraft was not on fire nor were any members of the crew injured. I did not see the aircraft crash as I came down through smoke from the target, but was told later that the aircraft exploded in the air”.


Notes:

  1. As original burials were at Wachenheim (Germany) it is assumed that the aircraft was lost in this location

Halifax HR880 (16/08/1943)

Halifax HR880  was one of twenty two No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Turin on the night of the 16th / 17th August 1943.

It was equipped with Gee, Navigational Aid Y [H2S], Monica and Window.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Patrick Archibald Haggarty (Pilot)
  • Ronald Denis Ferguson (Navigator)
  • Morris John Alfred White (Air Bomber)
  • Ronald Leonard Hooper (Wireless Operator)
  • Alan Henry John Sumner (Air Gunner)
  • Robert William Griffiths (Air Gunner)
  • George Connelly Mutch (Flight Engineer)

The route was Selsey Bill, 4822N 0020E, North end of Lac du Bourget, Target, South end of Lac du Bourget, 4750N 0000E, 4916N 0040W, Selsey Bill

HR880 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 17th August 1943 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 16th / 17th August 1943”.

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. 293 (Flight 14/10/1943) reported PA Haggarty, MJA White, RW Griffiths, AHJ Sumner and GC Mutch as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 293 (Flight 14/10/1943) reported MJA White, RW Griffiths, AHJ Sumner and GC Mutch “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:

  • 08/02/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that RD Ferguson, missing on 16th / 17th August 1943, is safe in a neutral country
  • 27/10/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that RD Ferguson, missing on 16th / 17th August 1943, arrived in the UK on 6th October 1944

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

RD Ferguson survived the crash and was captured / hospitalised. It is understood that he escaped from Turin Hospital on 8th November 1943.

His evasion report, which was completed on his return to the UK, shows the following details:

  • RD Ferguson (Report yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Turin (Escaped from hospital 08/11/1943 and evaded; no details available)
    • Repatriated: Oct-44

RL Hooper survived the crash and was captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, shows the following details:

  • RL Hooper (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:

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 suggest that the remains of PA Haggarty, MJA White, RW Griffiths, AHJ Sumner and GC Mutch were located at Torino

hr880-1-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) at MILAN WAR CEMETERY in October 1945 as follows:

  • GRIFFITHS, ROBERT WILLIAMS, Flying Officer ‘116501’  Joint grave I. C. 1-2.
  • HAGGARTY, PATRICK ARCHIBALD, Squadron Leader ‘42500’ Grave I. B. 10.
  • MUTCH, GEORGE CONNELLY, Sergeant ‘575761’ Grave I. B. 8.
  • SUMNER, ALAN HENRY JOHN Flight Lieutenant ‘126845’ Joint grave I. C. 1-2.
  • WHITE, MORRIS JOHN ALFRED, Flight Lieutenant ‘120889’  Grave I. B. 12.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bomber Command Loss Card

Cause / Location of Loss

The aircraft crashed at Front Canavese, shot down by Lieutenant Pilot Cesare Balli, 232 Squadron (59th Interceptor Group). Balli took off from Venegono at 00:48 in Reggiane Re. 2001 (CN Version) Serial No. MM90756.

A newspaper article from the time (17th / 18th August 1943) shows the wreckage of the Halifax, along with a photograph showing some of the damage caused during the attacks on Turin. It should be borne in mind that this was a wartime publication and therefore deeply critical of the allied bombing raids.

Information and newspaper cutting courtesy of Luca Gabriele Merli and Katia Ottone

Halifax HR878 (31/08/1943)

Halifax HR878 was one of eighteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 31st August / 1st September 1943.

It was equipped with Gee, H2S and Monica and was probably carrying 2  x TI red LB, 2 x TI red, 2 x 1000lb GP and 2 x 500 MC. Its designated Pathfinder role was as a Blind Marker.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Wilfred Surtees (Pilot)
  • George Newsham (Navigator)
  • Henry George Wilfred Wooley (Air Bomber)
  • Herbert Arthur Penny (Wireless Operator)
  • James Russell Griffin (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas Henry Sutton (Air Gunner)
  • Edward James Brown (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5315N 0400E, North Texel, 5147N 1108E, Berlin, 5100N 2930E, 5030N 0720E, Cayeux, Beachy Head.

HR878 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 1st September 1943 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 31st August / 1st September 1943”.

An example of the telegram that was sent

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. 307 (Flight 18/11/1943) reported G Newsham, JR Griffin, TH Sutton and EJ Brown as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 416 (Flight 24/08/1944) reported G Newsham, JR Griffin, TH Sutton and EJ Brown “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:

  • 10/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that P/O Wooley, missing on 31st August / 1st September 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 16/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that S/L Surtees, missing on 31st August / 1st September 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 23/11/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/O Penny, missing on 31st August / 1st September 1943, returned safely to the UK on 11th November 1943

Crew members who survived the crash and evaded capture

HA Penny survived the crash and evaded capture as follows:

  • Evasion Route: Holland / Belgium / France / Spain / Gibraltar (Comet Passage 66 [No. 175]
  • Repatriated: Whitchurch 11/11/1943

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

W Surtees and  HGW Wooley 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:

  • W Surtees (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  •  HGW Wooley (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:

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 do not show where the remains of G Newsham, JR Griffin, TH Sutton and EJ Brown were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) at KUINRE GENERAL CEMETERY as follows:

  • BROWN, EDWARD JAMES Pilot Officer ‘52566’  Row 22. Grave 40D.
  • GRIFFIN, JAMES RUSSELL Flight Sergeant ‘848343’ Row 22. Grave 40E.
  • NEWSHAM, GEORGE Flight Lieutenant ‘79755’ Row 22. Grave 40C.
  • SUTTON, THOMAS HENRY Sergeant ‘1033490’ Row 22. Grave 40B.

[Source: TracesofWar]


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Oblt. Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, 12./NJG1, 700m N. Kuinre NW Meppel (Holland), 4500m, 22.41

World War II Allied Aircraft Crashes in The Netherlands and North Sea

  • Outbound, hit by flak, causing damage to the starboard wing; finally shot down by Oblt. Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer
  • Crashed about 1.5km east of Kuinre
  • Some small parts recovered by Royal Netherlands Air Force in 1964)

HR878 [Source http://www.airwar4045.nl]

Bomber Command Loss Card

  • Lengthy text which needs to be deciphered
  • Shot down by nightfighter from below, over Zuiderzee at 16000ft. Target not bombed, aircraft destroyed

London Gazette (08/06/1944)

HA Penny was Mentioned in Despatches as a result of his actions. The citation reads:

On 31st August 1943, Flying Officer Penny was the wireless operator (air) of a Halifax aircraft detailed to attack Berlin.  Shortly after crossing the Dutch coast the Halifax caught fire and the pilot lost control.  Flying Officer Penny, who escaped by parachute, alighted safely in a defence zone and immediately set out to avoid capture.  He overcame innumerable obstacles and, showing great determination, walked alone by day and night over very rough country.  His efforts to evade capture were rewarded and he succeeded in returning to this country on 10th November 1943.


Halifax HR865 (23/08/1943)

Halifax HR865 was one of twenty three No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 23rd / 24th August 1943.

It was equipped with Gee and H2s

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Lawrence Edward Nicklin Lahey (Pilot)
  • David Farrant Bland (Navigator)
  • John William Annetts (Air Bomber)
  • Daniel David Cleary (Wireless Operator)
  • Leonard Alan Such (Air Gunner)
  • Robert Scott Hogg (Air Gunner)
  • Wilfred Ernest Sutton (Flight Engineer)

The route for the bomber stream was as follows: East Coast, 52°50N 03°30E, Egmond, 52°50N 09°30E, 52°05N 13°47E, Berlin, 52°50N 13°40E, Mano Island, 55°00N 07°00E, East Coast

HR865 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 24th August 1943 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 23rd / 24th August 1943”.

lahey-telegram2

Copy of telegram sent to LEN Lahey’s family

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 provided No. 35 Squadron with the following information regarding the crew:

  • 13/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that P/O Lahey and crew, missing on 23rd / 24th August 1943, are all prisoners of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

All members of the crew 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:

  • LEN Lahey
    • Captured: 20 miles from Brandenburg Aug-43
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Aug-43 to Sep-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Sep-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Marlag und Milag Nord, Westertimke (Tarmstedt) Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • DD Cleary
    • Captured: Outside Genthin (South of Magdeburg) Aug-43
      Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Aug-43
      Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg Sep-43 to Apr-45
      Repatriated: May-45
  •  RS Hogg
    • Captured: Berlin 23/08/1943
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Aug-43 to Sep-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg Sep-43 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  •  WE Sutton
    • Captured: Genthin (nr Berlin) (23/08/1943)
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Aug-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg Sep-43 Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • JW Annetts (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  • DF Bland (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  • LA Such (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg
    • Repatriated:

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim; Hptm. H Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, Stab II./NJG3, nr Dorst, NNW Neuhaldensleben (Germany), 5500m, 00.18 (Note: claim not listed in OKL/RLM; Stab II./NJG3 Confirmed Abschussubersicht)

Extract from LEN Lahey’s Repatriation Report [Source: Australian Archive]

Hit by JU88 at 17000ft causing breakdown in hydraulics and fire in starboard wing and starboard inner motor. After applying fire extinguishers to starboard inner without avail, the order to bale out was given and acknowledged by each member of the crew who jumped in turn. The mid-upper gunner was slightly wounded in the legs and pilot had slight wound in the head. Aircraft crashed about 20 miles from Brandenburg

Bomber Command Loss Card

  • All crew baled out; shot down nr Magdeburg (Dirglitz)
  • Text on reverse of card is difficult to read and needs to be deciphered

Halifax HR863 (02/08/1943)

Halifax HR863 was one of twenty one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Hamburg on the night of the 2nd / 3rd August 1943.

It was equipped with H2S and Monica.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Edmund Solomon (Pilot)
  • Alfred Arthur Charles Bedward (Navigator)
  • Donald William McGlashan Archer (Air Bomber)
  • Stanislaus Cyril McKiernan (Wireless Operator)
  • Alexander Stephen (Air Gunner)
  • Ronald Cecil Davies (Air Gunner)
  • Herbert Pickup (Flight Engineer)

The route was: 54°20N 07°00E, 53°45N 08°32E, 53°00N 10°00E, Hamburg, 54°00N 10°00E, 54°30N 07°00E

HR863 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing further being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 3rd August 1943 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 2nd / 3rd August 1943”.

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. 292 (Flight 14/10/1943) reported E Solomon, AAC Bedward, DWM Archer, SC McKiernan, RC Davies, A Stephen and H Pickup as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 398 (Flight 06/07/1944) reported E Solomon, AAC Bedward, DWM Archer, SC McKiernan, RC Davies and H Pickup “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:

  • 20/11/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Solomon, Sgt Archer, Sgt McKiernan, Sgt Davies and Sgt Pickup, missing on 2nd / 3rd August 1943, were killed
  • 31/01/1944: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Bedward, missing on 2nd / 3rd August 1943, was killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

A Stephen survived the crash and were captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

His POW Liberation Questionnaire, which was completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, shows the following details:

  • A Stephen (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Dulag Luft / Not Known
    • Repatriated:

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 E Solomon, AAC Bedward, DWM Archer, SC McKiernan, RC Davies and H Pickup were located at Stade Communal Cemetery

hr863-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 24th September 1946 at BECKLINGEN WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • ARCHER, DONALD WILLIAM MCGLASHAN, Sergeant ‘658103’  Grave 14. E. 14.
  • BEDWARD, ALFRED ARTHUR CHARLES, Flight Sergeant ‘1338439’ Joint grave 12. F. 9-10.
  • DAVIES, RONALD CECIL, Sergeant ‘1600566’ Joint grave 12. F. 9-10.
  • McKIERNAN, STANISLAUS CYRIL (STAN), Sergeant ‘1295318’ Grave 12. F. 13.
  • PICKUP, HERBERT, Sergeant ‘527356’ Grave 12. F. 12.
  • SOLOMON, EDMUND, Pilot Officer ‘155021’ Grave 12. F. 11.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bomber Command Loss Card

[Source: RAF Museum]

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Hit by 1./schw.Flak Abt. 601 (o) and Pers. Battr. (Grossbattr. Hahnofersand) 3. & 4./schw.Flak Abt. 601 (o) (Grossbattr. Rubke), 2./schw.Flak Abt. 601 (o), 4./schw.Flak Abt. 418 (Eisb), 3./schw.Flak Abt. 336 (v), and 5./schw.Flak Abt. 601 (o) (Grossbattr. Neugraben), crashed at Ruschwedel near Harsefeld at 02.24 hrs

Note: The crash location in the published archive entry shows “near Blockstele 12, between Daerstorf and Buxtehude (Germany) at 02.24hrs”. This has subsequently been corrected by Theo Boiten in conjunction with Dieter Pintatis

WR Chorley (RAF Bomber Command Losses)

Crashed after encountering very severe icing and electrical storms

Halifax HR861 (10/08/1943)

Halifax HR861 was one of twenty one No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Nuremberg on the night of the 10th / 11th August 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Elliss Trevor Ware (Pilot)
  • Charles Bowmer Russell (Navigator)
  • Gordon Davidson Hogg (Air Bomber)
  • Glenburne George Galvin (Wireless Operator)
  • Reginald Hamblin (Air Gunner)
  • William George Jackett (Air Gunner)
  • Jack Fiddler (Flight Engineer)

The route was Beachy Head, Le Touquet, 4935N 1040E, Nuremberg, 4910N 1100E, 4917N 0826E, Le Touquet, Beachy Head

HR861 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 11th August 1943 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 10th / 11th August 1943”.

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. 293 (Flight 14/10/1943) reported R Hamblin, WG Jackett and J Fiddler as “missing believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 380 (Flight 04/05/1944) reported R Hamblin, WG Jackett and J Fiddler “previously reported missing believed killed in action” 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:

  • 03/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/O Galvin, missing on 10th / 11th August 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 07/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/O Ware, P/O Hogg and F/O Russell, missing on 10th / 11th August 1943, are prisoners of war and that F/S Hamblin, F/S Jackett and Sgt. Fiddler were killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

ET Ware, CB Russell, GD Hogg and GG Galvin 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:

  • CB Russell
    • Captured: Mainz 11/08/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Aug-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III-A, Luckenwalde Feb-45 to Feb-45
    • Imprisoned: ? Feb-45 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • GD Hogg
    • Captured: Frammersheim 11/08/1943
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Aug-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III-A, Luckenwalde Feb-45 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • ET Ware (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  • GG Galvin (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:

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 R Hamblin, WG Jackett and J Fiddler were located at Framersheim Cemetery, Alzey District, Land Hessen.

hr861-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 7th May 1948 at RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • FIDDLER, JACK, Sergeant ‘633093’  Grave 17. C. 21.
  • HAMBLIN, REGINALD, Flight Sergeant ‘1575323’ Grave 17. C. 23.
  • JACKETT, WILLIAM GEORGE, Flight Sergeant ‘1075889’ Grave 17. C. 22.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Hptm. Heinrich Wohlers, Stab 1./NG6, nr Schafhausen, 1 km. NE Alzey (Germany)

Bomber Command Loss Card

  • GG Galvin: Fire in fuselage rendered communication impossible
  • GP Hogg: I gave Fiddler his chute; he was in a dazed condition. Explosion after I left so probable that he was injured
  • Attacked by nightfighter north of Worms (49°35N 08°22E), caught fire and exploded; 3 bodies found in wreckage, believed to be Jackett, Hamblin and Fiddler.
  • More text which needs to be deciphered 

Map showing original burial location

Halifax HR862 (17/08/1943)

Halifax HR862 was one of ten No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Peenemunde on the night of the 17th / 18th August 1943.

It was equipped with Gee and Nav Aid Y (H2S)

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Peter Roland Raggett (Pilot)
  • Albert Joseph Perkins (Navigator)
  • Stanley Alfred Baldwin (Air Bomber)
  • Frederick Roberts (Wireless Operator)
  • Douglas Stewart Wood (Air Gunner)
  • Peter Henry Palmer (Air Gunner)
  • Vincent Webster (Flight Engineer)

The route was: 5510N 0700E, 5525N 0827E, Peenemunde, Mano, 5510N 0700E

HR862 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 18th August 1943 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 17th / 18th August 1943”.

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. 299 (Flight 28/10/1943) reported PR Raggett, AJ Perkins, SA Baldwin, DS Wood and V Webster as “missing believed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 380 (Flight 04/05/1944) reported AJ Perkins, DS Wood and V Webster “previously reported missing believed killed in action” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 442 (Flight 16/11/1944) reported SA Baldwin and PR Raggett “previously reported missing believed killed in action” 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:

  • 22/09/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Roberts and Sgt Palmer, missing on 17th / 18th August 1943, are prisoners of war and that F/S Raggett, F/O Baldwin, P/O Perkins, Sgt Wood and Sgt Webster were killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

F Roberts and PH Palmer 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:

  • PH Palmer
    • Captured: Near Peenemunde Aug-43 (Injured)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg Sep-43 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • F Roberts (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Mulhberg
    • Repatriated:

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.

Original Burials

CWGC records show that the remains of  PR Raggett, AJ Perkins, SA Baldwin, DS Wood and V Webster were located at Greifswald Cemetery, Pommern

hr862-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 30th July 1948 at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • BALDWIN, STANLEY ALFRED, Flying Officer ‘124761’  Joint grave 2. J. 16-17.
  • PERKINS, ALBERT JOSEPH, Flying Officer ‘128669’ Grave 2. J. 15.
  • RAGGETT, PETER ROLAND, Pilot Officer ‘149324’ Joint grave 2. J. 16-17.
  • WEBSTER, VINCENT, Sergeant ‘814232’ Grave 2. J. 18.
  • WOOD, DOUGLAS STEWART, Flight Sergeant ‘1351620’ Coll. grave 2. F. 1-16.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Ofw. Karl-Heinz Scherfling, 10./NJG1, Near Greifswald (Germany), 2800m, 01.28

Map 

Halifax HR846 (23/08/1943)

Halifax HR846 was one of twenty three No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Berlin on the night of the 23rd / 24th August 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • John Jarvis Williams (Pilot)
  • James Casey (Navigator)
  • Richard Charles Tucker (Air Bomber)
  • Gordon James Hurley (Wireless Operator)
  • John Elwell (Air Gunner)
  • Thomas David Bishop (Air Gunner)
  • John Colgan (Flight Engineer)

The route was East Coast, 5250N 0330E, Egmond, 5250N 0930E, 5205N 1347E, Berlin, 5250N 1340E, Mano Island, 5500N 0700E, East Coast

HR846 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing, nothing being heard from it after take off”

Halifax HR846 [Photograph by Ron Gayner (Courtesy of Dick Gayner)]

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 24th August 1943 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 23rd / 24th August 1943”.

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. 382 (Flight 11/05/1944) reported TD Bishop and RC Tucker “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:

  • 02/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Williams, Sgt Casey and F/S Hurley, missing on 23rd / 24th August 1943, are prisoners of war.
  • 30/10/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Colgan and Sgt Elwell, missing on 23rd / 24th August 1943, are prisoners of war.
  • 24/11/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that F/S Bishop, missing on 23rd / 24th August 1943, was killed

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

JJ Williams, J Casey, GJ Hurley, J Colgan and J Elwell 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:

  • JJ Williams
    • Evaded: 23/08/1943 to 27/08/1943
    • Captured: Frankfurt (27/08/1943)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IV-B, Muhlberg Sep-43 to May-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • J Colgan
    • Evaded: 23/08/1943 to 31/08/1943
    • Captured: North of Nuremberg? (31/08/1943)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB, Muhlberg Sep-43
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft, Frankfurt Sep-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB, Muhlberg Sep-43 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  •  J Casey (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB, Muhlberg / Stalag Luft III, Sagan
    • Repatriated:
  • GJ Hurley (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB, Muhlberg
    • Repatriated:
  • J Elwell (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IVB, Muhlberg
    • Repatriated:

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 RC Tucker and TD Bishop were located at Doeberitz Standortfriedhof.

hr846-concentration

Their remains were exhumed, identified and concentrated (reinterred) on 28th October 1946 at BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY as follows:

  • BISHOP, THOMAS DAVID, Flight Sergeant ‘1252904’ Grave 1. J. 10.
  • TUCKER, RICHARD CHARLES, Pilot Officer ‘155165’ Grave 1. J. 9.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

First Nightfighter Claim: Oblt. Lenz Finster, 2./NJG1, W Trebnitz (Germany), 5000m, 01.12hrs (Note: coned by 1./Flakshceinw. Abt. 339, 5./Flakshceinw. Abt. 448 and 4./Flakshceinw. Abt. 180 ‘Halifax Trebnitz 5500m 01.12hrs’)

Second Nightfighter Claim: Lt Peter Spoden, 5./NJG5, over target, Berlin (Germany), 4500m, 01.13hrs (Note; also claimed by Flak of 1. & 4./schw. Flak Abt. 362 and 2./schw. Flak Abt. 662 ‘4-mot Buckow 01.13hrs’; claim Lt. Spoden not listed in OKL/RLM, 5./NJG5  confirmed Abschussubersicht)

WR Chorley (Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War)

Shot down by a nightfighter and crashed in the target area