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Thread: Four Lancaster losses 24-25 March 1944 Berlin raid

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    Default Four Lancaster losses 24-25 March 1944 Berlin raid

    Dear all,

    I am currently working on the new narrative plus claims/matchings listing of the 24-25 March 1944 Berlin raid, for the NJWD 2nd edition. I am looking for information on the crash locations, cause of loss and times of crash of the following four 'heavies' (I have the info on the crews from Chorley's vol. on 1944):

    -166 Squadron Lancaster ND620
    -420 Squadron Hal LW373 (homebound shot down S. Hannover by Fw190; crash location?)
    -630 Squadron Lancaster LL886
    -630 Squadron Lancaster ND788

    Cheers & thanks for any details,

    Theo

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    Theo;

    My notes show all the crew of LW373 taken prisoner. That may give you a source of information on this one.

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    Hello Bill,

    Cheers for that -I've checked the PoW questionnaires but they contain no specific info on the crash location..

    Cheers, Theo

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    Default Nd788

    Quote Originally Posted by Theo Boiten View Post
    Dear all,

    I am currently working on the new narrative plus claims/matchings listing of the 24-25 March 1944 Berlin raid, for the NJWD 2nd edition. I am looking for information on the crash locations, cause of loss and times of crash of the following four 'heavies' (I have the info on the crews from Chorley's vol. on 1944):

    -166 Squadron Lancaster ND620
    -420 Squadron Hal LW373 (homebound shot down S. Hannover by Fw190; crash location?)
    -630 Squadron Lancaster LL886
    -630 Squadron Lancaster ND788

    Cheers & thanks for any details,

    Theo
    I'm not sure if the original poster is still interested, but my step-grandfather, Flight Sergeant Geoff Hather, was navigator on 630 Squadron Lancaster ND788. This is an account of the op of the 24th – 25th of March, which he wrote in 2003, shortly before his death:

    “On the 24th March we took over a brand new aircraft. In my opinion this was the cause of the downfall on the last op we did. There’s a lot to do to get an aircraft operational. One of the items is the flight test. Because we were due at the briefing mid-afternoon, we had no time to do this. In fact the first time we flew the thing is when we went to Berlin that evening. I must say we were all keyed up for the ‘Big City’. It was a bit awe inspiring. When we were half way across the North Sea and an engine started to play up we were non-plussed to say the least. After a few minutes, John (pilot, Flight Sergeant John Perry) and Jock (flight engineer, Sergeant Jim Morrison) decided to feather the engine. The Lancaster would fly on three engines with no problems, but as we were only a short way on the trip, they were worried about the remaining three overheating, so this mean that the airspeed was dropped and in consequence it looked as though we would be late at the target. I did a quick calculation and gave John a new course to fly which meant we would be there on time, which we did. But it did mean with our lower speed, we were going to be back late as the course back was straight home, we couldn’t take any shortcuts. I don’t really know what happened next [they were probably hit by flak]. I pulled out my intercom plug so I didn’t hear the instruction to bale out. The first I knew something was amiss was when I saw Ted (w/o Sergeant Ted Naisbit) putting on his parachute. I plugged in and got an earful from John, who told me we were on fire and to get out. I went down to the bed where I had left my parachute, and saw Ted pushing Frank (Sergeant Frank Giblin) out, followed by Monty (rear gunner, Sergeant Monty Todd), then he jumped. John, Jim and Jock must have gone through the front exit. What happened then I don’t know [in conversations with me about this, Geoff hypothesised that he may have been knocked unconscious before he could strap on his parachute, and was then thrown clear of the aircraft as it broke up – he had no memory of how he got out]. I felt myself falling through the air, then hitting some trees rather hard, then landing very heavily on the ground, and although I knew I had stopped falling, I still had the feeling that I was. It was terribly cold, in fact there was deep snow on the ground. It could have been this which stopped me from losing my leg, which was a bit of a mess. So ended our sixth and last op.”

    [Geoff didn’t write about what happened next, but he told me that he was taken to a German military hospital. He had significant internal trauma wounds and multiple fractures to his legs and spine. His life was saved by a complex operation which pinned his bones back together. He then spent 3 months in a flea and lice ridden full body plastercast in a PoW camp hospital, being tended by Russian PoW orderlies, subsisting on a near starvation diet of bread and cabbage soup. He was cut out of the plastercast on his 21st Birthday, 2nd June, 1944, an experience he described as the best birthday present he ever had].

    “I didn’t see or hear about any of the others until, on a train going to Cosford in May 1945, Jim came into the compartment I was in and said ‘guess who is on the train?’ It’s got to be Monty I said, and it was.”

    John Perry came over to the UK from his home in Australia for a crew reunion in the early 1990s. They returned to East Kirby, and taxied in the Lancaster based at the museum there.

    This doesn't really help you with time or location of crash, but the cause was being shot down probably by flak.
    Last edited by Andycharlwood; 4th August 2015 at 11:20.

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