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Thread: Lanc JB294 630 Sqn lost over Berlin 1944 - crash site, POW and Luftwaffe kill claim?

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    Default Lanc JB294 630 Sqn lost over Berlin 1944 - crash site, POW and Luftwaffe kill claim?

    Thank you for the time that many of you have put into answering questions on this forum. I've enjoyed reading through many post over the last few months.

    I'm researching the loss of Lancaster bomber JB294 over Berlin on 21/22 January 1944. My uncle, Flight Sergeant John Walter Homewood and five other crew died in the crash. Only Sergeant Walker, the bomb aimer, survived and served out the war in a POW camp.

    Although there have been some references to the aircraft being shot down by flak, a fighter pilot, Fw. Andreas Hartl, claimed to have shot down a 4 engine bomber over Berlin that night. The raid on Berlin was a diversion for the main raid on Magdeburg and my uncle's aircraft was the only bomber lost over Berlin that night so it's likely this is the aircraft.

    The questions I have are:


    • How can I find out more information which might indicate where the aircraft crashed? This could be RAF sources or local (German) sources like newspaper reports or military documents
    • How can I find out more about Sergeant Walker who was captured? I have a few details (see below) but would like to know more
    • How can I find more information about the kill claim by Fw Hartl? Eg official confirmation of the claim.


    JB294 was a Lancaster III, LE-R.

    The aircrew initially joined 57 Sqn and then were moved in November 1943 with the rest of B Flight to form the basis for 630 Sqn. They flew out of East Kirkby:

    • F/S. HOMEWOOD. John Walter 1392321 (Pilot)
    • SGT. YORKE. William George 1802298 (Flight Engineer)
    • SGT. REEDMAN. Alexander William 1319532 (Navigator)
    • SGT. WALKER. P.J. 1388772 (Air Bomber)
    • SGT. STOPP. Alexander Charles 1387473 (W/Operator)
    • SGT. MORRIS. John Desmond 1652943 (Mid Upper Gunner)
    • F/S. MARKS. Morris Slock RCAF R/153059 (Rear Gunner)


    The aircrew who died in the crash are all now buried in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.

    Sgt Walker ended up in Stalag 357 (POW No. 3556) according to the list on this site.

    Some very helpful gentlemen on the Short Stirling & RAF Bomber Command Forum have helped me locate the squadron ORBs and Night Reports for the time the crew were in 57 and then later 630 Squadron.

    I've requested my uncle's service record and eagerly await.

    Unfortunately my family never knew any of the other aircrew but there is a reasonable amount of information about F/S Morris Marks in online remembrance projects and I will be requesting a genealogy package from the Canadian government to find out more.

    There is also some information on Fw. Andreas Hartl and I've found some online resources that give a bit of information. Thanks to the great work done by Tony Woods I know that Hartl was in 6./JG 302 and claims that at 23:15 on 21 January he shot down a 4-mot. Flzg. at Anflug auf Berlin[Approach to Berlin?].

    Other sources tell me that Hartl was himself shot down less than 3 months later.

    It would be excellent if anyone can provide or point me towards more information in the areas I indicated above. I've only just started to piece together a story which has been a bit of a mystery to our family for the last 70 years.

    Thank you for reading this far.

    Tim Homewood

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    Hi Tim,

    According to Jagdgeschwader 301/302 by Willi Reschke. Fw Anderas Hartl of 6 Staffel was pursued by several enemy fighters on 8 April 1944, and he tried to escape the Mustangs at low level. Hartl was shot down 16 kilometers east of Hannover and was unable to bail out. He was flying Bf 109 G-6 'White 7' Wnr 411994. He was one of the most successful 'Wild Sau' pilots with 13 night victories over British Bombers.

    Regards,

    John.

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    Thanks John. It sounds likely this is the ace who shot down the aircraft.

    Was there any information from Reschke on the action on 21 January 1944 over Berlin?

    Regards,
    Tim

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    Hi Tim,

    There is only a short entry stating that Fw Andreas Hartl shot down a four-engined bomber at 2315 hours.

    Cheers,

    John.

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    Thanks again John.

    Do you know the source of Reschke's information and is it the same as Tony Wood's database? And is it available in printed or digital form?

    Cheers,
    Tim

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    Tim,
    Do you have Walkers POW Liberation Questionnaire?
    Regards,
    Nick
    KenFentonsWar.com

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    Hi Nick, no I don't. Is this available at the National Archives?

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    Tim,
    It should be there and will give you a bit more info about Walker and where he was captured.
    Regards,
    Nick

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    John, I've answered my own question. I see that Jim Perry's update to Tony Wood's records sites Reschke as a secondary source and the primary source is "C.2037 N" and the confirmation comes from "477/44 vom 1.9.44".

    Can anyone explain what these refer to?

    Tim

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    Thanks for the pointer to the Liberation Questionnaire, Nick. I spent a very full day at the National Archives today and filled in the missing info on Sgt (later F/Sgt) Walker.

    He was initially in Stalag IIIA for 3 months, presumably because it was near Berlin, then moved to Stalag Luft VI (10/5-17/7/44), 357 Thorn (19/7-9/844) and finally Fallingbostel (11/8/44-8/4/45).

    I'm reading through your great website to get a bit more of an idea of what him and the other PoWs went through.

    Tim

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