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Thread: 1627274 Sgt Charles Storer Nelson, 51 Sqdn, KIA 02/03 October 1943

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    Default 1627274 Sgt Charles Storer Nelson, 51 Sqdn, KIA 02/03 October 1943

    Does anybody know anything about the life and/or service of 1627274 Sgt C.S. Nelson RAFVR, who was killed when his 51 Sqdn Halifax was shot down on the night of 02/03 October 1943? He was the rear-gunner (I think) of Halifax LW287; according to airmen.dk the aircraft was on a Gardening op but fog had made navigation difficult; it overflew Rønne harbour about midnight and was hit by flak whereupon it flew on out to sea and an explosion was seen. The crew, all lost, are commemorated at Runnymede:

    Sgt J E Nixon RAAF
    Sgt G F Austin
    Sgt J G Conner RCAF
    Sgt D MacLean
    Sgt E C Kent
    Sgt A F Simpson
    Sgt C S Nelson

    Sgt Nelson came up on another forum I'm a member of, WW2Talk, and I would have liked to contribute something to remembering him and his life - but I've drawn a blank so far.


    Cheers, Pat.

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    Hi Pat,

    Nixon crash file is open but not on line, his service file is marked not yet examined this will give details on when he joined 51 Sqn but it will take some time for it to be examined upon request and to have it put on line will cost about $75 AUSD.

    Cheers,

    John.

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    Thanks for the thought and for taking the time to check, John - in fact I had not even thought of approaching it via the Australian records, good idea.

    Cheers, Pat.

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    Hi Pat,

    I am going to Canberra over the weekend of 21/22 October I have a trip to the Archives in mind, so I could add his crash file to my list, but that won't tell me much about his service. Dave Champion might be able to tell you more on the Canadian.

    Cheers,

    John.

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    Hi,

    The details mentioned about a crash of LW287 in the sea near Rønne, Bornholm (Baltic Sea) is not confirmed. Can see it is a transcription from an old Danish magazine.

    For few years ago the wreck of a Halifax II was found near the Bülker Lighthouse, the entrance to the Kiel Fjord in Germany. The German divers Friedrich Howe and Rolf Lorenz found human remains. A stamped number on a frame, identified with 99% the aircraft to be LW287 by the British. Not 100%, so therefore it is not official. The British Embassy in Germany was informed.

    According a German report, a British aircraft (believed to be a Lancaster) was hit and shot down by flak on 2nd October 1943 - time 23:39 in the air over the Kiel Fjord in the direction Bülker Lighthouse.

    Another Source:
    Am 02.10.1943, um 23.39 Uhr, meldet die deutsche Flak den Abschuss eines Lancaster-Bombers in Höhe des Bülker Leuchtturms, mit Absturz in die Förde.
    (Quelle: Landesarchiv Schleswig).

    I am not engaged in this case, but will add a link to the German website, from where I have read the story.

    http://www.atlantis-magazin.de/content/view/187/105/

    Best regards

    Finn Buch

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    John - thanks for the kind offer, though as you say the crash details probably won't be able to add anything about his life and service. Much appreciated though.

    Finn - many thanks for the new information, and for the link (will Google a translation as my German is too weak, I'm embarrassed to say). Sounds as if this probably is LW287 and her crew.

    Cheers, Pat.

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    Hi Pat,

    I'll check it out anyway as now owing to the confusion as to the crash location it might be worth a look, apart from that it's got me interested!

    Cheers,

    John.

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    Thanks, John - I'm also now interested in the crash! Alan Storr's Missing With No Known Grave says this about the loss, but alas doesn't really shed any further light:

    409578 Sergeant NIXON, James Edwin
    Source: NAA : A705, 166/29/55
    Aircraft Type: Serial number: Radio call sign: Unit:
    Halifax LW 287
    51 Sqn RAF

    Summary:
    Halifax LW 287 of 51 Sqn RAF took off from RAF Station Snaith, near Goole, Yorkshire, at 1757 hours on 2 October 1943, to carry out mine laying operations in enemy shipping waters in the Baltic. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base.

    Crew:
    RAAF 409578 Sgt Nixon, J E Captain (Pilot) RCAF
    FO Colner, J G (Navigator)
    RAF Sgt MacLean, D (Air Bomber)
    RAF Sgt Kent, E C (Wireless Operator) RAF
    Sgt Austin, G F (Flight Engineer)
    RAF Sgt Simpson, A F (Mid Upper Gunner) RAF
    Sgt Nelson, G S (Rear Gunner)

    Following post war enquiries and investigations, it was recorded in 1949 that the missing crew had lost their lives at sea.

    Well, we shall see. The article Finn linked to seems pretty certain that the a/c shot down in Kiel Fjord is LW287, but I'd like to know more about the "99%" ID of a number-stamp - one digit obscured, perhaps. Also the Danish record of the Halifax brought down at Bornholm on the same night. LW287 was 51 Sqdn's only loss in action that night, though another Halifax was so badly shot-up that it was scrapped when it returned to the UK; wonder if other Halifax squadrons were Gardening on 02/03 October? The parallel thread on WW2Talk, which remembers Sgt Nelson, is here.

    Cheers, Pat.

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    Please note that Navigators name should read as J.G. (James Gibson) Connor, (RCAF.

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    Hi Pat,

    According to Martin Middlebrook's book Bomber Command War Diaries 117 aircraft took part in mining operations on this night from France to the Baltic.

    Cheers,

    John.

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