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Thread: Researching EF361 MG-B Stirling Loss and Crew - 26/5/1943

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    Default Researching EF361 MG-B Stirling Loss and Crew - 26/5/1943

    Researching EF361 MG-B Stirling Loss and Crew - 26/5/1943


    Hello Forum


    Looking for any factual information regarding the Loss of EF361 MG-B Short Stirling and its Crew -
    I am a relative of one of the EF361 Crew.


    There are several variations on what happened to the plane and crew:


    A recap of what is factually known afaik.


    Bomber Command Carried out a Bombing Op meant for Dusseldorf starting on the evening of the 25/5/1943
    Over 700 Aircraft took part. Visibility over the target area was poor...and the mission was deemed unsuccessful.
    Many Crew reported poor visibility of targets.


    The crew of EF361 (7 Squadron) departed RAF Oakington Cambridge around 11:57pm on the 25/6/1943 and at around 01:50 on the 26/5/1943 was coming back from the mission
    when around 2kms South of Julich the incident occurred resulting in the death of all
    7 crew onboard...but also the loss of 2 other Aircraft and all crews.

    The other planes :
    A Halifax JB837 and Crew
    and another Stirling BF534 and Crew


    Versions and Variations of what happened that night I have read from various literature and source sites:


    They were shot down by Flak
    The Halifax was intercepted by Walter Ehle - German Fighter Pilot Ace and the Halifax exploding bringing down with it both Stirlings.
    The Halifax was intercepted by other Fighter Pilots and Bought down the Halifax and the other planes.
    The Halifax exploded with such force the tail of the BF534 Stirling was sheared through.


    Which of these is most factually correct..which is not correct and perhaps more fiction ?
    Where is it possible to find out more facts ?
    And is there more to this tragic loss of all 3 crews and Aircraft.


    The Crew of EF361 - All RIP at the Rheinberg War Cemetery after being moved from Burial site in Cologne after the War.


    I have written to the IRC to see if any Archive Records exist of the Telegrams/ Information sent to them to pass onto the Allies.
    It will take a long time to get the reply...and I am quite patient.
    Has anyone else managed to receive such information about a crash and crew from the IRC and if so what information could I expect to recieve ?


    With regard to Allied Air Crashes - how much effort did the German Authorities goto to document the crashes - did they take pictures at all regularly? -


    Two of the crew were buried were unidentifiable - but later were listed and buried in a collective grave.




    The two crew crew mentioned were usually located in the Front Gunner Position - under the pilot..and in the Bombing Aim position -
    Given the Apparent Injuries to two of the crew it suggests the plane hit hardest nose to underbelly...perhaps this suggests some control of the plane -
    as if the plane had descended fully out of control the resultant would have been
    explosive with a fuel laden plane and unknown number of bombs onboard and likely I assume then that all crew would have been unidentifiable.
    Or any other possibilities.?


    Perhaps some crew survived the initial crash - would such detail be included in a Report sent to IRC ?


    Any facts regarding this event that people can point to will be most appreciated.


    Would like to find the crash site if it were at all possible also.
    - is anyone/group searching for WW2 Air crash sites in Germany and documenting their findings ?




    Thanks in Advance.

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    Default Re: Researching EF361 MG-B Stirling Loss and Crew - 26/5/1943

    The captain of EF361 was a Canadian P/O Joseph Francois Exavier Gilles BERTHIAUME J17079 RCAF
    His service record is available to view on line Ancestry.co.uk

    The crash location is given as 2 Km South of Julich on the Julich-Sachen railway line. It merely states the aircraft was shot down. BF534 also came down at the same time. There is no mention of the Halifax.

    Chris

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    Default Re: Researching EF361 MG-B Stirling Loss and Crew - 26/5/1943

    Bill Chorley’s Bomber Command Losses has them shot down from a burst from a 77 Sqn Halifax. Theo Boiten Nachtjagd Combat Archives has them shot down by Maj Walter Ehle of Stab II./NJG1 for his 23rd victory. It was also claimed by a number of Flak units but the victory was later confirmed to Maj Ehle on 19/12/44. Maj Ehle was later killed on 17/18 November 1943 making a landing at St Trond in bad weather with a total of 31 night victories and 3 daylight victories.

    I do have a photo of him if you want a copy contact me on harleyDOT158ATbigpondDOTcom replace the DOT & AT with the usual.

    John.

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    Default Re: Researching EF361 MG-B Stirling Loss and Crew - 26/5/1943

    Quote Originally Posted by cozzy711 View Post
    The captain of EF361 was a Canadian P/O Joseph Francois Exavier Gilles BERTHIAUME J17079 RCAF
    His service record is available to view on line Ancestry.co.uk

    The crash location is given as 2 Km South of Julich on the Julich-Sachen railway line. It merely states the aircraft was shot down. BF534 also came down at the same time. There is no mention of the Halifax.

    Chris
    Hello Chris

    Thanks for posting - I have Ancestry and indeed there is a lot of information in FO/PO Joseph BERTHIAUME file - I wish the MOD would be more open like the Canadians who honour their Casualties of War in a much more open manner.
    Joseph was only 20 - huge responsibility on such young shoulders almost straight out of flying schools.

    I have applied for my Relatives RAF Service Record should come soon + will be delays due to Covid.

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    Default Re: Researching EF361 MG-B Stirling Loss and Crew - 26/5/1943

    Quote Originally Posted by John Williams View Post
    Bill Chorley’s Bomber Command Losses has them shot down from a burst from a 77 Sqn Halifax. Theo Boiten Nachtjagd Combat Archives has them shot down by Maj Walter Ehle of Stab II./NJG1 for his 23rd victory. It was also claimed by a number of Flak units but the victory was later confirmed to Maj Ehle on 19/12/44. Maj Ehle was later killed on 17/18 November 1943 making a landing at St Trond in bad weather with a total of 31 night victories and 3 daylight victories.

    I do have a photo of him if you want a copy contact me on harleyDOT158ATbigpondDOTcom replace the DOT & AT with the usual.

    John.
    Thanks for your Post John

    Do we know where the actual source to the information the publications are coming from. Are their original digitised files on a database somewhere that has claims by pilots etc. I say this as I also have seen these claims...would love to back them up and see the original entries in some genuine german document somewhere.

    I will indeed contact you for a Photo of Maj Walter Ehle...many thanks.

    I did see this website (see link below) listing the claims on that night for Maj Ehle - wonder how accurate - there claims listed that he shot down 4 aircraft downed in 2 minutes - 3 Stirlings and the Halifax - makes me wish to see any original documents further.

    https://www.worldnavalships.com/aces.php?PilotID=1402
    Last edited by jilon905; 29th January 2022 at 06:45.

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    Default Re: Researching EF361 MG-B Stirling Loss and Crew - 26/5/1943

    Hi Ron,

    Photo of Major Ehle sent.

    Cheers,

    John.

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    Default Re: Researching EF361 MG-B Stirling Loss and Crew - 26/5/1943

    Quote Originally Posted by John Williams View Post
    Hi Ron,

    Photo of Major Ehle sent.

    Cheers,

    John.

    Cheers John!

    Its a good one.

    Many Thanks

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    Default Re: Researching EF361 MG-B Stirling Loss and Crew - 26/5/1943

    Hello Forum

    Another request - I am still researching EF361 - and as such this is specifically a photo request:


    Looking for any Aerial Photos of Lorsbeck, Julich. - could be during the war or in the 1950s/1960s...even from the 70s might help.

    Anyone have or know where a EF361 Crew Group Photo could be.

    Lastly - I recall years ago that someone mentioned they had seen a Photograph (pre incident) of EF361 showing a nose art/emblem that said 'Ale-Itler' - Hoping this jogs some memories and maybe someone will respond.

    EDIT: Here is the link to the old post I mentioned -
    http://www.rafcommands.com/archive/09895.php


    Many Thanks In Advance - fingers crossed something comes up.!
    Cheers
    Last edited by jilon905; 1st February 2022 at 12:24.

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    Default Re: Researching EF361 MG-B Stirling Loss and Crew - 26/5/1943

    Instead of starting a new thread - thought Id keep this one ongoing for an update.

    With the amazing help of member John Williams whom I cant thank enough and also especially Theo Boiten - It has been possible to identify the likely last ground location of EF361.

    If I can get to travel again I will be honouring my ancestor at that location.



    And today I received my Ancestors Service Record, and it shows he initially trained as a GG Ground Gunner - wondered is this common for Air Gunners AG to start as a GG?

    The other interesting information I gained was that he was posted at one time to 148 'D' Sq from Wick ..not sure what 148 'D' Sq is..?!

    lastly - still desperately searching for any photos of the Crew
    Would the RAF have photographed every crew ?
    Also did RAF Photograph AGS Pupils?

    And would they have kept copies?


    Cheers

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    Default Re: Researching EF361 MG-B Stirling Loss and Crew - 26/5/1943

    I suggest it should be 148 (SD) Sqn. SD = Special Duties, support to partisan groups etc. Regards, Terry

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