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Thread: 2 Tactical/487 Sqn Mosquito 22 Feb 1945

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    Default 2 Tactical/487 Sqn Mosquito 22 Feb 1945

    I am looking for a start on this casualty, F/O Peter Harold Burne, RCAF J/88797, who was lost over Germany and is buried at Becklingen Cemetery. I understand that by this point in the war, this RNZAF Sqn had joined 2 Tactical and were flying Mosquitos.

    Anyone know what action it was and who were the crew?
    David

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    Hi
    From 2nd TAF vol 3,by Chris Shores and Chris Thomas, the operation was codenamed "Clarion" designed to cause maximum disruption to the enemy communications system.It did not go well and in all, 20 Mosquitos were lost with the majority of the crews losing their lives. Burne was pilot of Mosquito VI, HP933, coded N and is recorded simply as FTR. His Nav was Flt Lt A J Vickers who died with him. The book this is taken from suggests that although operating in N Europe for Clarion the Mosquitos were still part of 2 Gp Bomber Command.
    Regards
    Dick

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    Default Old posts

    Some previous posts about the aircraft on the old forum:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?forum=DCForumID6&mark=2840&az=previous _topic&archive=yes

    http://www.rafcommands.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=show_thread&om=1627&forum=DCForumID 6&archive=yes

    http://www.rafcommands.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=show_thread&om=1082&forum=DCForumID 6&archive=yes

    Googling Burnes serial number in the site find them:

    J/88797 site:rafcommands.com

    Dennis
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Default NO. 487 Squadron

    G'day Dave

    de Havilland Mosquito F.B. Mk. VI s/n HP933 - Coded EG-N
    No. 487 (B) Squadron, R.N.Z.A.F.
    No. 140 Wing
    2nd Tactical Air Force

    Pilot - J 88797 Flying Officer Peter Harold Burne
    He was the son of Harold Edgar and Doris Rose Burne from St. Catharines, Ontario as well as the husband of Carol.

    Navigator - J13115 Flight Lieutenant Allan Jerry Vickers
    He was the son William Edward and Mabel Mae Vickers from Markham, Ontario.

    Extracted from 2 Group A Complete History, 1936-1945 by Michael J. F. Bowyer

    "At 13:00 hours on 22 February, a massive operation was unleased against road and rail facilities throughout Germany. Some 9,000 aircraft took part operating over the area of Emden-Berlin-Dresden-Vienna-Mulhouse. The aim of the operation was destruction of all communications facilities-marshalling yards, rail facilities and crossings, garages, canal locks and road junctions-in short, any destruction which could cause interference with the communications system."

    Dave, this was known as Operation Clarion. A total of 21 Mossies were lost with a further 40 damaged.

    Cheers...Chris

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    Thanks again all. I promise to search the old board more diligently.

    There was a mention of a debriefing conclusion that sending mossies on this kind of attack was not a good idea. I will check the mosquito board for info too.
    David

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    Hello Dave,

    Mosquito HP933
    Pilot P H Burne
    Navigator A J Vickers

    The Mosquito was hit by Eisenbahnflak and exploded in mid-air. The wreckage came down 13.07 at Hüttenbusch near Worpswede 21km NNE Bremen.

    If you need further help on any Mosquito loss of this operation please let me know.

    kind regards

    Steve
    Last edited by Mosquito; 12th December 2008 at 06:54.

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    Default

    Thanks Steve, that's a dramatic way to go. I take it they were still loaded and hadn't reached the target yet? Can you recommend a good book that talks about Operation Clarion? As far as I know, this is the only one of my subjects who was on this raid but I would like to learn more about the use of Mosquitos in this role and what, if anything, they learned about it. Or was it just a case of more intense defences as the war got to the fatherland?
    David

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    Default Clarion

    From an unpublished manuscript:

    Mosquitoes also constituted part of 2nd Tactical Air Force, and RCAF personnel were scattered throughout the various "Mossie" squadrons. Again, it is beyond the scope of this work to recount the full story of their challenges and exploits, but an account of Operation CLARION (22 February 1945) demonstrates not only their work but the general complexity of the tactical air war. CLARION was two months in the planning and intended to bring all Allied air power to bear in a crushing blow against the German transportation network. It involved both American and British strategic bombers, night attacks by Mitchells, and daylight assaults with everything available.

    CLARION's objectives were disputed by various commanders, some of whom felt that it was a misuse of air power (particularly heavy bombers), but it nevertheless went ahead. The scale of this operation is demonstrated by the following statistics:

    RAF Bomber Command - 207 sorties - 2 CLARION Targets - 203 tons of bombs - 1 aircraft lost

    US 8th Air Force Bombers - 1,411 sorties - 62 CLARION Targets - 3,833 tons of bombs - 7 aircraft lost.

    US 8th Air Force Fighters - 868 sorties - 13 aircraft lost

    US 15th Air Force Bombers - 770 sorties - 20 CLARION Targets - 2,000 tons of bombs - 3 aircraft lost

    US 15th Air Force Fighters - 361 sorties - 10 aircraft lost.

    2nd TAF - 1,735 sorties - 11 CLARION Targets - 447 tons of bombs - 33 aircraft lost

    US 9th Air Force - 1,935 sorties - 78 CLARION Targets - 1,276 tons of bombs - 10 aircraft lost

    US 1st TAF - 946 sorties - 29 CLARION Targets - 350 tons of bombs - 10 aircraft lost

    RAF Fighter Command - 330 sorties

    Other Units - 125 sorties

    Totals - 8,688 sorties - 202 targets - 8,109 tons of bombs - 87 aircraft lost

    For the Spitfires, Typhoons and Tempests of Nos.83 and 84 Groups, CLARION operations were all in a day's work; squadrons flew armed reconnaissance missions in which the only special instructions were to concentrate on transport over direct army support. Mitchell and Boston raids were among the deepest made by those types of aircraft. However, the Mosquitos of No.2 Group, normally flown at night, were called upon to make low level daylight attacks. A total of 143 sorties were mounted, attacking targets of opportunity, railway stations, signal boxes and factories in Western Germany. Intense flak claimed 21 Mosquitos - the heaviest one-day losses ever sustained by that type.

    Among the Canadians taking part was Flying Officer Eric George Smith of No.107 Squadron. His logbook entry for that day noted at takeoff at 1300 hours, a total of four hours 20 minutes flown in daylight, and the following brief summary:

    "Germany - daylight ops. Patrol in Kiel - Neumunster - Hamburg area. One train attacked and left steaming at Bad Bradstedt - two 500-lbs instant on rail station at Wrist Mod. Heavy and light flak at Kiel. Group lost 21 Mosquitos."

    Smith was later decorated with the DFC. Other pilots (and DFC recipients) in No.107 Squadron were Flight Lieutenants Campbell D. Barnett and Courtney S.S. Gilliatt. The recommendations for their awards included descriptions of their sorties of 22 February:

    "Flight Lieutenant Gilliatt took part in the daylight operation CLARION against enemy transportation on the 22nd of February 1945. A train of eight trucks was stopped at N.4105 as a result of bombing and strafing attacks. A near miss was obtained with a bomb and cannon strikes observed on the train. The village of Wiemersdorf and horse-drawn vehicles at S.3895 were strafed. Finally, three submarines, preceded by a white ship in the Kiel Canal were attacked and cannon strikes observed."

    That for Barnett read (in part):

    "On the 22nd of February 1945 he took part in the daylight operation "Clarion" against enemy road and rail transportation. A train of seven to eight coaches was located at S.9316 and a near miss obtained with a bomb. He followed this with cannon attacks and strikes were observed on the locomotive and first coach. At S.1794 twenty scattered trucks were found in a marshaling yard. A bombing attack resulted in a direct hit on the tracks. A bridge over the railway was damaged as a result of further strafing attacks."

    It was difficult to assess the effects of CLARION, the efforts of which had been distributed so widely and unconnected to any specific ground offensive. Photographic reconnaissance sorties confirmed damage to selected railway stations. However, most of the targets had been hit east of the Rhine, at a time when land operations were still concentrated west of that river.

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    Default Target at Huttenbusch

    Thanks Steve, I see there is a rail line going through that town and what appears to be a larger rail junction area just to the east at Osterholz-Scharmbeck. Do you know what the target was specifically, or was it just a case, as Hugh describes, of hitting anything that moved? I see from some photos of the Eisenbahnflak that some of those trains were heavily defended.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mosquito View Post
    The Mosquito was hit by Eisenbahnflak and exploded in mid-air. The wreckage came down 13.07 at Hüttenbusch near Worpswede 21km NNE Bremen.
    And thanks Hugh for that description of Clarion, much appreciated.
    David

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    Default

    Dave

    'The Gestapo Hunters' - Mark Lax/Leon Kane-Maguire is a history of 464 Sq, but has a section on the Mossie generally and Operation Clarion.

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