115 Squadron
1940 - 1945

15/16 February 1944

Lancaster Mk II - LL689 KO-P

T/O Witchford 1728 - target Berlin, Germany. Shot down at 2319 by Oblt Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer of the IV/NJG1. The two survivors were blown from the aircraft and landed in the water, from where they were rescued within an hour or so.

Bomb load: 1 x 4000lbs, 540 x 4lbs, 90 x 4 lbs, 32 x 30lbs incendiaries.

Equipment - SAA, IFF, Gee, MONICA.

Also lost on this mission: Lancaster Mk II LL651 A4-A, 6 KIA, 1 POW.

Source: 115 Squadron Roll of Honour by D. Bruce, W. R. Chorley, J. G. J. de Haan.

After a rest of more than 2 weeks for the regular bomber squadrons, 891 aircraft - 561 Lancasters, 314 Halifaxes, 16 Mosquitos - were dispatched to Berlin.

This was the largest force sent to Berlin and the largest non-1,000 bomber force sent to any target, exceeding the previous record of 826 aircraft (which included Stirlings and Wellingtons) sent to Dortmund on the night of 23/24 May 1943.
It was also the first time that more than 500 Lancasters and more than 300 Halifaxes were dispatched.
The German controllers were able to plot the bomber stream soon after it left the English coast but the swing north over Denmark for the approach flight proved too far distant for many of the German fighters. The German controller ordered the fighters not to fly over Berlin, leaving the target area free for the flak, but many fighters ignored him and attacked bombers over the city. The diversion to Frankfurt-on-Oder failed to draw any fighters.

Berlin was covered by cloud for most of the raid. Heavy bombing fell on the centre and south-western districts and some of Berlin's most important war industries were hit, including the large Siemensstadt area. This was really the end of the true 'Battle of Berlin'; only one more raid took place on the city in this period and that was not for more than a month.

43 aircraft - 26 Lancasters, 17 Halifaxes -were lost, 4.8 per cent of the force.

Source: nationalarchives.gov.uk - Bomber Command - Campaign Diary February 1944.

Ralph James William Ralph James William - Pilot

P/O - Service No 171396

Age: 20

RAFVR

Son of William George and Elizabeth Florence Ralph, of Woodley, Berkshire.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 212

Source: CWGC.

Ratcliffe Jack Ratcliffe Jack - FE

Sgt - Service No 2213842

Age: 25

RAFVR

Son of Ernest and Esther Ratcliffe, of Middleton Junction, Lancashire.
Husband of Alice Ratcliffe.

Hoorn General Cemetery, Netherlands - joint grave 1039.

Source: CWGC.

Johnston John Johnston John - Nav

Sgt - Service No 1051719

Age: - POW No 2114 Stalag 357

RAFVR

Son of

Source: 115 Squadron Roll of Honour by D. Bruce, W. R. Chorley, J. G. J. de Haan.

Young David John Young David John - WOP

Sgt - Service No 1318927

Age: 21

RAFVR

Son of John and Elizabeth (Mary) Young, of Herriard, Hampshire.
Husband of Marian Young.

Hoorn General Cemetery, Netherlands - joint grave 1039.

Source: CWGC.

Tomlin J. D. Tomlin J. D. - BA

F/S - Service No R144249

Age: - POW No 2120 Stalag 357.

RAFVR

Son of

Source: 115 Squadron Roll of Honour by D. Bruce, W. R. Chorley, J. G. J. de Haan.

Dill-Russell John David Dill-Russell John David - MUG

F/O - Service No 80106

Age:

RAFVR - Rhodesian ?

Son of

Runnymede Memorial - panel 205

Source: CWGC.

Akehurst Bernard Spencer John Akehurst Bernard Spencer John - RG

Sgt - Service No 1805343

Age: 20

RAFVR

Son of arry and Florence Elizabeth Akehurst, of Seaford, Sussex.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 223

Source: CWGC.