Lancaster DS773 23 December 1943

Lancaster Mk II - DS773 KO-T

T/O Witchford 0055 - target Berlin, Germany.

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

The bomber casualties were not as heavy as on recent raids, partly because German fighters encountered difficulty
with the weather and partly because the German controller was temporarily deceived by the Mosquito diversion at Leipzig.
The main force of fighters only appeared in the target area at the end of the raid and could not catch the main bomber stream.

16 Lancasters were lost, 4.2 per cent of the force.

The Berlin area was covered by cloud and more than half of the early Pathfinder aircraft had trouble with their H2S sets.
The markers were scattered and sparse.

Source: nationalarchives.gov.uk - Bomber Command - Campaign Diary December 1943.

ORB. 23rd Dec. 1943.
17 aircraft were detailed to attack BERLIN - 4 of them were cancelled.
13 aircraft took off between 00.35 hours and 00.50 hours.
1 aircraft failed to return from operations.
3 aircraft were forced to abandon the sortie
(A.L.L.681 - Captain F/S. ANDERSON, R.) due to overheating of two outer engines cylinder heads and dropping of oil pressure;
(Y.D.S.734 - Captain F/S. WHYTE, A.) failure of oxygen supply and
(F.D.S.834 - Captain F/S. LEE, J.) illness of rear gunner respectively, and all returned to base early,
the first one after jettisoning his 4,000 lb H.C., but bringing back his incendiaries and the other two after jettisoning their
bombs on HARENTHAL (Herentals ?) & TUMHOUT (Turnhout ?) respectively.
The remaining 9 aircraft identified the target by means of red & green target markers on which they dropped their
bombs from heights ranging between 18,000 feet and 22,000 feet.
Well concentrated fires were seen, as well as two large explosions at 04.04 hours & 04.24 hours,
the second one emitting large fires.
A good raid, well concentrated. Photographs were attempted.

07.55. 12 aircraft had returned safely to base after operations.

Berlin: 379 aircraft - 364 Lancasters, 8 Mosquitos, 7 Halifaxes.

Pirie David LesliePirie David Leslie Pirie David Leslie - Pilot

P/O - Service No 53097

Age:

RAF

Son of

Berlin 1939 - 1945 War Cemetery,
Charlottenburg, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin - grave 7. F. 5.

Source: CWGC - photo Memories of RAF Witchford. - Find a grave by

Heal Reginald Jack Heal Reginald Jack - FE

Sgt - Service No 1603283

Age: 26

RAFVR

Son of Frederick Charles and Louisa Heal.
Husband of Edna Florence Heal, of Southville, Bristol.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 152

Source: CWGC.

Lancaster DS773Pearce Kenneth David Pearce Kenneth David - Nav

P/O - Service No 162553

Age: 21

RAFVR

Son of John Albert Pearce, and of Elizabeth Mary Pearce,
of Parsons Green, London.

Berlin 1939 - 1945 War Cemetery - grave 6. H. 26.

Source: CWGC - Photo via Find a grave, by Uwe

Hardaker William Hardaker William - WOP

F/S - Service No 1125265

Age:

RAFVR

Son of

Runnymede Memorial - panel 136

Source: CWGC.

Davison John Ronald Davison John Ronald - BA

Sgt - Service No 1143278

Age: 20

RAFVR

Son of John Adam and Alice Veitch Davison, of Kirkwhelpington, Northumberland.

Runnymede Memorial - panel 147

Source: CWGC.

Southwell John Southwell John - MUG

Sgt - Service No 1334699

Age: 21

RAFVR

Son of Walter and Deborah Louise Southwell, of Millbrook, Southampton.

Berlin 1939 - 1945 War Cemetery - grave 7. B. 3.

Source: CWGC - Photo via Find a grave, by Uwe

Calvert Joseph Calvert Joseph - RG

Sgt - Service No 857444

Age: 36

RAF - Auxiliary Air Force

Son of

Berlin 1939 - 1945 War Cemetery - grave 7. J. 1.

Source: CWGC - Photo via find a grave, by Uwe