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.

Dutch eyewitnesses of the crash stated that the site was S or SW of Schellingkhout, due East of Hoorn.
Two of the crew landed a few hundred yards off shore and were rescued by the Germans.
Two further chutes were seen, the bodies were recovered and buried on the 17th and 18th February 1944.
Info via Alan Peacock

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

Equipment - SAA, IFF, Gee, MONICA.

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
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.

ORB. 15th Feby. 1944.
19 aircraft (7 from 'A' Flight, 8 from 'B' Flight and 4 from 'C' Flight)
took off between 17.20 and 17.37 hours to attack BERLIN.
2 aircraft failed to return from operation - no messages were received.
Lancaster Mk II - LL651 A4-A, 6 KIA, 1 POW.
1 aircraft (A/C. A.D.S.682 - Captain W/O. ROBBINS, P.) was forced to abandon the sortie
by reason of the starboard inner engine becoming unserviceable and returned
to base at 19.23 hours after jettisoning his bombs.
The remaining 16 aircraft identified the target by means of red and green markers on which
they dropped their bombs from heights ranging between 19,000 and 22,000 feet.
Results of bombing were obscured due to 10/10ths cloud.
PFF appeared rather scattered but a number of good results were obtained.
Photographs were attempted.

00.56. 17 aircraft had returned safely after operations.

Lancaster LL 689 13/02/1944

Photo via FB Jim Lad.

Ralph James William Ralph James William - Pilot

P/O - Service No 171396

Age: 20


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

Runnymede Memorial - panel 212

Source: CWGC.

Lancaster LL689Ratcliffe Jack Ratcliffe Jack - FE

Sgt - Service No 2213842

Age: 25


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

Hoorn General Cemetery, Netherlands - joint grave 1039.

Source: CWGC - photo via Alan Peacock, thanks - Find a Grave by Peter Hakze.

Johnston John Johnston John - Nav

Sgt - Service No 1051719

Age: - POW No 2114 Stalag 357


Son of

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

David YoungYoung David John Young David John - WOP

Sgt - Service No 1318927

Age: 21


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

Hoorn General Cemetery, Netherlands - joint grave 1039.

Source: CWGC - photo via Alan Peacock, thanks. - Find a grave by Peter Hakze.

Tomlin J. D Tomlin James David - BA

F/S - Service No R144249

Age: - POW No 2120 Stalag 357.


Son of

John David Tomlin died of pancreatic cancer in 1979.*

Source: 115 Squadron Roll of Honour by D. Bruce, W. R. Chorley, J. G. J. de Haan. - *info via FB David Lauffbacher

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

F/O - Service No 80106


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


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

Runnymede Memorial - panel 223

Source: CWGC.