24/25 March 1944

Lancaster Mk II - LL694 KO-N

T/O Witchford 1837 - target Berlin, Germany. Shot down by Hptm Martin Drewes of the III./NJG1 (his 17th victory) at 0020. Crashed at Epse 4 km SE of Deventer in vicinity of Gorssell, Netherlands.

Bomb load: 1 x 1000lbs, 780 x 4lbs, 90 x 4lbs, 72 x 30lbs incendiaries.

Fitted: IFF, GEE, ASTRO, MONICA, camera carried.

Also lost on this mission: Lancaster Mk II LL730 KO-G, 6 KIA, 1 POW
Also lost on this mission: Lancaster Mk II DS664 A4-K, "Werewolf", 4 KIA, 3 POW
Also lost on this mission: Lancaster Mk II DS678 KO-J, 5 KIA 2 POW
Source: 115 Squadron Roll of Honour by D. Bruce, W. R. Chorley, J. G. J. de Haan - info: 3 Group Bomber Command, book Chris Ward

811 aircraft - 577 Lancasters, 216 Halifaxes, 18 Mosquitos - to Berlin.

This night became known in Bomber Command as 'the night of the strong winds'. A powerful wind from the north carried the bombers south at every stage of the flight. Not only was this wind not forecast accurately but it was so strong that the various methods available to warn crews of wind changes during the flight failed to detect the full strength of it. The bomber stream became very scattered, particularly on the homeward flight and radar-predicted flak batteries at many places were able to score successes. Part of the bomber force even strayed over the Ruhr defences on the return flight. It is believed that approximately 50 of the 72 aircraft lost were destroyed by flak; most of the remainder were victims of night fighters. Needless to say, the strong winds severely affected the marking with, unusually, markers being carried beyond the target and well out to the south-west of the city.

This was the last major RAF raid on Berlin during the war, although the city would be bombed many times by small forces of Mosquitos.

72 aircraft - 44 Lancasters, 28 Halifaxes - lost, 8.9 per cent of the force.

Source: nationalarchives.gov.uk - Bomber Command - Campaign Diary March 1944. (last update 28/12/2018)

Lancaster LL694
Gorssell General Cemetery - photo via Kathleen Hudspith, family (uncle) P/O Vipond Thomas, Thanks.

Vipond Thomas Elliott Vipond Thomas Elliott "Tommy" - Pilot

P/O - Service No 54224

Age: 23


Son of George and Isabella Turnbull, of Gosforth, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Gorssell General Cemetery - Row A. collective grave 16- 18.

Source: CWGC.

Diggle Arthur Diggle Arthur - FE

Sgt - Service No 1536835

Age: 23


Son of Arthur Beaumont Diggle and Doris Victoria Diggle, of Gledhow, Leeds, Yorkshire.

Gorssell General Cemetery - Row A. collective grave 16 - 18.

Source: CWGC.

Duffy John Laurence Duffy John Laurence - Nav

F/S - Service No 413046

Age: 26


Son of Michael Duffy and of Agnes McFadden, of Wellington City, New Zealand.

Gorssell General Cemetery - Row A. collective grave 16 - 18.

Source: CWGC -photo thanks to George Allison

Hammond John Edwin Hammond John Edwin - WOP

Sgt - Service No 1576457

Age: 22


Son of William and Daisy L. Hammond, of Market Harborough, Leicestershire.

Gorssell General Cemetery - Row A. collective grave 16 - 18.

Source: CWGC - Photo and more info on leicestershirewarmemorials

Deemer Edward John Deemer Edward John - BA

F/O - Service No J22055

Age: 20


Son of

Gorssell General Cemetery - Row A. grave 15.

Source: CWGC - Photo via CANADIAN VIRTUAL WAR MEMORIAL, by Peter ten Dijke

Hull Alexander John Hull Alexander John - MUG

Sgt - Service No 1890106

Age: 19


Son of Bridget Mary Hull, of Golders Green, Middlesex.

Gorssell General Cemetery - Row A. grave 13.

Source: CWGC.

Coulter Robert Leslie Coulter Robert Leslie - RG

Sgt - Service No R157337

Age: 34


Son of Hugh Alexander Coulter and Edna Mabel Coulter, of Russell, Manitoba, Canada.

Gorssell General Cemetery - Row A. grave 14.

Source: CWGC - photo Canadian Virtual War Memorial