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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 203786
Last updated: 22 May 2019
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Date:02-JAN-1944
Time:07:39
Type:Silhouette image of generic LANC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Avro Lancaster Mk II
Owner/operator:115 Squadron Royal Air Force (115 Sqn RAF)
Registration: DS796
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 7
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Stretham, Cambridgeshire, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Witchford
Destination airport:
Narrative:
During the night of 1-2 January 1944, RAF Bomber Command despatched 421 Lancasters to Berlin. The take-off was planned for mid-evening but it was delayed due to doubts about the weather and it only began around midnight. The delay also caused a change to the route, planned as a wide northerly approach over Denmark and the Baltic. The bombers were now ordered to fly the much used direct route accross Holland.

The German controller was not deceived by a Mosquito 'spoof' raid on Hamburg, and German fighters were directed on to the bomber stream at an early stage and were particularly active en-route to Berlin. Sixteen bombers are believed to have been lost along that flight, including 8 of the 81 despatched Pathfinders. But then few losses were suffered over Berlin, only two bombers being shot down by fighters there, and the local Flak was probably restricted to the height at which it could fire and only shot down two bombers over Berlin. 29 Lancasters crashed in Europe or were lost without traces, and two more crashed on return in England. Aboard these 31 bombers 183 crew were killed, 33 captured and one evaded.

The target area was covered in cloud and the accuracy of the sky-marking soon deteriorated. The Berlin report says that there was scattered bombing, mainly in the southern parts of the city. A large number of bombs fell in the Grunewald, an extensive wooded area in the south-west of Berlin. Only 21 houses and 1 industrial building were destroyed, with 79 people being killed, including 25 in a panic rush at the entrance of a public air shelter in the Neukölln district. A high-explosive bomb hit a lock on an important canal and stopped shipping at that area for several days.

Minor Bomber Command operations this night included Mosquito raids to Hamburg (15 aircraft), to Witten (11), to Duisburg (7), to Bristillerie (4) and to Cologne (1), 6 RCM sorties, and 14 OTU sorties, all without loss.

German night fighters claimed 27 victories this night, including six by Major Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein (number 65 to 70) of Stab NJG 2. Known German losses are seven crew killed, four wounded and 6 aircraft lost: 3 Bf 110, 2 Ju 88 and 1 Bf 109, the latter and one Bf 110 falling to German Flak.
________________________________________________________________________

The Lancaster II DS796 KO-E of 115 Sqn RAF took off at 0039 hrs on 2 January 1944 from Witchford to take part into the Berlin raid. On return to base the crew force-landed at 0739 hrs at Stretham, 4 miles south-south-west of Ely, Cambridgeshire. No injury was reported.

Crew (all unhurt):
Flt Sgt R E Chantler (pilot)
Sgt G Rawlings
Plt Off D M Drew
Flt Sgt R L Francis RCAF
Sgt D P Nash
Sgt K Farmer
Sgt W N W Brown RAAF

Sources:

"The Bomber Command War Diaries", by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt, ISBN 1-85780-033-8
"The Berlin Raids. RAF Bomber Command Winter 1943-1944", by Martin Middlebrook. ISBN 0-304-35347-7
"Royal Air Force Bomber Command losses, vol 5. Aircraft and Crews Losses 1944", by W R Chorley, ISBN 0-904597-91-1
"Lufwaffe Night Fighter Combat Claims 1939-1945", by John Foreman, Johannes Matthews and Simon Parry. ISBN 0-9538061-4-6
"Deutsche Nachtjagd Personalverluste in Ausbildung und Einsatz - fliegendes Personal -", by Michael Balss
"Deutsche Nachtjagd Materialverluste in Ausbildung und Einsatz", by Michael Balss. ISBN 3-925480-3-6
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stretham
http://www.maplandia.com/united-kingdom/england/east-anglia/cambridgeshire-county/stretham/


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
04-Jan-2018 09:14 Laurent Rizzotti Added

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