23/24.08.1943 No. 35 Squadron Halifax II JB786 TL-G Fl/Sgt. Albert E. Arter MiD
Date: 23/24th August 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 35 Squadron
Type: Halifax II
Serial: JB786 (1)
Base: RAF Graveley, Cambridgeshire (then Huntindonshire)
Location: Berlin - target area
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Albert Ernest Arter MiD. 1256391 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Edwin George Cooper 1219550 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Nav: F/O. Roy Horsburgh 127997 RAFVR PoW No: 2368 Camp: L3-Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Air/Bmr: Sgt. D.M. Miller RAFVR PoW No: ? Camp: No further details (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. Alan R. Ball 125905 RAFVR PoW No: ? Camp: No further details (2)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Joseph Butler 1268653 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. P.G. Boyce 1314133 RAFVR PoW No: 222574 Camp: L3-Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
REASON FOR LOSS:
Halifax JB786 taking off at 20.20 hrs to attack Berlin as part of a force of 727 aircraft consisting of 335 Lancasters, 251 Halifaxes, 124 Stirlings and 17 Mosquitoes. 35 aircraft sent from 35 Squadron on this operation.
Fl/Sgt. Albert Ernest Arter MiD (courtesy Michel Beckers)
The Mosquitoes were used to mark various points on the route in order to keep the Main Force on the correct track. A total of 56 aircraft were lost – 23 Halifaxes, 17 Lancasters and 16 Stirlings, 7.9% of the force which was the greatest loss of aircraft in one night to date.
It was reported that the raid was only partially successful as the Pathfinders were not able to identify the centre of Berlin by H2S. The area which was marked was in the southern outskirts of the city, but with the Main Force arriving late causing a number of aircraft to cut a corner and approach the target from the SW instead of the SSE, a number of bomb loads fell in open country.
35 Squadron Halifax II
However, Berlin suffered its most serious damage of the war to date with a wide range of industrial and residential properties being destroyed or severely damaged. Some bombs fell by chance in the centre of the city resulting in damage around the Wilhelmstrasse area.
No claims for any nightfighter attack, it is thought probable they were hit by the fierce anti aircraft flak batteries in Berlin.
35 Squadron lost 3 other aircraft during this operation:
Halifax II HR846 TL-H Flown by Fl/Sgt. J.J. Williams RAFVR, shot down over the target area, taken PoW along with 4 other crew. 2 were killed.
Halifax II HR865 TL-A Flown by P/O. L.E.N. Lahey of the RAAF, taken PoW along with all 6 other crew, shot down by a nightfighter over the target area.
Halifax II HR928 TL-R flown by 29 year old Fl/Lt. Harry Webster DFC. killed with all 7 other crew. The Station Commander of RAF Graveley, 31 year old Group Captain Basil V. Robinson DSO. DFC and bar, AFC, from Carlisle, England a very experienced bomber pilot was also on board.
(1) Most publications have the serial number go this aircraft as JB786, however, in the log book of the pilot, Fl/Sgt. After, it is listed as TB875, this could of course be a mistake. (see photo at bottom of page)
(2) It is reported that due to serious head injuries received, Fl/Lt. Ball was repatriated in 1944. It is also reported that Sgt. Miller was also repatriated in 1944.
Fl/Sgt. Albert Ernest Arter MiD taken during his training (courtesy Michel Beckers)
Fl/Sgt. Albert Ernest Arter. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Joint Grave 4.B.22-23. Son of Albert John and Florence Daisy Arter, of 24 Carstairs Road, Catford, SE6. London, England. Mentioned in dispatches for distinguished service- gazetted on the 1st January 1945.
Sgt. Edwin George Cooper. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Joint Grave 4.B.22-23. Son of William Herbert and Tamar Lily Cooper, of High Brooms, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England. Sadly his older sister, 24 year old Edna Lily May Cooper was also killed whilst serving as a WAAF at RAF Ismailia, Egypt on the 28th August 1944. No details can be found as to cause of death. She is buried at the Maoscar War Cemetery. Grave 4.E.6.
Sgt. John Joseph Butler. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 4.B.20. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
For further details our thanks to the following, Michel Beckers for photographs, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Further information from these titles/organisations are available from us, just use the 'help' button on the main page above or 'add info' button also shown on this page.
Final entry in log book of Fl/Sgt Arter (courtesy Michel Beckers)
Right: Record of service for Fl/Sgt Arter (courtesy Michel Beckers)
With thanks to Kristen Alexander for the correction to P/O L E N Lahey's family name