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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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625 Squadron Crest
16/17.12.1943 No. 625 Squadron Lancaster III LM424 CF-B P/O. Donald Baker

Operation: Berlin

Date: 16/17th December 1943 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 625 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: LM424

Code: CF-B

Base: RAF Kelstern, Lincolnshire

Location: Oppendorf, Germany

Pilot: P/O. Donald Baker 169107 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Clifford Robinson 1677459 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: P/O. George William Frederick Batchelor 169468 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. W.H. Pallett 1393564 RAFVR Survived PoW No: 269864 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Gilbert Ernest Adams DFC. 545003 RAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Watmough 1213427 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. William Dennis Crimmins DFC. J/16533 RCAF Age 29. Killed


Taking off from RAF Kelstern at 16:21 hrs to bomb Germanys capital. Berlin. 483 Lancasters with15 Mosquitoes taking part in a bombing operation that lasted between 19:55 - 20:34 hrs.

The Lancaster was attacked and shot down it is thought by Maj. Egmont Prinz zur Lippe Weissenfeld (1) of Stab III./NJG1 with the aircraft coming down on barn buildings in the farming village of Oppendorf. The Air Bomber, Sgt. Pallett managed to bale out of the aircraft and came down in the Lemförde area - taken as a PoW.

Left: Oblt. Egmont Prinze zur Lippe-Weissenfeld - went on to claim a total of 49 abschüsse. He was killed on the Sunday,12th March 1944 along with his crew in the Belgium Ardennes during a transit flight in poor weather conditions.

The aircraft caused enormous damage in the surrounding area - with fires spreading throughout the area. Two German villagers, 61 year old, Christoph Kalkhake and 29 year old, Heinrich Waering were killed attempting to rescue farm animals from the buildings - 19 completely destroyed, many other local villagers also injured - mostly suffering from severe burns. Shortly after the crash the main bomb being carried exploded causing further damage and a huge crater.

Another 625 Squadron Lancaster was also lost during this operation:

Lancaster III ED951 CF-A Flown by 2nd Lt. Wooley USAAF injured with 4 other crew, 2 others killed when the aircraft crashed on return at Gayton-Le-Wold in Lincolnshire.

Above: crash area of LM424 the following day - below, memorial placed in the village.

Burial details:

P/O. Donald Baker. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 8.H.8. Son of Frank Walter Thomas Baker and Laura Baker, of Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, England.

Sgt. Clifford Robinson. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 8.H.2. Brother to, Stanley, Henry, George, John, William and Nora from Leadgate, County Durham, England.

P/O. George William Frederick Batchelor. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 8.H.3. No further details available - are you able to assist?

P/O. Gilbert Ernest Adams. DFC. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 8.H.10-16. No further details available - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Kenneth Watmough. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 8.H.10-16. Son of Arthur and Sarah Watmough, of Bingley, Yorkshire, England.

Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. William Dennis Crimmins. DFC. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 8.H.3. Son of Daniel Crimmins and of Elizabeth Crimmins (née Roth), of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Crimmins Island in Frobisher Bay, Nunavut is named after Fl/Lt. Crimmins

Researched for a relative of Sgt. Clifford Robinson, Allan Mawson. Bob B at Find A Grave for Hanover Cemetery photo. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below. Further information can also be read on the German website in the vicinity of this crash.

KTY 28.07.2015

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 11 March 2017, 22:46

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