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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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434 Squadron Crest
20/21.01.1944 No. 434 Squadron (RCAF) Halifax V LL141 WL-H F/O. James T. Clinkskill

Operation: Berlin Germany

Date: 20/21st January 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 434 Squadron (Bluenose-RCAF)

Type: Halifax Mk.V

Serial: LL141

Code: WL-H

Base: RAF Croft

Location: 1 miles SW of Hohenahlsdorf, Germany

Pilot: F/O. James Thomas Clinkskill J/23522 RCAF Age 26. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Victor George Baker 1719963 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: F/O. William Russell Sloan J/20416 RCAF Age 29. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Charles John Jones 1391880 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Colin Campbell Cassy 1322250 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edward William Harold McCaffrey R/194245 RCAF Age 30. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. David James Gillam 1607197 RAFVR Age 20. Killed


Taking off from RAF Croft at 16:16 hrs joining some 769 aircraft in the largest operation against Berlin of the war so far.

The German radar ship ’Togo’ stationed off the Dutch coast correctly plotted the bomber stream course as early as 17:09 hrs when they were still 160 km out over the North Sea, despite a diversionary raid to Kiel by some Mosquitoes.

Weather conditions were poor to start with, many of the night fighters decided not to attack at the early stages.

Once over Berlin, it was a different matter, although no moon the night was very clear with clouds at approx 12,000 ft - the searchlights picked up the bombers silhouetted in these ideal conditions. 35 allied aircraft fell victim to some of the attacking 100 twin-engine and 70 single engine night fighters. These numbers match the number of claims by the Luftwaffe.

Most claim reports have since been lost, so no definite claims for the loss of Halifax LL141.

434 Squadron lost 4 aircraft alone this night, the others:

Halifax V LK656 WL-C Flown by Fl/Sgt. F. Johnson injured with one other crew member after crew baled out near Driffield after serious damage to the rudders - aircraft crashed at 23:59 5 miles WSW of Filey.
Halifax V LL135 WL-R Flown by F/O. Clarence Samuel Brest J/21331 RCAF from Canada but schooled in San Fransisco - killed with 4 other crew, 2 taken PoW. (with thanks to Jack Kindrachuk - September 2017)
Halifax V LL179 WL-K Flown by Fl/Sgt. Gordon Charles Mould R/143768 RCAF from Ontario, Canada - killed with 3 other crew, 3 others taken PoW.

Burial details:

F/O. James Thomas Clinkskill. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Coll. Grave: 8.L.34-37. Born Montreal, Quebec, 16th June 1913. Son of William and Agnes nee Hogan McCaffrey. Both parents deceased when he enlisted. His sister Eileen McCaffrey was given as next of kin. Married Madeline Isabel Merrigan.

Sgt. Victor George Baker. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Coll. Grave: 8.L.34-37. Son of George Victor and Annie Isabel Baker, of East Ham, Essex, England.

F/O. William Russell Sloan. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Coll. Grave: 8.L.34-37. Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Sloan, of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. B.A.

Fl/Sgt. Charles John Jones. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Coll. Grave: 8.L.34-37. Son of Charles David and Clara Jones, husband of Edith Jones, of Willesden Junction, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. Colin Campbell Cassy. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave: 8.L.33. Born Hampstead, London December 1924 Qtr. Son of Colin and Joan nee Cox Cassy.

Sgt. Edward William Harold McCaffrey. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave: 8.L.32. Born Montreal, Quebec, 16 June 1913. Son of William and Agnes née Hogan McCaffrey. Both parents deceased when he enlisted. His sister, Eileen McCaffrey, was given as next of kin. Married Madeline Isabel Merrigan.

Sgt. David James Gillam. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave: 8.L.31. Son of James and Emily Florence Gillam, of Winton, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.

Researcher, Michel Beckers - submitted to Aircrew Remembered January 2016. With thanks to Steve Williams, and Uwe Enrich for various photographs - others Michel Beckers collection. Further detailed information our thanks to Dave Champion - April 2016.

MB - 16.01.2016

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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