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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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49 Squadron Crest
03/04.09.1943 No. 49 Squadron Lancaster III JB126 EA-S F/O. Harold K. Coates

Operation: Berlin

Date: 3/4th September 1943

Unit: No. 49 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JB126

Code: EA-S

Base: RAF Fiskerton, Lincolnshire

Location: North Sea, 10 miles East of Blyth, Northumberland

Pilot: F/O. Harold Kenneth Coates 130651 RAFVR Age 25. Missing - believed killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John George Sacre 1515172 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Henry Jack 1550129 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. L.R. Underwood 1323136 RAFVR Survived

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Clarence Depledge Kendrew 1076759 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Raymond Stuart Nelson AUS/421667 RAAF Age 22. Survived (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Stanley Pawson 1455178 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Lancaster JB126 took off from Fiskerton airfield as part of a 316 Lancaster and 4 Mosquito attack at the heart of Germany, Berlin.

The raid approached Berlin from the North East but the marking and the bombing was short of the target.

A group photo showing Sgt. Clarence Kendrew top extreme right, thought to be on a radio operators course. Do you recognise any of the others? (courtesy Ms Julia Kendrew)

Several factories were hit as well as the residential area of Charlottenburg and Moabit. The damage caused was that the factories hit suffered serious damage and a huge loss of production. 422 people on the ground were killed - 225 civilians, 24 servicemen, 18 men and 2 women who were part of the air raid services, 123 foreign workers (92 women and 31 men) and a further 170 civilians were classed as "missing".

During this operation a total of 22 Lancaster's were either shot down by night fighters or by the heavy flak over Berlin. 141 crew members were killed, 15 were made PoW and another 3 were interned in Sweden.

Sgt. Clarence Depledge Kendrew and 'the letter' to his wife. (courtesy Ms Julia Kendrew)


Record of service:

Enlisted 25th October 1940
Promotions:
Aircraftsman second class 25th October 1940
Leading Aircraftsman 6th February 1943
Sergeant 12th March 1943
Mustering:
Aircrafthand/Wireless Operator 25th October 1940
Wireless Operator 8th September 1941
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner 12th March 1943
Postings:
3 Recruitment Centre Padgate 25th October 1940
Reserve 26th October 1940
10 Recruitment Centre Blackpool 31st December 1940
2 Signal School 30th May 1941
Station Gatesbury 19th September 1941
8 Air Gunnery School 28th January 1943
19 Operational Training Unit 23rd March 1943
1654 Conversion Unit 8th June 1943
49 Squadron 15th July 1943

They had completed their bombing run and on the return leg they were hit by flak and the pilot, F/O. Coates, realised that he would have difficulty reaching England. At 03.35 hrs. a signal was received that placed JB126 75 miles off the coast and 15 minutes later a message was received that the pilot was preparing to ditch. Continued touch was kept with the aircraft which, the pilot had managed to keep flying until 04.07 hrs. when all contact was lost. This positioned them 10 miles off the Northumberland coast and the air/sea rescue services which were on standby were sent out.

A pilot of a rescue aircraft found the bomber and its dingy of 5 men floating in the sea, about 15 miles off the coast. Contact was kept until the rescue launch appeared and the 5 crew members were taken on board. 3 members of the crew in the dingy were dead. The pilot was unable to leave the aircraft and he also lost his life.

(1) Sadly Sgt. Nelson lost his life on the 27th November 1943 whilst with 83 Squadron (Lancaster JB459 OL-T)

Sgt. Clarence Kendrew Scoll and grave at Wanborough (St. Andrew) Churchyard (courtesy Ms Julia Kendrew)

Burial details:

F/O. Harold Kenneth Coates. Runnymede Memorial Panel 122. N.o.K details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Sgt. John George Sacre. Woolwich Cemetery Sec. 7. Collective grave 871. N.o.K details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Sgt. Henry Jack. Tealing Cemetery Sec. B. Grave 227. Son of John and Mary Ann Davidson Ford Jack, of Tealing, Scotland.

Sgt. Clarence Depledge Kendrew. Wanborough (St. Andrew) Churchyard. South Part. Further details: Son of Andrew and Phylis Kendrew, husband of Ethel M. Kendrew, of Upper Wanborough, Wiltshire, England. Sgt, Clarence Kendrew was married to Ethel only three months before he was killed, they married at the same church where he is now buried.

Sgt. George Stanley Pawson. Grimsby (Scarth Road) Cemetery Sec. 116. Row F. grave 11. Son of George Sydney and Lilian Pawson, of Grimsby, England.

Researched with extensive details and photographs/documents supplied by the niece of Sgt. Clarence Kendrew - Ms Julia Kendrew. For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), 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', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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