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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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97 Squadron Crest
30/31.01.1944 No. 97 Squadron Lancaster JB300 OF-D W/Cdr. Dunnicliffe

Operation: Berlin

Date: 30/31st January 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 97 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JB300 (See note 1)

Code: OF-D

Base: RAF Bourn, Cambridgeshire

Location: Not applicable - returned

Pilot: W/Cdr. Charles McKenzie Dunnicliffe 49010 RAF (Later DFC. DSO)

Fl/Eng: P/O. James Kingsley Bell 173543 RAFVR (Later DFC)

Nav: Sq/Ldr. Ross Baxter Ingalls J/4771 RCAF (Later DFC)

Air/Bmr: Fl/Lt. Herbert William Rieger J/12737 RCAF

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. Charles Chetham 122982 RAFVR (Later DFC) (See note 2)

Air/Gnr: Fl/lt. Richard James Weller DFM 142903 RAFVR

Air/Gnr: Sq/Ldr. Martin Bryan-Smith 77103 RAFVR (Later DFC. bar. MiD)


Researched by Anne Kendall, daughter of Fl/Lt. Charles Chetham


REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 17:20 hrs from RAF Bourne in Cambridgeshire. JB300 carrying 5 flares, 4 x TI's, 1 x 4000 lb. (Cookie), 4 x 1000 lb's. bombs.The bomber stream were not intercepted until they were well into the run to the target when they faced fierce opposition from the night fighters. Many were shot down over the target area but also they suffered attacks after leaving and on their return trip.

Lancaster JB300 OF-D returned safely at 23:00 hrs. Some of this crew and others that Fl/Lt. Charles Chetham flew with were not so fortunate, as shown below.

Above: Fl/Lt. Richard Weller (6), P/O. James Kingsley Bell, Fl/Lt. Herbert William Rieger (2), W/Cdr. Charles McKenzie Dunnicliffe, Fl/Lt. Charles Chetham, Sq/Ldr. Ross Baxter Ingalls, Sq/Ldr. Martin Bryan-Smith (1). (courtesy Anne Kendall)

Bombing on the cloud covered City was described as another concentrated attack with over 1000 civilians being killed and a few industrial premises including Goebbels Propaganda Ministry.

The loss rate from Bomber Command amounted to some 35 aircraft missing. 189 aircrew killed with a further 56 made PoW.

Career summary for Fl/Lt. Charles Chetham: Enlisted 23.5.40 - Uxbridge Reserve - AC 2. 26.8.40 Signals Training - 10 Signals, Blackpool. 22.11.40 - Signals School - W/Op/Air/Gnr. training. 27.1.41 - 241 Squadron - W/Op/Air/Gnr. 16.3.41 - 9 B and GS - W/Op/Air/Gnr. 20.3.41 - LAC. 26.4.41 - Fl/Sgt. 3.5.41 - RAF Mildenhall. 3.6.41 - 12 OTU. 24.7.41 - 214 Squadron. 17.11.41 - RAF Stradishall. 20.12.41 - 214 Squadron. 20.5.42 - Recommended for a Commission. 1.5.42 - 1.7.42 214 Squadron RAF Stradishall, Wellington and Stirlings. No 10 OTU 1.7.42 - 8.9.43 RAF Leeming. 8.9.43 - 1.4.44 RAF Bourn Lancaster Pathfinder Force Badge: 29.10.43 (Permanent Award: 19.10.44) Fl/Lt (January 1944). 582 Squadron (8PFF) 1.4.44 - 19.10.44 Little Staughton, St Neots, Lancaster DFC (23.5.44). RAF Chigwell (26 Group) 19.10.44 - 1.3.45. Signals Officer Duties RAF Filton (44 Group); HQ , TC, “S” Unit 1.3.45 - 25.8.46. On secondment to BOAC. Discharged - 23.8.46

Flew as crew member on following aircraft whilst with 97 Squadron:

R5483 GI-D (Lost on the 21st January 1944 with 622 Squadron on a trip to Berlin). R5672. R5738 OF-D (Lost on the 09th January 1944 with 97 Squadron on a trip to Essen). ED814 BH-N (Lost on the 01st July 1944 with 300 Polish Squadron on a trip to Vierzon) ED880 OF-N (Crashed 04th May 1943 with 97 Squadron on return from a trip to Dortmund) JB299 OF-M (Lost on the 21st January 1944 with 97 Squadron on a trip to Magdeburg) JB300 OF-B (This the same aircraft - Lost on the 18th March 1944 with 97 Squadron on a trip to Frankfurt) ND589. PB450 OF-D (Lost on the 10th November 1944 with 97 Squadron on a training operation)

Operations with 97 Squadron:

22/23 September 1943 - Hanover.

JB176K Sq/Ldr. S.P.Daniels, Fl/Sgt. J.K.Bell, Sq/Ldr. R. Ingalls, Sq/Ldr. C.M. Dunnicliffe. F/O. C.E. Chetham, P/O. R.J.Weller, Fl/Lt. M. Bryan-Smith. Up 1905 Down 0040. 6 x 2000lb. Target Hanover attacked. 18,500’. Clear sky, visibility good. Target identified visually under red and green TI markers. Bombed on cluster of green TI markers. Bomb bursts seen among TI's.

23/24 September 1943 – Mannheim

JB176K Sq/Ldr. S.P.Daniels, Fl/Sgt. J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, Sq/Ldr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, F/O. C.L. Chetham, Fl/Lt. M. Bryan-Smith, P/O. R.J. Weller. Up 1924 Down 0058. Mannheim attacked. 4 x 2000lb, 6 x 500lb. 19,000’. No cloud, visibility good. Target identified visually by junction in river and built up area. Bombed on two red TIs – in bomb sight. Many bursts seen and a mass of fires developing.

27/28 September 1943 – Hanover

JB176K Sq/Ldr. S.P. Daniels, Fl/Sgt. J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R. Ingalls, Sq/Ldr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, F/O. C. Chetham, P/O. R.J. Weller, Fl/Lt. M. Bryan-Smith. Up 1932 Down 0020. 2 x TI, 1 x 4000lb, 6 x 1000lb. Target hanover bombed. 20,000’. No cloud but hazy. Timed run from pin-point on Lake Steinhuder. Target also identified visually. Bombed centre of cluster of red TI markers. Other bomb bursts seen

18/19 October 1943 – Hanover

JB191B Sq/Ldr. Sidney Patrick Daniels, Fl/Sgt. J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, Sq/Ldr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, F/O. C.S. Chetham, P/O. R.J. Weller, Fl/Lt. M. Bryan-Smith. Up 1726 Down 2208. 6 x 2000lb. Primary target Hanover. 21,000’. No moon. 10/10ths cloud. Target located by H2S. Nothing but flashes observed below cloud. TIs very scattered

20/21 October 1943 – Leipzig

JB176K Sq/Ldr. S.P. Daniels, Fl/Sgt. J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, Sq/Ldr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, F/O. C.S. Chetham, Fl/Lt. M. Bryan-Smith, P/O. R.J. Weller. Up 1736 Down 0022. 1 x 4000lb, 7 x 500lb. Leipzig bombed. 18,000’. 10/10ths cloud. Vis bad. Target located by H2S. Bombs dropped blind. Nothing whatever seen owing to cloud.

22/23 October 1943 – Kassel

JB176K Sq/Ldr. S.P. Daniels, Fl/Sgt. J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, Sq/Ldr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, F/O. C. Chetham, P/O. R.J. Weller, Fl/Lt. M. Bryan-Smith. Up 1823 Down 2323. 6 x TI, 1 x 4000lb, 4 x 100lb. Target Kassel. 19,000’. Clear sky, no moon, vis good. Target located by “Y” aids and confirmed visually. Bombed center of cluster of red TI markers. Own bombs seen to burst on edge of red TIs. Too early for results.

2/3 December 1943 – Berlin

JB300D Sq/Ldr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, Fl/Sgt. J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, F/O. W.A. Colson (8), F/O. C.E. Chetham, Fl/Lt. M. Bryan-Smith, F/O. R.J. Weller. Up 1715 Down 2335. 1 x 4000lb, 5 x 1000lb. Berlin attacked from 17,500’. “Y” used for locating target. No results of bombing seen. Very scattered red TIs seen along track. Visibility good

3/4 December 1943 – Leipzig

JB300D Sq/Ldr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, Fl/Sgt. J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, F/O. W. Colson, F/O. C.E. Chetham, Fl/Lt. M.Bryan-Smith, F/O. R.J.Weller. Up 1720 Down 2330. 4 x TI, 1 x 4000lb, 3 x 1000lb, 1 x 500lb. Bombs released in centre of cluster of 4 red TIs over Leipzig. Results were obscured by cloud.

20/21 December 1943 – Frankfurt

JB300D Sq/Ldr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, W/O J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, Sq/Ldr. R.H. Watts, F/O. C.H. Chetham, F/O. R.J. Weller, W/O J. Woods. (No times) 1 x 4000lb, 6 x 1000lb. Mannheim attacked from 20,000’. 4/10ths cloud very thin. Visibility excellent. All navigation aids u/s especially “Y” and “G”. Arrived over Mannheim one minute before bombing time so bombed there. Large oil fire explosion at 1927 hours. A huge fire could be seen from a position near Frankfurt.

29/30 December 1943 – Berlin

JB300D Sq/Ldr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, W/O J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, F/O. W.C. Law, F/O. C.E. Chetham, F/O. R.J. Weller, Sq/Ldr. M. Bryan-Smith. Up 1711 Down 2354. 3LBTI Green, 3 x TI Green, 1 x 5 flares red/green, 1 x 4000lb, 3 x 1000lb. Berlin bombed from 21,500’. Target identified by Wanganui flares which were well concentrated. A reflected glow could be observed on leaving target area.

20/21 January 1944 – Berlin

JB300D W/Cdr. C. Dunnicliffe, W/O J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, F/O. J. Reiger, Fl/Lt. C.E. Chetham, F/O. R.J. Weller, W/O J. Woods. Up 1745 Down 0135. 5 x 2000lb. Bomb load released on Berlin by H2S. 10/10ths cloud over target. No results observed.

27/28 January 1944 – Berlin

ND415Z W/Cdr. E.J. Carter (3), W/O J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. D.K. Allport, F/O. H.W. Reiger, F/O. C.E. Chetham, F/O. R.J. Weller, W/O J. Wood. Up 1715 Down 2120. Returned early owing to intercom being u/s.

28/29 January 1944 – Berlin

ND415Z W/Cdr. C. Dunnicliffe, W/O J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, Fl/Lt. W.G.Cooper, Fl/Lt. C.E. Chetham, F/O. R.J. Weller, W/O J. Woods. Up 2335 Down 0810. 5 flares, 4 x TI, 1 x 4000lb, 4 x 1000lb. Berlin successfully bombed from 19,500’. Bombed on H2S. All flares were well concentrated. No results of bombing observed. A good glow from fires reflected on cloud.

30/31 January 1944 – Berlin

JB300D W/Cdr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, W/O J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, F/O. H.W. Reiger, Fl/Lt. C.E. Chetham, F/O. R.J. Weller, Sq/Ldr. M. Bryan-Smith. Up 1720 Down 2330. 5 flares, 4 x TI, 1 x 4000lb, 4 x 1000lb. Berlin successfully bombed from 19,500’. Good marker concentration in later stages of the raid. Cloud obscured results of bombing.

15/16 February 1944 – Berlin

JB300D W/Cdr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, W/O J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, F/O. H.W. Reiger, Fl/Lt. C. Chetham, F/O. R.J. Weller, Sq/Ldr. M. Bryan-Smith. Up 1700 Down 0010. 1 x 4 flares, 2 LBTI Red, 2 x TI red, 1 x 4000lb. Berlin bombed from 20,000’. 10/10ths cloud at 14,000’. Vis good. Too early to observe results, very thick cloud.

19/20 February 1944 – Leipzig

ND415Z W/Cdr. E.J. Carter, W/O J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, F/O. H.W. Reiger, Fl/Lt. C. Chetham, F/O. R.J. Weller, Sq/Ldr. M. Bryan-Smith. Up 2355 Down 0630. 4 flares, 4 x TI, 1 x 4000lb, 4 x 1000lb, 2 x 500lb. Bombed Leipzig from 19,000’ with H2S. Weather 10/10ths cloud tops 3-4,000’. Vis good.

20/21 February 1944 – Stuttgart

JB300D W/Cdr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, F/O. W. Hannah (7), Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, F/O. H.W. Reiger, Fl/Lt. C. Chetham, F/O. R. Weller, Sq/Ldr. M. Bryan-Smith. Up 0020 Down 0645. 4 flares, 4 x TI, 1 x 4000lb, 5 x 1000lb. Bombed target from 19,000’. Bombs dropped in centre of concentration of Wanganuis. Results not observed owing to cloud. Weather 10/10ths cloud tops 15,000’. Vis good.

15/16 March 1944 - Stuttgart

JB300D W/Cdr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, W/O J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, F/O. H.W. Reiger, Fl/Lt. C. Chetham, F/O. R.J. Weller, Sq/Ldr. M. Bryan-Smith. Up 1930 Down 0205. 20 flares, 4 x TI, 1 x 4000lb, 2 x 1000lb. 9/10ths cloud over target, vis good. Bombed from 19,000’ with H2S. No TIs or Wanganuis were seen before bombing. Aircraft first to drop any markers. No results observed but glow from fires and HEs exploding seen below cloud on return journey.

18/19 March 1944 - Frankfurt (See note 1)

ND589D W/Cdr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, W/O J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, F/O. H.W. Reiger, Fl/Lt. C. Chetham, F/O. R.J. Weller, Sq/Ldr. M. Bryan-Smith. Up 1930 Down 0010. 20 flares, 4 x TI, 1 x 4000lb, 1 x 1000lb, 2 x 500lb. Weather over target – no cloud, haze, moderate visibility. Bombed on H2S from 18,800’. No markers fell before bombing. Many green TIs fell immediately after bombing forming a good start to the concentration. Haze obscured ground detail and it was too early to observe results.

22/23 March 1944 – Frankfurt

ND739E W/Cdr. E.J. Carter, W/O J.K. Bell, P/O. D.C. Armstrong, F/O. H.W. Reiger, Fl/Lt. C. Chetham, P/O. Colville (5), Fl/Lt. Trevor-Roper (4). Up 1840 Down 0005. 20 flares, 4 x TI, 1 x 4000lb, 1 x 1000lb, 2 x 500lb, 1 red/yellow flare. Frankfurt attacked from 19,000’. Wearher over target 1-2/10ths cloud very thin. Vis very good. No markers were seen before bombing. Green TI seen at 2246 hours. Wanganui seen 10 minutes later. Green and red TIs well concentrated, also incendiaries. Glow of fires seen from 100 miles away.

24/25 March 1944 - Berlin

ND572D W/Cdr. C.M. Dunnicliffe, W/O J.K. Bell, Sq/Ldr. R.B. Ingalls, F/O. H.W. Reiger, Fl/Lt. C. Chetham, F/O. R.J. Weller, Sq/Ldr. M. Bryan-Smith. Up 1850 Down 0130. 4 x TI, 1 x 4000lb, 765 x 4lb incs, 45 x 4lb “X” incs, 4 red/yellow flares. 2-3/10ths thin wispy cloud over Berlin tops 3-4000’. Bombed from 19,800’ on H2S. There was an excellent concentration of incendiary bombs which lit up the streets. Incendiary bombs littered the ground in the centre of the city. Attack appeared to be a good one.

(1) Fl/Lt. Herbert William Rieger J/12737 RCAF Missing, believed killed on the 06th June 1944 whilst with 97 Squadron on the same crew as Sq/Ldr. Bryan-Smith.
(2) Sq/Ldr. Martin Bryan-Smith DFC. bar. MiD. 77103 RAFVR Missing, believed killed on the 06th June 1944 whilst with 97 Squadron on Lancaster III ND739. (His brother 28 year old, Anthony Bryan-Smith 76003 RAFVR also lost his life earlier on the 15th April 1940 whilst with 49 Squadron)
(3) W/Cdr. Edward James Carter DFC. 70770 RAFVR Missing, believed killed on the 06th June 1944 whilst with 97 Squadron on the same crew as Sq/Ldr. Bryan-Smith.
(4) Fl/Lt. Richard Dacre Trevor-Roper DFC. DFM. 47354 RAFVR Killed on the 31st March 1944 whilst with 97 Squadron on Lancaster III ND390.
(5) F/O. Fred Colville 158802 RAFVR Killed on the 31st March 1944 whilst with 97 Squadron on the same crew as Fl/Lt. Trevor-Roper.(6) F/O. Richard James Weller DFM. 142903 RAFVR Killed on the 31st March 1944 whilst with 97 Squadron on Lancaster III ND640.(7) F/O. William Hannah DFC. 155897 RAFVR Missing, believed killed on the 21st July 1944 whilst with 97 Squadron.(8) Fl/Lt. William Alfred Colson DFM 141402 RAFVR Killed on the 17th December 1943 whilst with 97 Squadron on Lancaster III JB119.

Note 1: JB300 was lost on the operation to Frankfurt on the 18/19th March 1944. F/O. Neville John Callan NZ/415289 was injured in the crash but sadly died a few days later on the 25th March 1944. The six remaining crew were also killed.

Note 2: The cousin of Fl/Lt. Charles Chetham, P/O. Charles Chetham was killed on the 27th August 1940 whilst flying Hurricane P3897 whilst with 33 Squadron in Greece. Further details here.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Anne Kendall for her extensive research and photographs.

KTY 27.08.2018

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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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), 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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