29/30.12.1943 No. 102 Squadron Halifax II HR867 DY-A P/O. Fraser
Date: 29/30th December 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 102 Squadron
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Pocklington, Yorkshire
Location: Rhinow, Germany
Pilot: P/O. Augustus Charles Fraser AUS/6145 RAAF PoW No: 3251 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Pilot: F/O. Edward Ludvig Carlson J/20357 RCAF Age 20. PoW No: 3350 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria (Promoted to Fl/Lt during period as PoW) (1)
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. R. Mundy 1054522 RAFVR PoW No: 269863 Camp: Dulag Luft
Nav: Fl/Lt. Harry Hope Hesketh J/10058 RCAF PoW No: 3257 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria (2)
Air/Bmr: Sgt. R.R. McWhinnie 1559309 RAFVR PoW No: 269859 Camp: Stalag Muhlberg (Elbe)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. R. Day 1434958 RAFVR PoW No: 269838 Camp: Stalag Muhlberg (Elbe)
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Noel Livingstone Pearce 941082 RAFVR PoW No: 269870 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Terence Patrick O'Hare AUS/421850 RAAF Age 21. Killed
Page of remembrance sponsored by Ian Box - January 2019
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 16:50 hrs. from RAF Pocklington in Yorkshire to bomb the heart of Germany, Berlin.
A long approach route from the south, passing south of the Ruhr and within 20 miles of Leipzig, together with Mosquito diversions at Düsseldorf, Leipzig and Magdeburg, caused the German controllers great difficulty, leaving Berlin defended by few fighters. Bad weather on the outward route also hindered German fighters finding the bomber stream.
Berlin was cloud-covered. The Bomber Command report claiming a concentrated attack on sky-markers is not confirmed by the local report. The heaviest bombing was in the south and south-eastern districts, but many bombs also fell to the east of the city. 388 houses and other mixed properties were destroyed. 182 people were killed, more than 600 injured and over 10,000 bombed out.
21 aircraft were lost from the 712 that left for this raid, with 79 aircrew killed, 53 being made PoW with 1 escaping capture.
Halifax HR867 was claimed by several Heavy anti-aircraft battery units but thought that the fatal blow was made by 5./Schw. Flak Abt.154 with the aircraft crashing at 20:30 hrs at location shown.
Interesting in that in the debriefing report the surviving crew members wrote that they were also attacked by a night fighter which the rear gunner, Sgt. O'Hare engaged. It is also stated that he had been killed from the fighters cannons - hit some 5 times. His body was recovered hanging outside the wreckage by his parachute cords. He was buried with full military honours by the Germans at Rhinow - the investigation team found his grave in 1947 and discovered it to be well marked and well kept condition.
The pilot made a statement after war end that they were hit by flak en-route to the target putting the port outer engine out of action. They were hit again by flak putting the outer starboard engine out and also blowing off the nose of the aircraft. The crew were ordered to abandon the aircraft some 30 minutes later. The 2nd pilot, Fl/Lt. Carlson was injured by the flak in the shoulder, P/O. Fraser baled out very low at around 700 ft. He suffered frostbite on his toes and together with the remainder of the crew taken PoW.
(1) Fl/Lt. Edward Ludvig Carlson of Estevan, Saskatchewan. Born 9 October 1913 in Mount Green, Saskatchewan post war he would remain flying but as a photogrammetrist. Deceased 2 August 1992 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
(2) Fl/Lt. Harry Hope Hesketh of Regina, Saskatchewan. Following liberation, Harry and wife Elfreda "Freda" Hesketh would move to Osoyoos, British Columbia, where they would be the town's postmasters from 1946 until 1971. Deceased Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada 2005.
The Squadron lost another crew during this operation:
Halifax II JD412 DY-X Flown by 20 year old Sgt. Edgar Arthur Stokes 1394064 RAFVR from Edgeware, Middlesex England - Missing believed killed after they were hit by anti-aircraft fire. The remaining 6 crew survived as PoW.
Fl/Sgt. Terence Patrick O'Hare. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 6.K.28. Born on the 22nd March 1922 at Mudgee, N.S.W. the son of Martin and Mary Jane O'Hare, of 10 Horatio Street, Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "Loved Son Of Mr. And Mrs.M. O'hare Of Mudgee, N.S.W. R.I.P". Prior to service worked as a shop assistant.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Ian Box. Also to Dave Champion for further details - March 2019. Other sources as quoted below.