22/23.11.1943 No. 10 Squadron Halifax II JD367 ZA-Z F/O. Thomas Hall
Date: 22/23rd November 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 10 Squadron
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Melbourne, Yorkshire
Location: Achmer nr. Bransche
Pilot: F/O. Thomas Hall 51335 RAF Age 31. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. William Robert Zastrow 1603263 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: Sgt. George Leslie Skelton 1545950 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Samuel Phillip Rogers 818036 RAF (Auxiliary) Age ? Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Cyril James Ashton 1399659 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Howard Leroy Anderson R/193090 RCAF Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Roy Colebrooke 1874034 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 16:54 hrs from RAF Melbourne in Yorkshire on the largest single force of heavies to Berlin of the war to date 764 aircraft taking part. No diversions were set in place which was unusual. The route planned was from base - to Texel, Holland and then onto the target - return route would be the same.
Bomber command were attempting to use the weather with 10/10 cloud with severe icing which kept the night fighters grounded. Very few air to air combats taking place.
The prolonged bombing which lasted over two hours saw some night fighter action over the target.
It is believed that JD367 was hit by anti-aircraft fire from batteries of either the 8th Flak division or the 15th Flak Brigade - 26 bombers were lost with 80 returning home with various degrees of flak damage. Some 6 Luftwaffe night fighters were also lost during the night.
10 Squadron lost another crew this night:
Halifax II JD146 ZA-V Also due to flak. Flown by 30 year old Fl/Lt. Donald Samuel Pont 60087 RAFVR from Bristol, England, missing with all his 6 other crew.
Note: JD367 was built by English Electric Co. (Salmesbury and Preston) in July 1943.
F/O. Thomas Hall. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 26.A.11. Son of Robert H. and Louisa M. Hall, husband of Mena A. E. Hall, of Somerton, Oxfordshire, England.
Sgt. William Robert Zastrow. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.A.12-14. Son of William and Annie Zastrow, of Luton, Bedfordshire, England.
Sgt. George Leslie Skelton. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.A.12-14. No further details, are you able to contribute?
Fl/Sgt. Samuel Phillip Rogers. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.A.12-14. No further details, are you able to contribute?
Sgt. Cyril James Ashton. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.A.12-14. No further details, are you able to contribute?
Sgt. Howard Leroy Anderson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.A.12-14. Born Regina, 25 April 1924, the son of Russel Leroy and Esther Williamena (née Jaeke) Anderson, the youngest of three children. He grew up in Saskatchewan and Minnesota before the family settled in Hamilton, Ontario. Both parents were American immigrants to Canada. When he enlisted in the RCAF 9 September, 1942, he was working as a clerk for Morris Gift and Leather in Hamilton.
Sgt. John Roy Colebrooke. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.A.12-14. Son of Herbert George and Lilian Stevenson Colebrooke, of Wood Green, Middlesex, England. Husband of Florence Lena Colebrooke, of Hertford, England.
Researched for Derek Colbrooke and Ken Hatfield. With thanks also to Wes Ashton, great nephew of Sgt. Cyril Ashton who contacted us in October 2016. Information and photo of Sgt. Anderson courtesy of David Champion - October 2017. Further information from various sources as quoted below.