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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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44 Squadron Crest
24/25.03.1944 No. 44 Squadron Lancaster I ME672 KM-A P/O. Bernard M. Hayes

Operation: Berlin

Date: 24/25th March 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 44 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ME672

Code: KM-A

Base: RAF Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire.

Location: Lage Mierde, North Brabant, Holland

Pilot: P/O. Bernard Michael Hayes 169583 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. James Maurice Ella 1622371 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Richard Henry John Wellfare 1397598 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Michael Fedoruk R/15950 RCAF Age 23. - Evaded capture.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Wilfred Keith Walker 1076680 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Lloyd Radcliffe R/184322 RCAF Age 19. Killed (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Griffin Perrie 1552400 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Leaving RAF Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire at 19:02hrs. 

811 aircraft took part in what has become known as the "night of the strong winds" as a very strong wind took the bomber stream further south at every stage of the outbound flight. The bomber stream became very scattered in particular on the homeward bound stages where the radar controlled flak batteries were able to score many successes. 

A total of 72 aircraft were lost, Berlin reported that 14 Aircraft were shot down by night fighters over the target area. Bombing was very scattered with over 100 towns and villages around Berlin being bombed and very little commercial damage done in Berlin itself. Civilians were hardest hit again with 20,000 made homeless and 150 people on the ground killed. 

This was the last major bombing raid on Berlin of the war although it was of course attacked on many smaller raids using Mosquitoes.

As explained previously 72 aircraft were lost on this raid but the true horror being 220 aircrew killed and a further 133 made PoW.

Lancaster ME672 was probably shot down by Oblt. Josef Nabrich (2) a nightfighter ace with 6 abshcüsse to his credit at this stage. From 3./NJG1 with combat taking place at 5,800 mtrs the Lancaster crashed at 00:30 hrs at Lage Mierde, North Brabant, Holland.

(1) Radcliffe Lake, east of Nejanilini Lake, Manitoba, named after Sgt. Kenneth Radcliffe in 1974. Radcliffe Island in Stoney Lake, Manitoba named after his brother in 1975.

(2) Killed on the 4/5th November 1944 in a crash near Ibbenbüren/Westphalia after being shot down by a Mosquito. (17 Abschüsse when he was killed.)

Burial details:

P/O. Bernard Michael Hayes. Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery. Plot KK. Grave 23. Son of Michael and Alice Hayes and husband of Ena Beatrice Hayes of Putney, London, England.

Sgt. James Maurice Ella. Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery. Plot KK. Grave 22. Son of James and Malinda M. Ella of West Butterwick, Lincolnshire, England.

Sgt. Richard Henry John Wellfar. Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery. Plot KK. Grave 24. Son of James and Winifred Edith Wellfare of Ipswich, Suffolk, England.

Sgt. Wilfred Keith Walker. Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery. Plot KK. Grave 26. Son of William and Annie Elisabeth Walker of Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England.

Sgt. Kenneth Lloyd Radcliffe. Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery. XVI.B.13. Son of John and Ethel Florence Radcliffe of Rivers, Manitoba, Canada. Sadly, the family also lost another son, just 5 months earlier, LAC Albert John Radcliffe during a transportation flight on the 19/20th October 1943. What has been described as the largest loss of life to Canadian service personnel in an air accident.

Sgt. William Griffin Perrie. Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery. Plot KK. Grave 27. Son of Mitchell and Margaret Griffin Perrie of Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. With thanks to William Czuboka of Find-A-Grave for use of photograph. Other sources as quoted below.

KTY 07.06.2015 New format page

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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Last Modified: 07 June 2015, 09:33