15/16.02.1944 No. 102 Squadron Halifax II LW339 DY-F Fl/Lt. Arthur Hilton
Date: 15/16th February 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 102 Squadron (Ceylon) (1)
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Pocklington, Yorkshire
Location: Bartelshagen, Germany (Map ref: N55/P14 or P.03)
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Arthur Hilton 150105 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. E.A. Gosling 1167019 RAFVR PoW No: 1471 Camp: 357. Stalag Kopernikus.
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Richard James Paige 1335547 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Bmr: P/O. Robert Frederick Sykes J/86398 (R/123898) RCAF Age 25. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Lewis Francis Carr 1316832 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick Aldred Paskell 1803633 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Dean 1456092 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Leaving RAF Pocklington, Yorkshire at 17.15 hrs on the penultimate raid to Berlin. 891 aircraft taking part, the largest non-1,000 force to date and the first time that over 300 Halifaxes and 500 Lancasters had operated together. The amount of bombs that reached the target was over 2,600 tons, also a record. Extensive damage was reported in the German capital, although outlying area also received hits.
Believed to be the crew of Halifax LW339. Rear row L-R, Sgt. Gosling, P/O. Sykes, then either Sgt. Paskell or Sgt. Dean. Front row, Fl/Sgt. Paige, Fl/Lt. Hilton, Sgt. Carr. (courtesy Elizabeth Hampton)
The city was covered in cloud for most of the raid but the raid still inflicted huge damage to the city with 599 large and 572 medium fires, 1,000 houses and a further 526 wooden barracks also destroyed. 320 people on the ground were killed.
The small number of casualties is mainly due to the large scale evacuation which had taken place but a further 260 civilians were reported to have been buried alive – no reports how many of these survived. Some of Berlin’s most important industries were also hit including the Siemensstadt area. 59 people were also killed in other area hit by scattered bombs.
Also believed to be some of the crew in front of Halifax LW339 DW-F. (courtesy Elizabeth Hampton)
102 Squadron Halifax II at R.A.F. Pocklington, Yorkshire (courtesy IWM)
102 Squadron Halifax II at PoThe bombers suffered heavily with 48 aircraft being lost. A huge loss of aircrew with 266 killed and a further 54 made PoW.
Halifax LW339 was first thought to have been hit by flak and crashed at Bartelshagen, Germany at around 20.30 hrs. However, new evidence suggests that it was shot down by the Luftwaffe ace Oblt. Wilhelm Johnen (2) of 5.NJG5, 4 km. South East of Ribnitz-Damgarten at 20.34 hrs crashing at Bartelshagen.
Also lost on this operation from the squadron Halifax IIHX155 DY-Q. Flown by 22 year old P/O. Ananda Kularatne from Blackpool, Lancashire, England, killed with all other 7 crew members. (3)
(1) Note: 102 Squadron was adopted by the island of Ceylon in February 142, who paid for aircraft for use by the squadron. This was one of the last operations that the Halifax II was used, superseded by the much improved Halifax III.
(2) This was the 14th claim for Oblt. Wilhelm Johnen who survived the war with 34 abshüsse. Attended university post war and gained an engineer degree, later working with Professor Willy Messerschmidt. Subsequently he ran his own construction business. He wrote the much acclaimed book ‘Duel Under The Stars’. Died in February 2002, age 81.
(3) Originally buried with this crew at Rostock Neur Cemetery was an unidentified RAAF P/O. air gunner and confirmed as not a member of the crew. Possible that it was later identified as 33 year old P/O. Alfred James Stapleton from Gladstone, NSW, Australia. 102 squadron Halifax HX155 crew - the only member of that crew to be buried at Berlin, the only member of that crew to be buried.
Above Oblt. Wilhelm Johnen and his BF110G4 (courtesy Tom Kracker). See Kracker Archive on this site
Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery - the resting place of 3,198 identified WW2 Casualties - a further 397 remain unidentified! (Around 80% identified are of aircrew courtesy CWGC)
Fl/Lt. Arthur Hilton. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.D.15. Son of Harold and Florence Mary Hilton, nephew of Frank Hilton, of High Ackworth, Yorkshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. Richard James Paige. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.D.16. Son of Richard John and Marie Helen Paige, of Ilford, Essex, England.
P/O. Robert Frederick Sykes. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.D.14. Son of Arthur Ashton Sykes and Rachel Marian Sykes, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. B.A. (University of Manitoba). Further information: Born on the 18th July 1918. Enlisted Winnipeg on the 15th August 1941. Commissioned on 14th February 1944.
Sgt. Lewis Francis Carr. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.D.17. Son of Gilbert Richmond Carr and Mary Margaret Carr, of Port Talbot, Glamorgan, Wales.
Sgt. Frederick Aldred Paskell. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.D.19. Son of Frederick Alfred and Florence Ambrose Paskell, of Tottenham, Middlesex, England. Husband of Alice Paskell.
Sgt. Arthur Dean. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.D.13. Son of William T. Dean and Annie Dean, of Halifax, Yorkshire, England.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jorg Heilbig, Simon Kularatne, Elizabeth Hampton, Amanda Sykes, 4 MREU, Library and Archives Canada, 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', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Aircrew Remembered own Archives.
Above: Unidentified photo sent in by Elizabeth Hampton, thought to show Arthur Hilton during training.