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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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106 Squadron Crest
03/04.09.1943 No 106 Squadron Lancaster III JA893 ZN-C Sq/Ldr. David W.S. Howroyd

Operation: Berlin

Date: 3/4th September 1943

Unit: No. 106 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JA893

Code: ZN-C

Base: RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire

Location: North Sea - exact location not known

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. David William Southam Howroyd 40115 RAF Age 25. Survived (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. A.J. Sargent RAF Age ?. Survived

Nav: Sgt. Thomas Herbert Davies 159934 RAFVR Age 34. Survived (1)

Air/Bmr: F/O. Thomas William Allan Saxby 137545 RAFVR Age 26. Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Stanley Knox Chappell 976906 RAFVR Age ? Survived (1)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Glendinning Kelly 1559792 RAFVR Age ? Survived (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leslie John Andrew McKenzie 526812 RAF Age 27. Injured (Critically) (1)


Took off from Syerston, Nottinghamshire at 19.50 hrs. to attack Berlin. A total of 316 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitoes took part with the the Mosquitoes used to drop spoof flares well away from the bombers route to attract Luftwaffe night fighters. The raid was costly, 22 Lancasters lost and the bombs fell mostly short of the target area. The bombers that did reach the target fell mainly in the residential areas of Charlottenburg and Moabit. Several factories however were hit and suffered serious loss of production. 

On the ground 422 people were listed as killed, 225 civilians, 24 servicemen, 18 men and 2 women from the air-raid services, 123 foreign workers made up from 92 women and 31 men. A further 170 civilians were classed as ‘missing’. Records show that another soldier and 7 ‘criminal’ assistants were also killed when the delayed action bombs they were working on exploded.

133 Aircrew were killed and many others injured, made PoW or interred in Sweden.


Above and below pictures of the rescue of crew from JA893 (courtesy William Haider) 


2 Lancasters were lost from 106 Squadron on this raid, the other:

ED385 Flown by 26 year old F/O. Leslie Walter Roper AUS/409597 RAAF from Bentleigh, Victoria, Australia. Killed with all 7 crew.

JA893 was attacked and seriously damaged by a Luftwaffe night fighter and forced to ditch in the North Sea. Fl/Sgt. Thomas Saxby was killed during the attack and Sgt. Leslie McKenzie wounded, but died before Rescue Launch No. 550 arrived to take them to safety.

(1) After only another 5 weeks almost the same crew took off from the same airfield at 22.51 hrs to attack Hannover. This time with Lancaster III DV272 ZN-F. All apart from the Air Bomber F/O. L.D. Cromb RCAF were killed. F/O. Cromb was made PoW and imprisoned in Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria. PoW No. 3219. Sgt. A.J. Sargent was not on this flight and had been replaced by F/O. Alan James Horobin RAFVR 127862 Age 21. (2)


Above left: Hannover War Cemetery and right Cambridge City Cemetery (courtesy CWGC)

Burial details: (1)

S/Ldr. David William Southam Howroyd. Hannover War Cemetery. Grave: 3.D.3. Son of Bernard William and Marjorie Helen Howroyd, husband of Barbara Arm Lester Howroyd, of Kelvedon, Essex, England.

Sgt. Thomas Herbert Davies. Hannover War Cemetery. Grave: 3.D.4. Son of Herbert L. and Martha A. Davies, of St. David's, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

F/O. Thomas William Allan Saxby. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 129. Son of Alfred William and Catherine Elizebeth Saxby, of Hove, Sussex, England.

Sgt. Douglas Stanley Knox Chappell. Hannover War Cemetery. Grave: 3.D.6. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Fl/Sgt. Ronald Glendinning Kelly. Hannover War Cemetery. Grave: 3.D.1. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Sgt. Leslie John Andrew McKenzie. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 13540. Son of John Francis McKenzie and of Mary Jane McKenzie, of Hendon, Middlesex, England.

(2) F/O. Alan James Horobin. Hannover War Cemetery. Grave: 3.D.2. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

The full story regarding this loss can be found in the publication Air Sea Rescue in WW2 by Alan Rowe and Andy Andrews. With thanks to Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries’ (Updated 2014 version) With additional details from Aircrew Remembered own archives. Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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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