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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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76 Squadron Crest
22/23.10.1943 76 Squadron Halifax V LK664 MP-U Lt. Leif W. Hulthin

Operation: Kassel

Date: 22/23rd October 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 76 Squadron 

Type: Halifax V

Serial: LK664 


Code: MP-U                                                                                                                                                                   


Base: RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor, Yorkshire

Location: 1 km south of Bühne, Germany

Pilot: Lt. Leif Woodrow Hulthin N349 RNAF Age 25. Killed. (1)

2nd Pilot: W/O. Ian Harold Blackburn 655425 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Raymond John Kellitt Machan 1604641 RAFVR Age 20. Killed 

Nav: P/O. Cyril Marshall Murfitt 157628 RAFVR Age ? Killed  

Air/Bmr: P/O. Alfred Vernon Cecil Barden 157645  RAFVR Age 18. Killed (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick Southern 1127777 RAFVR Age ? Killed (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leonard Thomas Brawn 1380936 RAFVR Age 21. Killed (1, 2)

Air/Gnr: P/O. Lawrence James Pringle AUS/409592 RAAF Age 20. Killed  

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off from RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor at 1731 hours to attack Kassel. A total of 569 aircraft took part - 322 Lancasters, 247 Halifaxes. 

The initial 'blind' H2S marking overshot the target but 8 out of the 9 'visual' markers correctly identified the centre of Kassel and placed their markers accurately. Although German decoy markers may have drawn off part of the bomber force, the main raid was exceptionally accurate and concentrated. The result was the most devastating attack on a German city since the firestorm raid on Hamburg in July and the results at Kassel would not be exceeded again until well into 1944. 

The fires were so concentrated that there was a firestorm, although not as extensive as the Hamburg one. Nearly 10,000 people are known to have been killed on the ground during this raid with a further 3,000 unaccounted for. Over 11,000 people were also injured.. The most useful part of this raid was the damage to the three Heinkel factories as these were at the time making the V1 flitting bombs. Also the railway system and its installations were severely hit.  A total of 43 allied aircraft were lost with the majority of losses attributed to the Luftwaffe Night-Fighters.

Nothing was heard from Halifax LK664 after take off and the aircraft is believed to have been shot down by Ace: Major Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein of Stab II.NJG3 with combat taking place Immenhausen near Hofgeismar  6.100m. Time of attack: 21.10 hrs The Halifax crashed 1 km south of Bühne. LK664 was the only Halifax lost from 76 Squadron. All the crew were killed and they are buried in the Hanover War Cemetery, Locality Hanover, Niedersachsen,Germany. 

(1) Lt Hulthin, P/O. Barden, Sgt. Southern and Sgt. Brawn escaped injury when Halifax V DK175 MP-T crashed on the 13/14th July 1943 on an operation to Aachen. All the crew scrambled clear of the aircraft which burst into flames. 
(2) Sgt. Brawn was the brother of Flt/Sgt Henry Brawn who was with 51 Squadron. He was killed on 11 August 1944 whilst on operations to Somain, Halifax LW588 MH-O. Sgt Brawn received a foot injury when the Halifax V DK174 MP-W was hit by flak over Köln on 3/4th July 1943. The aircraft crash landed on Hartford Bridge Airfield in Hampshire - all the crew escaped. 

76 Squadron crews preparing to board their transport to Kassel (76 Squadron memorial wall corridor HOSM)

76 Squadron Halifax V waved off to Kassel              


Emmanuel Church, Shelley, Wesy Yorkshire: Stained glass window dedicated to Pilot Officer Alfred Vernon Cecil Barden aged 18. Place mouse over image

It was given by his mother and four sisters (courtesy of Stephen Hughes)


Hanover War Cemetery (courtesy Rob Philips)

Left: Grave Lt. Hulthin (courtesy Rob Philips) Place mouse over image.

Burial Details:

Lt. Leif Woodrow Hulthin. Hanover War Cemetery Grave 11.F.14. Born 23rd July 1918, Norway. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

W/O. Ian Harold Blackburn. Hanover War Cemetery Grave 11.H.9. Son of Harold William and Mabel Blackburn, of Westminster, London, England.

Sgt. Raymond John Kellitt Machan. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11.H 10. Son of John William and Bathilda Helen Machan, of Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa.

P/O. Cyril Marshall Murfitt. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11.F.13. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

P/O. Alfred Vernon Cecil Barden. Hanover War Cemetery Grave 11.F.12. Son of Cecil Eli and Minnie Barden, of Shelley, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Frederick Southern. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11.H.11. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Sgt. Leonard Thomas Brawn. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11.H.12. Son of Alfred Charles and Emily Brawn, of Walthamstow, Essex, England. His brother Henry also died on service. 

P/O. Lawrence James Pringle. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 11.F.11. Son of Leslie James Pringle and Zoe Roberta Pringle, of Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia. 

Right: P/O Lawrence James Pringle (courtesy National Archives of Australia)

Researched by Mike Harrison for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to relatives of this crew. For further details our thanks to the following, Rob Philips, Stephen Hughes. Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and  2', 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), 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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