27/28.01.1944 9 Squadron Lancaster I LL745 WS:M Flt Lt. Stanley James
Date: 27th/28th January 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: 9 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Bardney, Lincolnshire
Location: Forest of Sulzthal (Bavaria)
Pilot: Flt Lt. Stanley James 128908 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Flt Eng: Sgt. Georg Robert Tomlinson 172564 RAF Age 21. Killed
Nav: Flt Sgt. Austin William Archer 1029029 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Andrew Howie 1552456 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 1063, Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug
WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Ronald Ernest Burke, 1313837 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Michael Woore Chivers 1600002 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 977, Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug
Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Harry Croxson 1332776 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 1016, Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug
Update November 2018: Mr. Mike Rutter contacted us - if you could contact us again Mike as the email address is not working?
We would like to appeal for photographs of this crew and any further information. We hold photographs of several smaller pieces recovered from the aircraft crash site which, we are not showing, but willing to send to relatives. The reason we do not want to place on the website is to avoid 'souvenir hunters' going to the area.
In August 2014 we have been contacted by a relative of the pilot, Flt Lt. Stanley James.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 17:15 hrs. RAF Bardney, Lincolnshire, to join a total of 515 Lancasters and 15 Mosquitoes on the first night of 3 continuous night bombing on the German capital, Berlin.
Lancaster WS:M LL745 as drawn by Holger Wörner
The city was covered in cloud and sky matching had to be used. No assessment of the raid was possible by Bomber Command except that the bombing was widely spread. Local reports confirmed that some 61 small towns and villages outside the city were hit with 18 people on the ground being killed.
Left: Pilot, Flt Lt. Stanley James (courtesy Elizabeth Cawthorn) Right: Artist impression of Flt Lt. James in the pilot seat (courtesy Holger Wörner)
In the city itself a further 567 people were killed including 132 foreign workers. 20,000 people were bombed out of their homes.
No claims have been identified by the Luftwaffe nightfighter diaries but it is known (from a survivor Hal Croxon) that the Lancaster was hit underneath:
'We were hit over Berlin by a fighter using “Schräge Musik” and flying under us; and we flew on hoping to get home but it was not to be, we eventually crashed at Sulzthal.'
The crash time was about 22:00 hrs. 3 crew members bailed out. The other four died in the air plane when it crashed in the forest (shown above)
and burned out. The pilot, it seems, tried to make an emergency landing.
Trimburg Castle, close to where the air gunner Flt Sgt. Hal Croxson landed. as drawn by Holger Wörner
Those killed were initially buried at Sulzthal prior to moving them to Durnbach at the end of hostilities.
Flt Lt. Stanley James. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll grave 6.C.26-28. Son of Francis Percival and Hilda James. Of Harrow, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. Georg Robert Tomlinson. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll grave 6.C.26-28. Son of Albert George and Selina Tomlinson, of Clitheroe, Lancashire, England.
Flt Sgt. Austin William Archer. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll grave 6.C.25. Born 23rd November 1911 in Hexam, Northumberland. Husband to Charlotte Elizabeth Archer of Gill County, Durham, England.
Flt Sgt. Ronald Ernest Burke. Durnbach War Cemetery. Coll grave 6.C.26-28. Son of Patrick and Dora Burk, of Andover, Hampshire, England.
Researched by Holger Wörner for relatives of the crew. Holger's friend lives near the crash site. With thanks to the following for further information supplied; Elizabeth Cawthorn relative of Flt Lt. James. Updates by Aircrew Remembered (Oct 2021).