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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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434 Squadron Crest
28/29.01.1944 No 434 Squadron Halifax V LK740 WL-V Sq/Ldr. Linnell

Operation: Berlin Germany

Date: 28/29th January 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 434 Squadron (Bluenose)

Type: Halifax V

Serial: LK740

Code: WL-V

Base: RAF Croft, Yorkshire

Location: 1km south of Märkisch Linden near Berlin Germany

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Lloyd Martin Linnell J/2934 RCAF Age 26. Killed

Fl/Eng: P/O. Francis John Elms C/19960 RCAF Age 21. Killed (1)

Nav: P/O. Albert Kencil Heaton J/19464 RCAF Age 26. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Albert William Hornby J/19466 RCAF Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Sydney William Herbert Taylor 168850 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Mu/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Philip Francis Wicks R/180285 RCAF Age 20. Killed (2)

R/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Oswald Drury Culverwell DFM. 962422 RAFVR Age 23. Killed (3)

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 23:57 hrs from RAF Croft to bomb Berlin. 677 aircraft taking part with cloud cover over Berlin, broken. Described as the most concentrated bombing attack of this period by Bomber Command. German reports reveal the true picture, in that although western and and southern areas of the city were hit, so were 77 other areas outside!

180,000 inhabitants were bombed out of their homes, many industrial premises did receive hits but also 6 hospitals, the French Cathedral, 4 theatres, 5 embassies and various other public buildings destroyed. Casualties on the ground were not recorded but are described to have been 'considerable.'

The allies lost a huge number of aircraft during this operation. Some 53 with crews failed to return this night.

434 Squadron also lost 4 other aircraft, with 22 crew killed, 8 made PoW and 7 crew baling out over England on its return after engine failure:

Halifax V EB256 WL-S - Flown by P/O. Flewelling RCAF - Crew baling out after engine failure over Filey, Yorkshire, 1 crew member found dead, remainder all OK.
Halifax V LK649 WL-X - Flown Fl/Sgt. Stanley RCAF - All 7 crew killed after being hit by flak.
Halifax V LK916 WL-D - Flown by P/O. Devaney RCAF - All 7 crew missing, lost without trace.
Halifax V LL134 WL-U - Flown by Sq/Ldr. Hockey RCAF - All 8 crew made PoW.

Believed to have been shot down by Flak.

(1) Elms Lake on a peninsular in Nueltin Lake was named after P/O. Francis Elms in 1975.

(2) Wicks Island in Red Sucker Lake was named after Sgt. Philip Wicks in 1995.


(3) Sgt. Oswald Drury Culverwell DFM won having served a full tour with 10 Squadron - 09th February 1943.


Burial details:

Crew initially buried at Linden 0n the 03rd February 1944, but reinterred after the end of the war.

Sq/Ldr. Lloyd Martin Linnell. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 9.H.15. Born on the 27th November 1917 the son of Harold Martin Linnell and Christina Josephine Linnell and husband of Marianne Elizabeth Linnell, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “Omnia Reliquit Ut Patriam Servaret”. (Translation: he dropped everything to serve his country)

P/O. Francis John Elms. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.16-21. Born on the 02nd October 1922 the son of Frank H. Elms and Elizabeth F. Elms, of 370 Queen Street, St. James, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

P/O. Albert Kencil Heaton. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.16-21. Born on the 27th May 1917. Understood to be from Windsor, Essex County, Ontario, Canada.

P/O. Albert William Hornby. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.16-21. Born on the 25th November 1918. Understood to be from Timmins, Ontario, Canada.

P/O. Sydney William Herbert Taylor. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.16-21. Son of Montague Rosslyn Taylor and Bessie Taylor. Grave inscription reads: “They Were Staunch To The End Against Odds Uncounted”.

Sgt. Philip Francis Wicks. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.16-21. Born on the 14th December 1922 the son of Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Wicks of 403 Wardlaw Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Sgt. Oswald Drury Culverwell DFM. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 9.H.16-21. Son of Walter and Adelina Mary Culverwell, of Ealing, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: “Tell England Who Pass This Monument We Died For Her And Here Rest Content”.

Researched for Aircrew Remembered by Michel Beckers - June 2017. With thanks to the following for their contributions: Pete Webber, Uwe, other photographs from the Michel Beckers collection. Information on Lakes our thanks to the Geographical Names Board of Canada.

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: 09 June 2017, 21:11

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