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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
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)
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.
The following is an extract from the report by Flt.Lt. I. R. MacIntyre Berlin Detachment No 4 MREU dated 22nd July 1947:
"During the week commencing 14th July 1947 I was on exhumation duties in the Russia Zone with Capt Cheetham, team commander and a Russian conducting officer. We proceeded to the village of Linde to exhume and attempt to identify the British airmen buried there". The following information regarding this crew and their aircraft was given by Frau Gaul Burgomeister’s secretary Linde. During the night 28th-29th January 1944 at about 0300 hrs a large British aircraft approached the village from the South. It circled the village in flames once and crashed 1km South of the village. The wreckage burnt on the ground for a long time and about 10 hours after crashing the bombs exploded scattering the remains of the aircraft and crew over a wide area. It was considered that the aircraft had been shot down by a night fighter. German Military officials arrived and took charge and removed all remains of the wreckage presumably to Neu Ruppin. The remains of the six airmen all badly smashed and burnt were recovered from the wreckage and all documents and effects were removed by the Wehrmacht, who gave instructions for the airmen to be buried in Linde Cemetery. As far as was known there were no survivors from the crew. Two days after the crash the airmen were buried in the village cemetery with military rites. There were no cross marking the communal grave which was tidally kept with plants growing on it.
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.
(3) Sgt. Oswald Drury Culverwell DFM won having served a full tour with 10 Squadron - 09th February 1943.
Crew initially buried at Linden on the 3rd 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 2nd 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. Thanks to John Jones for the No. 4 MREU information.
RS 02.12.2019 - Addition of 4 MREU report
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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), 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', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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