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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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619 Squadron Crest
16.12.1943 No. 619 Squadron Lancaster Mk III JA867 PG-X P/O. Loney

Operation: Berlin, Germany

Date: 16th December 1943 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 619 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JA867

Code: PG-X

Base: RAF Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire

Location: Eberswalde-Finow, Brandenburgh, Germany

Pilot: P/O. Glen Benson Loney J/18815 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. John Gray 620057 RAF Age ? Killed

Nav: F/O. Henry Andrew De Vries 134208 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Max Gennis J/22054 RCAF Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leslie Banks 1531755 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Daniel Corbitt 1591475 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Francis Dearden. 1590663. RAFVR Age ? Killed


We would like to appeal for any other relative or any further details on this loss on behalf of Mr. David Smith. Please contact us in the first instance.


REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off from RAF Woodhall Spa at 16:30hrs for a bombing raid on Berlin. Part of a large group of some 490 aircraft - 483 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitoes with a further 5 Mosquitoes who were to drop decoy flares south of Berlin. The Lancasters were met by many German fighters both over the coast of Holland and in the target area.

Berlin was covered by cloud, but most of the bombs fell in the city. Little damage was caused in the industrial area of the city. Lancaster JA867 may have been hit by flak or shot down by an enemy night fighter and crashed at Eberswalde-Finow about 50km from Berlin. A further 25 Lancasters were lost from this mission.

P/O. Glen Benson Loney (courtesy of Richard Loney) Fl/Sgt. John Gray and F/O. Max Gennis, Sgt. Corbitt (courtesy David Smith)

On returning to England further aircraft were lost having crashed or been abandoned when their crews parachuted due to extremely low cloud over their bases.

David Smith contacted us in November 2015 regarding Sgt. Daniel Corbitt:

"This the story of Danny and my aunt Dorothy, there’s nothing exceptional about it, merely a boy meets girl situation, ordinary people called upon to do extraordinary things.

Danny and Dorothy both worked at the same department store (Shepherds of Gateshead - shown left) and that’s where they met, they lived approximately a mile or two from each other Danny in Hebburn-upon-Tyne Dorothy in Jarrow-upon-Tyne, romance soon blossomed.

As we all know war with Germany commenced September 1939, at this time Dorothy was sixteen years of age and Danny was fifteen, Danny turned eighteen in the year of 1942 and they both realised that Danny would soon be called up (drafted) into the services. I do not know Danny’s date of birth, but I do know he was nineteen when he was killed on Dec. 16th 1943 as his obituary (Roll of Honour) states his age at time of death, and someone cut it out of the newspaper and my aunt saved it (copy attached).

Dorothy and Danny decided that they would both volunteer before they could be called up, in this way they could both choose which arm of the services they wished to join, and naively thought they may get to serve together. So before volunteering for the RAF they became engaged to be married, Dorothy enrolled Christmas Eve 1942 and I would assume Danny enrolled on or about the same date. He lived less than 12 months beyond this date.

Danny (as shown above) was posted to various training units eventually being posted to his operational unit at RAF Woodhall-Spa Lincolnshire, Dorothy I believe was posted to RAF Ringway just outside of Manchester.

Once Danny was operational, Dorothy (above centre) would phone him every day, on the day of December 17th 1943 she phoned him to be told that “he isn’t available”, she then knew immediately that he was missing, the words “he isn’t available” were engraved on her memory for ever." (Also shown on right, Danny with his Aunt Dorothy)

P/O. Glen Benson Loney, Fl/Sgt. John Gray, F/O. Henry Andrew De Vries, F/O. Max Genni

Sgt. Leslie Banks, Sgt. Daniel Corbitt, Sgt. Robert Francis Dearden

P/O. Loney is also remembered on a family headstone in Union Cemetery, Metcalfe, Ontario. Fl/Sgt. Gray is remembered on the Lossiemouth War Memorial

Burial details:

All the crew were initially buried in Eberswalde-Finow cemetery and after the war ended were reinterred in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery

P/O. Glen Benson Loney. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref: Coll. Grave 2. B. 8-14. Son of William Albert and Sarah Ethel Loney of Kenmore, Ontario, Canada. On the 26th Septmeber 1943 while still under training with 1660 Heavy Conversion Unit at RAF Swinderby Sgt. Loney was involved in a night training accident. Flying in Lancaster W4937 with his instructor P/O. Marcel Redmond Charles Cuelenaere the aircraft swung on landing. Sgt. Loney corrected the situation, but as he was centralising the rudders his instructor P/O. Cuelenaere's foot became jammed between the rudder pedal and the Lancaster swerved off the runway. Glen Loney was born on the 11th June 1920 in Kenmore, Carleton, Ontario and is also remembered on a private headstone in Union Cemetery, Metcalfe, Ontario

Fl/Sgt. John Gray. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref: 2. B. 7. Son of Alexander McCracken and Margaret Gray of Glasgow. Husband of Isabella Souter Gray of Lossiemouth

F/O. Henry Andrew De Vries. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref: Coll. Grave 2. B. 8-14. Henry had also served in 207 Squadron. No further information as yet

F/O. Max Gennis. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref: 2. B. 6. Son of Joseph and Fanny Gennis of Owttawa, Ontario, Canada. Max was born on the 8th May 1918 in Ontario and enlisted in June 1941. Part of Max's training was at St. Johns, Quebec. F/O. Gennis is remembered on the Scroll of Honour Jewish War Veterans of Ottawa.

Sgt. Leslie Banks. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref: 2. B. 8-14. Sgt. Banks is remembered on the St. Helens Roll of Honour. No further information as yet

Sgt. Daniel Corbitt. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref: 2. B. 3. Son of the late Patrick Campbell and Elizabeth Atherton - stepson of Henry Atherton of Hebburn-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, England. Fiancee, wave 2037855 ACW2. Dorothy Dixon of Jarrow, England.

Sgt. Robert Francis Dearden. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref: Coll. Grave 2. B. 8-14. No further information as yet

Researcher Kate Tame of Aircrew Remembered. Page dedicated to all the relatives and friends of the crew. With special thanks to David Smith for photographs and details on Sgt. Corbitt. Also to Thomas C Smith - Berlin, Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Donald Stewart - Lossiemouth Book of Remembrance, Jeff Keenan - St. Helens Roll of Honour - other sources as quoted below.

KTY 18.11.2015 Details and photographs on Sgt. Corbitt entered - courtesy David Smith. 21.01.2017 page revamped and checked for any new research material.

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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