24/25.03.1944 433 Squadron Halifax III LV841 BM-H Plt.Off. Lossing
Date: 24/25th March 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: 433 (Porcupine) Squadron, RCAF
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Skipton-On-Swale, Yorkshire.
Location: Sandersleben 18 km. south west of Bernburg
Pilot: P/O. Howard Walter Lossing J/89246 RCAF Age 24. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Oscar William Sporne 1851084 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Nav: F/O. Donald Alfred Robinson J/22748 RCAF Age 29. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Glen Allen Dancey R/140423 RCAF Age 26. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Leslie Gerald Davey R/177945 RCAF Age 22. Killed (1)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ernest Osborne 2204231 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Edward Simons 1609292 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Relatives of the crew that we are in contact with (see end of page) have been searching other relatives for several years now and really would appreciate any relative getting in touch - send us a message and we will pass it on.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Although the period known as the Battle of Berlin had ended by the end of January, Bomber Command staged one last major raid against the city on the night of 24/25 March, 1944.
Crew photo submitted by Lise Vau - L-R. front: Fl/Sgt. Glen Allen Dancey, P/O. Howard Walter Lossing, F/O. Donald Alfred Robinson L-R. rear: ? Sgt. Ernest Osborne ? ? - Are you able to positively identify the others?
Of the 811 aircraft that took part in the sortie, 72 failed to return. Very high winds from the north blew the bombers off course that night which afterwards became known as ‘the night of the strong winds’. The lack of an accurate forcast and subsequent notification to the crews resulted in the scattering of the bomber stream to the south west of the target. Towns and villages well outside the city boundaries were hit as the markers drifted in the strong wind which accounted for 30 civilian deaths. In the south west suburbs of Berlin many houses were destroyed and 150 people killed. Some industrial premises were damaged as well as five military targets the most important being a depot of the Waffen SS.
Above: as described
After taking off at 18:41 hours, it is believed that Captain Lossing’s aircraft was "probably" shot down by Oblt. Heinz Rokker of 2 /NJG2 his 19th abschüsse at a height of 5,500 meters. The Halifax came down at Sandersleben 18 km south west of Bernburg at 23.20 hours.
Shown left: Oblt. Heinz Rokker
Robinson, Dancey, Davey and Osborne had each completed six operational sorties while Lossing and Simons had completed eight and Sporne seven when lost.
Also shot down on the same operation/squadron was Halifax III HX284 BM-B Flown by P/O.William F. Russell RCAF killed with 2 other crew members, 4 being taken PoW.
(1) Davey Bay in Magill Lake, Manitoba was named after Fl/Sgt. Davey in 1995
Crew graves at the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery (courtesy Lise Viau - shown on insert next to her relatives grave.)
The crew were initially buried in communal grave in Freckleben Cemetery Kreis Bernburg on the 25th March 1944.
(Left: Initial grave marker, Courtesy John Jones) Plt.Off. Howard Walter Lossing. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery Grave 13.D.1. Further details: Son of Elgin A. Lossing and Grace Irene (nee Hemmingway), of Norwich, Ontario, Canada.
Plt.Off. Lossing is affectionately claimed by Burford district residents as one of their soldier sons, because, from September 1940 until the following April, he taught school at the New Durham White School, leaving to enlist in Canada’s Army. In January 1942, he transferred to the RCAF, and trained at Lachine, Windsor Mills, Quebec and Centralia, Ontario, where he received his wings as a pilot in March 1943 going overseas directly after a leave at home. He had completed eight operational trips over enemy territory when he was reported missing after the night of March 24, 1944. His plane left base on a raid over Berlin. Born in Norwich January 10, 1920, Howard attended the Public and High schools there and then graduated from the Normal School at London. He was a member of the Norwich United Church and tenor soloist in the choir. He not only had a natural talent for singing, but diligently studied music hoping some day to teach it in the schools.
Album of Honour for Brant County World War II 1939 – 1945. Published in 1946 by The Brantford Kinsmen Club, Ontario, Canada and kindly reproduced with their permission.
Sgt. Oscar William Sporne. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery Coll. Grave 13.D.3-7. Son of William Henry Walter and Emma Sporne, (nee Courts) of Cosham, Hampshire, England.
F/O. Donald Alfred Robinson. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery Coll. Grave 13.D.3-7. Further details: Son of Alfred Ernest and Mary Rachael (nee Legault) Robinson of Chapleau, Ontario and husband of Ethel May (nee Clifton) Robinson of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. F/O. Robinson enlisted in 1943 gaining his navigators wings from No. 9 Air Observers School, St.Jean, Quebec. Posted overseas in February, 1944, he was lost just eight weeks later after completing six operations over enemy territory. Born and educated in the small town of Chapleau in north eastern Ontario before moving to Toronto where he lived with his wife and two young daughters.
Fl/Sgt. Glen Allen Dancey. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery Coll. Grave 13.D.3-7. Son of William Hedley Dancey and Mabel Dancey, of Blackie, Alberta, Canada; husband of Gladys Lilian Dancey, of Huxley, Alberta, Canada.
Fl/Sgt. Leslie Gerald Davey. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery Grave 13.D.2. Son of Mr. and Mrs. F.L. Davey of Westbourne, Manitoba, Canada.
Sgt. Ernest Osborne. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery Coll. Grave 13.D.3-7. Son of Ernest and Elsie Elizabeth Osborne, of Wallasey, Cheshire, England.
Sgt. Frank Edward Simons. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery Coll. Grave 13.D.3-7. No further information available as yet.
Researched by Colin Bamford and dedicated to Brian Eves, nephew of Sgt. Osborne, also for Lise Viau niece of F/O. Donald Alfred Robinson and all the relatives of the crew of Halifax LV841. With thanks to Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - "Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2", Tom Kracker for his data base 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives', Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 5", Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - "Bomber Command War Diaries", Commonwealth Graves Commission, Les Allison and Harry Hayward - "They Shall Grow Not Old". The Brantford Kinsmen Club, Ontario, Canada. Other sources as quoted.