01/02.01.1944 No. 630 Squadron Lancaster III JB532 LE-K Fl/Lt. Douglas A. Macdonald
Date: 01/02nd January 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 630 Squadron (5 Group)
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire
Location: Großbeuthen, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Douglas Allister Macdonald DFC J/14691 RCAF Age 20. Killed
Pilot 2: W/Cdr. Kenneth Frederick Vare AFC 40273 RAF Age 30. Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert Francis Smale MiD 646926 RAF Age 21. Killed
Nav: F/O. Niels Erik Westergaard DFC 133578 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. John Mowbray Turnbull 1044419 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Richard Tyrie DFM 1385473 RAFVR Age 21. Killed (2)
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Jenkins 978344 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Joseph Roche AUS/426161 RAAF Age 29. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 23:55 hrs from RAF East Kirkby in Lincolnshire. 471 Lancasters taking part in this operation, one of four attacks on the capital within 10 days. The Luftwaffe night fighters intercepted the bomber stream very early, despite a diversionary raid made on Hamburg by 15 Mosquitoes.
About 10 of the 28 Lancaster losses were made early en-route to the target. 2 were victims over Berlin, two were claimed by Berlin flak units, with the remainder on return from the target.
Bombing was scattered in the southern parts of the city with only 21 houses and 1 industrial building destroyed.
Lancaster JB532 is thought to have been a victim of the fierce flak units, no nightfighter claims were identified for this aircraft which crashed at Großbeuthen, Germany at about 12:30 hrs. It is known that one engine was actually shot off and fell away from the aircraft - the Lancaster did not catch fire but dived steeply north west of the village - all the crew were inside the aircraft when it impacted. Two of the bodies were recovered from the fuselage, the remainder scattered around the wreckage.
(1) P/O. Kenneth Frederick Vare: On Friday, 25th November 1938 whilst with 52 Squadron flying a Fairey Battle I K7603 took off from RAF Upwood on a high level bombing practice. On return to the airfield the aircraft’s engine caught fire, with no chance of making the airfield, the pilot was forced to land the aircraft as fast as possible. He did just that, landing on a railway line near Ramsay - he escaped injury but the aircraft burnt out. At the time of his death he had 1735 hrs logged and this was thought to be his 26th operation - most of these whilst with 108 Squadron in the Middle East.
(2) Sgt. Tyrie DFM Citation 10th December 1943: ”Sergeant Tyrie has taken part in many operational sorties against important German targets. An outstanding Wireless Operator, he has consistently displayed coolness and courage of a high degree. In October 1943, the aircraft in which he was flying was completely lost over enemy territory with no instruments available but, with great skill and initiative, this airman succeeded in guiding the bomber safely back to base." (whilst with 619 Squadron)
Crew initially buried at Großbeuthen on the 4th January by the local German Police but without religious service. The communal grave had been marked with a cross and had been kept in good order by local Germans with flowers placed at the grave from time to time - following the great work from the MRE Unit on the 16th April 1947 the original graves were examined and crew identified, made easier as they had not suffered burns, uniforms with various identifiable chevron’s, badges, ID Discs and even names sown in - reinterred after war end.
Fl/Lt. Douglas Allister Macdonald DFC. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.J.20. Son of William and Cassie Macdonald, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “Douglas Rest Thy Warfare O’er. Sleep The Sleep That Knows Not Breaking. Mom And Dad.”
W/Cdr. Kenneth Frederick Vare AFC. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.J.27. Son of Frederick William and Amelia Hammell Vare, of Island Bay, Wellington, New Zealand.
Sgt. Robert Francis Smale MiD. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.J.22. Son of Thomas Alfred and Ethel Beatrice Smale, of Henfield, Sussex, England. Husband of Joyce Phyllis Smale. Grave inscription reads: “Ye Have Seen How I Bare You On Eagles Wings And Brought You Unto Myself. Exodus XIX 4.”
F/O. Niels Erik Westergaard DFC. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.J.24. Son of Otto Ludvig Blædel Westergaard and Inger Westergaard, of Earls Court, London. After German occupation on the 09th April he left with his parents from his home in Denmark and joined the RAF.
Fl/Sgt. John Mowbray Turnbull. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.J.26. Son of John George and Edith Turnbull, of Sunderland, Co. Durham, England. Grave inscription reads: “To Live In Hearts They Leave Behind Is Not To Die. Mam And Dad.”
Sgt. William Richard Tyrie DFM. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.J.25. Son of William and Sarah Tyrie, of Wandsworth, London, England. Grave inscription reads: “Not Just To-Day But Every Day I Remember You Dear Son.”
Fl/Sgt. William Jenkins. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.J.23. No further details - are you able to assist?
Fl/Sgt. William Joseph Roche. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 8.J.21. Born on the 06th June 1914 in Myrtleford, Victoria, the son of Patrick Henry and Mary Margaret Roche, of Whorouly East, Victoria, Australia.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. Thanks to Uwe Jenrich at Find-A-Grave for grave photographs and Linda Ibrom for her research. The New Zealand Auckland Cenotaph. Also thanks to sources as quoted.