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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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12 squadron badge
31/01.09.1943 No 12 Squadron Lancaster III DV185 PH-D Sgt. Machin

Operation: Berlin

Date: 31st August-1st September 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 12 Squadron 1 Group (motto: 'Leads the Field')

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: DV185

Code: PH-D

Base: RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire

Location: Töppel, North West Zerbst

Pilot : Sgt. Harry Machin 1166970 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Peter Holloway 1714832 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Frank Lennard 1323750 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Edward Vivian Potter 42106 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Albert Purcell 1475172 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edwin Fuller Harris 1582089 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Glynn Jones 1500880 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

This crew were all posted from 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit to 12 Squadron on the 15th August 1943.

Took off at 20:15 hrs from Wickenby to attack the heart of Germany - Berlin. 622 aircraft took part made up from 331 Lancasters, 176 Halifaxes, 106 Stirlings and 9 Mosquitoes.

Due to the use for the first time of fighter flares dropped by German aircraft to mark the route of the bombers the German night-fighters made many attacks on the bomb run. This resulted in huge losses to the allies with 47 aircraft lost - 10 Lancasters, 17 Sterlings and 20 Halifaxes.

The raid was hampered by cloud and the very heavy defences around the German capital and the raid was considered as not very successful - 85 homes were destroyed, and only 1 industrial building was damaged. 66 civilians were killed and 2 German soldiers with another 109 injured - nearly 3,000 people were made homeless which resulted in Goebels ordering the evacuation of Berlin of all children and adults not engaged in war work to country areas.

The loss of allied crews on this raid amounted to: 237 Aircrew killed, 102 made PoW with 3 others evading capture.

Lancaster DV185 loss card (courtesy James Machin)


RAF Wickenby memorial

Burial details:

Initially buried at the Russian Cemetery in Zerbst - reinterred after the end of the war.

Sgt. Harry Machin. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 5.C.28. Son of Edward and Gertrude Machin and husband of Marion Machin.

Sgt. Peter Holloway. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 5.C.29. Son of James and Katherine Jane Holloway, of Chislehurst, Kent, England. Grave inscription reads: "None But The Lonely Heart Can Know Our Sadness. Mum And Tom".

Sgt. Frank Lennard. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 5.C.24. Son of Frank and Emily May Naomi Lennard, of Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, England. Grave inscription reads: "Till We Meet Again".

Fl/Sgt. Edward Vivian Potter. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 5.C.27. Born on the 04th December 1919 at Otorohanga, the son of William Albert and Annie Potter (née Morrissey), of Matamata, Auckland, New Zealand. A farm hand prior to service. Thought to have 142 flying hours logged and completed 4 operational sorties.

Sgt. George Albert Purcell. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 5.C.26. Son of George A. Purcell and Mabel Purcell, of Plumstead, London, England. Grave inscription reads: "Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That He Lay Down His Life For His Friends".

Sgt. Edwin Fuller Harris. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 5.C.23. Son of Guy and Kate Harris, of Edgbaston, Birmingham, England. Grave inscription reads: "Jesus Said, "Lo, I Am With You Alway, Even Unto The End Of The World".

Sgt. John Glynn Jones. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 5.C.25. Son of William and Margaret Ellen Jones and husband of Elion Jones, of Deiniolen, Caernarvonshire, Wales. Grave inscription reads: "Time Passes And Fades Away But Memories Of You Will Always Stay".

Researched for James Machin - relative of Sgt. Harry Machin.

KTY Updated 12.06.2019

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, 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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), 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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