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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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57 Squadron Crest
22/23.05.1944 No. 57 Squadron Lancaster III ND879 DX-H P/O. John C. Marland

Operation: Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany.

Date: 22/23rd May 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 57 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND879

Code: DX-H

Base: RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire.

Location: Osnabrück area, Germany

Pilot: F/O. John Colin Marland 170960 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Denis Charles Gallagher 1555986 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav: Sgt. William Low 965562 RAFVR Age 26. Killed 

Air/Bmr: F/O. Leonard Eric Mason J/23153 RCAF Age 35. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Thomas Nichol Norris 1316674 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Harold Roy Bailey R/196067 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Wilson 901726 RAFVR Age 27. Killed


Took off at 22.12 hrs from RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire.


Above left 2:  Pilot of ND879 F/O. John Colin Marland (courtesy David Marland) Right 2: Fl/Sgt. Harold Roy Bailey (courtesy Dale E. Wright) (click to enlarge)

Part of a 225 Lancaster and 10 Mosquitoes to attack Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany. The raid was considered a failure as although the weather forecast was for clear skies - the marker aircraft found a complete covering of cloud - there was also interference on the master bombers radio communications. 

Most of the bombing fell in the country areas around the city. 

Records show that only a few bombs fell on the city and no ground casualties. A reconnaissance aircraft flying through the target area an hour later found that the cloud had completely cleared.


Above John Marland - on right, thought to be during training and right, his handwritten notes on his operations (courtesy David Marland)

14 Lancasters were lost on this raid. 81 crew members being killed and a further 18 being made PoW.

57 Squadron lost three aircraft on this night:

Lancaster III ND878 DX-B Flown by P/O. Leslie H. Winneke, RAAF killed along with all other 6 crew members.
Lancaster III NE127 DX-J Flown by P/O. Francis N. Henley, RAFVR killed with 4 other crew members, with the other 2 being made PoW.

Lancaster III ND879 DX-H Listed as "probably" shot down by the Luftwaffe ace Obstlt. Helmut Lent (1) of Stab NJG3 at 00.40 hrs, with combat taking place at 4,500 mtrs. whilst en-route to the target.

Right: Obstlt. Helmut Lent of Stab NJG3 (courtesy Kracker archive)

(1) This was the 97th victory for Obstlt. Helmut Lent. He went on to claim 102 night fighter kills and a further 8 before on the 7th October 1944 he died after suffering injuries sustained during a crash landing. On the 5th October 1944 during a crash landing in his Ju88 G-6 at Paderborn airfield following engine failure and subsequent collision with a high tension cable. 

His crew were rescued - injured from the crash. Walter Kubisch (radio operator) and Hermann Klöss (2nd radio operator) died the same day, Werner Kark (War correspondent and Air/Gnr) died the next morning.

Original grave marker for some of the crew, Sgt J. Wilson, was buried in a separate grave (courtesy David Marland) 

Burial details:

F/O. John Colin Marland. Reichswald War Cemetery, Kleve, Germany. Coll. Grave 26.B.13-18. Son of Charles and Millicent B. Marland, of Ribbleton, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Denis Charles Gallagher. Reichswald War Cemetery, Kleve, Germany. Coll. Grave 26.B.13-18. Son of John Patrick and Jane Frances Gallagher, of Glasgow, Scotland.

Sgt. William Low. Reichswald War Cemetery, Kleve, Germany. Coll. Grave 26.B.13-18. Son of Harold and Rebecca Low, of Lytham St. Anne's, Lancashire, England.

Mason Rapids in the Caribou River, Manitoba, Canada is named after F/O. Mason

F/O. Leonard Eric Mason. Reichswald War Cemetery, Kleve, Germany. Coll. Grave 26.B.13-18. Further information: Son of John Thomas Mason and of Dorothy Elizabeth Mason (nee Wakerley) of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Leonard enlisted in the RCAF in December 1941 and was posted overseas in May 1943.

Fl/Sgt. William Thomas Nichol Norris. Reichswald War Cemetery, Kleve, Germany. Coll. Grave 26.B.13-18. Son of William and Rosline Norris, of Bordon, Hampshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Harold Roy Bailey. Reichswald War Cemetery, Kleve, Germany. Coll. Grave 26.B.13-18. Further information: Born in Thetford Mines on the 20th December 1921. The youngest son of Edgar Wilbert and Bessie Laura (nee Little) Bailey of Thetford Mines, Quebec, Canada. An elder brother, Douglas Alvin Bailey died in infancy.

Sgt. John Wilson. Reichswald War Cemetery, Kieve, Germany. Grave 26.C.1. Son of James and Mary Wilson, husband of Doris Alice Wilson, of Romford, Essex, England.

Researched for relatives of the crew. With thanks to David Marland via Steve Lister for the grave marker photo and for bringing this loss to our attention. David is a nephew of the pilot, P/O. Marland. To Dale E. Wright, relative of Fl/Sgt. Harold Roy Bailey. 

Also for further information from our Canadian researcher Colin Bamford, For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and  2', 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), 'Paradie Archive'. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Les Allison and Harry Hayward - 'They Shall Grow Not Old’.

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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