22/23.11.1943 No. 78 Squadron Halifax II LW319 EY-U Fl/Lt. Roy F. Martin
Date: 22/23rd November 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 78 Squadron
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Breighton, Yorkshire
Location: Beeston Park, Norfolk
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Roy Frank Martin 156635 RAFVR Age 24. Injured
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Stanley George Bird 547208 RAF Age 23. Killed
Nav: P/O. Frank Edward Gordon Salmon 159430 RAFVR Age 31. Injured
Air/Bmr: F/O. Ronald Arthur Blackwell 134678 RAFVR Age ? Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. A. Parlour RAFVR Injured
Air/Gnr: Sgt. J. Taylor RAFVR Injured
Air/Gnr: Sgt. J. Thompson RAAF Injured
The webmaster placed this page after visiting Cromer Cemetery in Norfolk, finding a single, poorly attended RAF war grave wanted to find out more….
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 16.33 hrs to bomb the heart of Germany, Berlin - again. 764 aircraft , the largest force of the war so far sent - made up from 469 Lancasters, 234 Halifaxes. 50 Stirlings (the last time Stirlings sent to Germany) and 11 Mosquitoes.
The flak defences were again very effective accounting for 17 bombers over Berlin, a further 7 over the Hannover area. Night fighters claimed 4, although lack of positive identification, none can be identified.
Although the city was covered in cloud and returning bomber crews estimated that the bombing had been accurate due to accurate markers placed, it is now known that this was probably the most effective operation on Berlin of the war.
Reports from the city state that during this night’s bombing, 3,000 houses were destroyed with another 23 industrial premises. Several thousand other building damaged. 2,000 people were thought to have been killed, including 500 in a large shelter which received a direct hit. Another 150 in another shelter. Due to the weather several ‘firestorms’ were reported and the Luftwaffe measured the smoke at 6,000 metres.
Halifax LW319 was hit by the fierce anti aircraft fire over the target but the crew managed to nurse the aircraft back home. After crossing the coast of East Anglia they decided to attempt a landing at RAF Coltishall, but finally after some nearly 7 hours flying the pilot lost control and LW319 crashed at Beeston Park near Norwich. Two of the aircrew were killed, the pilot, Fl/Lt. Roy Martin and the air bomber, P/O. Salmon died of their injuries within 24 hours at the hospital in Norwich. The remaining 3 crew miraculously survived.
The AOC of Bomber Command, Arthur Harris predicted ‘It will cost us between 400 - 500 aircraft, but it will cost Germany the war’. The RAF lost over 490 heavy bombers on Berlin operations with over 2,500 aircrew killed, still the war dragged on.
Arguably, it did prevent German resources to be utilised elsewhere. The civilian population suffered terrible losses with a reported 10,000 killed with a similar number of injuries. Nearly 500,000 were made homeless.
Other sources state that the German Government compensated the people for bomb damage to such an extent that the bombing had an adverse effect on the civilian population! Similar to the patriotic feelings back home, during the blitz!
Left and above and below: The solitary grave of Sgt. Stanley Bird at Cromer, as visited by Aircrew Remembered in February 2015 - which prompted this page. Any relative who would like a high resolution copy are invited to contact us.
Fl/Lt. Roy Frank Martin. City of London Cemetery. Square 225. Grave 111233. Son of Edgar Frank and Eveleen Lenetta Martin, of East Ham, husband of Audrey Joyce Martin, of Hockliffe, Bedfordshire, England.
Sgt. Stanley George Bird. Cromer No; 2 Burial Ground. Son of John Henry and Ethel Edith Bird, husband of Sylvia Marie Bird, of Aigburth, Liverpool, England.
P/O. Frank Edward Gordon Salmon. Enfield (Lavender Hill) Cemetery. Sec. C. Cons. Grave 6421. Son of Samuel and Elsie Mary Salmon, husband of Doris Elsie Salmon, of Enfield, Middlesex, England.
F/O. Ronald Arthur Blackwell. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 22.C.5. Next of kin details not available as yet - are you able to assist?
For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission.