29/30.12.1943 No. 429 Squadron Halifax II JD318 AL-F P/O. A.L. Merkley
Operation: Berlin, Germany
Date: 29/30th December 1943
Unit: 429 Squadron
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire
Location: Albergen, Overijssel, 7km ENE of Almelo, Holland
Pilot: P/O. A. L. Merkley RCAF Age ? PoW No: 5989 Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Barrie Stanley Ranson 1850117 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: F/O. R. O. Marrion RCAF Age ? PoW No: 3266 Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Air/Bmr: F/O. Charles Willcox Peasland J/23633 RCAF Age 22. Killed
W/Op: Fl/Sgt. Edward Norman Parker 1129440 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Richard James Hartland Walsh R/225386 RCAF Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Gordon Innes R/155366 RCAF Age ? Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 16.59 hrs from RAF Leeming joining 457 Lancasters, 251 other Halifaxes and 3 Mosquitos - 712 aircraft in all. 20 aircraft - 11 Lancasters and 9 Halifaxes - were lost, representing 2.8% of the force.
Above L-R: P/O. Merkley, Sgt. Ranson, F/O. Peasland, Fl/Sgt. Parker, Sgt. Walsh, Fl/Sgt. Innes
A long approach route from the south, passing south of the Ruhr and within 20 miles of Leipzig, together with Mosquito diversions at Düsseldorf, Leipzig and Magdeburg, caused the German controllers great difficulty, leaving Berlin defended by few fighters. Bad weather on the outward route also hindered German fighters finding the bomber stream.
Berlin was cloud-covered. The Bomber Command report claiming a concentrated attack on sky-markers is not confirmed by the local report. The heaviest bombing was in the south and south-eastern districts, but many bombs also fell to the east of the city. 388 houses and other mixed properties were destroyed. 182 people were killed, more than 600 injured and over 10,000 bombed out.
JD318 was hit at 19,000ft in the vicinity of Hengelo by a night-fighter that approached from astern and slightly below. There was a fierce exchange of fire which left the Halifax very difficult to control, and the order was given to bale out. It crashed 7 km ENE of Almelo at Albergen, Overijssel, Holland. We are unable to identify the Luftwaffe night-fighter who engaged JD318.
Sgt. Barrie Stanley Ranson. Tubbergen Roman Catholic Cemetery, Albergen, Overijssel, the Netherlands, Grave 6. Son of Stanley Harold and Winifred Annie Ranson of Hove, Sussex, England.
F/O. Charles Willcox Peasland. Tubbergen Roman Catholic Cemetery, Albergen, Overijssel, the Netherlands, Grave 5. Son of Albert George Peasland and of Williamina Peasland of Ballater, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Fl/Sgt. Edward Norman Parker. Tubbergen Roman Catholic Cemetery, Albergen, Overijssel, the Netherlands, Grave 4. Son of Harold and Majorie Victoria Parker of Rodley, Yorkshire, England.
Sgt. Richard James Hartland Walsh. Tubbergen Roman Catholic Cemetery, Albergen, Overijssel, the Netherlands, Grave 3. Son of Mrs. B. Walsh of Newcastle-On-Tyne, England. Formerly of Montreal, Canada.
Fl/Sgt. Arthur Gordon Innes. Tubbergen Roman Catholic Cemetery, Albergen, Overijssel, the Netherlands, Grave 7. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
The churchyard in Albergen stands 50m south of the church. The graves are to be found on the western side of the cemetery, near the boundary hedge. In total there are 7 Allied airmen buried here, 4 from Britain and 3 from Canada. The two graves of airmen not from this aircraft are those of 2 British Air Gunners from 57 Squadron who fell in May 1943.
Researched by Jeremy Nicholson. With thanks to the following 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.