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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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101 squadron crest
23/24.08.1943 No. 101 Squadron Lancaster I ED328 SR-S Fl/Sgt. Naffin

Operation: Berlin

Date: 23/24th August 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 101 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ED328

Code: SR-S

Base: RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire.

Location: Lanke, 6 k.m. West of Biesenthal

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Robert Clarence Naffin AUS/416601 RAAF Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. David Morgan Ellis 1031023 RAFVR Age 32. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Noel Joseph Bullen AUS/409503 RAAF Age 25. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Douglas John Tresidder AUS/415104 RAAF Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Armstrong Currey 1237454 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Henry Phillips 1451351 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Everard John Phillips AUS/415273 RAAF Age 23. Killed

We would very much like other relatives to contact us in order that they can be informed about this and the work of the Finowfurt Aviation Museum.


Taking off at 20.27 hrs from RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire to attack Berlin as part of a force of 727 aircraft consisting of 335 Lancasters, 251 Halifaxes, 124 Stirlings and 17 Mosquitoes.

The Mosquitoes were used to mark various points on the route in order to keep the Main Force on the correct track. A total of 56 aircraft were lost – 23 Halifaxes, 17 Lancasters and 16 Stirlings, 7.9% of the force which was the greatest loss of aircraft in one night to date. The losses for the Stirlings were almost 13% of those despatched.

Left to right - Sgt. John Phillips, Fl/Sgt. Douglas Tresidder, Fl/Sgt. Robert Naffin and Sgt. David Morgan Ellis. (courtesy Ian Hill) - Fl/Sgt. Douglas John Tresidder - Sgt. John Armstrong Currey (Australian War Memorial)

It was reported that the raid was only partially successful as the Pathfinders were not able to identify the centre of Berlin by H2S.

The area which was marked was in the southern outskirts of the city but with the Main Force arriving late causing a number of aircraft to cut a corner and approach the target from the SW instead of the SSE, a number of bomb loads fell in open country.

However, Berlin suffered its most serious damage of the war to date with a wide range of industrial and residential properties being destroyed or severely damaged. Some bombs fell by chance in the centre of the city resulting in damage around the Wilhelmstrasse area.

Lancaster ED328 was intercepted by Oblt. Werner Husemann of Stab NJG1 at 00.50 hrs over Biesenthal with the aircraft coming down at Lanke.

It is understood that the aircraft exploded in mid-air killing all the crew with the debris scattered over a wide are.

A research group based at the Finowfurt Aviation Museum discovered the crash site, recovering many pieces of the Lancaster. Mr. Ian Hill travelled to the area in October 2013 to open an exhibition of some of the artefacts. We would very much like other relatives to contact us in order that they can be informed about this and the work of the Finowfurt Aviation Museum.

Left: Oblt. Werner Husemann (archives)

(1) This was the 9th abschüss for Oblt. Werner Husemann who was already classified as an 'ace at this time.

Born on the 10th November 1919 the holder of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

He went on to claim a total of 32 night abschüsse surviving the war. (See Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site)

Finowfurt Aviation Museum display of ED328 finds

Burial details:

Left: Graves of Sgt. Ellis and Fl/Sgt. Phillips at Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery

Fl/Sgt. Robert Clarence Naffin. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 1.H.12. Son of Clarence and Grace Naffin, husband of Diana Stephanie Naffin, of Kington, Herefordshire, England

Sgt. David Morgan Ellis. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Joint Grave 1.H.16-17. Son of David and Jane Ellis, husband of Iris May Ellis, of Cwmgorse, Carmarthenshire, Wales.

Fl/Sgt. Noel Joseph Bullen. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 4.J.17. Son of Sydney Joseph and Minnie Bullen, of Thornbury, Victoria Australia.

Fl/Sgt. Douglas John Tresidder. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 1.H.9. Son of Ernest Victor and Dorrit Tresidder, of Crawley, Western Australia.

Sgt. John Armstrong Currey. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 4.G.8. Son of George and Emily Currey, of Scarborough, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. John Henry Phillips. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Joint Grave 1.H.16-17. Son of George Wilfred and Minnie Phillips, of Crewe, Cheshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Everard John Phillips. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 1.H.10. Son of Thomas William and Edith Lila Phillips, of Wembley, Western Australia

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew including Mr. Ian Hill, nephew of Sgt. John Phillips, with thanks to Australian War Memorial, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Aircrew Remembered own Archives.

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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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