22/23.11.1943 No. 7 Squadron Lancaster III JB155 MG-G Sq/Ldr. Eric H.M. Nesbitt
Date: 22/23rd November 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 7 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Oaklington, Cambridgeshire.
Location: Hope, Germany
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Eric Hugh Montgomery Nesbitt 43535 RAF Age 26. Killed
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. William Mark Wilson 1098032 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Nav: Fl/Lt. Jack Perfect DFC 127264 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Lt. Affyn Seymour MiD 46223 RAF Age 31. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Frank Louis Chapman 1023437 RAFVR Age 33. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. Gilbert John Bingham Neil 128584 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Air/Gnr: F/O. Atholl Barker 50226 RAF Age 29. Killed
Page of Remembrance placed for Bernhard Hammer from Austria, who is researching his family history - he is related to Fl/Sgt. Frank Louis Chapman and would like to contact other members of his family.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Oaklington, Cambridgeshire at 16:56 hrs to bomb the heart of Germany - again. 764 aircraft , the largest force of the war so far sent - made up from 469 Lancasters, 234 Halifax’s. 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.
It is understood that Lancaster JB155 was hit by flak, crashing in the village of Hope, Germany. The squadron lost another aircraft this night:
Lancaster EE119 MG-N. Flown by P/O. Stanley G. Dorrell 169445 RAFVR killed with all his crew.
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.
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.
However, 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.
Note: Sq/Ldr Eric Nesbitt, a regular serviceman with the RAF had completed at least 37 operational sorties. Also commemorated on the village War Memorial at Barnack, Lincolnshire.
F/O. Atholl Barker had been the sole survivor an earlier accident on a 220 Squadron Hudson N7294 which crashed at Great Ayton, North Yorkshire in February 1940. The pilot, 21 year old F/O. Tom M. Parker 39334 RAF and the other two crew were killed.
Sq/Ldr. Eric Hugh Montgomery Nesbitt. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 6.A.8. Son of the Revd. Eric John Williams Nesbitt, M.A., and Dorothy May Nesbitt, of Stoke Albany Rectory, Northamptonshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. William Mark Wilson. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. grave 10.D.13-17. Son of Albert and Hilda May Wilson, of Burton Agnes, Yorkshire, England.
Fl/Lt. Jack Perfect DFC. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. grave 10.D.13-17. Born 9 June 1911, F/Lt Perfect was the son of Arthur and Ada (née Gibbin) Perfect of Royton, Lancashire, England. Brother Arthur was born in 1916. Jack married Ida Lawton at Oldham, Lancashire in October 1939.
Fl/Lt. Affyn Seymour MiD. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. grave 10.D.13-17. Son of H. J. and Annie Wolffe, stepson of Mr. D. Seymour, husband of Joan Eldred Seymour, of Cranford, Hounslow, Middlesex, England.
Fl/Sgt. Frank Louis Chapman. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. grave 10.D.13-17. Husband of Violet Gladys Chapman, of Whitefield, Lancashire, England.
Fl/Lt. Gilbert John Bingham Neil. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 6.A.10. Son of John and Anne Stewart Neil, husband of Jean Laurie Neil.
F/O. Atholl Barker. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 6.A.9. Born 23rd April 1914, Bradford, Yorkshire. Son of Lionel and Jane Ann (née Holmes) Barker, of Bradford, Yorkshire, England, who predeceased him. He was the eldest of four Children.
For further details our thanks to Richard Allenby of the Aircraft Accidents in Yorkshire
website. Thanks to Caroline Cook for the NoK details for F/O. Barker. Also to Dave Champion for further crew details - May 2019.