21/22.01.1944 No 207 Squadron Lancaster I R5895 EM-B P/O. Jack M. Read
Date: 21/22nd January 1944
Unit: No. 207 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Spilsby, Lincolnshire
Location: Dannigkow, Germany
Pilot: P/O. Jack Montague Read 161606 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Leslie Fancis Abel 1615651 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Nav: F/O. Robert Walter Sharp 144580 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Charles Travers J/23604 RCAF Age 29. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Arthur Blake Boydon 1435862 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr(mid-upper): Sgt. Ronald Codling 1818737 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr(rear): Fl/Sgt. Eric Clark Clunas AUS/415764 RAAF Age 26. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Spilsby, Lincolnshire at 20:11 hrs. 648 aircraft heading to the target of tonight - Magdeburg. 12 Mosquitoes and 22 Lancasters also bombed Berlin as a diversionary raid. The German controllers were not fooled and as early as 20:50 hrs the bomber stream were already identified and the night fighters ordered to intercept.
Visibility on this night has been described as "excellent". The night proved very costly to Bomber Command with 12 aircraft lost between the German coast and Magdeburg. 30 more were destroyed in a raging air battle over Magdeburg, due to lack of fuel the night fighter were unable to follow the bomber stream and intercept again although a further 7 were shot down by other units.
It is understood that the bodies of the crew were recovered from the wreckage and interred in a communal grave at Dannigkow Cemetery. Later exhumations made by the Missing Research and Enquiry Unit all the crew were able to be identified and later re-interred at the Berlin War Cemetery.
It was also reported that R5895 was flying away from the target at the time it was attacked by a night fighter with the Lancaster crashing on the outskirts of Dannigkow. The local population were taking cover at the the and no eye witness could provide any further details. The aircraft caught fire and ammunition could be heard exploding.
Due to the intensity of these air battles very few positives claims were able to be identified.
Lancaster R5895 started operating with 97 Conversion flight having been delivered by Metro Vickers on 21st July 1942. The aircraft then passed on to 1660 C.U. (Conversion Unit) in late 1942. The aircraft was involved in an accident in March 1942 which meant repairs back at the manufacturers. Delivered to 207 Squadron on 21st August flying a total of 381.10 hours before it was lost.
P/O. Jack Montague Read. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.30. Son of Cecil James Read and Elsie Read, of Ipswich, Suffolk, England.
Sgt. Leslie Fancis Abel. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.32. Son of Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Abel, of Hammersmith, London, England.
F/O. Robert Walter Sharp. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.34. No further details available as yet are you able to assist?
F/O. Charles Travers. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.33. Son of Oliver Travers, and of Anna Travers (née Anderson) husband of Dale Louise Travers, of Oakland, California, USA.
Sgt. Ronald Arthur Blake Boydon. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.29. Son of Arthur Leonard Boydon, and of Edith Emily Boydon, of Kettering, Northamptonshire, England.
Sgt. Ronald Codling. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.35. Son of Herbert and Eva Annie Codling, of Frieston, Lincolnshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. Eric Clark Clunas. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.31. Son of John and Ivy Louisa Clunas, of 3 Blackford Street, Mount Hawthorn, Western Australia. Date of birth: 18th January 1918. Enlisted 1st February 1942 in Perth, Western Australia. Formerly Railway Officer. (shown right
Researched for Brent Washington relative of F/O. Charles Travers and for all other relatives of all the crew. To Uwe Jenrich for grave photographs. With thanks to sources as quoted below.