30/31.01.1944 No. 467 Squadron Lancaster I DV378 PO-C F/O. Alexander D. Riley
Operation: Berlin, Germany
Date: 30/31st January 1944 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: No. 467 Squadron (RAAF)
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Waddington
Location: Target area
Pilot: F/O. Alexander Douglas Riley AUS/3717 RAAF Age 28. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Sidney Webb Tupper 1607041 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Norman William Allen 658419 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. John Nixon 171083 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Bmr: W/O II Jan R. Valastin R/017055 RCAF PoW No: 1189 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug/Sagan and Belaria
Air/Gnr(Mid.): W/O II. Clifford Stanley Baker R/146764 RCAF Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr(Rear): Sgt. Fred Barrett 1516278 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Lancaster DV378 took off from RAF Waddington at 17:12 hours on the night of 30/31st January 1944 to bomb Berlin. Bomb load 1 x 4000lb, 64 x 30lb, 1200 x 4lb incendiaries.
The crew of Lancaster DV378 leaving ME575 on an earlier mission. ME575 PO-G was also lost on a Berlin raid on the 27/28-01-44. (22 year old, P/O. Stephen Charles Grugeon AUS/413855 RAAF of Woolooware, New South Wales, Australia and all his crew killed) Crew: Top to bottom and left to right: Air/Bmr W/O. Jan Valastin, Fl/Eng. Sgt. Sidney Tupper, W/Op/Air Gnr. P/O. John Nixon, Nav. Fl/Sgt. Norman Allen, Air/Gnr. Sgt. Fred Barrett, Air/Gnr. W/O. Clifford Baker, Pilot. F/O. Alexander Riley.
Nothing was heard from DV378 after take off and the aircraft did not return to base. Ten aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these, DV378 failed to return.
Post war it was established that the aircraft exploded following a direct hit from flak and crashed in the target area. W/O. Valastin became a PoW, the remaining six crew members were killed. They are buried in the 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Berlin.
In a later statement W/O. Valastin said “I was beside F/O. Riley in part of the aircraft which received direct fire from the enemy. I myself was hit but have no definite knowledge as to whether he was hit. A few seconds later the aircraft went into a spin. He was still in his position when I was preparing to bale out and when the aircraft exploded. I was informed two weeks later by an unknown German officer at Dulag Luft that F/O. Riley had been killed.”
W/O II Jan R Valastin returned to the United Kingdom after the end of WW2 on the 20th April 1945 and then returned to Canada. He left the Canadian Armed forces on the 6th May 1946 and died on the 3rd February 1993.
F/O. Alexander Douglas Riley. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 7.K.9. Son of Arthur Cecil and Georgina, husband of M. E. Riley, of McMahon's Point, New South Wales, Australia.
Sgt. Sidney Webb Tupper. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 7.K.10. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?
Fl/Sgt. Norman William Allen. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 7.K.11. Son of Walter William and Mabel Maud, of Hunstanton, Norfolk, England.
P/O. John Nixon. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 7.K.8. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?
W/O. Clifford Stanley Baker. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 7.K.7. Son of Ernest H. Baker and Ophelia W. of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Sgt. Fred Barrett. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 7.K.12. Son of Percy and Annie of Harehills, Leeds, Yorkshire, England.
Any further information on this crew/aircraft would be appreciated as the 467 squadron website would also like any updates.