24/25.03.1944 No. 578 Squadron Halifax III LW472 LK-H F/O. Row
Date: 24/25th March 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 578 Squadron (motto: Accuracy)
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Burn, North Yorkshire
Location: Dessau, Germany
Pilot: F/O. James Malcolm Row 156075 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Pilot 2: P/O. George Alfred Pope 170284 RAFVR Age 27. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Fred Eland 1141778 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Nav: P/O. Victor Robert Glaysher 175730 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Reginald James Hayhurst DFC. 128419 RAFVR PoW No: Not known. Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang (L1)
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. W.R. Crick 1383275 RAFVR PoW No: 3987. Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang (L1)
Air/Gnr: P/O. Roy Victor Burch J/85620 RCAF Age 28. Killed (1)
Air/Gnr: P/O. Frederick Charles Wood J/85582 RCAF Age 25. Killed (2)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 18:51hrs from RAF Burn, North Yorkshire to bomb the heart of Germany - Berlin.
Another huge raid with 811 Allied bombers formed up to bomb Berlin.
The weather was extremely good with very high visibility which resulted in many losses to the german Night fighters who were already closing in on the bomber stream as early as 19.45 hrs! The met never forecasted the jet stream winds that scattered the bombers to the south of the intended route, with many of the aircraft flying without the protection of "Window".(3)
The night became known within Bomber Command as the "Night of the Strong Winds".
The raid itself resulted in the usual damage to civilian properties with 150 people being killed on the ground in the target area (A further 30 people killed in other areas bombed by the scattered force.) No major industrial targets were hit although some damage was done to 5 military establishments - including the Waffen-S.S. depot in Lichterfield.
A total of 72 aircraft were lost in this last major raid on Berlin of the war including 3 of the 15 aircraft sent from 578 Squadron. Another was seriously damaged, but managed to return, no further details available on this.
Halifax III LW508 LK-Y flown by P/O. Duncan Albert Long DFM. all 7 crew members killed.
Halifax III MZ512 LLK-C flown by Sgt. Robert Geoffrey Arthur, 5 crew members killed, 2 made PoW.
(1) Burch Rapids in the Caribou River, west of Long Lake, Manitoba was named after P/O. Roy Victor Burch in 1984.
(2) P/O. Frederick Charles Wood had recently married Jeanne M. Wood (grandmother of Jon Clare - see below) who had sadly lost her first fiancee in an earlier crash (Read further information here)
(3) "Window": see abbreviations (Read further information here)
DFC Citation for F/O. Reginald James Hayhurst London Gaxette 13th April 1943:
"One night in March 1943, Wing Commander Burnside and Pilot Officer Hayhurst were captain and bomb aimer of an aircraft detailed to attack Essen. When nearing the target area the bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire. One of the crew was killed and another severely wounded, while the aircraft sustained damage. The aileron control was affected, while the windscreen de-icing glycol tank burst, drenching Pilot Officer Hayhurst and filling the forward part of the bomber with suffocating fumes.
Despite this, Pilot Officer Hayhurst directed his captain to the target, which was successfully bombed and a good photograph obtained. The aircraft was held by searchlights for a few minutes but Wing Commander Burnside skilfully evaded the defences and set course for home. On the return flight the aircraft encountered enemy fighters, but each time he shook them off. Displaying fine airmanship he flew the aircraft back to an airfield in this country." He remained in the RAF until January 1959 when he retired.
F/O. James Malcolm Row. Berlin War Cemetery Joint grave 5.B. 27-28. Son of Percy Edward and Lilian May Row, of Bedfont, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "At Rest".
P/O. George Alfred Pope. Berlin War Cemetery Joint grave 5.B. 27-28. Son of Alfred John and Annie Martha Pope and husband of Winifred May Pope, of Lee Moor, Devon, England. Grave inscription reads: "For Ever In Our Memory".
Sgt. Fred Eland. Berlin War Cemetery Grave 5.B. 23. Son of John and Florence Eland and husband of Margaret Eland, of Ramsbottom, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Always Remembered In Our Thoughts And Prayers".
P/O. Victor Robert Glaysher. Berlin War Cemetery Grave 5.B. 24. Son of Archibald H. Glaysher and Ethel M. Glaysher, of Wembley, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "The Path Of Duty Was The Way To Glory".
P/O. Roy Victor Burch. Berlin War Cemetery Grave 5.B. 29. Son of Lancelot Cyril and Amy Matilda Burch, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Till The Day Dawns, And The Shadows Flee Away".
P/O. Frederick Charles Wood. Berlin War Cemetery Grave 5.B. 26. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Henry Wood and husband of Jeanne M. Wood of Romiley, Cheshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Dearly Loved Husband Of Jeanne Wood".
Researched for Jon Clare and relatives / friends of the crew. With thanks to sources as shown.