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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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24/25.02.1944 No. 408 Squadron Lancaster II DS844 EQ-X P/O. Sherlock D.F.C.

Operation: Schweinfurt

Date: 24/25th February 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 408 Squadron (Goose) RCAF

Type: Lancaster II

Serial: DS844

Code: EQ-X

Base: RAF Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire.

Location: Schweinfurt

Pilot: P/O. Harry Sherlock DFC 162517 RAFVR Age 24. Missing

Pilot/Nav: F/O. James Gordon Hillman J/21914 RCAF Age 27. Missing (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Henry George Basten 1399763 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Henry Norman Cunliffe 168961 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Reginald Sydney Nurse 1496525 RAFVR Age 23. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Armour John Emerson R/192677 RCAF Age 21. Killed (2)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Walter Walker 960863 RAFVR Age 23. Killed


DS844 took off from Linton-on-Ouse at 20.48 hours, part of a major raid consisting of 734 aircraft destined for the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt. The weather for this time of the year was clear and enabled the crew to identify the targets visually on the banks of the River Main. In addition, the targets were indicated by Pathfinders which in some cases were still burning from a USAAF daylight raid the previous day.

It is believed that DS844 was shot down by a Messerschmitt Bf110 night fighter, possibly that of Oblt. Hans Raum, crashing into the River Main south of Schweinfurt. This aircraft DS844, a Hercules powered Lancaster, was transferred to 408 Squadron from 432 Squadron after which it participated in raids on Berlin and Leipzig before being lost.

From The London Gazette April 1944 on the award of his DFC:

'Pilot Officer Harry Sherlock (162517), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 408 (RCAF) Squadron. This officer has displayed skill, courage and resolution of a high order. He has completed many sorties and throughout has shown the utmost determination to press home his attacks His fine record includes 12 attacks on the capital of the German Reich.'

Back row L to R: F/Sgt. Reginald Sydney Nurse, P/O Harry Sherlock, DFC, Sgt. Henry George Basten, P/O Henry Norman Cunliffe Front row L to R: Sgt. Walter Walker, F/O James Gordon Hillman, Sgt. Armour John Emerson (courtesy William Hillman) 

Crew pictures (courtesy William Hillman)

Grave photographs kindly supplied to us by David Franklin. Any relative requiring a higher definition of these please dont hesitate to contact us.


               (1) Hillman Island, Saskatchewan, is named after F/O. James Hillman (left below)

               (2) Emerson Creek in British Columbia, is named after Sgt. Armour Emerson (right below)


Burial Details:

P/O Harry Sherlock DFC. Runnymede Memorial Panel 212. Son of William Edward and Emma Pallister Sherlock, of West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England.

Sgt. Henry George Basten. Durnbach War Cemetery Durnbach, Germany. Grave 7.A.13. Son of Henry and Ellon A. Basten, of Peckham, London, England.

P/O Henry Norman Cunliffe. Durnbach War Cemetery Durnbach, Germany. Grave 7.A.14. Son of Stanley G. Cunliffe and Laura A. Cunliffe, of Llangollen, Denbighshire, Wales.

F/O James Gordon Hillman. Runnymede Memorial Panel 246. Son of Robert Boswell Hillman and Jane Hillman, of Elrose, Saskatchewan, Canada.

F/Sgt. Reginald Sydney Nurse. Runnymede Memorial Panel 221. Son of Sidney Alfred and Elsie Kate Nurse, of Swinton, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Armour John Emerson. Durnbach War Cemetery Durnbach, Germany. Grave 7.A.16. Son of P.B. Emerson and Mary Louise Emerson, of Smithers, British Columbia, Canada.

Sgt. Walter Walker. Durnbach War Cemetery Durnbach, Germany. Grave 7.A.15 Son of Richard Henry and Mary Walker, of Nottingham, husband of Irene Elizabeth Walker, of Nottingham, England.

Researched by William Hillman, relative of F/O James Gordon Hillman. Article prepared by Colin Bamford. With thanks to David Franklin, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol. 5' 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', Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Acknowledgements: 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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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