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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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460 Squadron Crest
26/27.11.1943 No 460 Squadron Lancaster I ED370 AR-B2 Fl/Sgt. Edward J. Stones

Operation: Berlin

Date: 26/27th November 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 460 Squadron RAAF

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ED370

Code: AR-B2

Base: RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire

Location: Grossenkneten, 22km SSE of Oldenburg, Germany.

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Edward John Stones 421097 RAAF Age 21. Killed 

Flt/Eng: Sgt. Richard Glyn Jones 1652042 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Kenneth Gordon Smith 1386548 RAFVR Age 20. Killed 

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Nathaniel Wesley McNair R/166512 RCAF Age 26. Killed (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Belton 1459357 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Donald Arnott R/179877 RCAF Age 21. Killed 

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Henry McIvor 1796352 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Part of a combined force of 443 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitoes, Fl/Sgt. Stones and crew took off from Binbrook at 17.15 hours with 23 other aircraft of 460 Squadron destined for Berlin. Loaded with a 4000 lb high capacity bomb and 4800 lbs of incendiaries, their circuitous route would take them over northern France and almost to Frankfurt before turning to approach Berlin from the south. 

Left: Air bomber for Lancaster ED370 Sgt. Nathaniel Wesley McNair

Although some of the aircraft bombed the city centre most of the bombs fell in the suburbs to the north-west causing considerable damage to the industrial sector of Reinickendorf. In addition, many houses were destroyed and an estimated 800 lives lost. Although of no military importance, the Berlin Zoo also sustained heavy damage allowing numerous dangerous animals to escape which had to be hunted down amongst the bombed out streets and shot.

Returning crews reported that although German night fighter activity over Berlin was comparatively light they were met with a heavy Flak barrage. In all, 26 Lancasters were lost over enemy territory many shot down by night fighters or Flak as they made their way homeward. 

After take off, nothing further was heard from the crew of ED370. It was not until after the war during an investigation into its disappearance that it was determined that the aircraft had been hit by Flak and crashed at 22.45 hours close to the railway station at Grossenkneten killing all aboard. It is probable, from the time and location of the crash site some 50 or 60 miles from the German coast, that the crew had completed their mission and were en-route back to base when they were hit.

(1) Mount McNair on the south east side of Harrison Lake, north of Chilliwack, British Columbia is named after Sgt. McNair.


Burial Details:

All members of the crew were first buried in Neuer Friedhof, moving to Sage after end of hostilities.

Flt/Sgt. Edward John Stones, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 11. Son of George and Edyth Anna Stones of Campbelltown, New South Wales, Australia.

Sgt. Richard Glyn Jones, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 15. Son of William and Sarah Jane Jones of Bon-y-Maen, Glamorgan, Wales.

Sgt. Kenneth Gordon Smith, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 14. Son of William James Smith and Ada Louise Smith of Harrow Weald, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. Nathaniel Wesley McNair, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 12. Further information:Son of Nathaniel James David and Jennie McNair of Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. Born in Rosedale, Nathaniel McNair was educated at Rosedale Public and Chilliwack High Schools. He had his own paper route that he started when he was twelve. The route covered over 25 miles and Wesley delivered the news through winter and summer most cheerfully. Following school he worked as a logger near Harrison Lake and occupied his spare time hunting and fishing. Wes enlisted in the RCAF in January 1942 and in February 1943 graduated from the Air Observer School in Regina as an air bomber. Overseas he served with 460 Squadron, a bomber unit of the Royal Australian Air Force. McNair was lost on a raid against Berlin when his Lancaster bomber crashed November 26, 1943 at Grossenkneten. 

Sgt. William Belton, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 16. Son of Charles E. M. Belton and Mabel Belton of Doncaster, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. George Donald Arnott, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 10. Son of Thomas and Maud Elizabeth (née Rutledge) Arnott of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. John Henry McIvor, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 13. Son of Joseph and Georgina McIvor of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew. Sgt. McNair’s photograph and biographical information researched by Paul Ferguson, Heritage Collections Manager, Chilliwack Museum and Archives and reproduced courtesy of The Chilliwack Museum and Archives, British Columbia, Canada.

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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Last Modified: 07 June 2014, 10:33

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