26/27.11.1943 No. 61 Squadron Lancaster I DV297 QR-O P/O. Andrew P.E. Strange
Date: 26/27th November 1943
Unit: No. 61 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire.
Location: Not known.
Pilot: P/O. Andrew Paul Edmund Strange 155793 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Fl/ Eng: P/O. Charles James Bertram Codgell 159885 RAFVR Age 30. Killed
Nav: W/O. II John Blackstock Toombs R/130140 RCAF Age ? Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Denis Henry Calman 130287 RAFVR Age ? Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric Smith 1139609 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt Edward F. Johnson 10601041 USAAF Age 25. Killed
Air/Gnr: F/O. James Anthony Stephens J/20202 RCAF Age 2. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 17.20 hrs from R.A.F. Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire to bomb Berlin together with a further 442 aircraft. Most of the Luftwaffe thought the main target had been Frankfurt and were diverted there. They intercepted the bomber stream as it passed with several losses to the allies, over the target itself they were bothered very little by fighters over the target area itself and the main threat were the intensive German radar controlled flak guns and it is thought that DV297 was hit by these as no German claims were made for this Lancaster.
The Luftwaffe were waiting to hit them on the return - a total of 28 aircraft lost with a further 14 crashing over England.
Above left: Runnymede Memorial with insert, W/O. II John Blackstock Toombs, Right: Margraten US Military Panels for the missing with insert, Sgt Edward F. Johnson.
Berlin was hit again and although no accurate figures are available to this raid alone the damage attributed to these and the other 2 earlier raids stood at 104,613 apartments destroyed (417,665 people made homeless) and the death toll on the ground stood at 4,330 people.
P/O. Andrew Paul Edmund Strange. Runnymede Memorial Panel 133. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
P/O. Charles James Bertram Codgell. Runnymede Memorial Panel 131.Son of Charles and Elizabeth Cogdell, husband of Mary Louise Cogdell, of New Cross, London.
W/O. II John Blackstock Toombs. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 7.B.15. Son of Sarah Tombs (née Blackstock) of 20 Ferris Avenue, Mount Zion, Canada. Enlisted in Canada, 1941.
F/O. Denis Henry Calman. Runnymede Memorial Panel 123. Son of Frederick Henry and Lily Emily Elizebeth Calman, of Chalk Farm, London.
Sgt. Eric Smith. Runnymede Memorial Panel 165. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
Sgt Edward F. Johnson. Margraten US Military Cemetery, Netherlands. Wall of the Missing. Born January 27th 1918 in the USA. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold P. Johnson. Husband of Virginia, father to Jacquelene. Joined the 8th Air Force in 1941.
F/O. James Anthony Stephens. Runnymede Memorial Panel 174. Son of Donald and Eva G. Stephens, of Windsor, Ontario, Canada; husband of Irene O. Stephens, of Hamilton, Ontario.
Researched for relatives of the crew. With thanks to Gold Star Heroes and Honour Roll for details and photograph of Sgt. Johnson. For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', 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 (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission.