26/27.11.1943 No. 61 Squadron Lancaster I DV297 QR-O P/O. Andrew P.E. Strange
Date: 26/27th November 1943 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 61 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire
Location: Not known - probably Berlin area
Pilot: P/O. Andrew Paul Edmund Strange 155793 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed
Fl/ Eng: P/O. Charles James Bertram Cogdell 159885 RAFVR Age 30. Missing - believed killed
Nav: W/O. II John Blackstock Toombs R/130140 RCAF Age ? Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Denis Henry Calman 130287 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric Smith 1139609 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt Edward Francis Johnson 10601041 USAAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: F/O. James Anthony Stephens J/20202 RCAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed
Update January 2018: Relatives of the pilot contacted us - details follow.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 17:20 hrs from RAF 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, 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.
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.
Above left: Runnymede Memorial with insert, W/O. II John Blackstock Toombs, Right: Margraten US Military Panels for the missing with insert, Sgt Edward Francis Johnson.
May have originally been buried at Dallgow-Döberitz which was later under USSR occupation. The crew may have been buried in graves marked as 'unknown British Airman' within the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. But this is pure speculation.
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 Cogdell. Runnymede Memorial Panel 131.Son of Charles and Elizabeth Cogdell, husband of Mary Louise Cogdell, of New Cross, London, England.
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, England.
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 Francis Johnson. Netherlands American Memorial, Wall of the Missing, Margraten. Born January 27th 1918 in the USA. Son of Harold P. and Marion Johnson (née Luey). Husband of Virginia, father to Jacquelene. Joined the 8th USAAF in 1941.
F/O. James Anthony Stephens. Runnymede Memorial Panel 174. Son of Donald and Eva G. Stephens, of Windsor, Ontario, Canada and 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 sources shown below: