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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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75 Squadron Crest
22/23.11.1943 No. 75 Squadron Stirling III EF148 AA-R Fl/Sgt. Turner

Operation: Berlin

Date: 22/23rd November 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 75 Squadron

Type: Stirling III

Serial: EF148

Code: AA-R

Base: RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire

Location: Rulle NNE Ösnabrück, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John Cecil Turner NZ/421115 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. George Joseph Blackman 1398967 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav: F/O. Stanley Henry Mackenzie NZ/422418 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. William George Simpson Pagett 151630 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James Lindis Cowie NZ/42322 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Mcleod More 1809983 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas McGloin 1796255 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Mepal, Cambridgeshire at 17:13 hrs to bomb the heart of Germany - again. 764 aircraft , the largest force of the war so far sent - made up from 469 Lancasters, 234 Halifax’s. 50 Stirlings (the last time Stirlings sent to Germany) and 11 Mosquitoes.

The flak defences were again very effective accounting for 17 bombers over Berlin, a further 7 over the Hannover area. Night fighters claimed 4, although lack of positive identification, none can be identified.

Above left: Corfe Castle Visit July-August 1943: Back row from left: Sgt. Jim Mackay, P/O. John Cecil Turner NZ/421115, Fl/Sgt Jim Pryse, Sgt. Jim Ladd, Fl/Sgt. John Stuart Selby Fleming NZ/421038, F/O. Graham Braddock NZ/421012, Sgt. Francis Alexander Jack Scott NZ/421105. Front row of three: P/O. Edgar Laurence Burke, Sgt. Robert Ross Pollock NZ/417102, Sgt. D.B. Thomas.

Right: 1 SFTS Wigram 1942 (possibly award of Pilots Badges - all featured presented on 28 November 1942) Back three from left: Fl/Sgt. A.R. Young, Fl/Sgt. John Stuart Selby Fleming, Sgt. Francis Alexander Jack Scott. Centre two: Fl/Sgt R.W. Vaney, W/O. Neil Evan McLeod MacDonald. Front four (seated) three from left: P/O. L.J.S. Brown, Fl/Sgt D.B. Thomas, P/O. John Cecil Turner NZ/42115, Fl/Sgt Harold Leslie Raymond Richards NZ/42457 (courtesy Jan Field-HodgsonL)

Although the city was covered in cloud and returning bomber crews estimated that the bombing had been accurate due to accurate markers placed, it is now known that this was probably the most effective operation on Berlin of the war.

Reports from the city state that during this night’s bombing, 3,000 houses were destroyed with another 23 industrial premises. Several thousand other building damaged. 2,000 people were thought to have been killed, including 500 in a large shelter which received a direct hit. Another 150 in another shelter. Due to the weather several ‘firestorms’ were reported and the Luftwaffe measured the smoke at 6,000 metres.

The AOC of Bomber Command, Arthur Harris predicted ‘It will cost us between 400 - 500 aircraft, but it will cost Germany the war’. The RAF lost over 490 heavy bombers on Berlin operations with over 2,500 aircrew killed, still the war dragged on.

However, arguably, it did prevent German resources to be utilised elsewhere. The Berlin civilian population suffered terrible losses with a reported 10,000 killed with a similar number of injuries. Nearly 500,000 were made homeless.

It is thought that Stirling III EF148 was brought down by anti aircraft are, but research continues.


Also lost from 75 Squadron on this operation: LJ453 AA-K Flown by 26 year old, Fl/Sgt. Alan Roy Single AUS/413144 RAAF from Campsie, New South Wales Australia - killed with all other 6 crew members.

(1) The photographs shown from the collection of Sgt. Francis Scott, shot down and killed on the 28th May 1944 whilst with 75 Squadron. Sent into us in April 2017 by Jan Field-Hodgson his relative.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. John Cecil Turner. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 26.A.4. Son of Leonard Cecil Turner, and of Doris Anna Turner (née Hansford), of Wellington City, New Zealand. Total 466 flying hours logged - his 4th operation.

Sgt. George Joseph Blackman. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 26.A.1. Son of George Henry and Mary Elizabeth Blackman, of Finsbury, London, England.

F/O. Stanley Henry Mackenzie. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 26.A.2. Son of Roderick Stanley and Mary Ann Mackenzie, of Whangarei, Auckland, New Zealand. Total 259 flying hours logged - his 4th operation.

F/O. William George Simpson Pagett. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 26.A.8. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. James Lindis Cowie. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 26.A.6. Born on the 10th August 1921 the son of John Thomas Cowie and Ada Frances Annie Cowie, of Lindis Valley, Otago, New Zealand. Total 244 flying hours logged - his 4th operation.

Sgt. Robert Mcleod More. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 26.A.3. Son of Bentley and Madeleine More, of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Sgt. Thomas McGloin. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 26.A.5. Son of Thomas and Kate McGloin, of Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim, Irish Republic.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jan Field-Hodgson for 75 Squadron pilot photographs, Marie Heilbrunn for photographs of Fl/Sgt. James Lindis Cowie

KTY 29.04.2017

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: 15 July 2017, 23:52

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