30/31.07.1943 No 427 Squadron Halifax V EB242 Sgt. Bruce W. Westerberg
Date: 30/31st July 1943 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 427 Squadron (motto - Ferte Manus Certas – "Strike with a Sure Hand")
Type: Halifax V
Base: RAF Leeming, Yorkshire
Location: Delhoven, Germany
Pilot: Sgt. Bruce Wilfred Westerberg AUS/420319 RAAF Age 25. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. L.C. Goss 1803289 RAFVR Age ? PoW No: 222421 Camp: Stalag Muhlberg (Elbe 4B)
Nav: Sgt. R.A. Marriott 1190134 RAFVR Age ? PoW No: 222464 Camp: Stalag Muhlberg (Elbe 4B)
Air/Bmr: Sgt. R.T. Marshall 1515973 RAFVR Age ? PoW No: 222474 Camp: Stalag Muhlberg (Elbe 4B)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. R.S. Bodycote 1433692 RAFVR Age ? PoW No: 222465 Camp: Stalag Muhlberg (Elbe 4B)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Rex Black AUS/417292 RAAF Age 19. PoW No: 222465 Camp: Stalag Muhlberg (Elbe 4B)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Kitchener Boord AUS/410829 RAAF Age 27. PoW No: 222465 Camp: Stalag Muhlberg (Elbe 4B)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Leaving RAF Leeming in Yorkshire at 22:20 hrs to bomb, for the first time in the war, the town of Remscheid. A total of 273 aircraft made up the force with 95 Halifaxes, 87 Stirlings. 82 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitoes were on the raid.
The town was almost completely destroyed with 871 tons of bombs dropped. 107 Industrial buildings were destroyed together with 3,115 houses killing 1,120 people and injuring a further 6,700. It is reported that 83% of the town was devastated and the town lost 3 months production from their industries, it never regained previous levels.
The allies lost a total of 17 aircraft with 74 aircrew being killed, 30 being made PoW and another 1 escaping capture.
Halifax EB242 was initially hit by anti-aircraft fire by 1./schw. Flak Abt 803 during final approach to the target. Then Ofw. Hans Becker (1) of 1./JG Hermmann fired on it before the aircraft crashed at 01:35 hrs at Delhoven. The pilot ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft whilst he remained to try and hold it steady - all the remainder of the crew made their successful exit and landing.
The crew were informed whilst at the Dulag that their pilot had been killed in the crash. But any months before his death was confirmed to his next of kin in Australia!
(1) This was the first and only claim for Ofw. Hans Becker - he is understood to have survived the war despite being wounded in 1944.
Fl/Sgt. Bruce Wilfred Westerberg. Rheinberg War Cemetery Collective grave 4.A.2-5. Born on the 11th April 1918 at Balmain, the son of George Oscar and Ruby Ida Westerberg, of Balmain, New South Wales, Australia and husband of Betty Westerberg, of Flat 3, Lamrock Avenue, Bondi Beach, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "Resting Where No Shadows Fall".
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown.