AR banner
Search for phrases in quotes eg "Alan Smith"

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the AddInfo button, or send us email from the Helpdesk.
15 Squadron Crest
24/25.03.1944 No. 15 Squadron Lancaster III LM490 LS-L Fl/Sgt. Wheeler

Operation: Berlin

Date: 24/25th March 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 15 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: LM490

Code: LS-L

Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk

Location: Teltow South West of Berlin.

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Leslie William Charles Wheeler 1388461 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Herbert Longworth 974506 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Robert McIntosh 951312 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Augustus Edward Smith 547611 RAF Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Francis Donald Wells 1600882 RAFVR Age 27 Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric Donald McCallum NZ/425586 RNZAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Briggs 1132443 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Another huge raid with 811 Allied bombers formed up to bomb Berlin. The weather was extremely good with very high visibility which resulted in many losses to the german night fighters who were already closing in on the bomber stream as early as 19:45 hrs! Un-forecasted jet stream winds scattered the bombers to the South of the intended route and many of the aircraft were flying without the protection of "Window". (1)

The night became known within Bomber Command as the "night of the strong winds".

The raid itself resulted in the usual damage to civilian properties with 150 people being killed on the ground in the target area (A further 30 people killed in other areas bombed by the scattered force.) No major industrial targets were hit although some damage was done to 5 military establishments - including the Waffen SS depot in Lichterfield

A total of 72 aircraft were lost in this last major raid on Berlin of the war. LM490 was delivered to 15 squadron on the 13th March 1944 and was one of two Lancasters from 15 squadron to be lost on this operation, the other being LM441 LS-T flown by Fl/Lt. William Grove who, together with his crew of 6 were all killed.

Lancaster LM490 had just eleven hours of flying time before it took off at 18:48 hours from Mildenhall. Homeward bound, shot down by a night-fighter probably flown by Oblt. Friedrich Tober (2) of 8./NJG2 in a Ju 88C at 23:15 hrs. and exploded with great force over Teltow, 16km SW from the centre of Berlin.

On 1st April all were laid to rest at Teltow, but since the cessation of hostilities, their bodies have been taken into Berlin and interred in the 1939-1945 War cemetery.

(1)"Window" see abbreviations.
(2) Oblt. Frederick Tober survived the war as an ‘Ace’ with 6 night claims and 1 daylight operation. (Shown left)


Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Leslie William Charles Wheeler. Berlin War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 8.J.3-4. Son of William and Emily Wheeler, of Highbury, London, England.

Sgt. Herbert Longworth. Berlin War Cemetery. Grave 8.J.1. Son of Jeptha and Martha Longworth and husband of Dorothy Longworth, or Blackpool, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads: “The Lord Is My Shepherd Until We Meet Again Blackpool, England.”

Fl/Sgt. Robert McIntosh. Berlin War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 8.J.3-4. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Augustus Edward Smith. Berlin War Cemetery. Grave 8.J.5. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Francis Donald Wells. Berlin War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 8.J.3-4. Born in London, England in 1917 and known as “Frank” by his family and friends. No further details as yet - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Eric Donald McCallum. Berlin War Cemetery. Grave 8.J.6. Son of Kennedy Barclay McCallum and Pearl Maud McCallum, of Porangahau, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.

Sgt. James Briggs. Berlin War Cemetery. Grave 8.J.2. Son of Ethel May Briggs, of New Herrington, Co. Durham, England. Grave inscription reads: “ Peacefully At Rest.”

Researched by: Linda Ibrom for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to all the relatives of the crew. With thanks to Nikki Castle for photograph of Sgt. Francis Donald Wells

With thanks to sources as quoted below, as well as Errol Martyn - For Your Tomorrow Vol’s 1-3 for information on Sgt. Eric Donald McCallum.

KTY 27.12.2016 Map added

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.
Click any image to enlarge it
Do you have more information or corrections to this story? Use our AddInfo facility

Readers Interested In Further Reading:
More personal histories and associated material
Show Research Material
You can lay a wreath on this page to show your respect in an everlasting way.
Add us to your address book. Clickhere

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2017
Last Modified: 27 December 2016, 22:40