22/23.10.1943 No. 408 Squadron Lancaster III DS778 EQ-U Fl/Lt. Whiston
Date: 22/23rd October 1943 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 408 Squadron (RCAF)
Type: Lancaster II
Base: RAF Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire
Location: Lavelsloh, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Arthur James Whiston J/8406 RCAF Age 27. Killed
Fl/Eng: P/O. Andrew Franklin Scanes C/18817 RCAF Age 25. Killed
Nav: P/O. Roy Ernest McComb J/18814 RCAF Age 23. Killed
Air/Bmr: P/O. Walter Kerslake J/19112 RCAF Age ? Killed (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Richard Andrew Thornton 155349 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Dunwoody Mayne 1049725 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. Ross Banting Jackson J/19031 RCAF Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Linton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire at 17:56 hrs. to attack Kassel. A total of 569 aircraft took part - 322 Lancasters, 247 Halifaxes.
The initial 'blind' H2S marking overshot the target but 8 out of the 9 'visual' markers correctly identified the centre of Kassel and placed their markers accurately. Although German decoy markers may have drawn off part of the bomber force, the main raid was exceptionally accurate and concentrated. The result was the most devastating attack on a German city since the firestorm raid on Hamburg in July and the results at Kassel would not be exceeded again until well into 1944.
The fires were so concentrated that there was a firestorm, although not as extensive as the Hamburg one. Nearly 10,000 people are known to have been killed on the ground during this raid with a further 3,000 unaccounted for. Over 11,000 people were also injured.
Right: Maj. Husemann shown here in the centre with his crew and ground crew. L to R: Ogefr. Meisolle, mechanic, Ofw. H.G. Schierholz, BF, Husemann, FW. Moller, BS, FW. Fehmannn 2nd BF (Information and photo courtesy Kracker Archives on this website)
The most useful part of this raid was the damage to the three Heinkel factories as these were at the time making the V1 flitting bombs. Also the railway system and its installations were severely hit. A total of 43 allied aircraft were lost with the majority of losses attributed to the Luftwaffe Night-Fighters.
Although nothing was heard from them after take off we are able to confirm that they were shot down at 21:30 hrs by Oblt. Werner Husemann of 7.NLG1. The Lancaster crashed in the village of Lavelsloh - killing all the crew.
(1) Kerslake Lake, East of Wollaston Lake, Saskatchewan was name after P/O. Walter Kerslake.
(2) This was the 12th claim by Oblt. Werner Husemann. He survived the war with a total of 32 confirmed claims. Born on the 10th November 1919 - Died on the 02nd February 2014.
Fl/Lt. Arthur James Whiston. Hanover War Cemetery. Collective grave 15.G.2-7. Son of Arthur K. and Alice B. Whiston, of Duncan, British Columbia, Canada.
P/O. Andrew Franklin Scanes. Hanover War Cemetery. Collective grave 15.G.1. Son of Thomas and Annie Scanes, of Pembroke, Ontario, Canada and husband of Muriel Scanes. Grave inscription reads: "Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends".
P/O. Roy Ernest McComb. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 15.G.2-7. Son of Roy E. and Mary J. McComb, of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "He Gave His Greatest Treasure, His Young Unselfish Life".
P/O. Walter Kerslake. Hanover War Cemetery. Collective grave 15.G.2-7. Son of George and Laura Kerslake, of Windthorst, Saskatchewan, Canada.
P/O. Richard Andrew Thornton. Hanover War Cemetery. Collective grave 15.G.2-7. Son of Robert Arthur and Marie Virginia Thornton, of Westminster, London, England.
Fl/Sgt. Thomas Dunwoody Mayne. Hanover War Cemetery. Collective grave 15.G.2-7. No further details - are you able to assist?
P/O. Ross Banting Jackson. Hanover War Cemetery. Collective grave 15.G.2-7. Son of John Edgar and Esther Banting Jackson, of Ballycroy, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "I Hope To See My Pilot Face To Face When I Have Crost The Bar". His brother, Fl/Lt. Frederick Grant Jackson J/6209 RCAF was also killed. Please see here for further details.
Above the parents grave at Alliston Union Cemetery, Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada (see credits)
Researched for the family of Fl/Lt. Frederick Grant Jackson, who also supplied some of the photographs. Page dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown below. With thanks to 'Closet Skeleton Genealogical Society'. Copyrighted Image of the family grave for the Jackson's, used with Permission. Also to 'Operation Picture Me' for original grave marker.