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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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Bomber Command Crest
21/22.12.1944 No. 189 Squadron Lancaster I PB691 CA-O Fl/Lt. George B. White

Operation: Politz

Date: 21/22nd December 1944

Unit: No. 189 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: PB691

Code: CA-O

Base: RAF Fulbeck, Lincolnshire.

Location: Mandel, Norway

Pilot: Fl/Lt. George Baston White 161409 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt James Clayton 1739516 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: F/O. Henry Lewis Shepherd J/29417 RCAF Age 31. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Edward Arthur Underwood 152835 RAF Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Albert Gamble 1681085 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: F/O. Allan Watson Heughan J/36580 RCAF Age 26. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Norman Summers 1894502 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 16.59 hrs to bomb the synthetic oil refinery at Politz near Stetin.

Some reports have described PB691 coming down at Mandel, others list it as hitting hills in the Aseral area where the crew are buried. No night fighter claims made for this loss.

Crew L-R: Fl/Lt. George Baston White, Sgt James Clayton, F/O. Henry Lewis Shepherd, F/O. Edward Arthur Underwood, Sgt. William Albert Gamble, F/O. Allan Watson Heughan and Fl/Sgt. Norman Summers.

207 Lancasters with 1 Mosquito of 5 Group taking part in a fairly successful operation with the plant damaged and the main chimney collapsing as a result. Just 3 Lancasters lost but a further 6 crashed on return to their bases. The weather conditions were extremely poor with very low visibility with dense fog 30 aircrew lost their lives with 13 injured.

189 Squadron lost another crew during this operation:

Lancaster III PB289 CA-B Flown by 28 year old, Fl/Lt. Robert Henry McGowan 83277 RAFVR from Aigburth, Liverpool England. Missing with all six other members of his crew. Remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.

Crew graves seen on left at Aaseral Churchyard, Norway (courtesy Els Tveit, Norway)

Burial details:

We understand that the name of this cemetery known with two spellings, Aseral and Aaseral. The Churchyard contains 3 other aircrew, also shot down on this operation. Those from 97 Squadron, Lancaster III PB461 OF-M:

22 year old, Fl/Sgt K. Mannion 1562926 RAFVR from Glasgow, Scotland.
21 year old, Sgt. J.S.B. Morgan 1416979 RAFVR from Treboath, Swansea, Wales.
20 year old Fl/Sgt. Gordon A.O. Oliver from Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales.

Fl/Lt. George Baston White. Aaseral Churchyard, Norway. Collective grave. Son of John Edward and Edith May White, of Amble, Northumberland, England. Also commemorated on the Amble War Memorial.

Sgt James Clayton. Aaseral Churchyard, Norway. Collective grave. Son of James and Ada Clayton, of Wolverhampton, England.

F/O. Henry Lewis Shepherd. Aaseral Churchyard, Norway. Collective grave. Next of kin details not available, but we understand he was from Eastview, Ontario, Canada. This was his 25 operation.

F/O. Edward Arthur Underwood. Aaseral Churchyard, Norway. Collective grave. Son of Albert and Dorothy H. Underwood, of Dagenham, Essex, England.

Sgt. William Albert Gamble. Aaseral Churchyard, Norway. Collective grave. Son of William and Alice Annie Gamble, of York, England.

F/O. Allan Watson Heughan. Aaseral Churchyard, Norway. Collective grave. Son of Robert W. G. and Mary H. Heughan, of St. Lambert, Province of Quebec, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Norman Summers. Aaseral Churchyard, Norway. Collective grave. Grandson of Mary Summers, of Roker Sunderland, Co. Durham, England.

Researched and page of remembrance placed for Anthony Gamble, nephew of the W/Op. Sgt. William Gamble. For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission.  Find-A-Grave website. Further information from these titles/organisations are available from us, just use the 'help' button on the main page above or 'add info' button also shown on this page.

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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