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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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No. 78 Squadron
24/25.03.1944 No. 78 Squadron Halifax III LW510 EY-? F/O. Wimberley

Operation: Berlin

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

Unit: No. 78 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LW510

Code: EY-?

Base: RAF Breighton, Yorkshire

Location: Cranfield, Bedfordshire

Pilot: F/O. Michael Arabin Wimberley. 150168. RAFVR Age 21. Killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Harold James Neal. 1523593. RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. William Harold Shields. 1334523. RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Reginald Stanislaus Kelly. AUS/412970. RAAF Age 21. Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leslie James Edge. 1324941. RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Dennis Horace Albert Brignell. 1800930. RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Horatio Robert Nelson. 641893. RAF Age 22. Killed

Halifax III

LAC Michael Arabin Wimberley trained at No.1 British Flying School, Terrell, Texas. LAC crew march to the flight line. (pictures courtesy of No. 1 British Flying School Museum, Terrell, Texas)

REASON FOR LOSS:

Halifax LW510 took off from RAF Breighton at 18:59hrs for a bombing raid on Berlin. A very powerful wind blew the bombers off course on many occasions. These winds had not been forecast and the strength of wind changes could not be passed onto the crews accurately.

The bomber force of some 811 aircraft became very scattered and on the return journey they encountered heavy flak with the loss of some 50 aircraft.

Further aircraft were shot down by enemy night fighters. Halifax LW510 was returning to base on one engine and crashed at Cranfield, Bedfordshire. The aircraft may have been hit by flak or attacked by a night fighter

Cambridge City Cemetery. Liverpool (Anfield) Cemetery. Westerham (St. Mary) Churchyard

Burial details:

F/O. Michael Arabin Wimberley. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave Ref. Grave 14357. Son of Ernest and Winifred Mabel Wimberley of Rowlands Castle, Hampshire, England. (1) L.A.C. Michael Arabin Wimberley 1601087 trained at No. 1 British Flying Training School, Terrell, Texas where he was trained in meteorology, navigation and his flying training would included instrument flying, night and cross country flying and solo flights. He was granted a short service commission on the 20th February 1943 in the General Duties Branch as a Pilot Officer on probation. At this time his service number changed to 150168. F/O. Michael Arabin Wimberley is remembered on Christ Hospital School War Memorial. Michael's brother Peter Arabin Wimberley also served with the RAF. His aircraft was shot down, he was captured and became a PoW. (Wellington N2888)

Sgt. Harold James Neal. Liverpool (Anfield) Cemetery. Grave Ref: Sec. 19. C. of E. Grave 601. No information about next of kin as yet

Fl/Sgt. William Harold Shields. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave Ref: Grave 13957. Son of Joseph Harold and Hilda Shields of Cricklewood, Middlesex, England.

F/O. Reginald Stanislaus Kelly. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave Ref: Grave 14311. Son of Alban George Patrick and Mary Maud Kelly of Ermington, New South Wales, Australia. (2) Reginald was born on the 3rd June 1922, Gunnadah, New South Wales, Australia

Sgt. Leslie James Edge. Westerham (St. Mary) Churchyard, Kent, England. Son of Percy and Grace Edge of Valence

Sgt. Dennis Horace Albert Brignell. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave Ref: 14157. Son of Horace George Henry and Ada Elizabeth Brignell of Holborn, London, England.

Sgt. Horatio Robert Nelson. Liverpool (Anfield) Cemetery. Grave Ref: Sec. 6. C. of E. Grave 635. Son of Robert Horatio and Mary Jane Nelson of Liverpool, England.

Researched by: Kate Tame for Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew.

KT. Page updated 25.08.2016

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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