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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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428 Squadron Crest
19/20.02.1944 No 428 Squadron Halifax II JD271 NA-M F/O. Alan W. Woolverton

Operation: Leipzig

Date: 19/20th February 1944

Unit: No. 428 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: JD271

Code: NA-M

Base: RAF Middleton St. George. County Durham

Location: Ijsselmeer

Pilot: F/O. Alan Whammond Woolverton J/23297 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Arthur William Gotham 1275643 RAFVR Age 22. Missing

Nav: F/O. Gerald Alfred Smith J/21556 RCAF Age 21. Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Herbert Sutton Lister AUS/420761 RAAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Cecil William Sherratt 1577535 RAFVR Age 22. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edward Charles Webb R/180232 RCAF Age 20. Missing (1)

Air/Gnr: W/O 2. Neil Macintyre Stewart R/161156 RCAF Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 23:56 hrs from RAF Middleton St. George. County Durham (then North Yorkshire) to attack the city of Leipzig together with 822 other aircraft (561 Lancasters, 255 Halifaxes. 7 Mosquitoes)

A very sad day for Bomber Command - they had though that the German controllers would send their night-fighter to the diversionary raid on Kiel Bay, but when this bomber stream crossed the Dutch coast they were met by a larger force of the night fighters (some that had left for the Kiel diversionary raid returned) They were then under attack all the way to the target. The winds had not been as forecasted with a number of the bombers having to circle the target waiting for the pathfinders during this period they lost 4 aircraft in collisions and a further 20 from the heavy flak.

The target was cloud covered and the pathfinders had to use the sky-marking technique. No details regarding the effect of the bombing were available.

Halifax JD 271 was intercepted and shot down by Lt. Friedrich Potthast (2) from 12./NJG1 at 3,700 mtrs. at Ijsselmeer 15 km South East of Medemblik at 06:30 hrs.

W/O. Stewart's body was found near Andijk on the 29th April and buried as described below. On the 17th June F/O. Woolverton's body was came ashore and he was buried also as shown. The last body to be found that of Fl/Sgt. Lister was then buried at Wervershoof Protestant Cemetery before be reinterred.

F/O. Gerald Alfred Smith J/21556 front row extreme right - on a navigators course (courtesy James Neufeglise)

(2) Lt. Friedrich Potthast a Luftwaffe night fighter ace (this was his 6th confirmed claim of the war) went on to make a total of 8 night victories and a further 3 daylight confirmed claims - he was killed on the 21/22 May 1944 in a crash near Sourbrodt (Malmedy) after air combat. (No further details held on file)

Burial details:

F/O. Alan Whammond Woolverton. Enkhuizen General Cemetery Plot 1. Row X. Joint grave 3. Son of John A. and Alice Woolverton, of London, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Arthur William Gotham. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 230. Son of William Arthur and Florrie Gotham, of Fenton, Staffordshire, England.

F/O. Gerald Alfred Smith. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 248. Rochester, New York, USA. No further details - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Herbert Sutton Lister. Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery. XII. A.3. Son of Frederick Daniel H. S. and Matilda Margaret Lister, of Hill End, New South Wales, Australia.

Sgt. Cecil William Sherratt. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 237. Son of Albert Sherratt, Kate Lily Sherratt, of Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, England.

Sgt. Edward Charles Webb. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 256. From Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. No further details - are you able to assist?

(1)Webb Peninsula on Calder Lake, Manitoba, Canada, was named after Sgt. Edward Charles Webb in 1995.

W/O. Neil Macintyre Stewart. Andijk Eastern General Cemetery Grave 143. Son of Mrs. E. M. Stewart, of Paris, Ontario, Canada.

Researched for James Neufeglise nephew F/O. Smith of and all the relatives of the crew members.

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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