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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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630 squadron badge
22/23.05.1944 No. 630 Squadron Lancaster III JB546 P/O. Champness

Operation: Braunschweig, Germany

Date: 22/23rd May 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 630 Squadron 5 Group

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JB546

Code: LE-A

Base: RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire.

Location: Quakenbrück, Germany

Pilot: P/O. Edward Frank Champness AUS/421858 RAAF Age 20. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Peacock Craig Johnstone 1822545 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Vernon Stanley John Zucker RAAF PoW No: 105 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankau-Kreulberg

Air/Bmr: P/O. Gerald Melbourne Naugler J/92151 RCAF Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edmund Adair 1822545 RAFVR PoW No: 71 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf, Stalag Luft Bankau near Kreuzberg Upper Silesia

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leonard Jones 1381397 RAFVR PoW No: 29 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankau-Kreulberg

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alan Leslie Pickering 1623919 RAFVR Age ? Killed


Took off at 22:40 hrs. from RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire. Part of a force of 225 Lancaster and 10 Mosquitoes to attack Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany.

The raid was considered a failure as although the weather forecast was for clear skies - the marker aircraft found a complete covering of cloud - there was also interference on the master bombers' radio communications.

Most of the bombing fell in the country areas around the city. Records show that only a few bombs fell on the city and no ground casualties. A reconnaissance aircraft flying through the target area an hour later found that the cloud had completely cleared.

14 Lancasters were lost on this raid. 81 crew members were killed and a further 18 being made PoW.

Lancaster JB546 is thought to have been shot down by Oblt. Heinz Ferger of 2./NJG3 - combat occurred at a height of 5,400 mtrs. South East of Quakenbrück at 00.30 hrs. Oblt. Ferger went on to become a night fighter ace with over 23 claims (23 confirmed - 3 probables) - killed on the 13/14th of April 1945, shot down by a Mosquito on finals to Lübeck airfield.

Left: East Kirkby Airfield

Right: RAF Rauceby Hospital, Lincolnshire - during the demolition process.

It would seem that P/O. Gerald Melbourne Naugler took over as Bomb aimer for this flight as the regular B/A. Sgt. N.C. Scullard was injured on a training flight with the Lancashire Finishing School (LFS) on the 13th of March 1944 on a dual flight training mission.

Right: Fl/Sgt. Vernon Stanley John Zucker
The instructor was at the controls when after taking off from Syerston, Nottinghamshire during the flight the aircraft suffered an engine failure as it approached the runway at 18:05 hrs. The Instructor (Fl/Lt K. Ruskell) banked steeply to avoid a building when a gust of wind lifted the starboard wing and a crash landing followed almost immediately.

Four of the crew were injured, 1 seriously (Sgt. Scullard) and he was taken to RAF hospital in Rauceby, Lincolnshire. It is understood that he recovered and survived the war, however, we have no further information on him.

Fl/Sgt. Zucker was captured on the 28th of May 1944. Sgt. Jones was part of Trupp 1. He arrived at Bankau on the 06th of June 1944. Fl/Sgt. Zucker and Sgt. Adair was part of Trupp 2. They arrived at Bankau on the 13th of June 1944.

Rheinberg War Cemetery - insert: P/O. Edward Frank Champness

Burial details:

Sgt. Johnstone and P/O, Naugler RCAF was initially buried in Quakenbruck Badbergenerstr Cemetery. Reinterred on the 20th December 1947.

P/O. Edward Frank Champness. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 17.C.6. Son of Edgar Frank and Vera Champness, of St. Marys, New South Wales, Australia.

Sgt. John Peacock Craig Johnstone. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 17.B.12. No further details, are you able to assist?

P/O. Gerald Melbourne Naugler. (shown left) Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 17.B.13. Son of Melbourne Charles and Etta May Naugler, of Upper La Have, Lunenburg Co., Nova Scotia, Canada.

Sgt. Alan Leslie Pickering. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 17.A.5. No further details, are you able to assist?

Researched for Dave Knowler relative of P/O. Gerald Melbourne Naugler. With thanks to the sources quoted below. Also thanks to Dave Champion for further information - April 2017. John Jones for further details - 12th February 2023.

KTY 12-02-2023 - further details added courtest John Jones

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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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