16/17.03.1945 166 Squadron Lancaster I RF154 AS:B Fg.Off. Churchward
Date: 16/17th March 1945 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: 166 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Code: AS:B (Nicknamed: 'TARFU' - things are really f….. up)
Base: RAF Kirmington, Lincolnshire
Pilot: Fg.Off. H.F. “Bud” Churchward RCAF Survived PoW No: ? Camp: Stuttgart?
Flt.Eng: Sgt. Edwin “Ted” W. Hull RAFVR Survived PoW No: ? Camp: Nuremberg. Returned to UK 17th May 1945
Nav: Fg.Off. L.F. “Lefty” Etherington RCAF Survived PoW No: ? Camp: Nuremberg.
Air Bmr: Fg.Off. J.L. “Chuck” Goddard RCAF Survived PoW No: ? Camp: Nuremberg.
WOp/Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Alf "Chalky" V. White 1852534 RAFVR Survived PoW No: ? Camp: Nuremberg. Returned to UK 17th May 1945
Air Gnr: Sgt. Jacob ”Jack” Goldstein 2235812 RAFVR Age 33. Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Robert “Bob” T. Green RAFVR Survived PoW No: ? Camp: Nuremberg.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Lancaster I RF154 left Kirmington at 17:12 hrs. as part of 26 aircraft from 166 Squadron with warnings of heavy flak and fighters. It was laden with 2154 gallons of fuel, a 4000 lb. high explosive bomb and six 1000 lb. incendiary clusters.
Approaching the target of the marshalling yards at Nuremberg at 21:30 hrs. and at 20,000 feet they could see flames ahead, with flak and fighter flares to both port and starboard.
RF154 Crew - back row L - R: Fg.Off. Goddard, Unknown (Ground crew), Flt.Sgt. White, Fg.Off. Etherington, "Buster" Ground Crew, Engines, Sgt. Hull, Sgt. Green. Front row: Unknown (Ground crew) , Sgt. Goldstein, Fg.Off. Churchward (courtesy Ted Hull via Rod Goldstein and Linda Ibrom)
In August 2018 Michael Goldstein published the biography of the mid-upper Gunner, his father, Sgt. Jacob ”Jack” Goldstein the only fatality from this crew:
Published by Michael Goldstein (August 31, 2018) ISBN-13: 978-1907953705. 188 pages.
All proceeds from the sale of the biography will go to the Royal British legion and the RAF Benevolent Fund. Available to purchase from Amazon and would appreciate it if you purchase through this link.
Jacob (‘Jack’) Goldstein was mid-upper gunner in a Lancaster bomber when it was shot down by a German night-fighter during Bomber Command’s final WW2 mission to Nürnberg. It was the night of 16 March 1945, just a few weeks before the war ended. He was the only member of the seven-man crew to be killed. The title of the book derives from the simple entry ‘Shalom!’ that Jack’s widow, Sadie, poignantly wrote in the book of remembrance at the Dürnbach War Graves Cemetery where Jack is now buried.
With seconds to go before releasing their bombs, Jack Goldstein was heard to shout “Corkscrew p…”It was thought that he was going to say “…port) but he didn’t get that far. By the time the rear gunner, Bob Green yelled “Corkscrew Skipper for Christ’s sake”, it was too late. On fire, the crew abandoned the aircraft with the bomb aimer (Chuck Goddard) escaping through the front escape hatch, then the flight engineer (Ted Hull). The navigator (Lefty Etherington) managed to escape after his parachute got stuck in the hatch.
In the rear turret the guns had elevated and jammed Bob Green, (the rear gunner) foot but he managed to get out from the plane. As the wireless operator (Alf White) made his way to the rear entrance of the plane, he passed Sergeant Goldstein who was still in his harness and slapped his legs to ensure that he had heard the order to bale out.
Meanwhile the pilot was struggling to keep the plane on an even keel and after seeing three crew get out of the front hatch, he gave a roll call to check if the others had also got out. After only receiving a reply from the rear gunner, he assumed everyone had managed to bale out and jumped. It would appear that Sergeant Goldstein was already dead in the plane.
German records show that at 21.31 hrs. on 16th March 1945, a Lancaster bomber was shot down by Feldwebel (Sergeant) Schuster from Luftwaffe unit 1./NJG5, north of Nuremberg. By all accounts, his aircraft was a Junkers JU88. The Lancaster crashed near Kammerstein, the administrative region of Roth, Bavaria, and South of Nuremberg.
Investigation report to the Air Ministry, dated 6th December 1946, the full text of which is-
“Herr Koelisch, Pfaffenhofen, near Roth was detailed on 17th March 1945 by an officer from the Luftwaffe Station at Roth to proceed to the New Cemetery at Schwabach and bury seven English flyers - the dead members of two crews who crashed near Schwabach in the evening of 16th March 1945. Six of these flyers were brought to the churchyard from a crash in the Penzendorfer Strasse, Schwabach and Koellisch said that 3 were Canadian and 3 were English (The aircraft was Lancaster 1, PD275, the seventh crew member, another Canadian, was captured by the Germans and became a prisoner of war. (This was in fact the Air Bomber of PD275, Sergeant J.H. Clarke, RCAF).
Above: Sgt. Jacob ”Jack” Goldstein (courtesy Michael Goldstein via Linda Ibrom. Grave photo courtesy David Franklin)
After their burial another English flyer (now known to be Sergeant Goldstein) was brought from a crash near Kammerstein. The other six crew members were taken prisoner but the deceased had crashed with the burning aircraft. The papers belonging to these airmen had been taken by the Luftwaffe authorities in Roth. They were the only aircraft to crash in this area on 16th march 1945 and therefore the airman taken from the crash with the bodies of the crew of PD275 was from the crew of a 166 squadron Lancaster 1 RF154 AS-B, Sergeant Jacob ”Jack” Goldstein RAFVR.
A graves concentration report dated 2nd July 1948 identifies the six airmen originally buried at Schwabach as the crew of PD275 details here. Sergeant Goldstein was described as “Body1" of seven.
They were all reburied, in individual graves on 18th of June 1948 at Durnbach War Cemetery.
Sgt. Jacob ”Jack” Goldstein Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 11.K.22. Son of Joe and Fanny Goldstein, husband of Sarah Hyman (formerly Goldstein) of Stoke Newington, London, England. Grave inscription reads: "For Ever Remembered Wife Sadie, Children Leila And Michael Parents And Family".
Jacob Goldstein, known as “Jack” was born in Warsaw, Poland and brought to England by his mother Feigele (Fanny) with his older brother Levy (later known as Lou) and sister Annie just before the outbreak of WW1 to join his father, Yosef and brother in law. They settled in the East End of London and his parents had another eight children with all the boys serving in the Forces in WW2 and surviving apart from Jack.
Jack was aged 27 when war was declared and had made several attempts to enlist and been turned down owing to his Polish birth, the government decided to bring into service” friendly aliens” and he enlisted on the 22nd January 1944. After training he was assigned to 166 Squadron on the 5th January 1945, flying 15 operations as mid upper gunner plus several exercises and aborted missions.
The reunion L - R: Flt.Sgt. Alf "Chalky" White, Sgt. Edwin “Ted” Hull and Ron Goldstein
After VE Day, the 6 survivors of RF154 returned to their loved ones. Mrs Goldstein, his wife and mother of his two children, Michael and Leila, learned that Jack was “missing” via a telegram on the 17th March 1945. It took her many weeks, even months to accept that he had been killed and she grieved till her death on the 7th of January 2001 aged 87.
Above, pieces gathered from the crash site of Lancaster RF154. Further information follows as it is thought a memorial will be placed at the crash site. Pictured, left to right: Volker Bauer, Leonhard Heubeck, Georg Heinrich and Rahn Höfer. This information was sent in by Melanie Herzog who lives in the village. We have the newspaper translated into English in order that relatives of other crew members can contact them.
More can be read about this loss on the BBC WW2 Peoples War.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom with information supplied by Michael Goldstein son of Sgt. ”Jack” Goldstein and for all the relatives of the crew. Original research carrried out by Ron Goldstein in 1995.
Acknowledgments: With thanks to the following: Michael Goldstein, Ron Goldstein and all the Goldstein family, Ruti Viv, Ted Hull, Melani Herzog, Dave Kirby for translation (Sep 2019). Thanks to Jen Murphy, the granddaughter of Fg.Off. Churchward, for the correction to the spelling of his surname (Nov 2020).