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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. 100 Squadron
30/31.01.1944 100 Squadron Lancaster III ND398 HW-B Plt.Off. Crabtree

Mission: Berlin, Germany

Date: 30/31st January 1944 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: 100 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND398

Code: HW-B

Base: RAF Grimsby, Lincolnshire

Location: Karwe, NNE of Karstadt, Germany

Pilot: Plt.Off. John Athelstan Crabtree. 171003. RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Robert Thomas Davies. 1515730. RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Nav: Fg.Off. Maurice Owen Rees. 135877. RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. J. W. Knight. RAFVR PoW No. 1169. Camp 357 Stalag Kopernikus

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Francis Helm. 1437898. RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Flt.Sgt. George Walter Box. DFM. 1578935. RAFVR Age 22. Killed (1)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Joseph Whelan. 1796208. RAFVR Age 19. Killed


Took off at 1713hrs for a night raid on Berlin. It is thought that the aircraft crashed at Karwe, 8km NNE from Karstadt. This aircraft may have been shot down by a night fighter or hit by flak. On the 4th February burials were reported from Karwe.

Probable claim by Fw Joseph Schratter 7/NJG5 at 2025 hrs

A further two aircraft from 100 Squadron were lost that evening Lancaster JB673, Fg.Off. Parker and Lancaster ND360 WO. Ives with a loss of 14 lives. 534 aircraft - 440 Lancasters, 82 Halifaxes and 12 Mosquitoes took part in this raid with a loss of 33 aircraft - 32 Lancaster's and 1 Halifax.

(1) Flt.Sgt. Box's DFM was gazetted on the 15th October 1943.

A Lancaster Mk III

Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. F/O. Maurice Owen Rees is remembered on the Mayfield School War Memorial, Portsmouth

Burial details:

Plt.Off. John Athelstan Crabtree. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref. 7. A. 21. Son of Harold George Athelstan Crabtree and Edith Crabtree of Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire. At the time of his death John's address was 17 Queens Road, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough

Sgt. Robert Thomas Davies. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref. 7. A. 19. Son of George Ernest and Evelyn May Davies of Quatford, Shropshire

Fg.Off. Maurice Owen Rees. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref. 7. A. 18. At the time of his death Maurice's address was 2 Jasmond Road, Cosham, Portsmouth. Maurice is also remembered on the Mayfield School War Memorial. No further information as yet

Flt.Sgt. Francis Helm. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref. 7. A. 22. Son of James and Elizabeth Helm of Preston, Lancashire. Francis was born on the 11th March 1922 and attended Preston Grammar School from 1933-1938 and is remembered on the school War Memorial

Flt.Sgt. George Walter Box. D.F.M. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref. 7. A. 20. Son of Walter and Charlotte Ellen Box of Alvaston, Derby. Fl/Sgt. Box was on his second tour and had previously served with No. 50 Squadron. His D.F.M. was Gazetted on October 15th 1943

Sgt. John Joseph Whelan. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref. 7. A. 17. Foster-son of Mrs M. Kenny of Glasnevin, Co. Dublin, Irish Republic

Researched by: Kate Tame for aircrewremembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew

Acknowledgements: Commonwealth War Graves Commission, W. R. Chorley Bomber Command Losses 1944, M Middlebrook and C Everitt Bomber Command War Diaries, Preston Grammar School Association, Banstead War Memorial. Thanks to John Jones for the fighter claim information.

RS 6.12.2019 - Addition of fighter claim information

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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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