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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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78 Squadron Crest
19/20.02.1944 No. 78 Squadron Halifax III LV816 EY-M Fl/Lt. Brian Denman

Operation: Leipzig

Date: 19/20th February 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 78 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LV816

Code: EY-M

Base: RAF Breighton

Location: Stendal area, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Brian Denman 50231 RAF Age 21. Killed

Pilot 2 (U/T): Fl/Sgt. William Allen Lea 1451805 RAFVR PoW No: 1624 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus.

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Edward Henry Glibbery 1615064 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Nav: F/O. E.M. Wells 141335 RAFVR PoW No: 3517 Camp Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria.

Air/Bmr: F/O. William Shelton Wilson J/12971 RCAF Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr (Nav): P/O. Robert Grainger Messer 162854 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Herbert Frank Kelter J/86404 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: W/O. II. Emmitt Francis McAneeley R/128424 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Relatives of Sgt. Glibbery would very much like contact with other relatives - in particular, anyone who may have a photo of the crew / aircraft?


Took off at 00:13 hrs from RAF Breighton 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 thought 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.

Sgt. Edward Henry Glibbery shown rear row, 3rd from right (courtesy George and Moira Pound)

The winds had not been as forecasted and a number of the bombers had 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 LV816 intercepted by possibly Oblt Werner Hopf (1) of Stab IV OR V./NJG5 at 02:58 hrs during the outbound leg of the operation, prior to dropping its bomb load. The aircraft crashed in the Stendal area of Germany.

Also lost on this operation from 78 squadron:

Halifax III LK763 EY-K - Flown by 22 year old John Smith 1323064 RAFVR from Selsdon, Surrey, England - missing with all 6 other crew.
Halifax III LW367 EY-L - Flown by 20 year old Thomas Henry Smith 159075 RAF from Rainham, Essex, England - killed with all 6 other crew.

(1) The 3rd night Abschüsse for Oblt. Werner Hopf who went on to become an ace with 22 night abschüsse, he deserted from the Luftwaffe on the 30th April 1945 flying a Ju 88 with 2 fellow officers, two women and a child - survived the war, no further details.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Brian Denman. Berlin War Cemetery. Coll. grave 8.G.1-16. Son of Lt. Alfred Denam, nephew of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Denman of 33 Cedar Road, Hale, Cheshire, England. Attended Bradbury Central School - joined the RAF at 15 as an aircraft apprentice - commenced pilot training later gaining his wings in November 1942.

Sgt. Edward Henry Glibbery. Berlin War Cemetery.Grave 8.C.31. Husband of Catherine (widowed - née Lally) and a daughter Moira - born on 07th July 1942 of 10 Ruskin Terrace, Tilbury, Essex, England.

F/O. William Shelton Wilson. Berlin War Cemetery. Coll. grave 8.G.1-16. Son of Harold S. Wilson and Lillian M. Wilson, of Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

P/O. Robert Grainger Messer. Berlin War Cemetery. Coll. grave 8.G.1-16. Robert was born and brought up in the Bellevue area of Edinburgh and the son of Andrew and Beatrice Messer. Robert was the third youngest of 8 siblings and his brother Grainger was killed in Italy in 1944 serving in Scots Guards. Two other brothers served in the army and survived the war. The youngest and only survivor of the 8 siblings is the mother of Grainger Falconer who supplied Aircrew Remembered with this information in August 2016. For many years his grandparents did not know that Robert was buried in Germany.

P/O. Herbert Frank Kelter. Berlin War Cemetery.Grave 8.C.30. Son of Thomas William and Frances Hetty Kelter, of 1407 22nd Avenue Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Brother to Bert, William, Ann and Hetty. Attended Western Canada High School, received commission the day prior to being reported missing.

W/O. II. Emmitt Francis McAneeley. Berlin War Cemetery. Coll. grave 8.G.1-16. Son of Joseph V. McAneeley and Johannah McAneeley, of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Researched for George Pound and relatives of Sgt. Edward Gibbery. With thanks to Grainger Falconer for further details on P/O. Messer. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.

KTY 03.08.2016 further information added

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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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