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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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Bomber Command Crest
04/05.04.1945 No. 186 Squadron Lancaster I HK767 AF-A Fl/Lt. Edgar L. Field DFC

Operation: Merseburg (Leuna synthetic oil refinery)

Date: 04/05th April 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: 186 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: HK767

Code: AF-A

Base: RAF Stradishall, Suffolk

Location: At base RAF Stradishall

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Edgar Leonard Field DFC 179542 RAFVR - Survived

Fl/Eng: Sgt. W.J. Enwright RAFVR - Survived - Injured

Nav: Fl/Sgt. P.A. Epson RAFVR - Survived

Air/Bmr: F/O. G.W. Littleboy RAFVR - Survived

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Cyril John Morris 1739556 RAFVR - Survived

Air/Gnr: Sgt. W.R. O’Connell RAFVR - Survived

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Charles Frederick Turner 1042292 RAFVR Age 22. Survived - Injured


Taking off at 18:43 hrs from RAF Stradishall in Suffolk to bomb the Leuna synthetic oil refinery situated on the south east side of the city - 327 Lancasters with 14 Mosquitoes as bomber support taking part.

Once over the target they came under intense anti-aircraft fire and were hit in the port outer engine. Despite this the pilot managed to nurse the crippled aircraft home.

On return and during trying to align the aircraft with the runway the port inner engine cut out, overshoot procedures were followed, however the Lancaster crashed at 03:00 hrs on an adjoining field to the airfield.

Two members were injured, and taken to RAF hospital in Ely. Fl/Eng. Sgt. Enright sustained various fractures, the rear gunner, Fl/Sgt. Turner was thrown some 50 feet from the aircraft and suffered fractures to the left foot and ankle, femur, skull with other facial injures. He was not expected to survive, but after 14 months made an almost full recovery.

Another aircraft was lost from the squadron this day:

Lancaster I NA533 AF-P Flown by 24 year old, F/O. James Arthur Gordon Beck DFC AUS/408434 RAAF from Launceston, Tasmania, Australia - killed with 5 other crew, the Navigator, P/O. Bartlett survived, injured after colliding with a Lancaster I HK555 KO-E from 115 squadron. The pilot of that aircraft, Fl/Lt. Thomas Anthony O’Halloran 183181 RAFVR and all 7 other crew were killed.

Note: Charles Turner DFM passed away on the 06th November 1996 age 74. The pilot, Fl/Lt. Field received a bar to his DFC for this action, Fl/Sgt. Morris received a DFM on the 25th September 1945 with Fl/Sgt. Turner receiving his DFM on the 26th October 1945.

Burial details:

None - all crew survived.

With thanks to Ian and Barbara Turner for information - we hope to be able to expand on this page in time. Other sources as quoted below.

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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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