AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

• Kracker Archive
• Allied Losses
• Archiwum Polish
• Paradie Canadian
• Searchable Lists

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.
Check our Research databases: Database List


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.

582 Squadron Crest
21/22.02.1945 No 582 Squadron Lancaster III PB652 60-L F/O. J. Gale

Operation: Duisburg

Date: 21/22nd February 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 582 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: PB652

Code: 60-L

Base: RAF Little Staughton, Cambridgeshire

Location: RAF Manston, Kent (note)

Pilot: F/O. John Gale RAFVR Minor injuries, survived

Fl/Eng: Sgt. J. Buxton RAFVR Minor injuries, survived

Nav: Fl/Sgt. A. McDougall RAFVR Minor injuries, survived

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. N.P. Smith RAFVR Minor injuries, survived

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O.2 C.M. Hutton RCAF Minor injuries, survived

Air/Gnr: Sgt. G.T. Everett RAFVR Minor injuries, survived

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles A.H. Dixon RAFVR Severe head injuries, survived

Information for this loss page kindly submitted by Richard Epson, with details provided by the tail gunner, his relative, Sgt. Charlie Dixon - October 2014.


Taking off from RAF Little Staughton, Cambridgeshire at 20:32 hrs on the last operation to Duisburg of the war. 362 Lancasters with 11 Mosquitoes taking part in what has been described as a success with major damage to the target.

8 Lancasters were lost with 21 killed, 33 crew taken PoW. Aircraft lost were either on or returning from the operation.

Lancaster PB652 bombed the target at 17,000 ft at 23:00 hrs. The aircraft was then hit by flak on its return, losing one engine, with severe damage to the aircraft. They called various fighter bases in allied hands in France for permission to carry out an emergency landing - no reply was received. They then called RAF Manston who provided them with permission to carry out an emergency landing.
(note) Many publications incorrectly list this aircraft as returning to its base, RAF Little Staughton, Cambridgeshire.

They reached Manston, but on touch down, due to the serious damage, the pilot had very little control of the aircraft - the undercarriage collapsed resulting in the aircraft breaking up. Sgt. Charles Dixon was thrown out of the rear turret and suffered severe head injuries. He remembers being dragged away from the aircraft which had subsequently caught fire. The rest of the crew escaped with minor injuries.

Charlie Dixon was taken to the hospital at RAF Manston, receiving treatment from Sq/Ldr. McGregor. The remainder of the crew were picked up the following day by Captain Edwin Swales SAAF, DFC, (1) VC (2) of 582 Squadron and returned to base at RAF Little Staughton. Sgt. Dixon re-joined them at a later date - but never flew again.

The aircraft was categorised as E on the 22 February 1945, later being struck off charge on the 12th March 1945.

Left to right: Satherley, John Gale and Charles Dixon in about 2000, the first time they met up after the war.

Burial details:

None - all crew survived.

For further details our thanks to the following, Richard Empson, Charles A.H. Dixon. Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), 'Paradie Archive'.

(1) His DFC Citation reads:

"This Officer was pilot and Captain of an aircraft detailed to attack Cologne in December, 1944. When approaching the target, intense anti-aircraft fire was encountered. Despite this, a good bombing attack was executed. Soon afterwards the aircraft was attacked by five enemy aircraft. In the ensuing fights, Capt. Swales manoeuvred with great skill. As a result his gunners were able to bring effective fire to bear upon the attackers, one of which is believed to have been shot down. Throughout this spirited action Captain Swales displayed exceptional coolness and captaincy, setting a very fine example. This Officer has completed very many sorties during which he has attacked a variety of enemy targets."

Right: Major Edwin Swales SAAF. DFC. VC. (wikipedia)

(2) His VC Citation reads:

"Captain Swales was 'Master Bomber' of a force of aircraft which attacked Pforzheim on the night of February 23rd 1945. As Master Bomber he had the task of locating the target area with precision and of giving aiming instructions to the main force of bombers in his wake.

Soon after he reached the target area he was engaged by an enemy aircraft and one of his engines was put out of action. His rear guns failed. His crippled aircraft was an easy prey for further attacks. Unperturbed, he carried on with his allotted task; clearly and precisely he issued aiming instructions to the main force. Meanwhile the enemy fighter closed the range and fired again. A second engine of Captain Swales’ aircraft was put out of action. Almost defenceless, he stayed over the target area issuing his aiming instructions until he was satisfied that the attack had achieved its purpose.

It is now known that the attack was one of the most concentrated and successful of the war. Captain Swales did not, however, regard his mission as completed. His aircraft was damaged. Its speed had been so much reduced that it could only with difficulty be kept in the air. The blind-flying instruments were no longer working. Determined at all costs to prevent his aircraft and crew from falling into enemy hands, he set course for home. After an hour he flew into thin-layered cloud. He kept his course by skilful flying between the layers, but later heavy cloud and turbulent air conditions were met. The aircraft, by now over friendly territory, became more and more difficult to control; it was losing height steadily. Realising that the situation was desperate Captain Swales ordered his crew to bail out. Time was very short and it required all his exertions to keep the aircraft steady while each of his crew moved in turn to the escape hatch and parachuted to safety. Hardly had the last crew-member jumped when the aircraft plunged to earth. Captain Swales was found dead at the controls. Intrepid in the attack, courageous in the face of danger, he did his duty to the last, giving his life that his comrades might live."

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2024
Last Modified: 04 May 2016, 21:26

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor