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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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9 squadron badge
No. 9 Squadron Lancaster W4157 WS-V Runnymede 2013 - they never forget

Operation: Berlin

Date: 17/18th January 1943 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 9 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: W4157

Code: WS-V

Base: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire.

Location: Not known, sadly lost without trace.

Pilot: P/O. Trevor Leslie Gibson AUS/402858 RAAF Age 24. Killed

Pilot 2: F/O. Eric William Mitchell Jacombs NZ/413422 RNZAF Age 29. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Stanley Wescombe 527172 RAF Age 29. Killed

Nav: F/O. Cyril Garnett Tilson 127792 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Bernard Kenneth Skinner 1112266 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harry Goodwin Jenkins 1186208 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John William Robinson Broadley 1067031 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: W/O. II Francis Arthur Webb R/93492 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Relatives of F/O. Jacombs would like to contact any relatives of any of the crew - please contact us in the first instance and your details will be forwarded.


Taking off at 16:58 hrs from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. A small force of 187 heavy bombers set out from various squadrons to bomb the heart of Germany, the second consecutive night the city was to suffer. Again the bombers missed the target with the main bombing falling on the southern outskirts of the city. A B.M.W. factory that was making aircraft engines in Spandau was hit by some incendiaries and slightly damaged. The Daimler-Benz factory was also hit but unable to confirm it was from this night's operation or from Saturday. 8 people were killed on the ground and 41 injured according to German reports.

Bombing takes place fairly early in the evening between 20:30 hrs and 21:25 hrs.

The allied formations were attacked very fiercely both outbound and homeward. Flak and night fighters interceptions were intense with no less than 22 bombers lost, and a further 20 managing to return home with damage from fighters. 9 Squadron alone lost 4 Lancasters, 24 boys dead, 5 taken PoW, not able to return home for a number of years:
Lancaster I W4379 WS-A Flown by Sgt. Carswell RCAF taken PoW with 4 other crew, 2 killed
Lancaster I W4761 WS-P Flown by Fl/Sgt. Anderson Storey RCAF killed with all 6 other crew.
Lancaster I ED436 WS-G Sgt. John G. B. Chilvers RAFVR killed with all 6 other crew.

A total of 22 aircraft were lost, no accurate night fighter reports are available for this night and it is thought that W4157 was hit by flak.

The BBC broadcaster Richard Dimbleby flew as an observer on this operation in a 106 Squadron Lancaster, flown by W/Cdr. Guy Gibson.

Above and below: W4157 with some of the ground crew. Fourth in from the right is LAC. Arthur Alexander Williams, hands in pockets. Sixth from the right is Roy Whitehouse. (Courtesy William Willians, grandson of LAC. Williams)

Runnymede March 2013 - a visit made by Aircrew Remembered. We have not made the words visible from the relative, they are private - but they touched us, hence this page of remembrance!

Burial and further details:

P/O. Trevor Leslie Gibson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel. 191. Born on the 14th of January 1919 in Inverell, New South Wales. Worked as a printer for the Sydney Morning Herald in the Letterpress Section. Enlisted on the 11th November 1940 in Sydney. Trained with No. 8 Elementary Flying Training School on 06th February 1941 in Canada. With Service Flying Training School on 15th May 1942. Husband of Gloria Elizabeth Gibson (married 14th September 1940), of 4 Wallace Street, Kingsford, New South Wales, Australia.

F/O. Eric William Mitchell Jacombs.Runnymede Memorial. Panel. 197. Born on the 28th October 1915 IN Palmerston North, but grew up in Auckland. Worked as a laboratory assistant for Fredrick Stearns and Company in Auckland. Enlisted on the 17th August 1941 at Levin as a pilot under training. With No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School 28th September 1941. With No. 3 Flying Training School on the 08th November 1941. Pilot badge awarded on the 20th December 1941. Commissioned on the 31st January 1942. Embarked for England on the 17th March 1942. With No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre 12th May 1942. Served in various units before joining 19 Operational Training Unit flying the Whitley 25th August 1942. With 1654 Heavy Conversion Unit on the 15th November 1942. Joined 9 squadron on the 11th January 1943. Son of William Henry Jacombs and of Frances Mary Jacombs (née Howell), of 6 Dunedin St, Ponsonby, Auckland. In early 1942, he married Joan Winifred Jacombs (née Hill), in early 1942, of Mount Eden, Auckland, New Zealand.

Sgt. Stanley Wescombe. Runnymede Memorial. Panel. 169. Son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Wescombe, of Liverpool, England.

F/O. Cyril Garnett Tilson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel. 129. Son of William Garnett Tilson and Alice Louisa Crouch Tilson, of Southampton, England.

Fl/Sgt. Bernard Kenneth Skinner. Runnymede Memorial. Panel. 139. Son of Albert Ephraim and Rosamond Lillie Skinner, of York, England.

Sgt. Harry Goodwin Jenkins. Runnymede Memorial. Panel. 155. No further details are available as yet, are you able to assist?

Sgt. John William Robinson Broadley. Runnymede Memorial. Panel. 144. No further details are available as yet, are you able to assist?

W/O. II Francis Arthur Webb. Runnymede Memorial. Panel. 180. From Homewood, Manitoba, Canada. Further information: Just before this operation F/O. Mike Downs, met Francis - who was adopted by his Aunt and Uncle when he was 8 years old. This was because his mother, Mrs Downs had died. F/O. Mike Downs was a pilot with the No. 3 Squadron when he was shot down in a Tempest on the 13th of September 1943 and taken PoW. We hope that we will be able to research this and place a page on F/O. Downs in the near future. Perhaps you can contribute information?

Above L-R: P/O. Trevor Gibson, F/O. Eric Jacombs, W/O. II Francis Webb.

Researched for relatives of the crew after Aircrew Remembered visited and paid their respects at Runnymede in March 2013. With thanks to Rex Sinnott for information and the photograph on his relative, F/O. Eric Jacombs. William Williams for the amazing photographs of W4157. Additional information courtesy sources quoted.

KTY 03.10.2015 New information and photo added.

KTY 23-08-2022 Page updated

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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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