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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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10 Squadron Crest
22/23.11.1943 No. 10 Squadron Halifax II JD367 ZA-Z F/O. Thomas Hall

Operation: Berlin

Date: 22/23rd November 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 10 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: JD367

Code: ZA-Z

Base: RAF Melbourne, Yorkshire

Location: Achmer nr. Bransche

Pilot: F/O. Thomas Hall 51335 RAF Age 31. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. William Robert Zastrow 1603263 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Nav: Sgt. George Leslie Skelton 1545950 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Samuel Phillip Rogers 818036 RAF (Auxiliary) Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Cyril James Ashton 1399659 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Howard Leroy Anderson R/193090 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Roy Colebrooke 1874034 RAFVR Age 26. Killed


Taking off at 16:54 hrs from RAF Melbourne in Yorkshire on the largest single force of heavies to Berlin of the war to date 764 aircraft taking part. No diversions were set in place which was unusual. The route planned was from base - to Texel, Holland and then onto the target - return route would be the same.

Bomber command were attempting to use the weather with 10/10 cloud with severe icing which kept the night fighters grounded. Very few air to air combats taking place.

The prolonged bombing which lasted over two hours saw some night fighter action over the target.

It is believed that JD367 was hit by anti-aircraft fire from batteries of either the 8th Flak division or the 15th Flak Brigade - 26 bombers were lost with 80 returning home with various degrees of flak damage. Some 6 Luftwaffe night fighters were also lost during the night.

10 Squadron lost another crew this night:

Halifax II JD146 ZA-V Also due to flak. Flown by 30 year old Fl/Lt. Donald Samuel Pont 60087 RAFVR from Bristol, England, missing with all his 6 other crew.

Note: JD367 was built by English Electric Co. (Salmesbury and Preston) in July 1943.

Burial details:

F/O. Thomas Hall. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 26.A.11. Son of Robert H. and Louisa M. Hall, husband of Mena A. E. Hall, of Somerton, Oxfordshire, England.

Sgt. William Robert Zastrow. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.A.12-14. Son of William and Annie Zastrow, of Luton, Bedfordshire, England.

Sgt. George Leslie Skelton. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.A.12-14. No further details, are you able to contribute?

Fl/Sgt. Samuel Phillip Rogers. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.A.12-14. No further details, are you able to contribute?

Sgt. Cyril James Ashton. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.A.12-14. No further details, are you able to contribute?

Sgt. Howard Leroy Anderson. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.A.12-14. Born Regina, 25 April 1924, the son of Russel Leroy and Esther Williamena (née Jaeke) Anderson, the youngest of three children. He grew up in Saskatchewan and Minnesota before the family settled in Hamilton, Ontario. Both parents were American immigrants to Canada. When he enlisted in the RCAF 9 September, 1942, he was working as a clerk for Morris Gift and Leather in Hamilton.

Sgt. John Roy Colebrooke. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 26.A.12-14. Son of Herbert George and Lilian Stevenson Colebrooke, of Wood Green, Middlesex, England. Husband of Florence Lena Colebrooke, of Hertford, England.

Researched for Derek Colbrooke and Ken Hatfield. With thanks also to Wes Ashton, great nephew of Sgt. Cyril Ashton who contacted us in October 2016. Information and photo of Sgt. Anderson courtesy of David Champion - October 2017. Further information from various sources as quoted below.

KTY - 05-10-2017 Further details 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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