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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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106 Squadron Crest
03/04.09.1943 106 Squadron Lancaster III JA893 ZN:C Sqn.Ldr. David W.S. Howroyd

Operation: Berlin

Date: 3/4th September 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 106 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JA893

Code: ZN:C

Base: RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire

Location: North Sea - exact location not known

Pilot: Sqn.Ldr. David William Southam Howroyd 40115 RAF Age 25. Survived

Flt.Eng: Sgt. A.J. Sargent RAF Age? Survived

Nav: Sgt. Thomas Herbert Davies 159934 RAFVR Age 34. Survived

Air Bmr: Fg.Off. Thomas William Allan Saxby 137545 RAFVR Age 26. Missing

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Stanley Knox Chappell 976906 RAFVR Age 22. Survived

Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Ronald Glendinning Kelly 1559792 RAFVR Age? Survived

Air Gnr: Sgt. Leslie John Andrew McKenzie 526812 RAF Age 27. Injured (Critically)


Took off from Syerston, Nottinghamshire at 19:50 hrs. to attack Berlin. A total of 316 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitoes took part with the the Mosquitoes used to drop spoof flares well away from the bombers route to attract Luftwaffe night fighters. The raid was costly, 22 Lancasters lost and the bombs fell mostly short of the target area. The bombers that did reach the target fell mainly in the residential areas of Charlottenburg and Moabit. Several factories however were hit and suffered serious loss of production.

On the ground 422 people were listed as killed, 225 civilians, 24 servicemen, 18 men and 2 women from the air-raid services, 123 foreign workers made up from 92 women and 31 men. A further 170 civilians were classed as ‘missing’. Records show that another soldier and 7 ‘criminal’ assistants were also killed when the delayed action bombs they were working on exploded.

133 Aircrew were killed and many others injured, made PoW or interred in Sweden.

Above and below pictures of the rescue of crew from JA893 (courtesy William Haider)

2 Lancasters were lost from 106 Squadron on this raid, the other was ED385 Flown by 26 year old Fg.Off. Leslie Walter Roper 409597 RAAF from Bentleigh, Victoria, Australia. Killed with all 7 crew.

The Mid-Upper Gunner, Flt.Sgt. Kelly, of JA893 claimed the destruction of an Me110 after a prolonged combat over Berlin at 00:39 hrs. JA893 was extensively damaged in the combat, its bomb aimer being killed and the rear gunner, Sgt. McKenzie, mortally injured. The Lancaster was later successfully ditched in the North Sea some 150 miles from the British Coast, the five survivors picked up by a Naval launch, docking at Immingham at 05:45 hrs. It should be noted that none of the Bomber Command air gunners’ claims has been identified, as no Nachtjäger were reported lost in the target area. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (23 June - 22 September) 1943 Part 2 - Theo Boiten))

Sgt. McKenzie died before Rescue Launch No. 550 arrived to take them to safety. The full story regarding this loss can be found in the publication Air Sea Rescue in WW2 by Alan Rowe and Andy Andrews.

After only another 5 weeks almost the same crew took off from the same airfield at 22:51 hrs to attack Hannover. This time with Lancaster III DV272 ZN:F

Burial details:

Fg.Off. Thomas William Allan Saxby. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 129. Son of Alfred William and Catherine Elizebeth Saxby, of Hove, Sussex, England.

Sgt. Leslie John Andrew McKenzie. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 13540. Son of John Francis McKenzie and of Mary Jane McKenzie, of Hendon, Middlesex, England.

Researched for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. With thanks to Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries’ (Updated 2014 version) With additional details from Aircrew Remembered own archives. Also to Dave Champion for his further detailed crew members research (May 2019). Narrative reviewed and updated to remove duplication and include Nachtjagd Combat Archive information (Feb 2021).

RS 06.02.2021 - Report reviewed and 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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