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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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158 Squadron Crest
31/01.09.1943 No 158 Squadron Halifax II JN903 NP-C P/O. Ernest James

Operation: Berlin

Date: 31/01st September 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 158 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: JN903

Code: NP-C

Base: RAF Lissett, Yorkshire

Location: Criquiers, France

Pilot: P/O. Ernest James 148180 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. George William Stokes 1164343 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. William John Poulin R/128171 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Robert Gemmell McInnes 133706 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Arthur William Davies 155854 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter William Cramb 1124348 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Stanley William Evans 946822 RRAFVR Age 22. Killed


Taking off from RAF. Lissett, Yorkshire at 20.30 hrs. on an operation to Berlin. 622 aircraft - 331 Lancasters, 176 Halifaxes, 106 Stirlings, 9 Mosquitos.

This raid was not successful due to cloud in the target are, this, together with difficulties with H2S equipment and probably the ferocity of the German defences, all combined to cause the Pathfinder markers to be dropped well south of the centre of the target area and the main force bombing to be even further away.

The main bombing area eventually extended 30 miles back along the bombers' approach route.

After this raid, Gauleiter Goebbels ordered the evacuation from Berlin of all children and all adults not engaged in war work to country areas or to towns in Eastern Germany where air raids were not expected. 47 aircraft - 20 Halifaxes, 17 Stirlings, 10 Lancasters - lost, 1.6 per cent of the force

The loss of allied crews on this raid amounted to:

237 Aircrew killed, 102 made P.O.W's with 3 others evading capture.

It is understood that Halifax JN903 was hit by flak and crashed in Criquirs.

158 Squadron lost 4 aircraft on this trip, the others:

Halifax II HR738 NP-Z ('Zombie's Zephyr') Flown by Sgt. William Kidd, killed with 4 other crew members, 2 others made pow.
Halifax II HR937 NP-P Flown by Sq/Ldr. N.H. Elliot pow with 4 other crew members, 2 killed.
Halifax II JD246 NP-R Flown by P/O. Kenneth Ward killed with 2 crew members, 3 taken pow and 1 evading capture.

Burial details:

P/O. Ernest James. Poix-De-Picardie Churchyard. Row D. Coll. Grave 21-29. Son of Archibald Henry and Lilian James, of Nottingham, England.

Sgt. George William Stokes. Poix-De-Picardie Churchyard. Row D. Coll. Grave 21-29. Son of Harry and Beatrice Stokes, of Kidderminster, Worcestershire, England.

Fl/Sgt. William John Poulin. Poix-De-Picardie Churchyard. Row D. Coll. Grave 21-29. From Dodsland, Saskatchewan, Canada. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

F/O. Robert Gemmell McInnes. Poix-De-Picardie Churchyard. Row D. Coll. Grave 21-29. Son of Robert Gemmell McInnes and of Nettie Henderson McInnes (Nee Fisher), of Glasgow, Scotland.

P/O. Arthur William Davies. Poix-De-Picardie Churchyard. Row D. Coll. Grave 21-29. Son of Thomas John and Alice Davies, of Ogmore Vale, Glamorgan, Wales.

Sgt. Peter William Cramb. Poix-De-Picardie Churchyard. Row D. Coll. Grave 21-29. Son of William Grant Cramb and Elizabeth Ione Cramb, of Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland.

Sgt. Stanley William Evans. Poix-De-Picardie Churchyard. Row D. Coll. Grave 21-29. Son of Harry and Ann Elizebeth Evans, of Birmingham, England.

Researched for Edmund Docker, nephew of Sgt. Stanley William Evans and dedicated to all relatives of the crew. With thanks to Les Allison and Harry Hayward - "They Shall Grow Not Old", Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - "Bomber Command War Diaries - “2014 edition, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Commonwealth Graves Commission.

KTY 06.04.2016 name misspelt, corrected.

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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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