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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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61 Squadron
28/29.07.1944 61 Squadron Lancaster III LM452 WO. William R. MacPherson

Operation: Stuttgart, Germany

Date: 28th/29th July 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit No: 61 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: LM452

Code: QR:T

Base: RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire

Location: 1½ km NE of Neumalsch, Germany

Pilot: WO. William Reddington MacPherson 1579079 RAFVR Age 26. KiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. William James Smith 1819575 RAFVR Age 19. KiA

Nav: Fg Off. Peter Paul Brosko J28773 RCAF Age 26. Murdered (2)

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. R.G. McMillan R134302 RCAF Age? PoW No. 750 * (1)

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Gerald Harry Postins 1217077 RAFVR Age 21. KiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Flt Sgt. John Wallace Allan Mackie R215883 RCAF Age 20. KiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Flt Sgt. David Fraser Currie R201612 RCAF Age 21. KiA

* Stalag 3a and work camps (Also Oflag 3-6) Luckenwalde (was originally an interrogation centre), Brandenburg, Prussia.

Above, left to right: Fg Off. Brosko, Flt Sgt. Mackie, Flt Sgt. Currie from their service records.


LM452 took off from RAF Skellingthorpe at 22:18 hrs on the night of the 28th July 1944 and joined fifteen other Lancasters from 61 Sqn tasked with a bombing mission on Stuttgart, Germany. LM452 was the only Lancaster from the Sqn that failed to return from the operation.

The aircraft was intercepted en route to the target and was claimed as a probable by Unteroffizier (Cpl) Bruno Rupp, his 8th Abschuss, from 4./NJG3 as a 4 motor west of Strasbourg at 4.600 m at 01:28 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (24 July 1944 - 15 October 1944) Part 4 - Theo Boiten).

Feldwebel (Sgt) Rupp survived the war and was credited with 15 confirmed Abschüsse. He died on the 26th March 2014. (Luftwaffe ACES - Biographies and Victory Claims (Mathews and Foreman) - Volume 3).

The Lancaster crashed in the locality of Malsch, 1½ km SE of Neumalsch and was totally destroyed.

It is believed that Sgt. McMillan and Fg Off. Brosko were the only two of the crew that parachuted from the aircraft. Fg Off. Brosko was seen to land safely near Oberseebach in Alsace.

(1) Sgt. McMillan was granted a commission and promoted to J89930 Plt Off. whilst a PoW and transferred to Stalag Luft 7, Bankau nr. Kreuzburg. He returned to England on the 14th May 1945.

(2)The circumstances leading to the death of Fg Off. Brosko were determined by a British Military Court convened in Braunschweig (Brunswick) in Germany on the 22nd and 23rd October 1946.

Frederich Kramer, a German national was charged that he at Oberseebach in Alsace during or about the month of July 1944 in violation of the laws and usages of war killed a Canadian Flying Officer, a PoW, believed to be Flying Officer P.P. Brosko, RCAF.

Kramer, also known as Fritz Kromer, was a former Leutnant der Polizei (2nd Lt) of the Gendarmerie (State rural police) at Weissenburg in Alsace.

Georges Rott witnessed Kramer take charge of Fg Off. Brosko and drive him away in a car. The court established that in the early hours of the morning of the 29th July 1944 Kramer ordered Fg Off. Brosko out of the car, made him walk a few paces in front and then shot him in the back of the head killing him. He then threw the officer’s body into a ditch alongside the road.

The court found Kramer guilty of the charge and sentenced him to death by shooting. He was executed on the 9th January 1947 at Wolfenbüttel in Germany.

Burial details:

WO. William Reddington MacPherson. Choloy War Cemetery 3.F.12. Inscription: "TO SAVE MANKIND- YOURSELF YOU SCORNED TO SAVE". Born on the 7th January 1918 in Toronto, Ontario. Son of William Edward and Margaret Evelyn (née Bollard) MacPherson. Husband of Phyllis Anne (née Breeze) MacPherson, of Castle Fields, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.

Sgt. William James Smith. Choloy War Cemetery 3.F.7. Inscription: "WHEN WE MEET FAR BEYOND EARTH'S CROSS THEN WE SHALL KNOW THE REASON FOR OUR LOSS". Son of Alfred Edwin and Gertrude Smith, of Sawley, Derbyshire, England.

Fg Off. Peter Paul Brosko. Choloy War Cemetery 3.F.8. Inscription: "REST IN PEACE. MEMORY OF YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN". Born on the 29th May 1918 in Cobalt, Ontario. Son of William and Mary (née Jigouski) Brosko; husband of Mary (née Kurello) Brosko, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Gerald Harry Postins. Choloy War Cemetery 3.F.11. Inscription: "DEEP IN MY HEART HIS MEMORY IS KEPT, I, WHO LOVED HIM, WILL NEVER FORGET. WIFE NORA". Born in 2nd Qtr of 1923 in Birmingham. Son of Harry and Elsie (née Jarvis) Postins; husband of Nora (née Hilton) Postins, of Oldham, Lancashire, England.

Plt Off. John Wallace Allan Mackie. Choloy War Cemetery Joint grave 3.F.9-10. Inscription: "BLESSED IS HE WHO GAVE HIS ALL TO SAVE OTHERS. EVER REMEMBERED BY FAMILY". Born on the 6th October 1924 in Gunton, Manitoba. Son of Robert and Margaret Ellen (née Johnson) Mackie, of Kenora, Ontario, Canada.

Posthumously granted a commissioned and promoted to J90349 Plt Off. with effect 27th July 1944.

Plt Off. David Fraser Currie. Choloy War Cemetery Joint grave 3.F.9-10. Born on the 13th July 1923 in Pictou, Landing, Nova Scotia. Son of James Alexander and Rhena (née Martin) Currie of Montague, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Posthumously granted a commissioned and promoted to J90350 Plt Off. with effect 27th July 1944.

Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered. With thanks to Traugott Vitz for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.

Other sources listed below:

RS & TV 10.09.2022 - Initial upload

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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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