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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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83 Squadron Crest
12/13.03.1943 83 Squadron Lancaster I W4928 OL:S Sqn Ldr. David A.J. McClure DFC

Operation: Essen

Date: 12th/13th March 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit No: 83 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: W4928

Code: OL:S

Base: RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire

Location: Altenessen, Essen, Germany

Pilot: Sqn Ldr. David Alston Johnstone McClure DFC, 41596 RAF Age 22. KiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. James Macfarlane 566978 RAF Age 23. KiA

Nav: Flt Lt. Orville Ray Waterbury DFC, J7520 RCAF Age 22. KiA

Bom Aimer: Plt Off. Derek Graham Lovell 50667 RAF Age 20. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Percy John Musk DFM, 1254843 RAFVR Age 29. KiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Flt Lt. Alexander Fraser Macqueen DFC, 111483 RAFVR Age 21. KiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Plt Off. Llewellyn Edgar Warren 136720 RAFVR Age 35. KiA


Airborne at 19:17 hours, Lancaster W4928 was one of 457 aircraft that were dispatched that night targeting the giant Krupps industrial complex at Essen. (Seven from 83 Squadron) OBOE target marking had become operational just three months earlier and this raid proved how deadly accurate the system was. Although the weather that night was clear with a bright moon overhead, the ground below was somewhat obscured by smoke from the factories and later, during the raid, from a defensive smoke screen drifting across the target area.

The target indicators dropped by the Pathfinders were well concentrated and photographic reconnaissance the next day confirmed that the works had been severely damaged. 500 houses were also destroyed and 198 people, mostly civilians, were killed. In addition, German records show that one third of the bombs fell on the outskirts of Essen killing 39 people in the town of Bottrop about 8 miles to the north west.

The attack force was comprised of 158 Wellingtons, 156 Lancasters, 91 Halifaxes, 42 Stirlings and 10 Mosquitoes from various RAF and RCAF squadrons. In all, 23 aircraft were lost; 8 Lancasters, 7 Halifaxes, 6 Wellingtons and 2 Stirlings. The target area was heavily defended and very intense and accurate flak was encountered in conjunction with searchlights operating in large and small cones illuminating the bombers.

Although the exact location is unknown, in all likelihood, W4928 was a victim of the flak barrage and fell in the vicinity of Altenessen north of Essen as the remains of the crew were buried initially at the Nordfriedhof before being transferred to the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery after the end of hostilities.

Researched for the Wimbledon College Roll Of Honour. Sqn Ldr. David McClure where he had been a pupil.

On an earlier mission on the 28th/29th March 1942 to Lübeck, Germany flying Manchester IA R5830 OL:L two of his crew were wounded in a German night fighter attack.

Sqn Ldr. McClure was severely wounded on a mission to Essen on the 6th/7th April 1942 aboard Manchester IA R5837 OL:R.

Burial details:

Sqn Ldr. David Alston Johnstone McClure DFC. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 10.B.17. Inscription: "HIS SOUL PLEASED GOD: SO HE HASTENED TO BRING HIM OUT OF THE MIDST OF EVIL". Born in 4th Qtr of 1920 in Lockerbie, Scotland. Son of Adam Johnstone and Evelyn Mary Josephine McClure, of Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium.

Note: His brother Alan Johnstone McClure born on the 3rd March 1911 in Scotland was an Aeronautical Engineer and obtained a PPL on the 9th June 1933. He died (circumstances unknown) on the 13th October 1940 in Johannesburg. He was an Air Mechanic in the South African Air Force (SAAF) service number 98887.

He was appointed to a commission and promoted to Plt Off. in 1939 and joined 83 Squadron in January 1942

The DFC was awarded to Acting Sqn Ldr. McClure whilst with 83 Sqn. London Gazette 12th March 1943.

Sgt. James Macfarlane. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 10.C.2. Inscription: 'REQUIESCAT IN PACE'. Son of Malcolm and Kathleen Macfarlane, of Cowdenbeath, Fife, Scotland.

Flt Lt. Orville Ray Waterbury DFC. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 10.C.4. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 10.C.4. Inscription: 'TRULY A PATHFINDER’. Born on the 12th June 1920 in Virden, Manitoba. Son of Ray DeWolfe and Edna Grace (née Dingman) Waterbury, of Erickson, Manitoba, Canada.

Enlisted Saskatoon, 10th September 1940. Trained at No. 3 AOS (graduated 23rd June 1941), No.2 BGS (graduated 4th August 1941) and No.1 ANS (graduated 15th September 1941).

His two brothers also served:

Plt Off. Donald Henry Waterbury C17410 who was serving overseas in India;
LAC R140738 Lafayette John Westbury on home posting in Vancouver.

The DFC was awarded to Plt Off. Waterbury whilst with 83 Sqn. London Gazette 16th October 1942.

Citation: "Pilot Officer Orville Ray WATERBURY (Can/J.7520), Royal Canadian Air Force, No. 83 Squadron. On two occasions, despite the most adverse weather conditions in daylight attacks on Germany, Pilot Officer Waterbury has displayed skilful navigation and, as a result, has successfully carried out his mission and brought his aircraft safely back to base. One night in September, when returning from an operational sortie on Wilhelmshaven, his aircraft was fired on by hostile aeroplanes and the wireless operator was severely wounded. Pilot Officer Waterbury successfully administered first aid thereby saving the life of his colleague. He has completed numerous operational sorties, including attacks on the enemy's most heavily defended targets and, by his exceptional keenness and efficiency, has set a fine example".

Waterbury Lake - south of Sisipuk Lake in Manitoba, Canada was renamed after Flt Lt. Orville Ray Waterbury DFC. in 1995.

Plt Off. Derek Graham Lovell. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 10.C.3. Inscription: 'LOVED AND MISSED BY ALL WHO KNEW HIM. ALWAYS IN OUR THOUGHTS'. Son of Tom Trimnell Lovell and Catherine Graham Lovell, of Worthing, Sussex, England.

Flt Sgt. Percy John Musk DFM. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 10.C.5. Inscription: 'GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. R.I.P.'. Son of James and Blanche Musk; husband of Cora Ann Musk, of Brixton, London, England.

The DFM was awarded to Flt Sgt. Musk whilst with 83 Sqn. London Gazette 12th March 1943.

Flt Lt. Alexander Fraser Macqueen DFC. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 10.C.1. Inscription: 'JUST WHEN LIFE WAS AT ITS BEST GOD TOOK HIM TO HIS ETERNAL REST'. Son of John Taylor Macqueen and Euphemia Macqueen, of Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, Scotland.

The DFC was awarded to Fg Off. MacQueen whilst with 83 Sqn. London Gazette 12th March 1943.

Plt Off. Llewellyn Edgar Warren. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 10.B.18. Inscription: 'RESTING WHERE NO SHADOWS FALL'. Son of Edgar and Isabella Warren; husband of Edith Marjorie Warren, of Taffs Well, Glamorgan, Wales.

Researched by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) for the Wimbledon College Roll Of Honour - Aircrew Remembered have offered to provide basic information for the school records (Jun 2015). Reviewed and updated by Aircrew Remembered with thanks to Jeff Ryan for pointing out the conflation of the Manchester R5830 mission. (Sep 2023).

Other sources listed below:

RS 19.09.2023 - Reviewed and updated with new information and links to two reports

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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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