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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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83 Squadron Crest
12/13.03.1943 No. 83 Squadron Lancaster I W4928 OL-S Sq/Ldr. David A.J. McClure DFC

Operation: Essen

Date: 12/13th 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: Sq/Ldr. David Alston Johnstone McClure DFC. 41596 RAF Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. James Macfarlane 566978 RAF Age 23. Killed

Nav: Fl/Lt. Orville Ray Waterbury DFC. J/7520 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Derek Graham Lovell 50667 RAF Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Percy John Musk DFM. 1254843 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. Alexander Fraser Macqueen 111483 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Llewellyn Edgar Warren 136720 RAFVR Age 35. Killed


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. Sq/Ldr. David McClure had been a former pupil.

Burial details:

Sq/Ldr. David Alston Johnstone McClure DFC. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 10.B.17. Further information: Son of Adam Johnstone McClure and Evelyn Mary Josephine McClure, of Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium. Joined 83 Squadron in January 1942. Born in Lockerbie in 1920, commissioned 1939.

During an operation to Lübeck on the night of 28/29th March 1942 flying a Manchester R5830 OL-L the aircraft was hit several times by anti-aircraft fire. Two of the crew baled out and taken PoW. The aircraft went into a spin, but the second pilot, Australian Sgt. Rayment pulled the wounded pilot McLure from his seat and managed to fly the Manchester back to RAF Coltishall. He received the DFM for this. Mulch recovered at the Norfolk and Norwich hospital and rejoined operations later. He was on his second tour at the time of the loss of W4928.

  Right: Manchester R5830 OL-L after landing. 

Sgt. James Macfarlane. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 10.C.2. Son of Malcolm and Kathleen Macfarlane, of Cowdenbeath, Fife, Scotland.

Fl/Lt. Orville Ray Waterbury DFC. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 10.C.4. Further information: Son of Ray and Edna 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). Awarded the DFC and Gazetted on the 16th October 1942:

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

On two occasions, despite the most adverse weather conditions, in daylight attacks on Germany, P/O. 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. P/O. 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.

P/O. Derek Graham Lovell. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 10.C.3. Son of Tom Trimnell Lovell and Catherine Graham Lovell, of Worthing, Sussex, England.

Fl/Sgt. Percy John Musk DFM. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 10.C.5. Son of James and Blanche Musk; husband of Cora Ann Musk, of Brixton, London, England.

Fl/Lt. Alexander Fraser Macqueen. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 10.C.1. Son of John Taylor Macqueen and Euphemia Macqueen, of Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, Scotland.

P/O. Llewellyn Edgar Warren. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 10.B.18. Son of Edgar and Isabella Warren; husband of Edith Marjorie Warren, of Taffs Well, Glamorgan, Wales.

Researched for the Wimbledon College Roll Of Honour - Aircrew Remembered have offered to provide basic information for the school records. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.

KTY 19.06.2015

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