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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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57 squadron badge
20/21.10.1943 57 Squadron Lancaster III JB234 DX:E Plt Off. Frank E.S. Parker

Operation: Leipzig

Date: 20th/21st October 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit No: 57 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JB234

Code: DX:E

Base: RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire.

Location: Arneburg, Germany (River Elbe)

Pilot: Plt Off. Frank Ernest Saville Parker 52880 RAF Age? KiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. Robert Alfred Chumbley 1395990 RAFVR Age 23. KiA

Nav: Fg Off. Peter Simpson Porteous 132018 RAFVR Age 21. KiA

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. Cyril Thomas Harston 1439959 RAFVR Age 22. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. John O'Leary 1330779 RAFVR Age 22. KiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Flt Sgt. John Knox Read 426155 RAAF Age 22. KiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Charles Wharton 1031763 RAFVR Age 20. KiA


Took off at 17:31 hrs to attack the very distant German city of Leipzig. This was the first serious raid with 358 Lancasters taking part. The weather conditions at the time were described as "appalling" which resulted in very scattered bombing. No reports were available form Leipzig regarding damage done but the cost to the allied was huge with 16 Lancasters lost - regarded as an acceptable figure! A further 5 crashed or were damaged during landing on return.

JB234 was claimed as a Lancaster or Halifax by Oblt. Gerhard Raht the Staffelkapitän of 4./NJG3 flying a Ju88 C-6 and his crew of Uffz. Anton Heinemann, Bordfunker, and Werner Hesse, Bordschütz, 15 km NE of Stendal at 6000 m. at 2015 hrs. The Lancaster crashed 200 metres east of Arneburg into the Elbe river.

Note: The claim was turned by the RLM and was not listed in OKL/RLM but was confirmed by 4./NJG3. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (23 September - 31 December) 1943 Part 3 - Theo Boiten).

This was his 15th Abschuss and the first of two this night. Hptm. Raht flew a total of 171 sorties, with 59 confirmed Abschüsse. He joined the post-war Bundes Luftwaffe. He died on the 11th January 1977. (Luftwaffe ACES - Biographies and Victory Claims (Mathews and Foreman) - Volume 3)

Burial Details:

Plt Off. Parker’s body was recovered from the Elbe and interred at the Sandau Cemetery. Flt Sgt. Read’s body was recovered from the Elbe near Havelburg on 24th April 1944 and buried at the Havelburg Cemetery, Plot 2, Row 9, Grave 13 on 27th April 1944. Sgt. Chumbley, Fg Off. Porteous, Sgt. Harston and Sgt. O’Leary were initially interred at the Arnsburg Cemetery and finally laid to rest on the 29th May 1948. Sgt. Wharton was initially interred at the Niedergörne Cemetery

Above Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery (courtesy CWGC)

Plt Off. Frank Ernest Saville Parker. Laid to rest at the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 9.H.27 on the 19th July 1947. Husband to Kathleen Lilian Smith, whom he married in 3rd Qtr of 1940 in Plymouth, of Harpenden, Hertfordshire, England.

Above Sgt. Robert Alfred Chumbley (Courtesy Sylvia Pratt-via Eileen Pitman)

Sgt. Robert Alfred Chumbley. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 8.C.2. Grave Inscription: 'HE LIVES WITH US IN MEMORY STILL, NOT JUST TODAY BUT ALWAYS WILL'. Born on the 31st January 1921 in Enfield. Son of Harry and Rose (nee Hammond) Chumbley of Pondersend, Enfield, Middlesex, England.

Robert had been a filing operator for an electrical instrument manufacturer.

Above: Fg Off. Peter Simpson Porteous (courtesy Alison Almond great niece of Peter)

Fg Off. Peter Simpson Porteous. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 8.C.1 Grave Inscription: 'MY SOUL WAITETH ONLY UPON GOD : FROM HIM COMETH MY SALVATION'. Born 17th October 1922, North Croydon, Surrey. Son of James Duncan and Elizabeth (née Black) Porteous, of East Croydon, Surrey, England.

Peter had been an insurance clerk, his father was an insurance broker for Lloyds of London.

Sgt. Cyril Thomas Harston. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 8.C.4. Grave Inscription: 'TOO DEARLY LOVED EVER TO BE FORGOTTEN. MUM, DAD AND SISTERS'. Born 1922 Chesterfield. Son of William and Kate (née Lee) Harston, of Bolsover, Derbyshire, England.

Sgt. John O’Leary. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 8.C.3. Grave Inscription: 'ON HIM AND ON HIS HIGH ENDEAVOUR THE LIGHT OF PRAISE SHALL SHINE FOR EVER'. Born on the 28th January 1921. Son of Timothy & Violet Beatrice (née Hare) O'Leary of Whetstone, Middlesex, England.

John had been a Baker’s Roundsman.

Flt Sgt. John Knox Read. Laid to rest at the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 8.J.35 on the 2nd February 1948. Grave Inscription: "PROVED AND FOUND WORTHY". Born on 1st April 1921 in Quirindi, New South Wales. Son of Revd George Knox and Mary Eva (née Apps) Read of Hornsby, New South Wales, Australia, and stepson of Constance Mary Read, of Chatswood, New South Wales. Australia.

His mother predeceased in 1921. John was a bank clerk, George was a Minister in the Methodist Church.

Sgt. Charles Wharton. Laid to rest at the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery 5.C.21 on the 17th September 1948. Grave Inscription: 'TO THEE, O LORD, WE SEND OUR PRAYER: KEEP HIM IN THY LOVING CARE. MUM AND DAD'. Born 6th October 1922 in Chesterfield. Son of Charles and Rhoda (née Bower) Wharton, of Duckmanton, Derbyshire, England.

Researched for by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) Sylvia Pratt - niece of Sgt. Robert Alfred Chumbley and for all relatives of other crew members. With thanks to the following: Eileen Pitman for her help guiding Sylvia and obtaining the scans. Article researched following local Norfolk appeal via the Eastern Daily Press for relatives of fallen aircrew to contact us. Map added by Kelvin Youngs (Aug 2015). Thanks to Graham Wallace for the updates to fill in the gaps in the narrative (Nov 2023). Additional information about the German night-fighter added by Aircrew Remembered (Nov 2023).

Other sources as quoted below.

RS 05.11.2023 - Updated and reorganised narrative

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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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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