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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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207 Squadron Crest
21/22.01.1944 No 207 Squadron Lancaster I R5895 EM-B P/O. Jack M. Read

Operation: Magdeburg

Date: 21/22nd January 1944

Unit: No. 207 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: R5895

Code: EM-B

Base: RAF Spilsby, Lincolnshire

Location: Dannigkow, Germany

Pilot: P/O. Jack Montague Read 161606 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Leslie Fancis Abel 1615651 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: F/O. Robert Walter Sharp 144580 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Charles Travers J/23604 RCAF Age 29. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Arthur Blake Boydon 1435862 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr(mid-upper): Sgt. Ronald Codling 1818737 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr(rear): Fl/Sgt. Eric Clark Clunas AUS/415764 RAAF Age 26. Killed


Took off from RAF Spilsby, Lincolnshire at 20:11 hrs. 648 aircraft heading to the target of tonight - Magdeburg. 12 Mosquitoes and 22 Lancasters also bombed Berlin as a diversionary raid. The German controllers were not fooled and as early as 20:50 hrs the bomber stream were already identified and the night fighters ordered to intercept. 

Visibility on this night has been described as "excellent". The night proved very costly to Bomber Command with 12 aircraft lost between the German coast and Magdeburg. 30 more were destroyed in a raging air battle over Magdeburg, due to lack of fuel the night fighter were unable to follow the bomber stream and intercept again although a further 7 were shot down by other units.

It is understood that the bodies of the crew were recovered from the wreckage and interred in a communal grave at Dannigkow Cemetery. Later exhumations made by the Missing Research and Enquiry Unit all the crew were able to be identified and later re-interred at the Berlin War Cemetery.

It was also reported that R5895 was flying away from the target at the time it was attacked by a night fighter with the Lancaster crashing on the outskirts of Dannigkow. The local population were taking cover at the the and no eye witness could provide any further details. The aircraft caught fire and ammunition could be heard exploding.

Due to the intensity of these air battles very few positives claims were able to be identified.

Lancaster R5895 started operating with 97 Conversion flight having been delivered by Metro Vickers on 21st July 1942. The aircraft then passed on to 1660 C.U. (Conversion Unit) in late 1942. The aircraft was involved in an accident in March 1942 which meant repairs back at the manufacturers. Delivered to 207 Squadron on 21st August flying a total of 381.10 hours before it was lost.

Burial details:

P/O. Jack Montague Read. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.30. Son of Cecil James Read and Elsie Read, of Ipswich, Suffolk, England.

Sgt. Leslie Fancis Abel. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.32. Son of Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Abel, of Hammersmith, London, England.

F/O. Robert Walter Sharp. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.34. No further details available as yet are you able to assist?

F/O. Charles Travers. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.33. Son of Oliver Travers, and of Anna Travers (née Anderson) husband of Dale Louise Travers, of Oakland, California, USA.

Sgt. Ronald Arthur Blake Boydon. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.29. Son of Arthur Leonard Boydon, and of Edith Emily Boydon, of Kettering, Northamptonshire, England.

Sgt. Ronald Codling. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.35. Son of Herbert and Eva Annie Codling, of Frieston, Lincolnshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Eric Clark Clunas. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.B.31. Son of John and Ivy Louisa Clunas, of 3 Blackford Street, Mount Hawthorn, Western Australia. Date of birth: 18th January 1918. Enlisted 1st February 1942 in Perth, Western Australia. Formerly Railway Officer. (shown right)

Researched for Brent Washington relative of F/O. Charles Travers and for all other relatives of all the crew. To Uwe Jenrich for grave photographs. With thanks to sources as quoted below.

KTY 04.08.2015 Page updated

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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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