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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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626 squadron badge
04/05.04.1945 No. 626 Squadron Lancaster III PB411 UM-Y2 F/O. Reid

Operation: Lutzkendorf

Date: 04/05th April 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 626 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: PB411

Code: UM-Y2

Base: RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire.

Location: Near Bedra South of Braunsbedra (Lutzkendorf)

Pilot: F/O. Harold William Reid J/41869 RCAF Age 25. Killed

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Norman George Reed 1582745 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: F/O. William Semeniuk J/42214 RCAF Age 32. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Donald Hugh Johnson J/42264 RCAF Age 29. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Bernard Eric Stanley Stagg 178375 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: F/O. Matthew Frederick Easton Sergeant J/46101 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. James William Churms R/281050 RCAF Age 19. Killed

Update December 2016:- Relative of the pilot has now been in contact - further comprehensive details follow on the pilot.


Took off at 20:55 hrs from RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire on an operation to bomb the Wintershall synthetic-oil plant with 244 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitoes of 5 Group. Moderate damage was caused to the target.

It is possible that this Lancaster was engaged and shot down by night fighters over the target area as there were reported combats from both single and twin engined fighters. No reports are available as to definite claims.

Update - December 2016:- A relative, Brook Reid Durham, contacted Aircrew Remembered in December 2016. A page dedicated to him has also been prepared.

Above: Showing actual crash area of Lancaster PB411 - Courtesy of the research from Jörg Helbig - he has compiled a book: “Zum nächtlichen Luftkriegsgeschehen über Mitteldeutschland" ("About the nightly air war over Central Germany") We have not published the high resolution photo of the crash site to avoid further publication of his work. He discovered the crash location from eye witness reports and also the personnel files of the RCAF crew at the Archives in Ottawa, Canada. The other red circle marked is believed to be the crash site of Lancaster RF153 - various parts of this have recently been discovered during pipeline laying in the area. Lancaster RF153 EA-K of 49 Squadron was lost on the 15th March 1945. Flown by 23 year old, Fl/Lt. Joseph Noel McPhee J/29733 RCAF from British Columbia, Canada - killed with 5 other crew, 1 evading capture. (with many thanks to Stephan R. Schilling who sent this information - December 2016)

For further information on Lancaster RF153 EA-K 15th March 1945.

Also lost on this operation from the same squadron:

Lancaster I PD295 UM-B2 piloted by Fl/Lt. Kenneth Horace Eames D.F.C. R.A.F.V.R. killed with all 7 crew members.

Burial details:

F/O. Harold William Reid. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 8.H.24. Son of James Evarad Reid and Gladys Olive Reid of Aylmer West, Ontario, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Norman George Reed. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 6.Z.13. Son of George Henry and Ethelwyn Gertrude Reed, of Bagworth, Leicestershire, England.

F/O. William Semeniuk. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 6.Z.12. Son of Antonius and Mary Semeniuk, husband of Margaret Lilian Semeniuk, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

F/O. Donald Hugh Johnson. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 6.Z.18-27. Son of Richard and Annie Johnson of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.

F/O. Bernard Eric Stanley Stagg. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 6.Z.9. Son of George Thomas Stagg and Carrie Stagg, of Muswell Hill, Middlesex, England.

F/O. Matthew Frederick Easton Sergeant. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 6.Z.8. Son of Matthew H. Sergeant and Pearl E. Sergeant, husband of Helen D. Sergeant, of Fenelon Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Fl/Sgt.James William Churms. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Grave 6.Z.10. Son of Sydney and Louise Churms, of Welland, Ontario, Canada.

Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks for further information from Tom Bint, also to the chaps on the 626 Squadron Website, Mathew Davies, Stephan R. Schilling, Gary Darby and Uwe Jenrich for grave photos. Also to Brook Reid Durham for the comprehensive details on the pilot. Other sources shown below.

KTY - Updated 03.12.2016

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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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