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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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460 Squadron Crest
24/25.12.1944 No 460 Squadron Lancaster III PB255 AR-E F/O. Michael C. Skarratt

Operation: Köln Germany

Date: 24/25th December 1944 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 460 Squadron

Type: Lancaster MkIII

Serial: PB255

Code: AR-E

Base: RAF Binbrook England

Location: Oostelbeers Holland

Pilot: F/O. Michael Carleton Skarratt AUS/420763 RAAF Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Thomas Charles Newman 923554 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Robert John Dickie AUS/430773 RAAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. John Michael Ward AUS/437237 RAAF Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Russell Ian Stewart AUS/434335 RAAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Cyril Keith Deed AUS/30953 RAAF Age 25. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Graham Fowler Day AUS/433717 RAAF Age 20. Killed


Lancaster PB255 took off from RAF Binbrook at 14:50 hours on 24 December 1944 to bomb Cologne. Bomb load - 1 x 4000lb, 1 x 1000lb and 8 x 500lb bombs.

Left to right: F/O. Skarratt, Fl/Sgt. Deed, with last two of Fl/Sgt. Stewart (see credits)

Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off - failing to return to base.

A Canadian Chaplain reported that on 24 December 1944 at 18:50 hours an aircraft crashed at Oostelbeers, Holland. An explosion occurred, the aircraft disintegrated and occupants were killed. The aircraft and crew were identified by the watch of Fl/Sgt Stewart.

Shot down by a German nightfighter, probably Lt. Kalmbach of IV./NJG6

Crew graves at Oostelbeers Roman Catholic Churchyard (see credits)

Original crew grave marker (see credits)

Burial details:

F/O. Michael Carleton Skarratt. Oostelbeers Roman Catholic Churchyard. Collective Grave. Son of Charles Sydney and Ethel Victoria Skarratt, of Riverstone, Victoria, Australia.

Sgt. Thomas Charles Newman. Oostelbeers Roman Catholic Churchyard. Collective Grave. No further details - can you assist?

Fl/Sgt. Robert John Dickie. Oostelbeers Roman Catholic Churchyard. Collective Grave. Son of Thomas William and Elizabeth Mary Dickie, of Dunkeld, Victoria, Australia.

F/O. John Michael Ward. Oostelbeers Roman Catholic Churchyard. Collective Grave. Son of Cyril Michael and Kathleen Hayes Ward, of Clarence Park, South Australia.

Fl/Sgt. Russell Ian Stewart. Oostelbeers Roman Catholic Churchyard. Collective Grave. Son of Percy David and Violet Stewart, of East Camberwell, Victoria, Australia.

Fl/Sgt. Cyril Keith Deed . Oostelbeers Roman Catholic Churchyard. Collective Grave. Son of Herbert and Ellen Wynne Deed, of Dingee, Victoria, Australia.

Fl/Sgt. Graham Fowler Day. Oostelbeers Roman Catholic Churchyard. Collective Grave. Son of Donald Fowler Day and Annie Hilda Day, of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

Researched by Michael Beckers for Aircrew Remembered January 2015. With thanks to Anneke Moerenhout, Terry Marlings, Kathryn Spurling for photographs used.

Below, document for Fl/Sgt. Stewart and newspaper cutting for Fl/Sgt. Day (see credits)

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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