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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
26/27.11.1943 No 460 Squadron Lancaster I ED370 AR-B2 Fl/Sgt. Edward J. Stones

Operation: Berlin

Date: 26/27th November 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 460 Squadron RAAF

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ED370

Code: AR-B2

Base: RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire

Location: Grossenkneten, 22km SSE of Oldenburg, Germany.

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Edward John Stones 421097 RAAF Age 21. Killed

Flt/Eng: Sgt. Richard Glyn Jones 1652042 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Kenneth Gordon Smith 1386548 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Nathaniel Wesley McNair R/166512 RCAF Age 26. Killed (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Belton 1459357 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Donald Arnott R/179877 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Henry McIvor 1796352 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Part of a combined force of 443 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitoes, Fl/Sgt. Stones and crew took off from Binbrook at 17.15 hours with 23 other aircraft of 460 Squadron destined for Berlin. Loaded with a 4000 lb high capacity bomb and 4800 lbs of incendiaries, their circuitous route would take them over northern France and almost to Frankfurt before turning to approach Berlin from the south.

Although some of the aircraft bombed the city centre most of the bombs fell in the suburbs to the northwest causing considerable damage to the industrial sector of Reinickendorf. In addition, many houses were destroyed and an estimated 800 lives lost. Although of no military importance, the Berlin Zoo also sustained heavy damage allowing numerous dangerous animals to escape which had to be hunted down amongst the bombed-out streets and shot.

Returning crews reported that although German night fighter activity over Berlin was comparatively light they were met with a heavy Flak barrage. In all, 26 Lancasters were lost over enemy territory many shot down by night fighters or Flak as they made their way homeward.

After take-off, nothing further was heard from the crew of ED370. It was not until after the war during the MREU investigation in 1947 when it was stated by a witness that the aircraft had been hit by Flak and crashed at 22.45 hours on a farm near Grossenkneten killing all aboard. However, later examination of Luftwaffe night fighter claims has revealed that the Lancaster was actually shot down by Lt. Hermann Leube of 2./NJG3 (2). It is probable, from the time and location of the crash site some 50 or 60 miles from the German coast, that the crew had completed their mission and were en route back to base when they were hit.


The Crew
All of the members of the crew were posted from 1667 Conversion Unit to No. 460 Squadron on the same day, 18 November 1943. It is very probable that five of them crewed up together at No.81 OTU whilst they were training on the Whitley bomber which had a crew of five and where the crew member photograph was taken. The flight engineer Jones, would have met up with them at 1667 as would the additional gunner, possibly McIvor.

McNair, Arnott, Unknown, Unknown, Pilot possibly Stones
Courtesy Wesley Maitland. Reproduced from Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada website

F/Sgt Edward John Stones
Little is known of Edward other than he was born in March 1920 in Mudgee, NSW. His Mother's maiden name was Alexander. He sailed from Melbourne on 29 July 1942 bound for San Pedro, California destined for Canada via Blaine, Washington. His service record is held by the Australian National Archives but to date has not yet been digitized.
F/Sgt. Stones first sortie to gain operational experience was as 2nd pilot to W/O A.T.S. Collier to Berlin on the night of 22/23 November. On the night of 23/24 November, again to Berlin, he captained his own crew.


Sgt. Richard Glyn Jones
No further information is available.
Sgt. Kenneth Gordon Smith
No further information is available
Sgt. William Belton
No further information is available
Sgt. John Henry McIvor
No further information is available

Sgt. Nathaniel Wesley McNair

Named after his Father, Wesley, as he was known to the family, was born on 5 March 1917 in the small farming community of Rosedale, BC. He was the middle child having two older sisters and two that were younger. He graduated from Chilliwack High School in 1934 and took a position as a boom operator loading logging trucks until January 1942 when he applied to join the RCAF. Sent to the Seaview School in Vancouver to take the Pre-Entry Aircrew Education Course he passed the examinations and enlisted on 14 May 1942 in Edmonton. Taken on strength at No.7 Initial Training School at Saskatoon he was selected for further training as an air bomber and posted to No.2 Bombing and Gunnery School at Mossbank, Saskatchewan on 8 November 1942. To complete his training he was next posted to No.3 Air Observers School at Pearce, Alberta on 11 January 1943 where he graduated with his Air Bombers Badge on 19 February 1943.
inPosted overseas he arrived at No.3 PRC Bournemouth on 5 April 1943 and was next posted to No.2 Observers Advanced Flying Unit on 31 May – 22 June when he was posted to No.81 OTU. Posted to No.1667 HCU on 9 September joining 460 Squadron on 18 November 1943.

Courtesy Wesley Maitland. Reproduced from Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada website

The following biographical information and Sgt. Mcnair's photograph was researched by Paul Ferguson, Heritage Collections Manager, Chilliwack Museum and Archives and reproduced courtesy of The Chilliwack Museum and Archives, British Columbia, Canada

Born in Rosedale, Nathaniel McNair was educated at Rosedale Public and Chilliwack High Schools. He had his own paper route that he started when he was twelve. The route covered over 25 miles and Wesley delivered the news through winter and summer most cheerfully. Following school, he worked as a logger near Harrison Lake and occupied his spare time hunting and fishing. Wes enlisted in the RCAF in January 1942 and in February 1943 graduated from the Air Observer School in Regina as an air bomber. Overseas he served with 460 Squadron, a bomber unit of the Royal Australian Air Force. McNair was lost on a raid against Berlin when his Lancaster bomber crashed November 26, 1943 at Grossenkneten.

Sgt. N. Wesley McNair with his sisters. L - R Vivian, Lenore, Emma and Pearl McNair. Probably taken sometime in 1942 when he was still a Leading Aircraftsman (LAC) Courtesy Wesley Maitland. Reproduced from Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada website


(1) Mount McNair in the Yale Land District, British Columbia was named after Sgt. Nathanial McNair in 1955





Sgt. George Donald Arnott

George was born in Toronto on 19 March 1922. His Mother and Father were both born in Ireland and emigrated to Canada in 1912. He had an older sister Doreen Audrey who was born in 1920. In 1923 the family moved to Detroit, Michigan where his father opened a grocery store. He attended William Raupp Elementary School, 1927-1936 and Lincoln Park High School 1936 -1940, graduating with his Grade 12 Certificate. About this time the family had moved to New Jersey and George secured a position as a pattern makers apprentice with the American Type Founders Company.
Sometime during 1942 he moved back to Toronto and enlisted in the RCAF on 15 July that same year. Selected for aircrew and training as an Air gunner, he was posted to No.6 Bombing and Gunnery School (B&GS) at Mountain View, Ontario on 20 September 1942. Posted to No.9 B&GS at Mount Joli, Quebec he graduated with his Air Gunners Badge and the rank of Sergeant on 28 May 1943.
Posted overseas he embarked at Halifax on 16 June 1943 arriving at No.3 PRC on the 24 June. Fourteen days later, George was posted to No.81 OTU at RAF Ashbourne, Derbyshire where he trained on the Whitley bomber until 9 September when he was posted to No.1667 HCU at RAF Lindholme.
Taken on strength at No.460 Squadron 18 November 1943.

The poignant last letter written by George Arnott shortly before he took off on the fateful last flight to Berlin. The envelope was found addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Doyle but with no destination address. It was never posted. The "big raid on Berlin" he mentions was that of the night of 23/24 November 1943.



(2) Left: Lt. Hermann Leube was born at Reichmannsdorf/Saalfeld, Germany on 19 March 1924. He was killed in a failed belly landing on the night of 27/28 December 1944 at Benthuizen, Holland. Awarded both the Gold Cross and Night Fighter Operational clasp he is credited with 22 victories. For further information see the Kracker Archive.






Burial Details:

All members of the crew were first buried in Neuer Friedhof, moving to Sage after end of hostilities.

Flt/Sgt. Edward John Stones, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 11. Son of George and Edyth Anna Stones of Campbelltown, New South Wales, Australia.

Sgt. Richard Glyn Jones, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 15. Son of William and Sarah Jane Jones of Bon-y-Maen, Glamorgan, Wales.

Sgt. Kenneth Gordon Smith, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 14. Son of William James Smith and Ada Louise Smith of Harrow Weald, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. Nathaniel Wesley McNair, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 12. Son of Nathaniel James David and Jennie McNair of Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.

Sgt. William Belton, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 16. Son of Charles Edward Morton Belton and Mabel (nee Warner) Belton of Doncaster, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. George Donald Arnott, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 10. Son of Thomas and Maud Elizabeth (née Rutledge) Arnott of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. John Henry McIvor, Sage War Cemetery Grave 1 C 13. Son of Joseph and Georgina McIvor of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew.

Source Citation
Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Canada, Service Files of the Second World War – War Dead, 1939-1947, Series: RG 24, Volume: 28236

Source Information
Ancestry.com. Canada, World War II Records and Service Files of War Dead, 1939-1947 [database on line]. Lehi, UT, USA. Ancestry Operations, Inc., 2015.

The Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM) Veterans Affairs Canada

RAF Operations Record Books, AIR 27/1 – AIR 27/2893. National Archives Kew, UK.

CHB 30.072012
CHB 11.07.2017
CHB 28.02.2023 Text, photographs and biographical notes added

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Acknowledgements
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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