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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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50 Squadron Crest
26/27.11.1943 No. 50 Squadron Lancaster I DV377 VN-X P/O. E.C. Weatherstone

Operation: Berlin

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

Unit: 50 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: DV377

Code: VN-X

Base: RAF Skellingthorpe

Location: RAF Melbourne, Yorkshire

Pilot: P/O. Edward Charles Weatherstone 149521 RAFVR Survived

Fl/Eng: Sgt. D. Gregory RAFVR Survived

Nav: Fl/Sgt. P.E. Thompson RAFVR Survived

Air/Bmr: Sgt. P.H. Lane RAFVR Survived

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. A.D.F. Spruce RAFVR Survived

Air/Gnr: Sgt. H.J. Lineham RAFVR Survived

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ralph Adey Cuthbert Collingwood RAFVR Survived


Took off at 17.06 hrs from RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire to bomb Berlin together with a further 442 aircraft. Most of the Luftwaffe thought the main target had been Frankfurt and were diverted there. They intercepted the bomber stream as it passed with several losses to the allies, they were bothered very little by fighters over the target area itself and the main threat were the intensive German radar controlled flak guns.

The Luftwaffe were waiting to hit them on the return - a total of 28 aircraft lost with a further 14 crashing over England.

Berlin was hit again and although no accurate figures are available to this raid alone the damage attributed to these and the other 2 earlier raids stood at 104,613 apartments destroyed (417,665 people made homeless) and the death toll on the ground stood at 4,330 people.

On return they were diverted due to heavy fog and although very short of fuel they made Melbourne but P/O. Douglas Tovey in JA961 VN-A who had just landed, had become bogged down in soft ground - after touching down one of the wheels of DV377 went over a standard 8 van, killing the RAF driver. The Lancaster went on to hit JA961 and despite both aircraft catching fire, all the crew escaped uninjured.

Left: Combat report (National Archives)

On the 30/31st January 1944 on another operation to Berlin the same crew came under attack by night fighters, they corkscrewed starboard with the air gunners opening fire on a Ju88. after a total of 400 rounds fired the rear gunner claimed the Ju88 as destroyed.

Description of Corkscrew Manoeuvre

Burial details:

None - all crew survived.

Sources as quoted below.

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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