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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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61 Squadron Crest
24/25.02.1944 No. 61 Squadron Lancaster I LM310 QR-E Fl/ Lt. N.D. Webb

Operation: Schweinfurt

Date: 24/25th February 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 61 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: LM310

Code: QR-E

Base: RAF Conningsby, Lincolnshire

Location: Target area over Schweinfurt

Pilot: Fl/Lt. N.D. Webb RNZAF PoW No: 3590 Camp: L3 - Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria.

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John William Brown 1710052 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: P/O. P.S. Walkins DFC RAFVR Injured PoW No: ? Camp: L3 - Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria. (1)

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. J. Bailey DFM RAFVR PoW No: 2103 Camp: L6/357 - Stalag Luft Heydekrug / Stalag Kopernikus (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. C.J. Collingwood DFM RAFVR Injured PoW No: 52294 Camp: 9B/L7 - Stalag Wegschelde / Stalag Luft Bankau-Kreuzburg (Klucsbork, Poland) (3)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. A.F. Emerson DFM RAFVR PoW No: 2199 Camp: L6/357 - Stalag Luft Heydekrug / Stalag Kopernikus (4)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. D.J. Chapman RAFVR PoW No: 2198 Camp: L6/357 - Stalag Luft Heydekrug / Stalag Kopernikus


Taking off from RAF Conningsby, Lincolnshire at 18.29 hrs - total of 734 aircraft taking part on this first Bomber Command raid on this city. The USAAF had attacked the ball bearing factories in the city during the daylight hours of the 24th.

A new method was introduced by Bomber Command in that the operation was split into two halves, separated by a two hour interval. The purpose was to reduce losses to allied aircrews. The first raid cost a total of 22 aircraft, with the second raid losing half this amount.

No direct results from this operation, but it is understood that the damage to the factories in the combined operation is described as “nominal” with 362 people killed on the ground.

A total of 167 RAF crew were killed, 69 taken PoW with 3 evading capture.

61 Squadron Lancaster (courtesy IWM)

Further information supplied by David Franklin - June 2016:

This Lancaster LM310 was ‘probably’ shot down by Oberleutnant Richard Delakowitz (5) of 7./NJG4

Sgt. John William Brown was found by a citizen from the village Bondorf, the crew said they were attacked from a Nightfighter over Stuttgart, plane caught fire and crew bailed out, he was buried in Bondorfer Cemetery by the southeast wall: March 1944 and on the 27th July 1948 from the 85 Graves Concentration Unit Bad Wiessee exhumed and taken to Durnbach.

The bombing of Schweinfurt during the day of the 24th February by the USAAF.

(1) P/O. Walkins suffered burns to his arms and legs.
(2) Fl/Sgt. Bailey DFM awarded on the 21st December 1945.
(3) Fl/Sgt. Collingwood Injured, arrived at L7 in late September 1944. D.F.M. awarded on the 21st December 1945.
(4) Fl/Sgt. Emerson DFM awarded on the 18th January 1944.
(5) This was the first claim by Oberleutnant Richard Delakowitz, who eventually claimed a total of 7 - survived the war.

Durnbach War Cemetery (courtesy David Franklin)

Burial details:

Sgt. John William Brown. Durnbach War Cemetery. Grave 1.K.12. Son of Ernest and Matilda Brown, of Brentford, Middlesex, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to David Franklin, 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', Oliver Clutton-Brock - 'Footprints On The Sands Of Time'. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Aircrew Remembered own Archives.

KTY 05.06.2016 New information added

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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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