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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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408 Squadron Crest
22/23.10.1943 No. 408 Squadron Lancaster III DS778 EQ-U Fl/Lt. Whiston

Operation: Kassel

Date: 22/23rd October 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 408 Squadron (RCAF)

Type: Lancaster II

Serial: DS778

Code: EQ-U

Base: RAF Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire

Location: Lavelsloh, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Arthur James Whiston J/8406 RCAF Age 27. Killed

Fl/Eng: P/O. Andrew Franklin Scanes C/18817 RCAF Age 25. Killed

Nav: P/O. Roy Ernest McComb J/18814 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Walter Kerslake J/19112 RCAF Age ? Killed (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Richard Andrew Thornton 155349 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Dunwoody Mayne 1049725 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Ross Banting Jackson J/19031 RCAF Age 20. Killed


Took off from RAF Linton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire at 17:56 hrs. to attack Kassel. A total of 569 aircraft took part - 322 Lancasters, 247 Halifaxes.

The initial 'blind' H2S marking overshot the target but 8 out of the 9 'visual' markers correctly identified the centre of Kassel and placed their markers accurately. Although German decoy markers may have drawn off part of the bomber force, the main raid was exceptionally accurate and concentrated. The result was the most devastating attack on a German city since the firestorm raid on Hamburg in July and the results at Kassel would not be exceeded again until well into 1944.

The fires were so concentrated that there was a firestorm, although not as extensive as the Hamburg one. Nearly 10,000 people are known to have been killed on the ground during this raid with a further 3,000 unaccounted for. Over 11,000 people were also injured.

Right: Maj. Husemann shown here in the centre with his crew and ground crew. L to R: Ogefr. Meisolle, mechanic, Ofw. H.G. Schierholz, BF, Husemann, FW. Moller, BS, FW. Fehmannn 2nd BF (Information and photo courtesy Kracker Archives on this website)

The most useful part of this raid was the damage to the three Heinkel factories as these were at the time making the V1 flitting bombs. Also the railway system and its installations were severely hit. A total of 43 allied aircraft were lost with the majority of losses attributed to the Luftwaffe Night-Fighters.

Although nothing was heard from them after take off we are able to confirm that they were shot down at 21:30 hrs by Oblt. Werner Husemann of 7.NLG1. The Lancaster crashed in the village of Lavelsloh - killing all the crew.

(1) Kerslake Lake, East of Wollaston Lake, Saskatchewan was name after P/O. Walter Kerslake.

(2) This was the 12th claim by Oblt. Werner Husemann. He survived the war with a total of 32 confirmed claims. Born on the 10th November 1919 - Died on the 02nd February 2014.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Arthur James Whiston. Hanover War Cemetery. Collective grave 15.G.2-7. Son of Arthur K. and Alice B. Whiston, of Duncan, British Columbia, Canada.

P/O. Andrew Franklin Scanes. Hanover War Cemetery. Collective grave 15.G.1. Son of Thomas and Annie Scanes, of Pembroke, Ontario, Canada and husband of Muriel Scanes. Grave inscription reads: "Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends".

P/O. Roy Ernest McComb. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 15.G.2-7. Son of Roy E. and Mary J. McComb, of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "He Gave His Greatest Treasure, His Young Unselfish Life".

P/O. Walter Kerslake. Hanover War Cemetery. Collective grave 15.G.2-7. Son of George and Laura Kerslake, of Windthorst, Saskatchewan, Canada.

P/O. Richard Andrew Thornton. Hanover War Cemetery. Collective grave 15.G.2-7. Son of Robert Arthur and Marie Virginia Thornton, of Westminster, London, England.

Fl/Sgt. Thomas Dunwoody Mayne. Hanover War Cemetery. Collective grave 15.G.2-7. No further details - are you able to assist?

P/O. Ross Banting Jackson. Hanover War Cemetery. Collective grave 15.G.2-7. Son of John Edgar and Esther Banting Jackson, of Ballycroy, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "I Hope To See My Pilot Face To Face When I Have Crost The Bar". His brother, Fl/Lt. Frederick Grant Jackson J/6209 RCAF was also killed. Please see here for further details.

Above the parents grave at Alliston Union Cemetery, Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada (see credits)

Researched for the family of Fl/Lt. Frederick Grant Jackson, who also supplied some of the photographs. Page dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown below. With thanks to 'Closet Skeleton Genealogical Society'. Copyrighted Image of the family grave for the Jackson's, used with Permission. Also to 'Operation Picture Me' for original grave marker.

KTY - 30.01.2018

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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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