19/20.02.1944 428 (Ghost) Squadron, RCAF Halifax II JD271 Fg Off. Alan W. Woolverton
Date: 19th/20th February 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit No: 428 (Ghost) Squadron, RCAF
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Middleton St. George, County Durham
Location: Ijsselmeer, Holland
Pilot: Fg Off. Alan Whammond Woolverton J23297 RCAF Age 23. KiA
Flt Eng: Sgt. Arthur William Gotham 1275643 RAFVR Age 22. MiA
Nav: Fg Off. Gerald Alfred Smith J21556 RCAF Age 21. MiA
Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Herbert Sutton Lister 420761 RAAF Age 24. KiA
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Cecil William Sherratt 1577535 RAFVR Age 22. MiA
Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. Edward Charles Webb R180232 RCAF Age 20. MiA
Air Gnr (Rear): WO2. Neil Macintyre Stewart R161156 RCAF Age 21. KiA
Above: Navigators course: Fg Off. Gerald Alfred Smith J21556 front row 1st from the right. (courtesy James Neufeglise)
Above: left to right: Fg Off. Smith, Sgt. Webb and WO2 Stewart (From their Service Records)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 23:56 hrs from RAF Middleton St. George. County Durham (then North Yorkshire) to attack the city of Leipzig together with 822 other aircraft (561 Lancasters, 255 Halifaxes. 7 Mosquitoes).
A very sad day for Bomber Command - they had though that the German controllers would send their night-fighter to the diversionary raid on Kiel Bay, but when this bomber stream crossed the Dutch coast they were met by a larger force of the night fighters (some that had left for the Kiel diversionary raid returned) They were then under attack all the way to the target. The winds had not been as forecasted with a number of the bombers having to circle the target waiting for the pathfinders during this period they lost 4 aircraft in collisions and a further 20 from the heavy flak.
The target was cloud covered and the pathfinders had to use the sky-marking technique. No details regarding the effect of the bombing were available.
JD271 was claimed by Lt. Friedrich Potthast, his 5th Abschuss and 2nd this night, from 12./NJG1 at 06:36 hrs over the IJsselmeer 15 km east of Medemblik at 3.700 m. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 15 March 1944) Part 1 - Theo Boiten). The aircraft crashed in the IJsselmeer off Andijk.
Lt Potthast was KiA on the night of the 21st May 1944 when his Bf110 crashed at Malady, Belgium. He was credited with 9 confirmed Abschüsse and 2 unconfirmed. (Luftwaffe ACES - Biographies and Victory Claims (Mathews and Foreman) - Volume 3)
WO2. Stewart's body was found near Andijk on the 29th April 1944. On the 17th June 1944 Fg Off. Woolverton's body came ashore. The last of the crew who was recovered was Flt Sgt. Lister was then buried at Wervershoof Protestant Cemetery until 1984.
Fg Off. Alan Whammond Woolverton. Enkhuizen General Cemetery Plot 1. Row X. Joint grave 3. Born on the 23rd February 1921 in Penticton, British Columbia. Son of John Arthur and Alice Georgina (née Sheiff) Woolverton of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Sgt. Arthur William Gotham. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 230. Son of William Arthur and Florrie Gotham, of Fenton, Staffordshire, England.
Fg Off. Gerald Alfred Smith. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 248. Born on the 10th March 1923 in Hamilton, Ontario. Son of Alfred Harry and Julia Anne (née Garlow) Smith, of Rochester, New York, USA.
Flt Sgt. Herbert Sutton Lister. Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery. XII. A.3. Grave inscription: "LOVED SON OF MR. AND MRS. F.D. LISTER OF HILL END, NEW SOUTH WALES". Born on the 25th January 1920 in Orange, New South Wales. Son of Frederick Daniel H. S. and Matilda Margaret Lister, of Hill End, New South Wales, Australia.
Sgt. Cecil William Sherratt. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 237. Son of Albert Sherratt, Kate Lily Sherratt, of Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, England.
Sgt. Edward Charles Webb. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 256. Born on the 15th May 1922 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Son of Charles Henry and Florence McDonald (née McInnes) Webb, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Webb Peninsula on Calder Lake, Manitoba, Canada, was named after Sgt. Edward Charles Webb in 1995.
WO2. Neil Macintyre Stewart. Andijk Eastern General Cemetery Grave 143. Grave Inscription: "AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER HIM". Born on the 20th July 1923 in Paris, Ontario. Son of Cornelius and Lilian Elizabeth (née Davidson) Stewart of Paris, Ontario, Canada.
Researched for James Neufeglise nephew of Fg Off. Smith and all the relatives of the crew members. Thanks to Caroline Cook for the NoK information for Sgt. Webb and WO2 Stewart (Sept 2022). Other updates and new images from Aircrew Remembered (Sep 2022).
Other sources listed below: