31/8/43 Attack Against Targets at Berlin

Crew
F/S Allan Johnson Mayfield RNZAF. Pilot
P/O Jack Francis David Jarmy. Navigator
Sgt. Robert Douglas  Sommerville. Air Bomber
F/S William Lake. Wireless Operator
Sgt. A. Warburton. Flight Engineer
Sgt. Thomas Darbyshire. Mid Upper Gunner
F/S John Sebastian Hulena RNZAF. Rear Gunner

Aircraft
Striling Mk.III EH939 ‘J’ for Johnny

Flight
Up 20.30 31st August
Down 04.00 1st September
Total Flight Time 7 hours 30 minutes

75 (NZ) Sqn RAF Operations Record Book (ORB)
31/8/43
Operations.
Eighteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb., 500lb. and incendiaries of 30lb. and 4lb. Two aircraft failed to take-off and four did not return, the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large fires were seen, although rather scattered they appeared to be progressing very well. Moderate heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered and one air craft received slight damage. Enemy night-fighters were in great prominence, the aircraft piloted by F/Sgt. Wilkinson, G encountered a JU88 approaching from astern 500yds away. The rear gunner fired a long burst, the emeny aircraft replied and stalled. The mid-upper gunner then fired three long bursts. The enemy aircraft was seen to fall away and is claimed as probably destroyed. Our aircraft received damage to the rear of the fuselage and had part of the tailplane and fin badly damaged. The aircraft captained by F/O Alaexander sighted two Me109’s, the first opened fire from the starboard quarter and the rear gunner replied with a short burst. The emeny aircraft stalled and the mid-upper gunner fired a short burst. The enemy aircraft then dived to the ground and exploded, it was claimed to be destroyed. The second Me109 opened fire with a short burst from the port bow to the port quarter. The rear gunner then fired a short burst and tracer was seen to enter the enemy aircraft, which dived. It was claimed as possible destroyed. The aircraft captained by W/O Moseley, P. sighted a Me110 on the port quarter, the mid upper and rear gunner fired a long burst and the enemy aircraft turned over and dived with smoke pouring from its starboard side. It was claimed as probably destroyed. The aircraft captained by by P/O C.Logan sighted a Me109 sixty yards astern, the mid-upper and rear gunner  fired and tracer from the rear gunner was seen to hit the aircraft. The Stirling then corkscrewed and the Me109 disappeared. It was claimed to be damaged. Two other aircraft crash landed away from base due to damage caused by emeny fighters, none of the crews were injured however. 8/10ths cloud was encountered on the outward journey and 9’10ths at the target, visibility, nevertheless, was good. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft were Stirlings MK.III EE918 captained by F/Sgt. Roberts,E, EE878 captained by F/Sgt. Henley, D, EE905 captained by F/Sgt. Helm,G. and EF501 captained by F/S McGregor, K.

Page 569, 1943. Form 540/ 541 AIR27/ 646  75(NZ) Squadron RAF, Mepal. National Archives.

Stirling Mk.III EE918 AA-D
F/Sgt Eric John Roberts RNZAF NZ417107. Pilot.  21st Jul to 31st Aug 1943. Died Tuesday 31st August 1943, age 25, during a raid on Berlin. Buried Hanover War Cemetery Germany.

F/O. Robert Gorman Rainford RAFVR 134553. Navigator. 21st Jul to 31st Aug 1943. Died Tuesday 31st August 1943, age 28, during a raid on Berlin. Buried Hanover War Cemetery Germany.

P/O John Cecil Giles RAFVR 138329. AB. 21st Jul to 31st Aug 1943. Died Tuesday 31st August 1943, age 19, during a raid on Berlin. Buried Hanover War Cemetery, Germany.

F/Sgt Kensington Campbell Jackson RNZAF NZ 42330. WOAG. 21st Jul to 31st Aug 1943. Died Tuesday 31st August 1943, age 23, during a raid on Berlin. Buried Hanover War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt Eric Saunders RAFVR 1605321. FE. 21st Jul to 31st Aug 1943. Died Tuesday 31st August 1943, age 20, during a raid on Berlin. Buried Hanover War Cemetery Germany.

F/O Jack Henry Haydon RAAF AUS.408400. AG. 21st Jul to 1st Sep 1943. Shot down night of 31 Aug-1 Sep 1943 during a raid on Berlin, the sole survivor of a crew of seven. PoW No. 2366. PoW camps – Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft III. Safe UK date unknown.

F/Sgt Darcy Leslie Conrad Haub RNZAF NZ42326. AG. 21st Sep to 1st Sep 1943. Died Wednesday 1st September 1943, age 23, during a raid on Berlin. Buried Hanover War Cemetery, Germany.

Stirling Mk.III EE878 AA-P
P/O Douglas Charles Henley MiD, RNZAF NZ414622. Pilot. 20th Aug to 1st Sep 1943. MiD (13th Jun 1946): For gallant service. Died Wednesday 1st September 1943, age 23, during a raid on Berlin. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany.

F/O Clifford Arnold Watson RNZAF NZ421946. Navigator. 20th Aug to 1st Sep 1943. Died Wednesday 1st September 1943, age 34, during a raid on Berlin. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery Germany.

F/Sgt Ian Hector Ross Smith RNZAF NZ421614. AB. 20th Aug to 1st Sep 1943. Died Wednesday 1st September 1943, age 34, during a raid on Berlin. Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery Germany.

Sgt Robert N Quelch RAFVR 1319114. WOAG. 20th  Aug to 1st  Sep 1943. Shot down night of 31st Aug-1st Sep 1943 during a raid on Berlin. PoW No. 222631, PoW camps – Dulag Luft, Stalag IVB. Safe UK – unknown.

W/O Lewis Patrick Parsons RAFVR 1455528. FE. 21st Aug 1943 to 31st May. Joined 75 Sqn 21st Aug 1943, PoW 9 days later 31 Aug 1943 to 11th May 1945. Safe UK – 15th May 1945. Shot down night of 31st Aug- 1st Sep 1943 during a raid on Berlin, his 6th sortie. PoW No. 222626. PoW Camps – Dulag Luft, Stalag IVB. Freed by Soviet troops 25th Apr 1945 but held by them until he walked out of his PoW camp on 11th May. Promoted to W/O while a PoW. Safe UK – 15 May 1945.

Sgt Douglas C Box RAFVR 1578987.  AG. 20th Aug to 1st Sep 1943. Shot down night of 31st Aug-1st Sep 1943, during a raid on Berlin. PoW No. 222357. PoW camps – Dulag Luft, Stalags IVB, Luft III. Promoted to F/Sgt while a PoW. Safe UK. unknown.

Sgt James Sutherland Grant RNZAF NZ421274. AG. 22nd Aug to 1st Sep 1943. Shot down by a night-fighter being wounded in both feet, night of 31st Aug-1st Sep 1943 during a raid on Berlin. He attempted to bale out but his parachute pack was shot to pieces. He stayed with the aircraft and miraculously survived when his Stirling crashed at Ahrbruck, Germany. PoW No. 43260. PoW camps – Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft VI and 357. Promoted to W/O while a PoW. Safe UK 8th May 1945.

Stirling Mk.III EH905 AA-R (incorrectly identified within the raid report (Form 541) as EE905).
P/O George Vincent Helm RNZAF NZ416113. Pilot. 15th May to 1st Sep 1943. Died Wednesday 1st September 1943, age 23, during a raid on Berlin when hit by ‘friendly’ bombs over the target area. Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany.

F/Sgt Donald Mackay Stewart RNZAF NZ421366. Navigator. 15th May to 1st Sep 1943. Died Wednesday 1st September 1943, age 29, during a raid on Berlin. Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery Germany.

F/Sgt Joseph George Arkless Fisk RNZAF NZ412874. AB 15th May to 31st Aug 1943. Died Wednesday 1st September 1943, age 28, during a raid on Berlin. Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt Arthur John Bishop RAFVR 1271480. WOAG., 15th May to 1st Sep 1943. Died Wednesday 1 September 1943, age 22, during a raid on Berlin. Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany.

Sgt Oliver McCoo RAFVR 1365426. FE. 15th May to 1st Sep 1943. Died Wednesday 1st September 1943, age 31, during a raid on Berlin. Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.

Sgt G T Buglass RAFVR 645313. AG. 4th Jun to 1st Sep 1943. Shot down night of 31 Aug-1 Sep 1943 during a raid on Berlin. PoW No. 12728. PoW camps Dulag Luft, Stalag 357. Promoted to W/O while a PoW. Safe UK date unknown.

Sgt FTJ Harries RAFVR 1358765. AG. 15th May to 1st Sep 1943. Shot down 31 Aug 1943 during a raid on Berlin. PoW # 12729. PoW camps – Dulag Luft , Stalag IVB. Promoted to W/O while a PoW. Safe UK date unknown.

Stirling Mk.III EF501 AA-K
F/Sgt Keith Alexander McGregor RNZAF NZ415770. Pilot. 29th Jul to 1st Sep 1943. Died Wednesday 1st September 1943, age 21, during a raid on Berlin. No known grave, Commemorated on Panel 199 Runnymede Memorial.

F/O James Benjamin Lovelock RNZAF NZ416324. Nav. 29th Jul to 1st Sep 1943. Died Wednesday 1st September 1943, age 26, during a raid on Berlin. No known grave. Commemorated on Panel 197 Runnymede Memorial.

F/Sgt William Adam Kilby RNZAF NZ415261. AB. 29th  Jul to 1st Sep 1943. Died 1st September 1943, age 40, during a raid on Berlin. No known grave. Commemorated on Panel 199 Runnymede Memorial.

F/Sgt James Guthrie Baker RNZAF NZ41142. WOAG. 29 Jul to 1 Sep 1944. Died Wednesday 1 September 1943, age 27, during a raid on Berlin. No known grave, commemorated on Panel 198, Runnymede Memorial.

Sgt G A A Bond RAFVR 1801229. FE. 30th Jul to 1st Sep 1943. Shot down, wounded, night of 31st Aug-1st Sep 1943 during a raid on Berlin. PoW No. 43256. PoW camps – Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft VI/357. Safe UK. NK.

Sgt G F Dummett RAFVR 1377778. AG. 4th Jun to 1st Sep 1943. Shot down night of 31st Aug-1st Sep 1943 during a raid on Berlin. PoW # 12730. PoW camps – Dulag Luft, Stalags Luft VI and Luft IV. Promoted to W/O while a PoW. Safe UK NK.

Sgt Terence Grange RAFVR 1323448. AG. 30th Jul to 1st Sep 1943. Died Wednesday 1st September 1943, age 22, during a raid on Berlin. No known grave. Commemorated on Panel 151 Runnymede Memorial.

Bomber Command War Diary
31 August/1 September 1943 – Berlin
622 aircraft – 331 Lancasters, 176 Halifaxes, 106 Stirlings, 9 Mosquitos carried out a further attack on Berlin.
This raid was not successful. There was some cloud in the target area; this, together with difficulties with H2S equipment and probably the ferocity of the German defences, all combined to cause the Pathfinder markers to be dropped well south of the centre of the target area and the Main Force bombing to be even further away. The main bombing area eventually extended 30 miles back along the bombers’ approach route. After this raid, Gauleiter Goebbels ordered the evacuation from Berlin of all children and all adults not engaged in war work to country areas or to towns in Eastern Germany where air raids were not expected. 47 aircraft – 20 Halifaxes, 17 Stirlings, 10 Lancasters – lost, 1.6 per cent of the force. The Stirling casualties were 16.0 per cent! Approximately two thirds of the bombers lost were shot down by German fighters operating over or near Berlin. The use of ‘fighter flares’, dropped by German aircraft to ‘mark’ the bomber routes into and away from the target, was noted for the first time in Bomber Command records.

Page 427, The Bomber Command War Diaries. 2011. Everitt Middlebrook. Midland publishing.

6 thoughts on “31/8/43 Attack Against Targets at Berlin

  1. Charles and Maris Shutt(nee Bishop)

    Stirling111 EH905 AA-R not EE905 AA-R.
    The two POWs from the above aircraft Sgts.Burglass( in fact Buglass as his signature on MIS-X43513 dated 28/5/1945) and Harries were not shot down IF the aircraft was “hit by bombs over the target” BCL 1943 WR Chorley..
    I received an e-mail from Jorg Helbig.and quote as follows;
    “at 0102 the Flakbatteries claiming a Stirling shot down at Genshagen.
    I have found out just one Stirling crashing near Genshagen during this night and this was EH905.
    So the Flak had taken part in the shootdown too.
    If they were really hit by bombs over target from an other bomber ia a matter of discuss, but I would say something had really struck this plane I cannot confirm this but I think the Stirling with Sgt. Bishop on bord collided with a german Nightfighter.
    In the records we have an turned down entry at 0103 hrs(see Flak) of a Stirling from Hptm. Wilhelm Telge. Telge was killed after he was flying directly into this plane exactly at the time in which the Flak open fire.The bomber came out of nothing and before he could turning away struck with full force the Bomber and separating one wing of his Fighter and he spiralling down.His Radaroperator survived.The Fighterwreckage was found not far away from the crashpoint of this Stirlingbomber.No other Stirling crashed nearby but an Lancaster, too..Soo its is not entirely clear which aircraft Telge struck, but all the records give a Stirling and so we came always back to Stirling EH905 and those puzzling cause of Loss of this one.”
    Your comments would be appreciated.
    Regards,
    Charles and Maris Shutt(nee Bishop(daughter of Sgt.A.J. Bishop of EH905

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    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hello Charles
      Many thanks for contacting me on this matter – the information you mention id fascinating. Indeed, the aircraft was EH905. The error is in the raid summary – ironically, typed on the same page as the crew list, where it is correctly identified as EH. Chorley lists the aircraft as being hit by a bomb, though, as with probably many of these events, it might be purely conjecture – the Squadron Nominal Roll also says this, though this information might have been taken from Chorley.

      I am reluctant to add to the guess work of this matter, as I know nothing about this raid, other than that my father flew on it and that 4 aircraft from 75(NZ) were lost on the raid, with another crashing on return to the United Kingdom.

      I’ve updated the page to show the correction regarding EH/EE and would be fascinated to learn more, if you have any more information on Arthur, or the Helm crew.

      once again, many thanks for contacting me
      best regards

      Simon

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  2. Mairi Benton

    Hi Simon,

    I started exploring my family history last year and have just found out that I am related to Sgt Oliver McCoo who lost his life on 1.09.1943. He was part of the crew on Stirling MK111 EH905. Oliver was my grandmother’s cousin and hailed from Glasgow. His parents were Joseph and Ruth McCoo who also lived in Glasgow.

    Oliver was laid to rest in the Berlin 1939 -1945 war cemetery. I’m afraid I don’t know anything else about him yet but just wanted to share this info with you. I will keep researching and see what I can find out.

    Thanks so much for your website and the time you have devoted to this research.

    Kindest regards

    Mairi

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  3. Charles and Maris Shutt(nee Bishop)

    Sgt. O. McCoo was one of five crew K.I.A.on Stirling111 EH905 AA-R which T/O 20.32 on 31/8/1943 from Mepal..The deceased included my father Sgt.Arthur John Bishop 1271480 W/O-A/G
    Please contact me directly at charlesshutt@btinternet.com as I have information relating to the crash/initial burials
    Regards,
    Maris Shutt(nee Bishop)

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  4. 75nzsquadron Post author

    Hello Mairi
    Many thanks for contacting me, I’m pleased to meet you as another relative of aircrew of 75(NZ) Squadron!
    I will email you at the weekend with some information that I should be able to find on Oliver and his crew, whilst it won’t give you the whole picture, it should certainly add to your knowledge of him.

    I wish you the best of luck with your research journey and I hope it’s as rewarding as mine has been so far.

    talk to you again soon

    Simon

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  5. Karyn Mcneil

    My grandfather, Sgt George F Dummett was shot down over Germany and one of 2 of the crew to survive that night, he was a POW until the end of the war. My family moved from London in the 70s and I live a few miles from Mepal now. I’ve just been showing my young son your site, it’s wonderful you’ve managed to preserve so much of the history here.

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