P.B. Chamberlain crew 29.09.41 †

20/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Berlin and Ostend
Twelve Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks on the above targets. One of these aircraft is missing. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1,000 lbs, 500 lbs, 250 lbs and containers of incendiaries.
Worsening weather resulted in a general recall to all aircraft. Three crews carried on to Berlin and reported AA fire was heavy and fairly intense, and accurate. The aircraft Captained by Sgt Curlewis was attacked by a Ju.88 night fighter after being caught in a cone of searchlights. It was only a single attack, which gave the air gunners little chance of countering before it made off.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9757 AA-S

S/L Reginald Sawrey-Cookson, RAF 39574 – Pilot.
S/L Paul Burton Chamberlain, RAFVR 33229 – 2nd Pilot.
F/L George Eric Fowler, RAF 86427 – Observer.
Sgt. James Roberts, RAAF AUS.400310 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. J.B. Hopkinson, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
F/L Norman Dudley Greenaway, RAFVR/ RNZAF 78998, NZ2487 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:35 – Landed 02:45
Flight Time 07:10

26/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Emden
Three Wellington Aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. The bomb load was mixed and consisted of 500 lbs, 250 lbs, and containers of incendiaries. Intense light flak was encountered; little heavy. Searchlights were not numerous or troublesome. One enemy aircraft was seen but no attack made. Weather was fairly good, but there was haze over the target. Navigation was by W/T, Q.D.M., astro, D/F.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9757 AA-S

S/L Paul Burton Chamberlain, RAFVR 33229 – Pilot.
Sgt. Douglas Cecil Holley     , RAFVR 1190121 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Joseph Allan Robinson, RCAF J.5684 – Observer.
Sgt. Cooke, RAFVR – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Francis Edward Austin, RAFVR 1262243 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Richard Ashley, RAFVR 908768 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:20 – Landed 00:45
Flight Time 05:25

29/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Genoa and Frankfurt
Nine Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attacks. Target areas were bombed, bursts were seen, and fires started. Heavy and light A.A. fire was ineffective, and very few searchlights operated in target areas. Weather was not too good, there being cloud on route and in target areas. Navigation was by D/R, QDM, pinpoints, loop, Lorenz, astro.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9757 AA-S

S/L Paul Burton Chamberlain, RAFVR 33229 – Pilot.
Sgt. Douglas Cecil Holley     , RAFVR 1190121 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Joseph Allan Robinson, RCAF J.5684 – Observer.
Sgt. Cooke,   – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Francis Edward Austin, RAFVR 1262243 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Richard Ashley, RAFVR 908768 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:15 – Landed 02:35
Flight Time 07:20

30/09/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Stettin and Hamburg
Six Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out individual bombing attacks against the above targets. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1,000 lbs; 500 lbs; 250 lbs; and containers of incendiaries. Light and heavy flak was encountered and this was fairly accurate. Searchlights were not very active. No enemy aircraft were encountered. Weather was fairly good, slight haze in target areas. Navigation was by D/R, map reading, loop, lorenz, W/T.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9976 AA-O

S/L Paul Burton Chamberlain, RAFVR 33229 – Pilot.
Sgt. Douglas Cecil Holley     , RAFVR 1190121 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Joseph Allan Robinson, RCAF J.5684 – Observer.
Sgt. Cooke,   – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Francis Edward Austin, RAFVR 1262243 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Richard Ashley, RAFVR 908768 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:20 – Landed 03:30
Flight Time 08:10

10/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Cologne
Eight Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, Z8969, captained by Sgt Curlewis, failed to return to base. Another, X9825, captained by S/Ldr Chamberlain, jettisoned bombs on a road WSW of Cologne, as owing to damage to hydraulics, the aircraft was unable to maintain height with bombs on. Centre of town was successfully attacked and bombs were seen to burst. large fires were started and were seen to be burning twenty minutes later. One aircraft was seen to crash and explode in the city area. A.A. fire was intense at all heights from 12,000 feet, to 4,000 feet. Searchlights were active in two cones, one each side of target. Visibility was good, with large clearing in low cloud over the target area.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9825 AA-V

S/L Paul Burton Chamberlain, RAFVR 33229 – Pilot.
Sgt. Douglas Cecil Holley     , RAFVR 1190121 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Joseph Allan Robinson, RCAF J.5684 – Observer.
Sgt. Keith Douglas Sarginson, RNZAF NZ391978 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Francis Edward Austin, RAFVR 1262243 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Richard Ashley, RAFVR 908768 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time –

12/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Bremen and Nurenburg
Nine Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out these attacks. One of these aircraft, X9981 captained by S/Ldr Chamberlain, failed to return to base. Wellington IC X9975, captained by P/O Fisher returned to base owing to over heating of an engine. Direct hits were observed on the docks at Ostend and large fires were started which were visible for 90 miles. Incendiary bombs were dropped on a large factory and fires left burning. Other machines were dropping loads within 50 mile radius. A.A. fire was nil at primary, but there was a heavy flak after dropping bombs on Ostend. Searchlights were active to the East and West of target area. Weather was good.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9981 AA-?

S/L Paul Burton Chamberlain, RAFVR 33229 – Pilot.
Sgt. Douglas Cecil Holley     , RAFVR 1190121 – 2nd Pilot.
P/O Joseph Allan Robinson, RCAF J.5684 – Observer.
Sgt. Raymond George Butt, RAFVR 930644 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Francis Edward Austin, RAFVR 1262243 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. John Richard Ashley, RAFVR 908768 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time – Missing

Little is known of the circumstances, although it seems likely they were the victims of an enemy night-fighter, since four other aircraft from 57, 76, 77, and 102 squadrons, were shot down in the same area that night. X9981 came down near Dinant (Namur), Belgium, with no survivors. All these crew members were buried in the Military Cemetery.

S/Ldr. Paul Burton Chamberlain, RAF 33229 – Pilot.
Killed age 25.
Son of Horace and Gladys Chamberlain; Husband of Florence Margaret Chamberlain. Awarded Sword of Honour, R.A.F. College, Cranwell, 1936.
Buried Dinant (Citadelle) Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Grave location – Grave 6.
‘He lies content
With that high hour
In which he lived and died’

Sgt. Douglas Cecil Holley, RAFVR 1190121 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 19.
Buried Dinant (Citadelle) Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Grave location – Grave 2.

P/O Joseph Allan Robinson, RCAF 5684 – Observer.
Killed age 23.
Buried Dinant (Citadelle) Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Grave location – Grave 5.

Sgt. Francis Edward Austin, RAFVR 1262243 – Front Gunner.
Killed age 27.
Son of Francis Henry and Hilda Evelyn Austin, of Hanworth, Middlesex.
Buried Dinant (Citadelle) Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Grave location – Joint grave 3-4.
‘Lord all pitying,
Jesus blest,
Grant him
Thine eternal rest’

Sgt. Raymond George Butt, RAFVR 930644 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 20.
Son of George and Maud Butt, of Hirwaun, Glamorgan.
Buried Dinant (Citadelle) Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Grave location – Grave 7.
‘At the going down
Of the sun
And in the morning
We will always remember him’

Sgt. John Richard   Ashley, RAFVR 908768 – Rear Gunner .
Killed age 29.
Son of Thomas J. and Louisa Ashley, of Cheam, Surrey.
Buried Dinant (Citadelle) Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Grave location – Joint grave 3-4.
‘A brave courageous boy,
Much loved
By his father, mother,
Brothers, sisters’