Achieve Your Aim
As part of Group 5 PFF Target marking
As part of Group 5 PFF Target marking
Black Thursday is the night of highest losses suffered by the squadron during the war and most of those after returning from the raid. Whilst other squadrons suffered losses that night 97 squadron’s losses were the most severe; 9 Lancasters lost, 28 crew died, 7 crew injured. In December 1943 the squadron was based at RAF Bourn and was a 3 flight squadron totalling 21 Lancasters, that night’s raid was a “Maximum Effort” meaning all aircraft were participating in the raid, a raid on Berlin. This was part of the Battle of Berlin (November 1943 to March 1944).
9 Aircraft lost
Only 1 crew were lost on the operation over Berlin, that of:
JB963Q F/L D.J.Brill, F/L R.E.Handley (2nd Pilot), Sgt J.Stone, P/O N.G.McIntyre, P/O R.Butler, Sgt H.Chappell, P/O G.J.Little, F/Sgt E.Battle. Up 1655 – missing.
1 aircraft was badly damaged, written off, on landing away from Bourn, that of:
JA908N Sgts W.D.Coates, R.H.Nicholas, G.Nuttall, P/O E.H.Baldwin, Sgts W.Chapman, W.L.York, F.Thompson. Up 1700 Down 0130. 5 x 2000lb. Berlin attacked from 19,000’. Bombs released in centre of concentration of green TIs. Returned on two engines, both on port side, and all instruments u/s. Landed at Downham Market. (F/Sgt Coates after being hit by another aircraft’s incendiaries and having two engines put out of action on the same side by flak, put out a ditching signal when not far from the Danish coast. With great skill he flew the aircraft back on the two engines and landed safely without further damage at Downham Market.)
2 crew bailed out over England, P/O Smith and F/O Mooney the captains, bailed out safely over Ely and Wyton.
JB531Y P/O F.Smith, Sgt F.E.Durn, P/O J.W.Arthurson, F/Sgt J.A.Wilson, Sgts G.H.Townend, N.Stewart, C.A.Bradshaw. Up 1700 Down not shown. 5 x 2000lb. Bombs released on Berlin from 20,000’. No results of bombing seen. On return to base fog and low cloud made landing dangerous so crew bailed out from 7,000’. All landed safely.
JB482S F/O R.L.Mooney, Sgts F.B.Gray, G.A.Johnson, F/Sgt J.Worsdale, Sgt N.D.Cameron, F/Sgt G.Woolf, F/Sgt L.Smith. Up 1705 Down 0035. 5 x 2000lb. Berlin bombed from 19,500’. Target identified by red and green TIs and Wanganui flares. On return crew bailed out owing to weather conditions making landing too dangerous.
5 crashed on return to England. Results in 28 dead 7 injured.
F/Sgt Scott and crew crashed at Graveley, all being killed.
JB117C F/Sgt I.W.Scott, Sgts E.W.Collishaw, J.Peek, D.R.Irvine, S.G.Parrott, K.Foxcroft, S.L.Hope. Up 1650 No down time. 5 x 2000lb. Aircraft crashed on return to base due to fog and low cloud. All members of the crew were killed.
Crashed at Bourn on the edge of the airfield. Three were killed – S/L Mackenzie, F/O Colson, P/O Pratt, the remainder are either in hospital or sick quarters.
JB119F S/L D.Mackenzie, P/O J.Pratt, F/Sgt R.Marshall, F/O W.A.Colson, F/Sgt A.Hunter, F/Sgt W.A.Lang, F/Sgt K.Kirby. Up 1645 Down 0045. 5 x 2000lb. Crashed on landing at base. Captain, Flight Engineer and Air Bomber killed.
F/O Thckway and crew crashed near Bourn airfield, killing all except Sgt Mack who is in hospital and Sgt Laver who escaped uninjured.
JB176K F/O E.Thackway, Sgts G.Grundy, J.Powell, P/O L.K.Grant, P.H.Mack, R.Lawrence, L.N.Laver. Up 1655 Down 0100. 5 x 2000lb. Crashed on landing after raid on Berlin due to fog and low cloud. The Captain, Flight Engineer, Navigator, Air Bomber and mid upper gunner were killed. Wireless Op was injured but the rear gunner escaped injury.
P/O Kirkwood and crew crashed near Gransden, all being killed.
JB219R P/O J.Kirkwood, F/Sgt E.Hubbard, Sgt R.Stewart, F/O G.A.Wigley, Sgts R.G.Cleeve, L.Madeley, J.Killen. Up 1650 Down 0010. 5 x 2000lb. Crashed on landing on returning from raid on Berlin owing to bad visibility and low cloud, all members of the crew being killed.
S/L Deverill DFC DFM and crew crashed at Graveley, all being killed except for W/O Benbow who is in Ely hospital.
JB243P S/L E.A.Deverill, F/Sgt A.Russell, P/O J.T.Brown, F/Sgt J.Farr, F/Sgt R.Crossgrove, W/O J.Benbow, W/O D.J.Penfold. Up 1645 Down 0015. 5 x 2000lb. Crashed at Grevelay on returning from attack on Berlin owing to very bad visibility and low cloud. All members of the crew were killed except the mid upper gunner who was injured.
More about Black Thursday can be found at the RAF Pathfinders Archive here