Bomber Command Losses - 31 March 1945

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Tom OBrien, Sep 4, 2021.

  1. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi,

    Can anyone help me with the losses that Bomber Command suffered during the daylight raid on Hamburg on 31 March 1945.

    I've been going through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and putting together a list of the casualties by bomber crews by squadron and then downloading the respective squadron ORBs from the National Archives.

    My understanding of the raid is that it was conducted by 469 aircraft of 1, 6 and 8 Groups (361 Lancasters, 100 Halifaxes, 8 Mosquitos). Losses were apparently 8 Lancasters and 3 Halifaxes.

    So far I've got details of the following losses for 31 March 1945:

    156 Sqn: 2 Lancasters;
    415 Sqn RCAF: 1 Halifax;
    419 Sqn RCAF: 2 Lancasters
    425 Sqn RCAF: 1 Halifax
    429 Sqn RCAF: 1 Lancaster
    431 Sqn RCAF: 1 Lancaster
    434 Sqn RCAF: 1 Lancaster
    635 Sqn RAF: 1 Lancaster (I presume)
    692 Sqn RAF: 1 Mosquito (I'm not sure if this loss was related to this raid)

    I also have 7 RAAF aircrew who were killed that day but who have no squadron affiliation noted on the CWGC site. A whole bomber crew? The missing Halifax?

    Does anyone have a copy of the BC War Diaries or losses books and would be able to help with other squadrons that took part in the raid and either did, or didn't, suffer any losses.

    Many thanks in advance.

    Regards

    Tom
     
    ltdan and CL1 like this.
  2. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Hello,

    Losses on Hamburg from Chorley's 1945 Bomber Command Losses

    2x No. 156 Sqn Lancasters
    1x No. 408 Sqn Halifax
    1x No. 415 Sqn Halifax
    2x No. 419 Sqn Lancasters
    1x No. 425 Sqn Halifax
    1x No. 429 Sqn Lancaster
    1x No. 431 Sqn Lancaster
    1x No. 434 Sqn Lancaster
    1x No. 635 Sqn Lancaster

    I left out Mosquito PF466 of No. 692 Squadron. It took off at 1951 hrs on 30 March for a job on Berlin, so wrong target on wrong day.

    Your missing RAAF/RAF crew were in Stirling LK197 of No. 196 Squadron, lost on ops, dropping packages in Norway, so not Bomber Command.

    ALLMAN George Gregory 422092 - Highgate RSL

    Regards,

    Dave
     
    ltdan, Lindele and CL1 like this.
  3. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Dave,

    Many thanks. Not sure how I missed the 408 Sqn Halifax as I had that ORB as well. Doh!

    Thanks for correction on the Mosquito and information on the RAAF/RAF Stirling crew.

    I'll post up more as I work through the losses - location of crash, survivors, crash sites, etc.

    Regards

    Tom
     
    CL1 likes this.
  4. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

     
  5. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Is it by any chance documented how many bombers were lost to rockets?
     
  6. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi,

    that was one of the reasons I’m interested in this day’s losses. My plan is to try to work out where the recorded losses happened and look through combat reports, survivors reports and casualty reports to try to offer an explanation for the losses. It might take a while though, so please be patient.

    Regards

    Tom
     
  7. Padu

    Padu Junior Member

    Hello,
    the following bombers are 31.03.1945 crashed directly in the Hamburg city area:

    Lancaster KB911, Sqn 434, impact site Nettelnburg , 3 KI A, F/O Haliburton has no grave site,
    4 POW, Me 262.

    Halifax NP806 Sqn, impact site Bergedorf/Boberg, near glider airfield, 7 POW, Me 262/Willi Strübing JG7.

    Lancaster PB958, 635 Sqn, impact location Billstedt, Ojendorfer Steinkamp, Flak and Me262
    1 POW, 7 KIA (F/S K.G. Clark murdered by Heinrich Siemer, the leader of the Volkssturm unit there.

    Lancaster PB468, 156 S qn, impact site Langenhorn, Hohe Liedt, 8 KIA, Me 262

    The other bombers all crashed outside the city limits. The target for all werde the shipyards in Hamburg harbor.

    Padu
     
    ltdan and Juha like this.
  8. Padu

    Padu Junior Member

    Halifax NP806, 408 Sqn.
    Padu
     
    Juha likes this.
  9. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    One of the 419 Squadron Lancs was KB761 and there are conflicting reports on its loss - some reports are lost to an ME262 but also reported collided with a Halifax and both lost (this reported by a gunner in another 419 Sqn Lanc). I have a paybook to an RCAF Air Gunner who I just found last night was normally part of this crew but missed this Op after a motorbike crash - the mid upper also managed to injure himself just pre Op so the crew flew with 2 new Air Gunners as stand ins - the Navigator was a Scot from my home town but had emigrated to Canada as a young child.
     
  10. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi Padu,

    Thanks for posting those details. Do you have any sources that provide details of the suggestion that the losses were due to Me 262?

    Regards

    Tom
     
  11. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Juha likes this.
  12. Padu

    Padu Junior Member

    Hello,
    which Halifax is Lancaster KB761 said to have collided with over the North Sea?
     
  13. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Juha likes this.
  14. Padu

    Padu Junior Member

    Thank you,
    Padu
     
    AB64 likes this.
  15. Padu

    Padu Junior Member

    Hello Tom,
    Except for the confirmed statements of pilot Strübing to have shot down two bombers (Halifax NP806 and 1 Bomber over Hamburg-Horn) I do not have any German sources that state which pilot of a Me262 shot down which Lancaster bomber. In general there is a reference to:
    gaz.wiki/JG7
    Padu
     
    Juha likes this.
  16. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Padu,

    Thanks, I'll see what else I can find from the German side. In the meantime, I'll post up some information from various British ORBs:

    No. 12 Squadron R.A.F.
    (AIR27/169/5)


    31 March 1945 RAF WICKENBY
    Fourteen aircraft operated on HAMBURG.
    Captains of Aircraft were:- F/Lt. Stephenson, F/Lt. Green, F/Sgt. Theobald, F/Sgt. Forrest, F/O. Rothwell, W/O Ruhen, F/Sgt. Davies, F/O. Baird, F/O. Wickes, F/Lt. McPherson, S/Ldr. Huggins, W/O. Crawshaw, F/O. Galbraith, F/O. Grannum.
    10/10th Cloud. Moderate heavy Flak over target Barrage. Some predicted Flak was met on the outskirts of target. A few fighters were seen over the target but there were no combats. P.F.F. skymarked the target area, enabling concentration bombing to be made, but results are unknown.

    (AIR27/169/5)

    [Aircraft were Lancaster I; take off time was @ 0605; time down: @1130; bombing was at about 0845 from about 17,500 - 18,000 feet]

    Recce Report:

    The Gaggle was very poor on the last two legs into target. Most likely due to weather conditions before sighting Dutch Coast. Weather over target was 10/10 and target was marked by one Red Smoke Puff. This was bombed by M/B instruction. Opposition over target was slight to moderate Heavy flak, also slight Light Flak. Heavy bursting at 19,000 ft and Light 15,000. Fighter opposition slight, 2 E/A sighted ME 262, ME 109. On my [F/O. C. Grannum] bombing run one Lanc 15 miles N.E. of target was seen to burst into flames and later explode. Cause Light Flak. Results of attack difficult to estimate, due to cloud cover. A large bellow of cloud was observed over T/A. Visibility poor on leaving T/A.

    Interesting reference to loss of a Lancaster of a different squadron at about 0845 [F/O. Grannum recorded bombing at 0846 in Lancaster I PD 270] from Light Flak about 15 miles N.E. of Hamburg docks. Does that tie up with any of the known locations for losses that day?

    Regards

    Tom
     
    Juha likes this.
  17. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    My knowledge of Hamburg is limited to the quickest way to get to Lucullus (bratwurst place on the Reeperbahn) but here's what Chorley said about the lost aircraft. Nothing given on the loss of the 425 Sqn Halifax other than the pilot's nationality. You may want to look at the files of the RCAF POWs of that loss.

    Regards,

    Dave
     
  18. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Thanks for the information and tips, I'll see if I can chase those down.

    Regards

    Tom
     
  19. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Here's the details from No. 100 Sqn R.A.F.:

    No. 100 Squadron R.A.F.
    (AIR27/798/5)


    31 March 1945 RAF GRIMSBY
    15 of the 18 aircraft offered were detailed to make a precision attack on HAMBURG in daylight. Unfortunately the target was covered by 10/10ths cloud, but crews bombed the red smoke puffs and stated that, as far as could be judged from the concentration of the aircraft, the bombing should have been quite good. Defensive opposition was moderately heavy, and one aircraft, J/100 (F/Lt. Butler) was slightly holed by flak, but all aircraft returned safely.

    (AIR27/798/6)

    HAMBURG: Over the target there was 10/10ths cloud with tops at 6/12,000 feet and good visibility above. Bombing was on sky-marking – smoke puffs – with, in the majority of cases, good H2S check, and the Master Bomber had matters well under control all through. No assessment of results could, of course, be made, but marking is reported well concentrated and, if accurate, the attack must have been quite successful. No trouble from fighters was experienced, but there was a certain amount of predicted heavy flak and one aircraft – F/Lt. Butler – was hit and had the fuselage holed just over the target.
    Detailed 15, Primary 15. Bombs dropped – 90 tons H.E.
    [Aircraft were Lancaster III; take off time about 0620; time down @ 1125; bombing was at about 0845 hrs from 17,000 – 18,00 feet; no further details on hostile activity.]

    Regards

    Tom
     
  20. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    And the sparse details from No. 101 Sqn R.A.F.:

    No. 101 Squadron R.A.F.
    (AIR27/804/5)


    31 March 1945 LUDFORD MAGNA
    22 aircraft on operations. Successful captains were:- F/L. Meadows. F/S. Kell.
    F/O. MacKay. F/O. Schenk. F/O. Davis. F/O. Lough. F/O. Nightingale. S/L. Sleight. F/L. Hannay. F/O. Weightman. F/S. Haldarson. F/S. Upcott. F/S. Chitty. F/O. McIntosh.
    F/O. Cairnes. F/O. Low. F/L. Senger. F/L. West. F/L. Andrews. (Bombed alternative target – Texel Island). F/L. Wilder. F/O. Venning. F/O. Henn.

    (AIR27/804/6)


    [Aircraft were Lancaster I; take off time about 0630; time down @ 1150; bombing was at about 0845 from 17,500 feet. No details of opposition or losses seen].

    Regards

    Tom
     

Share This Page