Accident Avro Lancaster Mk III JA711,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 203772
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Date:Sunday 2 January 1944
Time:03:10 claim
Type:Silhouette image of generic LANC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Avro Lancaster Mk III
Owner/operator:9 Sqn RAF
Registration: JA711
Fatalities:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:1 km southwest of Weyhausen, Niedersachsen -   Germany
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Bardney
Destination airport:
During the night of 1-2 January 1944, RAF Bomber Command despatched 421 Lancasters to Berlin. The take-off was planned for mid-evening but it was delayed due to doubts about the weather and it only began around midnight. The delay also caused a change to the route, planned as a wide northerly approach over Denmark and the Baltic. The bombers were now ordered to fly the much used direct route accross Holland.

The German controller was not deceived by a Mosquito ‘spoof’ raid on Hamburg, and German fighters were directed on to the bomber stream at an early stage and were particularly active en-route to Berlin. Sixteen bombers are believed to have been lost along that flight, including 8 of the 81 despatched Pathfinders. But then few losses were suffered over Berlin, only two bombers being shot down by fighters there, and the local Flak was probably restricted to the height at which it could fire and only shot down two bombers over Berlin. 29 Lancasters crashed in Europe or were lost without traces, and two more crashed on return in England. Aboard these 31 bombers 183 crew were killed, 33 captured and one evaded.

The target area was covered in cloud and the accuracy of the sky-marking soon deteriorated. The Berlin report says that there was scattered bombing, mainly in the southern parts of the city. A large number of bombs fell in the Grunewald, an extensive wooded area in the south-west of Berlin. Only 21 houses and 1 industrial building were destroyed, with 79 people being killed, including 25 in a panic rush at the entrance of a public air shelter in the Neukölln district. A high-explosive bomb hit a lock on an important canal and stopped shipping at that area for several days.

Minor Bomber Command operations this night included Mosquito raids to Hamburg (15 aircraft), to Witten (11), to Duisburg (7), to Bristillerie (4) and to Cologne (1), 6 RCM sorties, and 14 OTU sorties, all without loss.

German night fighters claimed 27 victories this night, including six by Major Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein (number 65 to 70) of Stab NJG 2. Known German losses are seven crew killed, four wounded and 6 aircraft lost: 3 Bf 110, 2 Ju 88 and 1 Bf 109, the latter and one Bf 110 falling to German Flak.

The Lancaster III JA711 WS-A of 9 Sqn RAF took off at 2358 hrs on 1 January 1944 from Bardney to take part into the Berlin raid. Outbound, it crashed in the early hours of the 2nd at Weyhausen. All crew were killed and are buried in Hannover War Cemetery.
The aircraft was shot down by a Junkers Ju 88 night fighter based at Deelen airfield in the Netherlands.
This was either
Leutnant Wendelin Breukel of the 5./NJG 2, who was flying a Ju 88 C-6
Major Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein of the Stab/NJG 2, who was flying Ju 88 R-2 R4+AA.

Pilot : Flying Officer Geoffrey Ward RAFVR 148184 [Killed] (NCO:1106485 Commission Gazetted : Tuesday 17 August, 1943)
Flight Engineer : Sergeant Jack Sutton RAFVR 1140041 [Killed]
Navigator : Flight Sergeant George Lloyd James RAF 658864 [Killed]
Navigator : Sergeant Eric Douglas Keene RAFVR 1577631 [Killed]
Wireless Operator / Air Gunner : Sergeant George Frederick Kenneth Bedwell RAFVR 1250631 [Killed]
Mid-Upper Gunner : Flight Sergeant Norman Frederick Dixon RAFVR 1438149 [Killed]
Rear Gunner : Warrant Officer Class II Willard Lawrence Doran RCAF R/159101 [Killed]

A German-made list of crashes of Allied aircraft between 1 January 1944 and 29 February 1944 indicated that this Lancaster crashed 1 km southwest of Weyhausen, east of Gifhorn.


Nachtjagd Combat Archive 1944 part one
Google Maps
"The Bomber Command War Diaries", by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt, ISBN 1-85780-033-8
"The Berlin Raids. RAF Bomber Command Winter 1943-1944", by Martin Middlebrook. ISBN 0-304-35347-7
"Royal Air Force Bomber Command losses, vol 5. Aircraft and Crews Losses 1944", by W R Chorley, ISBN 0-904597-91-1
"Lufwaffe Night Fighter Combat Claims 1939-1945", by John Foreman, Johannes Matthews and Simon Parry. ISBN 0-9538061-4-6
"Deutsche Nachtjagd Personalverluste in Ausbildung und Einsatz - fliegendes Personal -", by Michael Balss
"Deutsche Nachtjagd Materialverluste in Ausbildung und Einsatz", by Michael Balss. ISBN 3-925480-3-6
List of crashes of Allied aircraft between 1 January and 29 February 1944, included in MACR files (|38647790)
Rob Davis Bomber Command Losses Database

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft
20 September 1942 W4184 9 Sqn RAF 6 Gauting, Bayern w/o
3 August 1943 ED493 9 Sqn RAF 7 North Sea 20 km northwest of Bergen, Noord-Holland w/o
1 January 1945 PD368 9 Sqn RAF 0 RAF Bardney, Lincolnshire w/o


Revision history:

03-Jan-2018 22:04 Laurent Rizzotti Added
27-Nov-2019 18:43 TigerTimon Updated [Time, Cn, Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
27-Nov-2019 19:00 TigerTimon Updated [Location]
27-Nov-2019 19:09 TigerTimon Updated [Embed code]
02-Dec-2019 18:32 TigerTimon Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
01-Jan-2024 08:04 Rob Davis Updated [Source, Narrative]

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