Accident Avro Lancaster Mk III JB642,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 203785
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Date:Sunday 2 January 1944
Time:02:52 claim
Type:Silhouette image of generic LANC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Avro Lancaster Mk III
Owner/operator:106 Sqn RAF
Registration: JB642
Fatalities:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 7
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:between Scharrel and Otternhagen, Niedersachsen -   Germany
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:
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 JB642 ZN-J of 106 Sqn RAF took off at 0020 hrs on 2 January 1944 from Metheringham for a raid on Berlin. It was shot down by night fighter pilot Feldwebel Hans Meissner of the 2./NJG 3 and crashed into a meadow between Scharrel and Otternhagen near Neustadt am Rübenberge.

Pilot : Pilot Officer Frederick Horace Garnett RAFVR 158579 [Killed] (NCO:1436667 Commission Gazetted : Tuesday 16 November, 1943)
Flight Engineer : Sergeant David McLean RAFVR 949983 [Killed]
Navigator : Flight Sergeant Theophilus John Thomas RAFVR 1315500 [Killed]
Bomb Aimer : Sergeant Ernest Montague John Pease RAFVR 1436156 [Killed]
Wireless Operator : Sergeant Eric Edge RAFVR 1074118 [Killed]
Mid-Upper Gunner : Sergeant John Alfred Withington RAFVR 1628244 [Killed]
Rear Gunner : Sergeant Alexander A E Elsworthy RAF 1393363 [PoW]

Those who died are buried in Hannover War Cemetery. Sgt. Edge was first buried in Engelbostel Cemetery as the rudder and elevator had come apart before the aircraft crashed. All others were subsequently buried in Otternhagen Cemetery. Exhumations were carried out on 19 September 1946. Since then those who died rest in Hannover War Cemetery. Sgt Elsworthy was taken prisoner and transferred to Stalag Luft 3 Sagan and Belaria at Zagari.


Nachtjagd Combat Archive 1944 part one
"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 3-925480-3-6,9.526667/@52.512778,9.526667,11120m/data=!4m2!2m1!4b1?dg=dbrw&newdg=1
Rob Davis Bomber Command Losses Database

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft
20 December 1942 R5697 106 Sqn RAF 7 Oudelandsdijkje 5, Monnickendam, Noord-Holland w/o

Revision history:

04-Jan-2018 09:07 Laurent Rizzotti Added
27-Oct-2018 21:03 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
27-Nov-2019 19:54 TigerTimon Updated [Time, Cn, Source, Narrative]
01-Jan-2024 08:08 Rob Davis Updated [Source, Narrative]

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