Accident Avro Lancaster Mk III JB280,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 51062
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Date:Sunday 2 January 1944
Type:Silhouette image of generic LANC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Avro Lancaster Mk III
Owner/operator:405 (Vancouver) Sqn RCAF
Registration: JB280
Fatalities:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Nieuw-Schoonebeek, Drenthe -   Netherlands
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Gransden Lodge
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 JB280 LQ-K of 405 Sqn RCAF took off at 0023 hrs from Gransden Lodge but outbound was shot down by a night-fighter flown by Lt Friedrich Potthast of 12./NJG1 (it was his fourth victory), and crashed without survivor at 0210 hrs at Nieuw Schoonebeek (Drenthe) in the commune of Schoonebeek, Netherlands, where all were buried on 5 January.

Crew (all killed):
Flg Off Thomas Henry Donnelly DFM RCAF (pilot, age 23)
Sgt Leslie George Robert Miller RAFVR (flight engineer)
Flg Off Alexander Jerry Salaba RCAF (navigator)
Flt Sgt William Leonard John Clark RCAF (air bomber, age 22)
Sgt Brian Sidney James West (wireless operator/air gunner)
Sgt Ronald Everest Watts (air gunner, age 33)
Sgt Ronald Zimmer RCAF (air gunner)

Flg Off Donnelly gained his DFM with 57 Sqn RAF, Gazetted on 4 August 1942.

"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

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft
12 September 1944 PA981 405 (Vancouver) Sqn RCAF 3 Near Gladbeck-Butendorf w/o
2 November 1944 PB413 405 (Vancouver) Sqn RCAF 1 Mönchengladbach area, Nordrhein-Westfalen w/o


creator: Oorlogsgraven Schoonebeek / War Graves Schoonebeek

Revision history:

17-Dec-2008 11:45 ASN archive Added
03-Jun-2016 21:18 Red Dragon Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Jun-2016 21:20 Red Dragon Updated [Source]
03-Jan-2018 22:32 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Aircraft type]
04-Jan-2018 09:47 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Phase, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
13-Oct-2018 16:50 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
31-Dec-2018 09:05 TigerTimon Updated [Cn, Location]
03-Jan-2020 16:11 TigerTimon Updated [Embed code]
03-Jan-2020 16:22 TigerTimon Updated [Embed code]
03-Jan-2020 16:23 TigerTimon Updated [Embed code, Photo]

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