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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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635 Squadron Crest
04/05.04.1945 No. 635 Squadron Lancaster I PB949 F2-T Fl/Lt. Philip E. Cawthorne DFC

Operation: Harburg

Date: 04/05th April 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 635 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: PB949

Code: F2-T

Base: RAF Downham Market, Norfolk

Location: Peat bogs at Hesepe, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Philip Edward Cawthorne DFC AUS/417049 RAAF Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Bernard Richard McMaster 1320892 RAFVR PoW Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang (1)

Nav: P/O. G. Wilson DFC 191391 RAFVR Evaded capture

Air/Bmr: P/O. B.G. Roberts 101405 RAFVR PoW Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang

Spec/Op: P/O. F.M. Williams 164595 RAFVR PoW Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Thomas Reid AUS/429266 RAAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Victor Moore 1587862 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: W/O.II Irvine James Kinney R/250856 RCAF Age 18. Killed (3)

The son of Fl/Sgt. McMaster would very much like to make contact with other relatives of the crew - please contact us in the first instance.


Taking off at 20:04 hrs from RAF Downham Market in Norfolk joining 327 aircraft detailed to bomb the Rhenania oil plant.

The target was easily identified resulting in severe damage to the installations.

Right: Flight Engineer Fl/Sgt. McMaster (courtesy Steve McMaster)

Thought to have been shot down after dropping their bomb load and on the homeward trip by Ofw. Erich Matt (2) of 4./NJG4 at just after 23:00 hrs. The Lancaster was seen to crash in flames into the peat bog at Hesepe.

The four crew that survived were blown out of the aircraft at 18.000 ft, amazing to survive.

The 3 taken prisoners of war were eventually liberated by Russian troops on the 5th May 1945. Arrived back in the UK 12th May 1945.

Fl/Lt. Philip Edward Cawthorne DFC Citation published in the London Gazette on 22nd May 1945 reads:

‘This officer has shown great skill and fortitude in operations against the enemy.’
P/O. G. Wilson DFC awarded on 20th July 1945 - escaped via Holland.

Above L-R: Fl/Lt. J.B Hayes, Fl/Lt. W.M Douglas DFC, Fl/Lt. J.N Steel, W/O. R.B Warner, Fl/Sgt. J.W. Emms DFM, W/O. A.D Clayon DFC and Fl/Sgt. B. McMaster. (courtesy Steve McMaster)

(1) Fl/Sgt. Bernard R. McMaster had served previously with the crew of Lancaster III PB564 F2-H and was not with his usual crew when that was shot down on the 6th January 1945. (All crew survived as either PoW or evading capture) Fl/Sgt. McMaster was born in Aldershot in 1923 and enlisted in the RAFVR at 17.

L-R: Fl/Lt. Cawthorne, P/O. Wilson, P/O. Roberts, W/O. Reid, Fl/Sgt. Moore, W/O. Kinney, Sgt. Goulborne (not on last trip - courtesy John Williams - submitted to Aircrew Remembered August 2016)

Above the peat bog area at Hesepe, Germany.

(2) This was the 5th abschüsse (making him an ‘ace’) for Ofw. Erich Matt who survived the war.

(3) At 18 W/O.II Irvine James Kinney is thought to have been the youngest Canadian to be killed on pathfinder duties in 1945.

Burial Details:

The crew's bodies were recovered over a period between 1945 - 1948.

Left: Original crew grave marker (courtesy Australian Archives)

Fl/Lt. Philip Edward Cawthorne DFC. Becklingen War Cemetery. Joint grave 14.D.3-4. Son of Leslie Edward and Kathleen Cawthorne, of 7 Cranbrooke Avenue, Millswood, Adelaide, South Australia.

W/O. Thomas Reid. Becklingen War Cemetery. Joint grave 14.D.3-4. Son of Robert and Annie Reid, of 16 Central Street, Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia.

Fl/Sgt. Ronald Victor Moore. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 14.D.2. Son of Albert Victor and Edith Mary Moore, of Ludgershall, Wiltshire, England.

W/O.II Irvine James Kinney. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 14.D.1. Son of Thomas J. Kinney, and of Isabel Kinney, of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.

Right: Fl/Lt. Philip Edward Cawthorne DFC (courtesy Australian Archives)

For further details our thanks to the following, Steve McMaster, son of the flight engineer, also to John Williams who submitted 2nd crew photo August 2016, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), 'Paradie Archive'. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Further information from these titles/organisations are available from us, just use the 'Help' button on the main page above or 'add info' button also shown on this page.

KTY - 17.08.2016 New crew photo added - courtesy J. Williams

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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