26/27th August 1944 57 Squadron Lancaster I LM278 Fl/Lt. Clark DFC
Operation: Gardening - Koningsberg
Date: 26/27th August 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 57 Squadron (motto: Corpus non animum muto - 'I change my body not my spirit'). 5 Group
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF East Kirby, Lincolnshire
Location: Koningsberg (named Kalingrad today)
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Austin Thomas Clark DFC. J/86332 RCAF Age 26. Missing - believed killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Francis James Wilson 1863415 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Nav: P/O. Harold William Lugg J/89269 RCAF Age 31. Missing - believed killed
Air/Bmr: P/O. Leonard Knut Johnson J/92014 RCAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Henri Souci 1685986 RAFVR PoW Camp 9CL (Mulhausen)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Henry Charles James Winslade 1608959 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. Robert Hudson McNabb J/89656 RCAF Age 27. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 20:17 hrs on a 'Gardening' operation in the Koningsberg (Kalingrad) area. A return trip of almost 1,790 miles they were flying at the maximum range of the Lancaster. 41 aircraft taking part in the operation. Further details go 'Gardening' here.
LM278 was hit by flak over Koningsberg, killing 6 of the crew with Sgt. Souci taken PoW.
Post war (1949) the Missing Research Enquiry Team were prevented access to identify and relocate the graves as the area as this was then in the Russian zone. It is known that the crew were buried at the Frisches Haff, Brandenburg Cemetery (now known as Ushakavo). German documents had the details of the burial, even a map - shown right.
'Fl/Lt. Clark awarded DFC whilst with 57 Squadron. Gazetted 12th February 1946.
'Fl/Lt. Clark has taken part in may operations sorties which have included attacks against targets located in the most heavily defended areas in Germany and enemy occupied territory. On one occasion in July 1944 he was captain of an aircraft detailed to attack St Leu Desserant. When 25miles from the target one engine of his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire. fire broke out but was extinguished and the target successfully attacked. Shortly after leaving the target another engine became unserviceable. The aircraft was illuminated by searchlights and heavily attacked by enemy ground defences. Largely owing to this officer’s skilful handling it escaped further damage and although the hydraulic system shot away a forced landing was safely accomplished at base. Fl/Lt. Clark displayed cool courage and fortitude in continuing to his target in such hazardous circumstances. At all times his devotion to duty and determination have been worthy of the highest praise.
Fl/Lt. Austin Thomas Clark DFC. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 244. Born on the 21st December 1917. A salesman prior to service working for The Bell Telephone Company. Son of Herbert Clark, and of Fanny Edith Clark, of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada.
Sgt. Francis James Wilson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 240. Son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Wilson, of Barking, Essex, England.
P/O. Harold William Lugg. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 251. Born on the 14th July 1913. A farmer prior to service. Son of Ernest Joseph (died 1978, age 90) and Emily Lugg (died 1979, age 88 both parents buried in Mannville Cemetery, Alberta), of Mannville, Alberta, Canada.
P/O. Leonard Knut Johnson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 250. Born on the 23rd March 1919. Worked as a farm labourer prior to service. Son of Andrew and Mary Johnson (née Eckman) of Manson, Manitoba, Canada.
Leonard Johnson Lake Lake northeast of Whitefish Lake in Manitoba was named after him in 1995.
Sgt. Henry Charles James Winslade. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 240. Son of Capt. W. S. Winslade, and of Ellen E. Winslade, of Headington, Oxfordshire, England.
P/O. Robert Hudson McNabb. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 251. Also remembered on parents grave in Park Lawn Cemetery in Toronto. Born on the 02nd October 1917. Worked as a stores clerk for John Inglis Company prior to service. Son of Robert Davis (died 17th July 1940, age 64) and Alice McNabb (née Davey - died 14th June 1947, age 69 - both parents buried at Park Lawn Cemetery in Toronto) of 68 Givens Street, Toronto, Canada.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to John Jones who researched this loss and sent documents an photographs of the crew for us in October 2021, 'A Place of Honour' - 2nd edition, other sources as quoted below: