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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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12 Squadron Crest
24/25.03 1944 12 Squadron Lancaster III ND710 PH-L Fg.Off. de Marigny

Operation: Berlin

Date: 24/25th March 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 12 Squadron (motto: 'Leads the Field')

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND710

Code: PH-L

Base: RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire

Location: Kindlebrück, Germany

Pilot: Fg.Off. Galtan Joseph George de Marigny 148018 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Joseph Stanley Wright 1695287 RAFVR PoW No: 3359 Camp: Stalag 357, Kopernikus

Nav: Flt.Sgt. Ronald George William Beer 1335174 RAFVR PoW No: 3363 Camp: Stalag 357, Kopernikus

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Dennis Holland 1437310 RAFVR PoW No: 3364 Camp: Stalag Luft 6, Heydekrug

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Stanley George Bentley 1388598 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Mid Upp.Gnr: Sgt. George William Henson 1350968 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Rear Gnr: Sgt. Ernest Alfred Anthony 1196006 RAFVR Age 20. Killed


A memorial is being planned for this crew perhaps on the anniversary of the loss in 2020. Relatives are encouraged to contact us for further details.


REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 18:32 hrs fro RAF Wickenby in Lincolnshire.

Shot down by the Luftwaffe ace Hptm. Paul Zorner of 8./NJG3 at 22:57 hrs. Aircraft crashing at the location shown.

Of the 811 aircraft that took part in the sortie, 72 failed to return. Very high winds from the north blew the bombers off course that night which afterwards became known as ‘the night of the strong winds’. The lack of an accurate forecast and subsequent notification to the crews resulted in the scattering of the bomber stream to the south west of the target.

Towns and villages well outside the city boundaries were hit as the markers drifted in the strong wind which accounted for 30 civilian deaths. In the south west suburbs of Berlin many houses were destroyed and 150 people killed. Some industrial premises were damaged as well as five military targets the most important being a depot of the Waffen SS.

The squadron lost 3 other crews:

Lancaster III JB359 PH-Q Flown by Flt.Lt. John Hopkinson Bracewell - killed with all 6 other crew.

Lancaster III ND439 PH-K Flown by Flt.Sgt. C.J Bates RAFVR - PoW with 1 other crew member, 5 others killed.

Lancaster III ND650 PH-Y Flown by Fg.Off Frederick Charles Hensch - killed with 3others, 2 crew PoW with 1 other evading capture.

(1) Oblt. Paul Zorner, already a night fighter ace at this time with 38 claims, went on to claim a total of 59 night victories. He survived the war - imprisoned by the Soviets until 1949 he went on to work for Hoechst as their Chief Engineer before retiring in 1981. He died in Hamburg on the 27th January 2014 age 93.

Details of his operational career can be discovered here.

Burial details:

Fg.Off. Galtan Joseph George de Marigny. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 5.G.3-5. Son of Constant and Eliane de Marigny, of St. Pierre, Ile Maurice, Amirante Isles, Seychelles.

Sgt. Stanley George Bentley. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.G.2. Son of Jessie Maria Bentley, of Enfield, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription: 'For Ever In Our Thoughts Till We Meet Again. Mum, Arthur And Denis'.

Sgt. George William Henson. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 5.G.3-5. Son of George and Mary Clarice Henson and stepson of E. G. Lloyd, of Nottingham, England. Grave inscription: 'We Are Not Dead, We Live, We Learn, By God's Good Grace Through Spirit Return'.

Sgt. Ernest Alfred Anthony. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 5.G.3-5. Son of Ernest and Doris Anthony, of Yardley Wood, Birmingham, England. Grave inscription: 'At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as quoted below:

RS 08.03.2020 - Correction to Sgt. Holland's PoW camp

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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Acknowledgements
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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At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
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