20/21.01.1944 No. 102 Squadron Halifax II LW337 DY-F F/O. George Griffiths DFM
Operation: Berlin, Germany
Date: 20/21st January 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: 102 Squadron
Type: Halifax II
Serial: LW337 (Old Flo)
Base: RAF Pocklington, Yorkshire
Location: Koepenick Woods South East Berlin
Time: 19:45 hrs
Pilot: F/O. ‘Gag’ George A. Griffiths DFM. 141468 RAFVR PoW No. 3361 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Pilot 2: Sgt. Kenneth Frederick Stanbridge 1445546 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Bremner 1567605 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Navigator: Fl/Sgt. Reg C. Wilson 169892 RAFVR PoW No. 270098 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Air/Bmr: F/O. Laurie. A. Underwood 55204 RAFVR PoW No. 3396 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Eric Arthur Church 170702 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Air/Gnr (mid upper): W/O II Charles Gordon Dupueis R/176437 RCAF Age 20. Missing - believed killed (1)
Air/Gnr (Rear): Sgt. John H.L. Bushell 1623401 RAFVR PoW No. 270013 Camp: Stalag Muhlberg (Elbe)
This page is dedicated to Reg Wilson who, sadly passed away on the the 11th November 2016 - the last living member of the crew. His daughter is still researching the loss of LW337 - she is in contact with all the direct relatives of the crew, but still welcomes any new information.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 16:30 hrs from RAF Pocklington, near York, joining 768 other aircraft to bomb the Reich's capital - this was to be the heaviest attack up to this date of the war.
The bomber stream was detected at 17:09 hrs when it was still 160 km out over the North Sea over Terschelling by MS Togo - a Wurzburg-Reise radar equipped ship. This ship was also equipped with direct link communication equipment to the German night fighters.
Weather conditions were extremely poor and only the most experienced night fighter crews took off to intercept. 10 aircraft were shot down before they reached the target.
Over the target the weather was clear, no moon but excellent visibility resulting in another 21 aircraft shot down. A further four were claimed on the home run.
The city reported nothing of this raid and the damage caused is unknown to this specific night. The Allies lost a staggering 174 crew killed with a further 71 taken as PoW. 10 others evaded capture.
When over the target, Halifax LW337 was attacked, originally it was thought by flak, but it is understood by the Luftwaffe nightfighter ace, Oblt. Leopold Fellerer of Stab II./NJG5 which set alight to the starboard wing and bomb bay. The aircraft dived steeply and broke up.
F/O. Griffiths had served previously with 76 Squadron, his DFM being gazetted on 14th May 1943. 27 aircraft were lost this night out of 800 which took part on this Berlin raid.
Reg Wilson in the woods at woods at Koepenick, Germany where the wreckage was discovered with the aid of the sketched map and other researchers.
Above images show: Reg Wilson at the Yorkshire Air Museum. Ruediger Kaddatz, (Aviation researcher) Reg Wilson and Michael Pincus (eye witness)
Sgt John Bremner remains recovered thanks to the fantastic work by F/Sgt. Reg Wilson who, 64 years after the crash led an investigation team to the site of the crash and recovered the remains.
At the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery October 2008 the RAF Regiment carry the coffin of Sgt. Bremner to be with his fellow crew.
Above L-R: Reg Wilson with the sister of Sgt. Bremner, Marjorie, kisses the flag used to cover the coffin, John Bushell. The other survivors from the crash, Laurie Underwood from Wetherby, Yorkshire, was not well enough to travel, and George Griffiths passed away earlier in 1998.
L-R: John Bremner with his sister Marjorie, John Bremner, Wedding photo of one of the crew, thought to be Eric Church.
Into The Dark - Compiled by Reginald Wilson and Janet Hughes. Published by Fighting High Ltd (28 May 2015) ISBN-13: 978-0992620769 208 pages providing the full details of the career of Reg, the incident itself, PoW years and his successful quest in having his Flight Engineer buried with full military honours in 2008 alongside his crew mates!
(1) Dupueis Lakes in Saskatchewan is named after W/O Dupueis
102 Squadron were very badly hit on this operation losing some 7 aircraft:
Halifax II HR716 DY-P Flown by 27 year old, F/O. Alexander Henry Hall 151580 RAFVR - all crew survived after baling out with the pilot force landing the aircraft. (Sadly this pilot lost his life just a few months later on the 24th April 1944, with the same crew - all killed or missing.
Halifax II HX187 DY-H Flown by P/O. A.W. Dean 161391 RAFVR - taken PoW with 4 of his crew, 3 others killed.
Halifax II JD302 DY-O Flown by Fl/Sgt. R.W. Proctor injured when the aircraft crashed near Norwich, 5 others escaped unhurt, 1 killed.
Halifax II JD461 DY-Y Flown by Sgt. R. Compston 1537065 RAFVR taken PoW with 4 others of the crew, 2 killed.
Halifax II JN951 DY-N Flown by Fl/Sgt. E. Render 1333873 RAFVR taken PoW, all remaining 6 crew missing - believed killed.
Halifax II LM227 DY-X Flown by W/O. R.G. Wilding 1181063 RAFVR taken PoW together with all his other 6 other crew members.
Oblt. Leopold Fellerer recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II - nightfighter ace survived the war, served later in the Austrian Air Force - died on 15 July 1968 in an air crash, his Cessna L-19 coming down near Krems, Austria.
Sgt. Kenneth Frederick Stanbridge. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 7.C.8. Son of Mr and Mrs Philip Walter Stanbridge, of Salisbury, South Australia. Grave inscription reads: “Quo Vadis.” (where are you going?)
P/O Eric Arthur Church. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.7. Son of Mr and Mrs Stanley Herbert Church, husband of Glady's Elsie Church, of Tottenham, Middlesex, England. Eric Arthur Church was born on 6th July 1919 and the son of Mr. and Mrs Stanley Herbert Church and husband of Gladys Church of Tottenham, Middlesex He met his wife, Gladys (née Hudson) while both were serving in Pocklington in the RAF. They married at Holy Trinity, Tottenham on 24th January 1943. He had been offered a commission but refused, as he didn’t want to be separated from his wife. When she discovered that she was pregnant, he accepted and was appointed P/O. Church. His son, Michael Eric was born on 20th August 1944 His wife Gladys was to die on the 20th January 2004, sixty years later on the anniversary of his death. His granddaughter Louise was born on the 21st January 1971.Grave inscription reads: “God Shall Wipe Away All Tears From Their Eyes And Ther Shall Be No More Death.”
Sgt Bremner. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 7C.24. Son of William McMath Bremner and Ada Bremner, of Fenham, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England. Finally laid to rest with his fellow crew members in October 2008 - all due to the efforts by Reg Wilson. Grave inscription reads: “They Travelled A While Towards The Sun And Left The Vivid Air Signed With Their Honour.”
W/O II Charles Gordon Dupueis. Runnymede Memorial. Panel; 254. Born on the 30th December 1923, the son of Charles Gordon and Margaret Alice Dupueis (née Litherland), of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. We acknowledge the use of the photographs on this page to the families. Thanks to Use Jenrich / Daglish for grave photographs. We also have been in contact with Reg Wilson who has provided us with some further photographs for use with this article. With thanks also to Kate Tame and the daughter of Reg Wilson, Janet Hughes.