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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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No. 83 Squadrn
23/24.08.1943 No 83 Squadron Lancaster Mk III ED984 OL-A F/Lt. Ivor Charles Brian Slade DFC

Operation: Berlin

Date: 23/24th August 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 83 Squadron

Type: Lancaster Mk III

Serial: ED984

Code: OL-A

Base: RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire

Location: Near Woltersdorf, Brandenburg, Germany

Pilot: F/Lt. Ivor Charles Brian Slade DFC. 121451. RAFVR. Age 19. Killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Vernon Charles Lewis DFM. 570550. RAF. Age 22. Killed (2)

Nav: F/Lt. Alexander Niven Macpherson DFM. 124539. RAFVR. Age 24. Killed (3)

Air/Bmr: P/O. Clifford Robinson. J/50179. RCAF. Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. William Charles Baker DFM. 642079. RAF. Age 21. Killed (4)

Air/Gnr: W/O. Harold Edward Allen. 1054029. RAFVR. Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: F/Lt. Ronald Frank Weston Turner. 126809. RAF. Age? PoW No. 12726. Camp L3 - Sagan. (5)

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Avro Lancaster's of No 83 Squadron is signalled off and ready for take off. (courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

                                                                      A map showing the area of the crash


Between 23/24th August and the 3/4th September 1943 over 1,600 operation were flown in three waves on Berlin. 

Lancaster ED984 took off from RAF Wyton at 20.21hrs on the first operation to Berlin. The aircraft was coned in searchlights and was shot down by Luftwaffe night fighter and crashed into a wooded area near Woltersdorf. Much damage was caused to the city of Berlin, but flak and the Luftwaffe attacks were fierce and caused carnage to the attacking force. Of the 727 aircraft that took part in this operation 56 failed to return from this operation with the loss of 276 lives, 110 crew became PoW's, 2 managed to evade capture, 9 were interred and 8 crew were injured. These aircraft may have been hit by flak, run out of fuel or shot down by night fighters. This was Bomber Command's greatest loss of aircraft in one night so far in the war

As a PFF (Pathfinder Force) crew they had collectively 330 operational flights. To become a member of the Pathfinder Force crew members could volunteer, be seconded or be transferred when needed. PFF crews had to complete 45 operations rather than the usual 30 ops and they had a step up in rank and an increase in pay. Part of the roll of the PFF at RAF Wyton was to find and mark targets 

(5) Ronald Frank Weston Turner DFC was promoted to Fl/Sgt on the 25th June 1942 and was awarded the DFC as per London Gazette dated 14th September 1943. On the 8th August 1946 F/O. Ronald Frank Weston Turner extended his service for four years (seny. 25th June 1943) Promoted to Flight Lieutenant 9th August 1946 (seny. 25th December 1945) Ronald transferred to the Secretarial Branch on the 13th May 1949 and was promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader as of 1st January 1954. On the 1st January 1968 Sqr/Ldr Turner was promoted to the rank of Wing Commander and Wing Commander R. F. W. Turner DFC., A.E., A.M.B.I.M. (126809) retired on the 11th July 1975


Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. (courtesy of the CWGC)

Burial details:

F/Lt. Ivor Charles Brian Slade DFC. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref: Coll. Grave 8. D. 22-27. Son of Horace Bernard and Emily Caroline Slade of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. (1) Sgt. Ivor Charles Brian Slade was promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer on the 1st May 1942 and was awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) as per London Gazette 12th September 1942. The citation for this award reads "This officer has completed many attacks on most important targets. On the night of July 2nd 1942, he captained an aircraft detailed to attack Breman. Having successfully accomplished his mission, he had just crossed the Dutch coast when his aircraft was heavily subjected to fire from two armed ships. The hydraulic system was rendered unserviceable, undercarriage, bomb doors and flaps falling down; the rear turret and the elevators were also damaged. Almost immediately an attack was made by a Ju.88. Further damage was sustained, and a fire of alarming proportions broke out near the main spar, and was only extinguished after considerable difficulty by two other members of the crew. The aircraft was now only 200 feet above the sea, and the position seemed hopeless, but P/O. Slade was determined to fly on as far as possible towards his country. Displaying superb skill, he succeeded in reaching an airfield, where he successfully crash landed his damaged aircraft. Though young in years, this officer has shouldered the responsibilities of operational captain in the manner of a veteran"

Fl/Sgt. Vernon (Vernie) Charles Lewis DFM (courtesy of Stephen Farnell)

Fl/Sgt. Vernon (Vernie) Charles Lewis DFM. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref: Coll. Grave 8. D. 22-27.  Son of Hubert William Lewis, VC and Edith Evelyn Lewis of Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire.  (2) Fl/Sgt. Vernon Charles Lewis was awarded the DFM (Distinguished Flying Medal) while serving with No 83 Squadron with effect from the 23rd August 1943 as per London Gazette 20th March 1945

Vernon's father Herbert William Lewis had been awarded the Victory Cross and the Medaille Militaire for his bravery during WW1 while serving in the Welsh Regiment in France. The London Gazette citation states "No 16224 Pte. Herbert William Lewis, Welsh Regiment. For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during a raid. On reaching the enemy trenches Private Lewis was twice wounded, but refused to be attended to, and showed great gallantry in searching enemy dug-outs. He was again wounded and again refused attendance. At this point three of the enemy were observed to be approaching, and Private Lewis immediately attacked them single-handed, capturing all. Subsequently, during the retirement, he went to the assistance of a wounded man, and under heavy shell and riffle fire brought him to our lines, on reaching which he collapsed. Private Lewis showed throughout a brilliant example of courage, endurance and devotion to duty" Herbert William Lewis died on the 22nd February 1977 aged 80 and is buried in St. Katharine's Cemetery, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire

F/Lt. Alexander Niven Macpherson DFM. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref: Coll. Grave 8. D. 22-27.  Son of Alexander Niven Macpherson and Marion Macpherson of Clarkston, Renfrewshire.  (3) Sgt. Alexander Niven Macpherson had served with No 9 Squadron in 1940 and while returning to RAF Honington after an operation to Hanau, Germany the aircraft crashed killing two of the crew. Sgt. Macpherson was safe. For further details (see Wellington T2472)

P/O. Clifford Robinson. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref: Coll. Grave 8. D. 22-27. Son of Peter H. Robinson and Mary Robinson of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

W/O. William Charles Baker DFM. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref: Coll. Grave 8. D. 22-27. Son of William Henry and Florence Baker of Birmingham. Husband of Betty Elsie Baker of Lozells, Birmingham. (4) Sgt. William Charles Baker was awarded the DFM (Distinguished Flying Medal) while serving with No. 15 Squadron as per London Gazette 22nd November 1940

W/O. Harold Edward Allen. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave Ref: Coll. Grave 8. D. 22-27. Son of Albert Edward and Amy Elizabeth of Birkenhead. Husband of Dorothy Elizabeth Allen of Rock Ferry, Birkenhead

Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew.  With special thanks to Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - Bomber Command Diaries 1939 - 1945, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Imperial War Museum, London Gazette archives, Flightglobal Archives, Stephen Farnell, W R Chorley - Bomber Command Losses 1943

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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 07 November 2014, 21:19

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