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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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408 Squadron badge
24/25.02.1944 408 Squadron Lancaster II DS844 EQ-X Plt.Off. Sherlock DFC

Operation: Schweinfurt

Date: 24/25th February 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: 408 (Goose) Squadron, RCAF

Type: Lancaster II

Serial: DS844

Code: EQ-X

Base: RAF Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire.

Location: Schweinfurt

Pilot: Plt.Off. Harry Sherlock DFC 162517 RAFVR Age 24. Missing

Nav (Pilot): Fg.Off. James Gordon Hillman J/21914 RCAF Age 27. Missing (1)

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Henry George Basten 1399763 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Plt.Off. Henry Norman Cunliffe 168961 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Reginald Sydney Nurse 1496525 RAFVR Age 23. Missing (note)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Armour John Emerson R/192677 RCAF Age 21. Killed (2)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Walter Walker 960863 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS

DS844 took off from Linton-on-Ouse at 20:48 hours, part of a major raid consisting of 734 aircraft destined for the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt. The weather for this time of the year was clear and enabled the crew to identify the targets visually on the banks of the River Main. In addition, the targets were indicated by Pathfinders which in some cases were still burning from a US AAF daylight raid the previous day.

Claimed by Lt Hans Raum 9/NJG3 - City area Schweinfurt: 7,200m at 01:15 hrs. The aircraft was coned by 1&2/Flakscheinw Abt 708. Also claimed by Flak of 3-5/schw Flak Abt 639, 4&6/schw Flak Abt 482 and 4/schw Flak Abt 263 (Eisb) (“Lancaster Bergheinfeld 01:18”) Lt Raum credited with victory on 19 June 1944. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January - 15 March 1944) Part 1 - Theo Boiten))

This aircraft DS844, a Hercules powered Lancaster, was transferred to 408 Squadron from 432 Squadron after which it participated in raids on Berlin and Leipzig before being lost.

Plt.Off. Sherlock's DFC was gazetted April 1944. The citation reads:

Pilot Officer Harry Sherlock (162517), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 408 (RCAF) Squadron. This officer has displayed skill, courage and resolution of a high order. He has completed many sorties and throughout has shown the utmost determination to press home his attacks His fine record includes 12 attacks on the capital of the German Reich.

Back row L to R: Flt.Sgt. Reginald Sydney Nurse, Plt.Off Harry Sherlock, DFC, Sgt. Henry George Basten, Plt.Off Henry Norman Cunliffe Front row L to R: Sgt. Walter Walker, Fg.Off. James Gordon Hillman, Sgt. Armour John Emerson (courtesy William Hillman)

Crew pictures (courtesy William Hillman)


Grave photographs kindly supplied to us by David Franklin. Any relative requiring a higher definition of these please don't hesitate to contact us.

(1) Hillman Island, Saskatchewan, is named after F/O. James Hillman

(2) Emerson Creek in British Columbia, is named after Sgt. Armour Emerson

Note: Flt.Sgt. Reginald Sydney Nurse had previously escaped injured on Halifax II HR754. Further details can be found here.

Burial Details:

Plt.Off. Harry Sherlock DFC. Runnymede Memorial Panel 212. Son of William Edward and Emma Pallister Sherlock, of West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England.

Sgt. Henry George Basten. Durnbach War Cemetery Durnbach, Germany. Grave 7.A.13. Son of Henry and Ellon A. Basten, of Peckham, London, England.

Plt.Off. Henry Norman Cunliffe. Durnbach War Cemetery Durnbach, Germany. Grave 7.A.14. Son of Stanley G. Cunliffe and Laura A. Cunliffe, of Llangollen, Denbighshire, Wales.

Fg.Off. James Gordon Hillman. Runnymede Memorial Panel 246. Son of Robert Boswell Hillman and Jane Hillman, of Elrose, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Flt.Sgt. Reginald Sydney Nurse. Runnymede Memorial Panel 221. Son of Sidney Alfred and Elsie Kate Nurse, of Swinton, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Armour John Emerson. Durnbach War Cemetery Durnbach, Germany. Grave 7.A.16. Son of P.B. Emerson and Mary Louise Emerson, of Smithers, British Columbia, Canada.

Sgt. Walter Walker. Durnbach War Cemetery Durnbach, Germany. Grave 7.A.15 Son of Richard Henry and Mary Walker, of Nottingham, husband of Irene Elizabeth Walker, of Nottingham, England.

Researched by William Hillman, relative of Fg.Off. James Gordon Hillman. Article prepared by Colin Bamford. With thanks to David Franklin, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol. 5' Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

RS 21.01.2020 - Addition of night fighter claim and editorial changes

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'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake
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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