The Last Flight of Halifax JB837
25/26th May 1943
Stirling III BF534 LS-L



Stirling III, Serial No: BT534

The Stirling was the first British four-engined bomber of World War II. This Stirling III version was built by Short and Harland and delivered to RAF 15 Squadron on 23 Apr 1943. It bore the X1D (Identification) of LS-L and was powered by Bristol Hercules engines.

Stirling III Bomber

This is Stirling LS-S, a sister aircraft to Stirling LS-L: both were based at Mildenhall.

The Stirling was very agile and praised for its ability to out-turn enemy night fighters and for its good handling characteristics, but its relative poor altitude ceiling was often a subject of criticism.  When Stirlings were on operations with other RAF bombers which could fly higher, the Luftwaffe tended to concentrate on the Stirlings.

LS-L had taken off at 23.57 on the evening of 25 May 1943 on a bombing mission to Düsseldorf, when it was brought down by the blast of Halifax KN-D at 01.51 at an approximate height of 4700 metres (15,400ft), and crashed 6km south west of Jülich in the direction of Aachen, killing all crew.

Stirling III Bomber Wreckage

The tail and rear gun turret of LS-L lying on its starboard side.
There is some suggestion that this may be another Stirling bomber (HA-Z) shot down by Ehle shortly after the explosion of Halifax JB837


In May 1943, RAF 15 Squadron, based at Mildenhall.