The Last Flight of Halifax JB837
25/26th May 1943
The Düsseldorf Raid of 25th/26th May 1943

May 25th


WAAF Patricia Day of Pathfinder Force Squadron 156 (based at Warboys in Huntingdonshire) records in the Operational Record ledger that senior officers are notified that the target is Düsseldorf. Target marking is confirmed as Musical Parramatta - the codename for blind bombing by Oboe radio signals.

Mid morning

A Battle Order appears in the crew room of all the Bomber Command Squadrons. The crew who are named on the Battle Order are notified of the time to attend Briefing.

Early evening

At the briefing, the crew learn the target, route, bomb load and aiming point, and are given the weather forecast for the whole journey.

Although most of Bomber Command's sorties are carried out in radio silence, it is necessary before a raid to test the bombers' radios. The German Funkhorchdienst (Signals Intelligence Organisation) has learned to listen out for increased radio activity which precede a raid, and while the amount of radio traffic might indicate an approximate number of bombers taking part, the target is unknown. They know a large raid is assembling. Nachtjäger (Night Fighter) crews are gathered for a briefing from their Kommandeur or his deputy in their Bereitschaftsraum (Ready Room).

Late evening

About an hour before the raid is due to begin, the aircrew are taken by trucks to their aircraft, most carrying flasks of hot coffee, boiled sweets and chocolates to help them maintain their energy levels over the next few hours in freezing conditions. The aircraft wait at dispersal, watching for the green Very flare from the Control Tower which indicates that the mission is on. As each aircraft takes off, at one minute intervals, they are waved off by ground crew and WAAFs.

Lancasters of 1 Group meet on a moonless night off the coast of East Anglia at 16,000ft (4800m) and continue climbing so as to be as high as possible on reaching the enemy coast, to bomb from the maximum possible height.

Wellingtons of 1 Group meet nearby, above cloud at 12,000ft (3650m) and continue climbing in order to cross the enemy coast at a height of not less than 16,000ft.

Freya radars, the first line in the German Kammhuber searchlight/flak/nightfighter defences, detect the RAF aircraft as they leave the English coast. The most experienced of the NJG1 night fighter crews are scrambled and circle the radio beacon in their allotted Himmelbett Raum (box), waiting for instructions from their Jägerleitoffizier (JLO) Flight Control Officers.

Halifax HR806 LQ-D suffers an engine failure on takeoff from Topcliffe, Yorkshire and crashes. All 7 crew survive.

May 26th

As the bomber stream approaches the Dutch coast, short-range Wurzburg radars pick them up: the Wurzburg radars work in pairs, one tasked with following a bomber, codenamed Rot (Red) while a second tracks a night fighter, codenamed Bläu (Blue). The JLOs radio the information to their fighters (GCI: Ground-Controlled Interception) so that they can close in to within 3 - 4km (1.8 - 2.4 miles) of the bombers. Many of the night fighters have onboard Lichtenstein radars which help them to locate their targets.

Himmelbett Defences

The layout of the Himmelbett Radar Defences showing the Raume (boxes) facing the bomber stream
(adapted from a restricted April 1943 German document for "Geheime Kommandosache!" (Officers Only!))

Just after midnight, F/S G.D.R. Lawrence takes off from Wickenby 11 minutes late in a 12 Squadron Lancaster because of a late aircraft change. He arrives late at the Dutch coast, but cannot maintain air speed and height. The rear gunner's oxygen tube has become detached, so the Flight Engineer goes back to assist wearing a portable oxygen bottle. The oxygen bottle runs out and the engineer falls unconscious. F/S Lawrence has to abort the mission.


The Gee Eastern Chain signals are switched on at Daventry and its slave stations to provide navigational guidance to the Gee-equipped bombers.

The bomber stream finds broken strato-cumulus over the Dutch coast, with cloud increasing towards the target at higher levels.


Oblt. Manfred Meurer of 3./NJG1 shoots down his 28th claim, Wellington HE990 SE-Z in Himmelbett box 5B at 17,000ft (5200m) at Venray north-west of Venlo [some sources incorrectly cite Oostrum, Limburg]. 3 crew are killed, and the Pilot R.T. Barclay and Navigator K. Dix are taken prisoner. Loss 1 (losses are shown in chronological order on the map at the bottom of this page.)


The first of the Pathfinder Force Mosquitoes drops red Target Indicator flares over the target.


The second of the Pathfinder Force Mosquitoes drops red Target Indicator flares over the target, and the first of the Main Force first wave bombers aims at the red Tis.

A significant error now occurs. It is 14 minutes before the next Mosquito drops its red TIs, during which time the 'backers up' have dropped 11 clusters of green TIs. Red TI flares burn out in 3-4 minutes, which means that for more than 10 minutes, no red TI markers have been visible to the 'backers up'.


Oblt. Eckart-Wilhelm von Bonin of 6./NJG1 flying in box 6B shoots down Wellington HF488 EX-U at 15,400ft (4700m) at Caberg, 2km west of Maastricht, his 13th claim. 4 crew are killed and 1 taken prisoner. 2

Oblt. Manfred Meurer of 3/NJG1 shoots down Lancaster LM320 HW-C at 22,300ft (6800m) at Vlodrop south-west of Roermond, his 29th claim. All 7 crew are killed. 3


Oblt. Wilhelm Telge of Stab II/NJG1 flying with his regular Bordfunker Uffz. Telsnig in Bf110 G-4 G9+CC is guided by his JLO Lt. Kühnel onto Halifax W7813 KN-C. He shoots it down in box Meise at 15,000ft (4600m) 25km north-east of Hasselt, his 2nd claim. All 7 crew are killed. 4

Halifax W7825 TL-P of 35 Squadron is hit by multiple flak shells from guns of Flak Battalions 133, 151, 407 and 475 [10] while over the target, and crashes at Himmelgeist. 5 [Bomber Command Night Raid Report 337, dated 10th August 1943 states that no aircraft fitted with the new top secret H2S radar system are lost during this raid. However, it is now known from a Luftgaukommando VI Münster Report "Untersuchung von Nachrichtegërat in Abgeschossenes Feindflugzeugen" published on 28th May 1943 that an H2S is recovered from this aircraft after it crashed] [13]

Six of the crew are killed, but the pilot, Robert Thomas Hall, is injured and taken prisoner. He spends the rest of the war in various Stalag prison camps, before being repatriated in April 1945.


Pilot Officer N.E. Burton, Captain of Lancaster R5677 flying out of Syerston can see no red or green TI markers, so makes a timed run from the yellow TIs at Bedburg, and Air Bomber Sgt. A.L.Rookes releases his 4000lb 'cookie' and 12 x Small Bomb Containers (SBC), each containing over 200 x 4lb incendiaries onto fires he can dimly see through 9/10ths cloud. There is heavy accurate predicted (radar-guided) flak, so the Lancaster dives to gain speed to leave the defended area as quickly as possible, then climbs back to its operational ceiling for the return journey, landing back at Syerston at 03.40

106 Squadron Log


Hptm. Kurt Liedke of 1./NJG1 flying in box Gorilla shoots down Lancaster ED660 SR-U at 19,300ft (5900m) which crashes between Cromvoirt and Vught, It is his 2nd claim. All 7 crew are killed.6

While some aircraft have strayed many miles from the planned route, Navigator Sgt John Waterson has done an excellent job in guiding Halifax JB837 KN-D on a direct course to the turning point with the yellow TIs at Bedburg only 5 miles ahead. 1 mile south of Julich, Major Walter Ehle of Stab II/NJG1 is flying in box Gemse of the Kammhuber Line defences when he is vectored onto four Rot aircraft flying close together by his Himmelbett ground controller (JLO Lt Walter Schachtschabel) who has seen them on his Wurzburg radar. Ehle homes in on the targets with his onboard Lichtenstein Fu.S.G.202 radar, and makes visual contact with the Halifax 200m ahead to port and slightly above at 15,700ft (4800m). He opens fire from about 50 metres at the corkscrewing aircraft and sets the starboard inner engine and fuselage alight [10]. The Halifax, falling steeply starboard, explodes with such force that two Stirling bombers flying close by are knocked down by the blast, EF361 MG-B and BF534 LS-L. All 21 crew of the three aircraft are killed. The Halifax is Ehle’s 20th claim.7,8,9

The generally accepted narrative for the loss of the two Stirlings is as described above. However, Ehle's description of events contains inconsistencies. [10]

The above account of Ehle's attack on the Halifax is accurate, but in his Gefechtsbericht (Combat Report) of 29th May 1943 he states "I attacked the tightly turning hostile from below and astern and, opening fire from about 50 m, set the starboard inner engine and the fuselage ablaze. The Halifax went down steeply from a starboard turn, coming apart and burning brightly. At 01.51 hrs. I observed its extraordinarily large impact explosion."

He makes no mention of the Halifax exploding with great force in the air.

However, after discovering that Hptm. Dörlemann of Airfield Detachment 17/VI, Koln-Butzweilerhof reports that two crashed Stirlings have been found close to the stricken Halifax near the Railway Works at Julich, he submits a claim on 31st May to the Abschuss Kommission (Victory Accreditation Board) of the OKL/RLM asking for the two Stirlings to be credited to him, stating "I set the Halifax on fire with a burst, it disintegrated completely a few seconds later — probably from the explosion of its bombload. The question remains open whether the Stirlings in the vicinity were brought down by the explosion of the Halifax or whether it was a collision during evasive action which they took to escape night fighter attack after seeing one of their comrades shot down in flames. But both Stirlings’ crashes can only be attributed to the shooting down of the Halifax. On the Division’s orders I submit both the downed Stirlings for victory accreditation."

The Abschuss Kommission declared Ehle's claims to the two Stirlings anerkannt (confirmed) on 19th December 1944 as his 21st and 22nd kills: Ehle never included the two Stirlings in his tally, because he was killed in November 1943 before the judgment was made. Several flak batteries also claimed the two Stirlings, but these claims were rejected.

With no aerodynamic lift remaining, it takes less than 60 seconds for all three damaged aircraft to reach the ground. The wreckage of Halifax JB837 is scattered between Jülich and Elsdorf, with parts of it landing in the Ausbesserungswerk (Railway Repair Works) just south of Jülich. The remains of Stirling EF534 (below) fall just over two km south of Jülich at Gut Lorsbeck, close to parts of the Halifax's wreckage.

Stirling LS-L
The tail and rear gun turret of LS-L lying on its starboard side

Stirling BF361 hits the ground close by in the Jülich-Heckfeld-Lorsbeck area.

. Stirling MG-B

When investigators from Luftgaukommando VI examine the wreckage the following day, they find that this aircraft is fitted with an H2S radar [13], despite Bomber Command later claiming that no Practice Y (H2S fitted) aircraft are lost during the raid.


Ofw. Leidenbach, Walter Ehle's Bordfunker spots the incoming Stirling EH887 HA-Z about 200m to his left and a little higher, and alerts his Kommandeur to it. Ehle attacks the vigorously corkscrewing bomber at about 14,100ft (4300m) and sets its starboard wing on fire. The fiercely burning bomber crashes 1 km south of Steinstrasse and 8km east of Jülich, for Ehle's 23rd claim 10. Seven of the crew are killed, but one trainee pilot on his first mission, Sgt. F.W. Bennett, is thrown from the aircraft and manages to deploy his parachute. He drifts southwards and lands in a forest a couple of miles south near Morschenich, breaking his ankles. Despite this, he manages to walk to a nearby forester's lodge and rings the doorbell, believing he has landed in France, but surrenders when the door is answered by Frau Lydia Rosenkranz. She tends his severe head wound then telephones Johann Pick, the Mayor of Morschenich, who arranges for Bennett to be taken into captivity.


Wellington HZ476 NA-A of RCAF 428, flying out of Dalton, crashes near Bree, Limburg 15km WNW of Maaseik at about 2.00am, cause unknown. All 6 crew are buried in Brustem before being transferred to Heverlee. No flak unit nor fighter claims the kill. P/O Roy Madge the co-pilot is posthumously promoted to Flying Officer, aged 23. 11


Oblt. Manfred Meurer of 3./NJG1 shoots down Lancaster W5001 EM-J at 21,600ft (6600m) in box 5B, and it comes down 5km west of Nijmegen near Neerbosch, his 30th claim. 4 of the crew are killed. One of the two survivors, Pilot W/C T.A.B. Parselle is blown out of the aircraft still strapped in his seat and survives. He is taken prisoner, and after the war becomes Commandant of RAF College Cranwell.12


Navigator Sgt.L.C.Carpenter of Lancaster W4842 cannot find the yellow TIs to guide his Captain Sgt.E.A.Robbins to the target, but spots a cluster of green TIs. Air Bomber Sgt. L. Calvert releases his 4000lb 'cookie' and 12 SBCs from 20000ft, but sees no results. The Pathfinder Forces red TIs are 'exceptionally scattered'.

It is believed that the Oboe Mosquitoes' target marking has been accurate, so in their post-raid analysis, Bomber Command concludes that the Germans have deployed numerous decoy red TI markers to confuse the bomb-aimers. WAAF Patricia Day's Operational Record indicates that the gap in red TI marking after 1.30 resulted in scattered green TI marking, and that two red TIs reported at 02.07 and 02.10 were one and a half miles apart, resulting in two separate green TI target areas being created, suggesting the use of decoys.

106 Squadron Log


Ofw. Hermann Sommer of 1./NJG flying a Junkers 88 in box Hamster joins the bomber stream and follows Lancaster ED768 PO-N for about five minutes at 16,400 ft (5600m) before attacking the port wing and engines from below at 200m. The port wing detaches and the Lancaster spirals to the ground, crashing at Gravenwezel, north-east of Antwerpen. Three of the crew are killed, but four taken prisoner. This is Sommer's 15th Abschuss.13


Air Bomber Sgt. R.A.James of 106 Squadron flying at 20,000ft in Lancaster R5572 sees a cluster of green TIs in his sights through 5/10ths cloud but no red TIs, and releases his 8000lb HE bomb. It is seen to burst slightly to port of the TIs. Captain F/O C.V. Stephens reports a scattering of small fires, little heavy flak and few searchlights. There is evidence of fighters, and condensation trails cause some interference with visual identification.

106 Squadron Log


Lt Bruno Heilig of 1./NJG (on secondment from E./NJG2) shoots down Stirling BK602 AA-R in box Wespe at 18,300ft (5600m) over Poppel, 20km north-east of Antwerp, his 14th claim. The plane continues to fly for several minutes until coming down in the north sea with all seven crew killed. Heilig does not witness the crash, and is heard by the British who are monitoring the Nightfighters' R/T (radio telephony) informing his JLO Ground Controller that he is claiming a 'probable' [10]. The body of Air Gunner Sgt. S. Redpath is subsequently recovered from the sea off Dunkirk. 3 other bodies are recovered off Bergen op Zoom.14

Stirling BK611 LS-U (nicknamed 'Te-Kooti') is hit by flak as it approaches the target from the southwest. The pilot F/Sgt J.O.Wilson jettisons his bomb load and sets a homeward course. In the confusion, the mid-upper gunner Sgt E.I. Seabolt bails out and is taken POW. The aircraft crashes at Venlo, Limberg, and the pilot and two other crew are killed: the remaining 3 survivors are taken prisoner.15


Sgt. Stone, the rear gunner of Pilot Officer P.R. Ford's Lancaster from 12 Squadron sights a Messerschmitt 600 yards astern, but is unable to engage the enemy because the rear turret is unusable because of a burst hydraulic pipeline. The Lancaster is homeward bound at 20,000ft, 12 miles west of Krefeld, when the night fighter attacks from the starboard quarter. The aircraft corkscrews starboard and the night fighter breaks away to port, firing 4 cannons from 200 yards. The mid upper gunner Sgt. Hatch replies from 150 yards, but neither aircraft is hit.


Oblt. Willhelm Telge of Stab II/NJG1, flying in box Meise, shoots down Wellington HE590 OW-P at 12,700ft (3900m) 6km south of Mechelen, his 3rd claim. All 6 crew are killed.16


Oblt. Manfred Meurer of 3./NJG1 suffers engine failure when his starboard engine catches fire, and he informs his JLO Oblt. Knickmeier that he is returning to base [10] .

Halifax HR853 MH-* flying out of Snaith is hit by flak from batteries 1 and 4 of Mixed Flak Battallion 591 near Maas-Waalkanaal, crashing at Malden, Gelderland [10]. All 7 crew are killed.17


Bombers on the return route from the target face heavy headwinds of between 40 - 60 mph, assisting the night fighters in their attacks. Many aircraft stray from the planned flight path and cross heavily defended areas such as Rotterdam, the Hague and Amsterdam.

Wellington HE228 DT-C of 'Special Duties' Squadron 192 based in Feltwell is returning from Dusseldorf where it has been conducting Radar Countermeasures against German radar facilities, when it is shot down by Lt Heinz Struning of 2./NJG1 in box Biber at 15,400ft (4700m) for his 25th kill. It crashes near Loosduinen. F/S Geoffrey Bell is killed, but the other 6 crew members are taken prisoner. 18

Fw. Heinz Vinke of 11./NJG1 shoots down Stirling EH876 WP-J in box Zander at 9,500ft (2900m), his 25th claim. The aircraft crashes into the sea off the Dutch coast 70km west of Alkmaar, and one body is subsequently recovered and buried at Den Burg Cemetery. 19


Major Walter Ehle of Stab II/NJG1, flying in box Gemse, has been chasing a desperately weaving Wellington HE699 AS-M  for ten minutes after being vectored onto it by his JLO, and eventually shoots it down from below at around 11,500ft (3500m) 3km north of Nederweert, his 24th claim. All 5 crew are killed. 20

Lancaster ED600 EM-P is shot down by flak and crashes at Het Voorst, 13km north-west of Venlo. All 7 crew are killed, 21

Lancaster W4998 HW-J is shot down by flak from gemischte Flak Abteilung 591 (Mixed Anti-Aircraft Battalion 591) near Melderslo, Limburg, 2km east-northeast of Horst, Holland [10]. 5 crew are killed, but 2 taken prisoner. Bomb aimer F/Lt S.W.J. Coventry evades arrest until he is caught in Paris on 6th June 1943,22


Lancaster ED967 GZ-F flying out of Wickenby is hit by several flak shells from elements of Flak Battalions 383,401,407 and 474 [10]. It crashes onto Ratingen station and all 7 crew are killed. 23


Uffz. Georg "Schorsch" Kraft of 12./NJG1 has already flown a sortie in box Herring beginning at 00.27, but the incoming bomber stream has passed further south west, so he has returned to base in Bergen/Alkmaar to refuel. As he takes off again on his way into box Salzhering, he is surprised to discover Stirling BK659 BU-N flying at only at 8,500ft (2600m), weaving slightly and flying very slowly [10]. He shoots it down 25km north west of Den Helder, his 9th claim. All 7 crew are killed. 24


Uffz. Georg Kraft of 12./NJG1, still flying in box Salzhering, shoots down Stirling BK710 OJ-A, at 11,800ft (3,600m) 40km north-west of Texel, his 10th claim, despite misfiring cannons. Kraft has brought his aircraft so close to the Stirling during the exchange of fire, which kills the Rear Gunner, that the bomber's trailing aerial has ripped off one of the night fighter's antennas, and debris from the stricken bomber has caused substantial damage to the fighter's nose. The Stirling crashes into the sea, and the body of Rear Gunner Sgt. Charles John Percival, is subsequently recovered off the coast of Heligoland. All seven crew are killed.25


Oblt. Hermann Greiner of 11./NJG1 shoots down Wellington HE235 AS-H at 13,100ft (4000m) 30km west of Den Helder, his 4th claim. All 5 crew presumed killed. 26


Ltn. Werner Hopf of 11./NJG5, on detachment with 2./NJG1, shoots down his 6th claim, a Lancaster ED834 WS-Z at 18,000ft (5500m) 2km south-south east of Vlissingen, while flying in box Wespe. The aircraft is nearly 50 miles south of its intended return route, so may have already been damaged or malfunctioned, and has set a course to return directly to base rather than follow the planned bomber stream route. All 7 crew are killed. 27


Oblt. Hermann Greiner of 11./NJG1 shoots down Lancaster ED695 PO-J in box Wespe at 3,200ft (1000m) 15km north of Bergen-am-Zee, his 6th claim. The aircraft should not be flying this low, so may have been damaged before being shot [it is also possible there has been a typographical error in recording the height - such errors were common]. It turns back to shore and crashes onto a beach 10 miles south of Dan Helder, Holland. 2 crew are killed, but 5 taken prisoner. The Flight Engineer Sgt S G Keirs of the RAAF later recalls 'We were shot down by a fighter. Extensive damage to all motors and tanks. The Captain ordered ditching drill – drill carried out. All the crew acknowledged orders as far as I can remember. The aircraft was out of control for a few minutes only. Aircraft crashed in flames – it had burst into flames when hit. When I emerged from the aircraft I found only four others of the crew out. The mid upper gunner Sgt Birbeck (RCAF) and the rear gunner [K R Langhorne] must have still been in the aircraft which was burning fiercely – we attempted to approach but could not get near aircraft because of heat – ammunition began to explode and became dangerous. (I was) captured 3 days later by a flak unit' 28

Raid Losses

Aircraft Losses in Chronological Order

Serial No | X1D
Himmelbett Box Location
1 01.24 Wellington HE990 SE-Z RCAF 431 Burn, Selby Oblt Manfred Meurer 3./NJG1
2 01.36 Wellington HF488 EX-U 199 Ingham Oblt Eckart-Wilhelm von Bonin 6.NJG1
3 01.36 Lancaster LM320 HW-C 100 Grimsby Oblt Manfred Meurer 3./NJG
4 01.40 Halifax W7813 KN-C 77 Elvington Oblt Wilhelm Telge Stab II.?NJG1
5 01.40 Halifax W7825 TL-P 35 Graveley Struck multiple times by FLAK of 2./schw.Flak Abt.133, 2./schw.Flak Abt 151, 1 & 2.schw.Flak Abt.40, 1.-5./schw.Flak.Abt.407 and 2./gemFlak.Abt.475  
6 01.51 Lancaster ED660 SR-U 101 Holme-on-Spalding Moor Hptm Kurt Liedke 1./NJG1
7 01.51 Halifax JB837 KN-D 77 Elvington Maj Walter Ehle Stab II./NJG1
8 01.52 Stirling EF361 MG-B 7 Oakington Maj Walter Ehle Stab II./NJG1
9 01.52 Stirling BF534 LS-L 15 Bourn Maj Walter Ehle Stab II./NJG1
10 01.55 Stirling EH887 HA-Z 218 Downham Market Maj Walter Ehle Stab II./NJG1
11 02.00 Wellington HZ476 NA-A RCAF 428 Dalton Unknown. No Flak unit nor fighter claimed this loss.  
12 02.08 Lancaster W5001 EM-J 207 Langar Oblt Manfred Meurer 3./NJG1
13 02.10 Lancaster ED768 PO-N 467 Bottesford Ofw. Hermann Sommer 1./NJG on detachment from E./NJG2*
14 02.15 Stirling BK602 AA-R 75 (NZ) Newmarket Lt Bruno Heilig E./NJG2
15 02.15 Stirling BK611 LS-U 15 Bourn FLAK (Unknown units)  
16 02.26 Wellington HE590 OW-P RCAF 426 Dishforth Oblt Wilhelm Telge, Stab II./NJG1
17 02.30 Halifax HR853 MH-? 51 Snaith FLAK 1. and 4./gem.Flak Abt 591  
18 02.33 Wellington HE228 DT-C 192 Feltwell Lt Heinz Struning 2./NJG1
19 02.33 Stirling EH876 WP-J 90 Ridgewell Fw Heinz Vinke11./NJG1
20 02.35 Wellington HE699 AS-M 166 Kirmington Maj Walter Ehle Stab II./NGJ1
21 02.35 Lancaster ED600 EM-P 207 Langar FLAK Het Voorst 13km NW Venlo  
22 02.35 Lancaster W4998 HW-J 100 Grimsby FLAK 1.,3.,4./gem.Flak Abr.591  
23 02.43 Lancaster ED967 GZ-F 12 Wickenby FLAK 3./schw.Flak Abt.383, 6./schw.Flak Abt.401, 1./schw.Flak Abt.407 and 1./schw.Flak Abt.474  
24 02.48 Stirling BK659 BU-N 214 Chedburgh Uffz Georg Kraft 12./NJG1
25 03.04 Stirling BK710 OJ-A 149 Lakenheath Uffz Georg Kraft 12./NJG1
26 03.05 Wellington HE235 AS-H 166 Kirmington Oblt Hermann Greiner
27 03.22 Lancaster ED834 WS-Z 9 Bardney (satellite of Waddington) Lt Werner Hopf 2./NJG1 on detachment from 11./NJG5*
28 03.25 Lancaster ED695 PO-J 467 Bottesford Oblt Hermann Greiner
* Sommer and Hopf were in two of the 30 Spitzenbesatzungen 'Ace crews' from various NJGs temporarily attached to the under pressure NJG1 from mid-May 1943 [10]


37 aircraft return with Flak damage, a low percentage for a Rhur target (5%), presumably because of the heavy cloud cover.

The official report of the raid by Bomber Command Night Raid Report No. 377 dated 10th August 1943 states that 27 aircraft (nine Lancasters, four Halifaxes, six Wellingtons, and eight Stirlings) are lost, 3.6% of the force. However, the correct total is 28, as one Wellington is unaccounted for.

Two Halifaxes from 77 Squadron, Elvington claim some revenge for the loss of two of their colleagues KN-C and KN-D by shooting down two of four night fighters claimed by RAF air gunners. German records show no loss of nightfighters on 26th May 1943.

Four RAF aircraft are damaged by incendiary bombs dropped by other RAF planes over the target area.

63 aircraft have abortive sorties, 60 because of technical defects, 2 because of sickness of crew, and 1 arriving too late at the turning point.

When the 12 Squadron Lancaster of F/O F.T. Wright returns to Wickenby from the sortie, he discovers that Wireless Operator F/S T.A. Routledge has died of anoxia, having failed to plug into the oxygen supply and had been without oxygen for 52 minutes at over 20,000ft.

Halifax HR747 of 51 Squadron returns to Snaith in Yorkshire with only three engines operational. P/O D.J. White overshoots the landing and the hydraulic system fails. With the undercarriage stuck in the down position, the aircraft is unable to climb and after a forced landing, the bomber crashes into trees, coming to a halt in a ditch. All seven crew survive.

Wellington HE859 of 429 Squadron returns to East Moor in Yorkshire having been damaged by flak as it approached the target. The flak has punctured a tyre and caused the liferaft to deploy. The severe vibrations caused by the tethered liferaft caught in the slipstream forces the pilot to jettison his bombs and return to base. He is made to wait until all other aircraft return before being given permission to land in case he crash lands and becomes a hazard to other returning aircraft. When he is finally allowed to land, he veers off the runway and crashes nose down. All 5 crew are unhurt.