Third thousand bomber raid hits Bremen

Avro Lancaster B Mark I, R5620 ‘OL-H’, of No 83 Squadron RAF, leads the queue of aircraft waiting to take off from Scampton, Lincolnshire, on the ‘Thousand-Bomber’ raid to Bremen, Germany. R5620, flown by Pilot Officer J R Farrow and his crew, was the only aircraft to be lost by the Squadron that night.

An Avro Lancaster B Mark I of No. 83 Squadron RAF is signalled off on the third ‘Thousand Bomber’ raid, an attack on Bremen, Germany from Scampton, Lincolnshire. The Wing Commander (Flying) gives a green light for take off with his Aldis lamp.

Once again Bomber Command had to scrape every available aircraft together to mount a thousand bomber raid. The first raid had been an enormous propaganda success as well as being successful operationally. The losses on this raid were 5% overall but were over 11% amongst the Training Unit aircraft – a completely unsustainable loss. Cloud over the target meant that the bombing was less concentrated than on previous raids. Nevertheless large parts of the Focke-Wulf factory in Bremen were flattened:

Bomber Command made 1,400 aircraft sorties against land targets, compared with 661 last week. About 2,100 tons of bombs were dropped during the period under review.

The objective on three nights was Bremen, on which a total of 643 tons of H.E. and 1,210 tons of incendiary bombs were dropped. Heavy cloud obscured the target on each occasion, but photographs secured later disclose considerable destruction.

On the first of these nights (25th-26th June), 1,105 aircraft drawn from Bomber, Fighter, Coastal and Army Co-operation Commands were despatched. While the main attack was in progress against Bremen, a part of this force attacked aerodromes in Germany and occupied territory.

The two subsequent raids on Bremen involved 165 and 283 bombers respectively. From these opera­tions 72 of our aircraft did not return. Seven enemy fighters were shot down, three of them falling to one Stirling. Another enemy aircraft was probably destroyed.

From the Air Situation Report for the week as reported to the British War Cabinet, see TNA CAB 66/26/11

Vickers Wellington B Mark IV, Z1479 ‘GR-A’, of No. 301 Polish Bomber Squadron RAF based at Hemswell, Lincolnshire, lying on the shore off Dornumergrode, Germany, after being hit by anti-aircraft fire while over the target area during the second ‘Thousand bomber’ raid on Bremen at 2.30am on 26 June 1942. The crew survived and were made prisoners of war. The aircraft’s armament and propellers have been removed. The German personnel gathered round the cockpit are members of the Luftwaffe’s 8th (Motorised) Flak Division, for whom this aircraft was the 34th victim.

Contemporary newsreel footage from U.S. Office of War Information:

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

John Frith November 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm

My Father, Kenneth Frith was a F/Sgt Pilot of a Wellington Bomber of 103 squadron during this raid and had flown a further six heavy raids in the previous 3 weeks.
A quiet and brave man, who never spoke of his war efforts afterwards – but I at least, owe him everything.
Thank you for this page and the information it shows.

John Frith

carol ann "hadley"english September 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm

My father James Caldwell Hadley was shot down during the Bremen Air Invasion. June 25th 1942. Watching the film – I wish it were cleared -then maybe I could see him. He left when I was 18months old and I never knew him. He was from Akron, Ohio and went to Canada and then enlisted. He was a tail gunner.
Thank you for this as it made me feel a part of him.

Dave Pearman January 6, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Great footage, my uncle took part in this raid he was (Flight Engineer) on Lancaster R5620 / OL-H.the only Lancaster from 83 squadron RAF Scampton not to return that night, shot down and killed over Kirchseelte, Lower Saxony District, NW Germany, buried in a cemetery in Vechta, with the rest of the crew with full military honours, the bodies were later exhumed (by the air ministry) for identification purposes, then moved and laid to rest in their final resting place,,Sage war cemetery NW Germany.

Paul Tobolski October 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Bloody fantastic that I was able to find this. My father took part in this raid and was one of the aircraft shot down GR-A. It was one of the five shutdown. All the crew were safe and were POW’s. Unfortunately, my father did not come home as he took past in the great escape and was murdered for his part.

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