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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 [permalink id=19688 text=”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:

12 thoughts on “Third thousand bomber raid hits Bremen”

  1. Dear Sirs
    I just made a scaled model of some aircraft for my grand daughters school project, looking at the markings on the Vickers Wellington Bomber I decided to research it.
    R1410 KXM and found all these facts about what i thought was just a simple paper plane.
    Obviously i know and am aware of the war (being 54 years old) But little did i (or indeed i presume others )know of all the individual planes and each part thy took.
    My Great thanks for the time , efforts knowledge and detail of your works.
    But most of all to every person who took part in the war.

  2. During the evening of 17th december 1943, my uncle’s brother, Sgt. Charles Clifford Reid, Service No. 1459932 of RAF No.83 Squadron based at Wyton, then Huntingdonshire, was tragically killed as the rear gunner of Lancaster bomber JB344 OL-K during the Battle of Berlin. He was a member of the Pathfinder Force who flew ahead of the main bomber fleet to illuminate the targets. The aircraft had completed its mission successfully and had returned to base fully intact, but crashed on landing on the runway at Wyton which had become enshrouded in dense fog with the loss of two crew members.

    My research into the events during that tragic evening have unveiled an astonishing act of bravery by one of my relative’s crew mates. The Lancaster caught fire immediately on crash landing at Wyton and quickly became a blazing inferno as the aviation fuel ignited. The young navigator, Sgt. Robert Alfred Lindsay, Service No. 267765 of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, was thrown through the cockpit of the aircraft and landed on the tarmac fifty feet away. He received horrific injuries including a broken arm, ankle and terrible burns and other injuries to his face and body. Despite this and undoubtedly suffering agonising pain and having only limited mobility, he somehow returned to the blazing aircraft with an imminent explosion likely and dragged two of his fellow crew mates who had not emerged to safety. For his act of gallantry, Sgt. Lindsay was awarded the BEM, the least that could be expected for such bravery.

    Other crew members were: Pilot Officer Francis Eric Mclean, Service No. 413091 of the RAAF; Flight Sergeant Vincent Gregory Tankard, Serice No. 410269 of the RAAF (who was sadly killed along with Sgt. Reid); Sgt. John Henderson, Service No. 1075987 of the RAF; Sgt. Lawrence Edward Faithorn, Service No. 422471 of the RAAF and Sgt. H. Day of the RAF. If anyone has any further information about any of the crew members of Lancaster JB344 OL-K I would be delighted to receive it.

  3. Is there any record of Luftwaffe losses for this raid? I am researching a Wellington crew who took part in this raid and, in a letter between crew members after the event, one mentions that the rear gunner shot down ‘3 or was it 4 FW190’s’. I am trying to discover if this was fact or just a tongue-in-cheek comment taking the mickey out of the rear gunner.

    Any definite information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  4. My father Sgt. Victor Frank Cave flew on this raid ,the pilot was S/L Hodgkinson. They flew a Hudson Bomber ,which was shot down by a night fighter whilst returning home.The plane went down in the sea near Tshelling Holland .

    Sgt. Cave was taken POW and spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft 3.

    He remained in the RAF after the war serving in Cyprus and Egypt, he attained the rank of Squadron Leader.

    His darkest memories of the war was the loss of his friends on that night.

  5. My Father Sgt JG Moriarty was on this raid in a Whitley V ZG-L BD201 bomber in 10OTU Abingdon, shot down on return by the famous ace Helmut Lent in a Messerschmidt BF110 R4+AC (no competition). Crashed in North Holland and all crew, bar 1, who was killed were taken POW.

  6. My Father Sgt JG Moriarty was on this raid in a Whitley V ZG-L BD201 bomber in 10OTU Abingdon, shot down on return by the famous ace Helmut Lent in a Messerschmidt BF110 R4+AC (no competition). Crashed in North Holland and all crew, bar 1, who was killed were taken POW.

  7. My Father Sgt JG Moriarty was on this raid in a Whitley V ZG-L BD201 bomber in 10OTU Abingdon, shot down on return by the famous ace Helmut Lent in a Messerschmidt BF110 R4+AC (no competition). Crashed in North Holland and all crew, bar 1, who was killed were taken POW.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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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