(Danish) Aviation Historical Review
LAN JA713 that was shot down near Tunø
on the same operation as
Lancaster III EE138 of 460 Squadron that crashed near Stadil:
"4 September 1943 (02.30 hours)
The sea south of Tunø (about
here). Lancaster B.III, JA713 (MG-V).
BS, 8 BG, Oakington, Cambs. (Berlin). -
No. 7 Bomber Squadron was a
famous squadron of the RAF. In World War II it was selected in 1940 as the unit
to fly the first four-engined bombers, the Stirlings,
which gave an
unprecedented striking power to Bomber Command. Furthermore, in 1942 the unit
was hand picked for the newly founded Pathfinder Force which
was to lead every
bombing raid and mark the selected targets.
For 2½ years No. 7 Squadron
operated from its base in Oakington, Cambridge over German occupied Europe with
its Stirlings till this type of aircraft became obsolete
and was relieved by the
far more efficient Lancaster. This replacement at 7 Squadron was completed in
July 1943 and Lancaster B.III JA713 was among the new
It was built at A.
V. Roe in Chadderton near Manchester. After the test flight the new aircraft was
delivered to 7 BS on 29 June 1943. In July and August 1943
participated in a number of bombing raids on Germany and returned undamaged with
various crews. On 17-18 August 1943 JA713 flew to Peenemünde
W/C K. Rampling.
Friday 3 September 1943 was a
busy day for No. 7 Squadron. This day the unit was awarded a King's
banner for 25 years of active service and the same evening
19 aircraft had to be ready
for an important operation.
It was the fourth anniversary
of the United Kingdom’s entry into World War II and the RAF celebrated the event
with a great attack on Berlin exclusively carried out
by Lancaster bombers. 316 Lancasters took off and followed a route across Holland directly to Berlin. The
return flight went north across the Baltic Sea and along the
west coast of
Sweden. Not until north of Gothenburg did the formation fly west across the
Skagerrak and home across the North Sea. Of course it was a clear
Swedish air space, but it gave the formation some protection from the German
night fighters over Denmark.
All 19 bombers from No. 7
Squadron took off without problems. V-Victor took off from Oakington at 20.12
hours. 111 hours of flight were recorded in its log book from previous
operations. The final number was to be 117, as the bomber was shot down at Tunø
6 hours later. The raid on Berlin took place in the last hour before
from an altitude of about 20,000 feet. 1,000 tons of bombs were dropped over the
city with extensive damage to the districts Siemensstadt, Mariendorf and
Lichterfelde where 422 persons were killed.
But the cost was high. 22 Lancasters failed to return – 3 of them from 7 BS. In the hours after midnight
the attacking force was on the homeward flight to England.
A number of planes
were damaged by flak, and the crews of these planes tried to shorten the long
return flight by flying across Denmark, but here the lonely and
became an easy prey for the waiting German night fighters.
At 01.15 hours on
Saturday 4 September the air raid warning sirens in Aarhus were
heard with the
signal for alarm which at 02.10 hours was upgraded to the signal
air raid – air raid warning number 75 in Aarhus. It was called off at
and in the meantime also the drama at Tunø was over. JA713 had been
down by a German night fighter.
The aerial combat had been
observed from the island in spite of the late hour. The burning Lancaster
approached Tunø chased by the night fighter. At the north west
tip of the island
the bomber made a sharp bend to the south and shortly afterwards it exploded
above the water 1 km south of Tunø. Apparently a wing and the tail
torn off and hurled away at the explosion, as only the fuselage and the right
wing were found on the seabed at a depth of 11 metres.
All 7 crew members perished in
the crash and drifted away from the splintered wreck. Wireless Operator Sgt
Percy Barnsley was found the next day and taken to the German airfield at Ry.
From here he was taken to Fourfeld Cemetery at Esbjerg where he was buried on 8
September 1943. On 15 September a fishing cutter from Aarhus, AS “Juliane”,
found a perished airman off Norsminde and took his body to Aarhus. It was
Navigator F/Sgt Edvard Robinson, who was buried in Aarhus West Cemetery on 20
September. Pilot F/O Anthony Crockford drifted ashore at Sletterhage on 24
September. He was taken to Aarhus and 3 days later he was buried
Robinson. The remaining 4 airmen were never found even if the RAF after the war
made great efforts to trace missing airmen. Still there is no information
more than 20.000 British airmen who are listed as MIA (Missing in Action)." (FT
See more about
LAN JA713 and many links.