Personnel Index - Detail

Name
SILVESTER
First Names
George Bernard
Rank
F/Sgt
Service
RAF
Service Number
977392
Crew Position
Air Gunner
Age
26
Date of Death
18/08/1943
Cemetery

 

Awarded the DFM

Photographed by Malcolm Brooke
Part of the panel at Runnymede
 

The Runnymede image was created by artist Paul Reid using photographs taken by Jo Cockburn and Malcolm Brooke
 


 

17/18 August, 1943; PEENEMUNDE:

This was a 'special' raid in which Bomber Command was tasked to attempt a night time precision raid on the German research establishment at Peenemunde, on the Baltic coast. It was here that the V-2 rockets were built and tested.
It was essential that a decisive blow be struck against this target, and crews were made well aware at briefing that they would have to return the following evening if sufficient damage was not incurred. Such was the importance of this raid, that most of the squadrons operating, were led by their Wing Commanders. A force of 596 bombers started leaving their home airfields on a pleasantly warm summer’s evening. Twelve Lancasters had been detailed from the squadron and at 21.35 the first aircraft and crew speed down Fiskerton's runway. Five miles beyond the runway’s end lay the city of Lincoln with its majestic Cathedral silhouetted against the setting sun. Most of 49 Squadron's aircraft bombed from about 7,000ft. By this time, the German controllers had realised the real target and had re-directed the night fighters. In conjunction with strong flak defences, the fighters took a heavy toll of bombers, especially the 3rd and final wave. For the first time the German fighters were using a new weapon, codenamed 'Schrage-Music'. It consisted of two 30mm cannon mounted to point upwards from the fuselage. So equipped the pilot slipped underneath an unsuspecting bomber and aimed shells up into the wing fuel tanks. Once perfected, an experienced crew could bring a bomber down using very few rounds. Forty aircraft fell, with 5 Group losing 17 - Fiskerton had 4 Lancasters shot down, one-third of those dispatched by 49 Squadron.

P/O Tom Tomlin DFC from Plymouth, was shot down by Lt Hans Meissner; flying an ME 110... the radar operator had guided the pilot onto his target, then from a range of fifty metres below and behind, Meissner pumped a short burst into the bomber’s starboard inner engine; the Lancaster fell away in flames. All on board the Lancaster were killed, including F/Sgt George Silvester DFM, former member of Ted Tickler's crew when Ted earned his CGM. Only the pilot's body was recovered and he is buried at Aabenraa, Denmark. (It would appear that the pilot stayed at the controls of his aircraft whilst his crew parachuted).
 

Lancaster JA851
P/O T.E. Tomlin DFC Pilot (Killed)
Sgt K.E. Watson F/E (Killed)
P/O W.J. Rooke RAAF Nav (Killed)
Sgt C. Stancliffe W/AG (Killed)
P/O T. Tonkin DFM A/G (Killed)
F/S W.A. Davies B/A (Killed)
F/S G.B. Silvester DFM A/G (Killed)

Crew on their 23rd operation
 

For more information see www.bomberhistory.co.uk (The Loss of JA691)

The crew are also remembered on a memorial located near the crash site.
 

It would appear that George flew with several crews. An image has recently come to light that shows him with the "Tickler Crew".

Image courtesy of Deb Flemming (neice of Sgt M.G Webb)

26th December 1942
Jack Matthews - navigator
George Silvester - rear gunner
Art Davies - mid upper gunner
Maurice Webb - wireless operator
Dennis Downing - flight engineer
Ed Tickler - pilot
Ted Lowans - bomb aimer