Personnel Index - Detail
18/19 November, 1943; BERLIN:
Now, with the longer dark nights, Harris could mount a series of concentrated attacks against the 'Big City'. This onslaught which would consist of 16 major raids over four months, would later become known as the Battle of Berlin. The plan for this first attack required 440 Lancasters to bomb Berlin over a sixteen minute period starting at 20.56hrs.
Despite favourable weather predictions before take-off, crews found themselves hauling their heavily laden Lancasters up through thousands of feet of thick cloud. 49 Squadron put up 19 aircraft and all the Lancasters managed to reach the cloud-covered target.
Sadly P/O Reg Hales (JB235) landed C-Charlie back at Fiskerton with the squadron's only casualty of the night. During the flight, W/O Hugh Frazer, their tall and pleasant Canadian rear-gunner had been air-sick. Unknown to him, a particle of food had lodged in the oxygen valve of his mask. The atmospheric valve still worked OK but gave only thin air. The 22 year old gunner’s life slowly slipped away between the Skipper's routine checks around the crew stations.