Personnel Index - Detail
Flew 11 operations with 49Sqn......see details of an earlier ditching accident at the end of his page.
F/Sgt Nelson was killed on 26th November 1943 whilst flying with 83Sqn on a raid to Berlin and is buried in Durnbach War Cemetery, Bavaria.
Photographed by the McEneaney family.
In the following crew details, F/O A B Smeaton, Sgt R A F Gillam, F/S R S Nelson and Sgt W S Walton were all ex-49Sqn.
There is also another 49Sqn link with another crew member, the Flight Engineer, Sgt A W Savory.....for details click this link.
Extract is from Bill Chorley's Bomber Command Losses
Additional information via Colin Cripps:
This 83 Squadron Lancaster took off from RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire at 5.37pm on the 26th of November 1943. The aircraft’s serial number was JB459 and wore the Squadron code OL-T on the side of the fuselage.
The aircraft crashed at Seelenberg, northwest of Frankfurt. Eye witnesses on the ground reported seeing the aircraft flying to the northwest with its wings on fire. The tail then broke off and the aircraft crashed in a forest where the aircraft exploded, along with its bomb load. The crew were initially buried in a small churchyard in Seelenberg, before being reinterred at Durnbach after the war.
The mission was to Berlin and was part of the Battle of Berlin. Immediately prior to take-off, another 83 Squadron Lancaster had exploded on the ground, killing 20 RAF personnel and a number of Italian POWs. Two of the destroyed aircraft’s engines had to be removed from the runway, before the squadron could take-off.
Earlier in the war Sgt Nelson survived a ditching incident as described below.
3/4 September,1943; BERLIN:
Because of recent heavy losses suffered by Halifaxes and Stirlings when attacking Berlin, only Lancasters were sent on this raid. Some damage was caused by the 316 Lancasters but most bombs fell short of their target. Again losses were heavy with 22 Lancasters going down.
On return from Berlin, the Lancasters were diverted to bases in Northern England. This was the last thing F/O Harold Coates and crew needed after nursing their badly damaged Lancaster back from Berlin, where JB126 had been hit by flak 10 seconds after bombs away! When 15 miles from Blyth, off Tynemouth, in heavy mist, the struggling pilot was forced to ditch his crippled plane.
Such were the sea conditions that the aircraft broke up on impact. Sadly Sgt's Pawson, Kendrew and Jack, died before the Rescue launch arrived. The unfortunate flight engineer, Sgt Sacre, was seen in the water but was subsequently lost. The pilot was last seen in his cockpit under the water.
Sgt Underwood the bomb aimer and Sgt Nelson RAAF air gunner, were both taken to hospital with slight injuries and shock. The ditching occurred at 03.57hrs. Of the remaining squadron aircraft, six landed at Middleton St George, one at Croft, one at Wyton and three at base.
F/O H.K. Coates Pilot (Killed)
Sgt J.G. Sacre F/E (Killed)
Sgt H. Jack NAV (Killed)
Sgt C. Kendrew W/AG (Killed)
Sgt R.S Nelson RAAF A/G (Injured)
Sgt L.R. Underwood B/A (Injured)
Sgt G.S. Pawson A/G (Killed)
A report was submitted to the Air Ministry detailing the circumstances of the crash and deaths.
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