Personnel Index - Detail
Image courtesy of John Vidow (taken Post-War).
2/3 January, 1944; BERLIN:
Every available person on the station gave a hand in clearing the snow ready for the evening's operation. Take-offs were able to begin 15 minutes before midnight with Fiskerton managing to get 12 aircraft airborne from the 13 detailed.
Just 311 bombers struggled to reach a cloud-covered Berlin where the bombing was spread, with no concentrated fires developing. The German controllers had realised the bombers target in advance and instructed the night-fighters accordingly; most of the 27 Lancasters lost, fell in the Berlin area.
Canadian skipper F/O Johnny Young (JB231) and crew in N-Nan were in the last wave and on approaching the final turning point before the target were made well aware of the presence of night fighters by the lanes of flares in the sky. For the first time, the ‘Fishpond’ radar screen was functioning well and Ted Cachart the Wop/Ag reported a large number of ‘blips’ reflected from the aircraft below them, a number of these were heading in the direction of the final turning point but with the majority heading towards the target.
They were skimming through hazy cloud and the pilot had just lowered the starboard wing when in a split second they saw another Lancaster heading straight towards them and before anyone could yell a warning, the on-coming Lancaster's cockpit struck their aircraft's starboard wing between the two engines.
It is just possible that F/Lt Palmer’s S - Sugar was the Lanc that was in collision with N - NAN as it would have been in the same wave, and if slightly ahead of Nan it would have changed course and be heading back across the track of the oncoming tail-enders.
Lancaster JB231 (EA-N)
F/O J.E.M. Young RCAF Pilot (P.o.W.)
Sgt A.W. Vidow F/E (P.o.W.)
F/O J. Scott RCAF NAV (P.o.W.)
Sgt E.B. Cachart W/OP (P.o.W.)
Sgt M. Mahony RAAF A/G (P.o.W.)
P/O L.M. Orchard B/A (P.o.W.)
Sgt L. Crossman A/G (P.o.W.)
Crew on their 8th operation
See "Head on collision" from the Documents section
Additional information supplied by John Vidow.
Allan was liberated by the Russians in 1945, but was held at Stalag IVB until transferred to the American forces and eventually repatriated. He signed up for post-war service and completed conversion training at RAF St Athan on the Avro York. He was promoted to Warrant Officer and remained as a Flight Engineer. He joined No. 51 Squadron Transport Command at RAF Waterbeach. He mainly flew missions to Singapore, via Malta, India and Ceylon. The aircraft carried passengers and freight.
In 1948 he took part in the Berlin Airlift, where he flew 348 return "lifts" from Wunstorf to Berlin and back. In 1950 he attended the Berlin Airlift Parade in London.
In 1951 he left the RAF and joined the Ford Motor Company and retired in 1983.
In 1986 the "Flywheel" book was launched with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. "Flywheel" was a motor club and magazine that was produced in Stalag IVB and Allan was the circulation manager.
He was a member of the Berlin Airlift Association that was formed in 1996. In 1999 he was a guest of the German Government and attended the Berlin Airlift Commemoration at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. The stadium was built for the 1936 Olympic Games at the request of Hitler."
Allan Vidow in Berlin (front row LHS).
Allan Vidow (centre) at an early 49Sqn reunion.