CREW MEMBER PROFILE

Surname:

ABRAMS

First Name/s:

Robert William

No Image

Service No/s:

R265753 J95424

Service:

RCAF

Branch:

Air Gunner

Awards:

Return

SERVICE RECORDS

Date

Event

Aircraft Flown

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

22 Jul 1943

No.4 Recruiting Centre, Saskatoon, SK

06 Sep 1943

Enlisted as AC2 at No.3 Manning Depot, Edmonton, AB

12 Oct 1943

Course No. 32, No.9 Pre-Aircrew Education Depot, McGill University, Montreal, QC

25 Nov 1943

Joined 576 Sqn at Elsham Wolds, Linconshire

Auto loaded with upgrade to v1.0.04

27 Nov 1943

No.13 Service Flight Training School, St Hubert, QC

01 Jan 1944

Course No.73, No.10 Bombing and Gunnery School, Mount Pleasant, PE

14 Feb 1944

Promoted to LAC

24 Mar 1944

Promoted to T/Sgt

24 Mar 1944

Awarded Air Gunner Badge

08 Apr 1944

No.3 Air Crew Graduates Training School, Three Rivers, QC

07 May 1944

No.1 ‘Y’ Depot, RCAF Lachine, QC

25 May 1944

Embarked from Halifax, NS

02 Jun 1944

Disembarked UK (Liverpool or Southampton)

03 Jun 1944

No.3 Personnel Reception Centre, Bournemouth

20 Jun 1944

Course No.45, No.28 Operational Training Unit, RAF Wymeswold

30 Sep 1944

No.11 Base, RAF Lindholme

29 Nov 1944

No.576 Sqn, RAF Fiskerton

24 Dec 1944

Promoted to Flt Sgt

02 Feb 1945

03 Mar 1945

Discharged on appointment to commission

04 Mar 1945

Appointment to commission as Pilot Officer on probation

05 Mar 1945

06 Mar 1945

Posted missing

576 Squadron FLYING RECORDS

Date

Aircraft

Code

Flight Details

T/O

Land

Flt Time

Crew

17 Dec 1944

LM594

UL-A2

ULM

1515

1545

0h30

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Target: Marshalling yards and Magirius-Deutz & Kassboher lorry factories TBC. Returned early due to a hydraulic leak and a rear turret failure, landing safely after 30 mins

22 Dec 1944

NN749

UL-G2

KOBLENZ

1515

2200

7h45

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Target: Marshalling Yards. Diverted to Charterhall due to weather at base

23 Dec 1944

NN749

UL-G2

CHARTERHALL TO FISKERTON.

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nk

nk

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Return from diversion

28 Dec 1944

NF975

UL-J2

BONN

1545

2105

6h20

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Target: Marshalling yards

29 Dec 1944

NG119

UL-D2

SCHOLVEN / BUER

1530

2110

6h40

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Target: Hydrierwerke Scholven synthetic oil refinery

02 Jan 1945

PB785

UL-L2

NUREMBURG

1500

2320

8h20

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Target: Marshalling yards & built-up area

07 Jan 1945

NF975

UL-J2

MUNICH

1820

0315

8h55

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Target: Built-up area.

14 Jan 1945

NG119

UL-D2

MERSEBURG / LEUNA

1910

0340

8h30

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Target: IG Farbenindustrie synthetic oil refinery

16 Jan 1945

ME317

UL-C2

ZEITZ

1735

0140

8h05

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Braunkohle-Benzin synthetic oil plant

02 Feb 1945

PB785

UL-L2

WIESBADEN

2130

0340

6h10

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Flt Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Flt Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Built-up area (where large numbers of troops were resting

08 Feb 1945

NF975

UL-J2

POLITZ

1925

0335

8h10

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Flt Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Flt Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

IG Farben synthetic oil plant 5333.5N 01444.5E Master Bomber: Snodgrass 1 & 2 MF:Press On

23 Feb 1945

ME317

UL-C2

PFORZHEIM

1555

2350

8h55

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Flt Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Flt Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Operation THUNDERCLAP - Built-up area 4852N 00842E Ball bearing factory Master Bomber : Blacktie 1,2 & 3 MF: Wastepipe

28 Feb 1945

NF976

UL-Z2

NEUSS

0855

1045

2h50

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Flt Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Flt Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Target: Enemy Ground Positions

01 Mar 1945

RF120

UL-D2

MANNHEIM-LUDWIGSHAFEN

1150

1810

7h20

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Flt Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Flt Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Flt Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Built-up area

02 Mar 1945

RF120

UL-D2

COLOGNE

0710

1225

5h15

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Sgt J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Flt Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Flt Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Flt Sgt R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Roads to W of river leading to Hohenzollern Bridge

05 Mar 1945

PD403

UL-F2

CHEMNITZ

1655

0000

7h05

P1   Fg Off C.J. Rouse RCAF
P2   
FE   Sgt R.H. Twin
AB   Sgt K.R. Marston
NAV  Plt Off J.T.J. Magee RCAF
WOp  Flt Sgt D.H. Hadlow
MUG  Flt Sgt W.W. Dewar RCAF
RG   Plt Off R.W. Abrams RCAF

NOTES:

Operation THUNDERCLAP - Town

PERSONAL INFORMATION

Details

Robert Abrams was born on 30 May 1924, only son of Hubert James Abrams and Ella Mabel Abrams, of Rockhaven, Saskatchewan, Canada and brother to four sisters (Ethel, Stella, Vivien, and Dora). Prior to joining the RCAF, he worked on his parents' farm. Abrams' report from the Flt Lt Medical Officer at his recruitment interview on 22 Jul 43 was less than encouraging: 'Alert, wiry chap, somewhat immature. Motivation for aircrew doubtful. Grade XI education at 18 years of age. Farmed since leaving school. Physically fit. The only boy, parents agreeable. Not highly recommended for aircrew'. However, the Fg Off Interviewing Officer seemed to take a liking to him and overruled the MO; 'Appears to be good material. Says he understands selection and is willing to serve in any capacity. Seems alert and fairly intelligent. Feel he should do well. Says he is fond of shooting and is a fair shot with the rifle. Appears well motivated'.

Plt Off Abrams was killed on a mission to Chemnitz on 06 March 1945, aged 20, and is remembered on Panel 280 at the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede. PD403 took off from Fiskerton at 1655. According to a British PoW, two aircraft were seen to collide and explode in the air on the night of 05/06 March 1944. The pilot, Fg Off Rouse RCAF and Sgt Twin, flight engineer, were identified by PoWs who buried them in the Riechenhasner Cemetery 3 miles south-west of Chemnitz along with eight other unidentified bodies who were buried by the Germans. Their graves, however, could not be located, neither were four other members of his crew and they are now commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Flt Sgt Hadlow, who was originally buried in the Chemnitz City Cemetery, now rests in the 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Berlin.

It is also possible that PD403 collided with Lancaster KB880 (WL-L) of 434 (Canadian) Squadron, however this is at odds with the Prisoner of War account of two aircraft exploding and ten aircrew bodies being buried at the crash site.

Flt Sgt Glen Hesler RCAF, rear gunner on the 434 Sqn Lancaster thought tells his story; "Hit by Lancaster after bombs gone. Put in rear turret, cut nose off Lancaster. Few seconds later Ju-88 (Junkers 88) sighted off starboard quarter and up at 600 yards. Save corkscrew. Fighter fired one burst. Hit on starboard wing. Hit starboard elevator. Hits scored on fighter. Landed at Carnaby." Flt Sgt Hesler goes on to tell that his crew had dropped their load of bombs and was unaware of any enemy aircraft in the area. He remembers looking down from his place in the turret and seeing two Merlin engines appearing on either side of the fuselage and realised that it was another Lancaster. The pilot of the other aircraft gently eased the nose of his aircraft under Lollipop and proceeded to bump her with enough force to get Plt Off Kitchens' (the pilot of WL-L) attention. This caused some damage to the landing gear and disabled the rear turret. Hesler felt that the other pilot may have been doing this to alert them of approaching enemy planes since there was no radio contact between aircraft. This incredibly dangerous manoeuvre would have been the only way to get their attention. Hesler surmised later that the other Lancaster was probably very badly damaged (from night fighter attack), and the plot may have known that he had no hope of survival.

As Hesler watched the Lancaster go down, he saw a Ju88 in a fast climb coming up past the other Lancaster to where they were. He recalls "I told John Kitchen to 'HOLD!', then I lost view of the fighter, realising he was going too fast: he needed to slow his speed and come in on our flight path to keep his guns on us in the curve of pursuit. He would have to hide behind our starboard rudder. The only way I would know he was in attack mode was if he fired and hit our aircraft." At that moment, shells were fired from the Ju88 causing some damage -one armour piece hit Lollipop's landing gear and the stabilizer was hit by a high explosive 20mm. "That was when I yelled at John Kitchen, 'Corkscrew Starboard! GO!' and I set up a box right over the starboard rudder and fired my twin 303's knowing he would be moving into that space. Another crew sighted the Ju88 going down in flames and we claimed it as probably destroyed." "We weren't aware of critical damage to our aircraft until Kitchen tried to let the landing gear down. The gear on the starboard side did not indicate it was locked down and the air traffic controller wouldn't let us land at our home base but sent us to a crash 'drome. The navigator, Doug Reid, set up the co-ordinates for the crash 'dome. The night was pitch black and we were unable to locate the airfield; we were about to abandon when I heard Doug telling Kitchen he had set the wrong co-ordinates. Corrections made, John floated it in, keeping the starboard wing higher than the port side and as he lost airspeed he came down... past the lock position on the starboard main wheel. John then proceeded to give us one of his best landings."

For many years, Hesler has lived with the knowledge that this other unknown pilot saved his life and those of his crew by putting himself in a highly dangerous position at a time when he must have been facing his own death this man had the forethought and courage to help the crew of Lollipop.

Years later, and quite by accident, Hesler came across the name of Robert William Abrams in the book "They Shall Not Grow Old - RCAF". This name, in turn, led him to Fg Off Charles Rouse and PD403, whereupon he discovered that four of the crew were fellow Canadians. He long wondered if one of these Canadians on board PD403 could possibly have been the heroic pilot who saved Lollipop and her crew. For many years, Glen Hesler has lived with this remarkable story of courage - not many nights go by that he didn't wake up and relive that night over Germany. His one wish was always to see the unknown pilot receive a posthumous commendation for this incredible act of bravery. If not for that man, the crew of Lollipop may also have been entries in the books listed in this story. Learning the identity of this gentleman could allow Glen to finally put to rest a memory which has been with him for most of his life.

Taken from Jeanette Manning's blog "View from a Lancaster" 25 May 2014 – with thanks

PHOTOS & DOCUMENTS

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