Squadron Diary

Date 2 December 1943



The Squadron finally commenced operations, participating in a raid on Berlin on the night of 2/3rd December 1943. This was part of a series of heavy raids against the German capital undertaken by Bomber Command throughout the winter of 1943/44.

A force of 458 aircraft, including 425 Lancasters, 18 Mosquitos, and 15 Halifaxes flew on this attack on Berlin; its fifth heavy raid within a fortnight. Seven Lancasters and crews from 576 Sqn were detailed for this attack, with briefing at 1400 and planned take-off at 1705. There were no major diversions and the bombers took a direct route across the North Sea and Holland, and then on to Berlin. The German air defences identified Berlin as the target about nineteen minutes before Zero Hour, and so there were many night fighters were waiting.



To cause maximum damage to the target area


Night of 02/03 December 1943

576 Aircraft Detailed


Target Code


?? Intended Route

Elsham Wolds - Mablethorpe - 52°50N 03°30E - 52°35N 04°40E - 52°38N 10??04E - 52°36N 12°20E - Target - 52°30N 13??50E - 52°55N 13??50E - 52°38N 10??04E - 52°35N 04°40E - 52°50N 03°30E - Mablethorpe - Elsham Wolds


Zero Hour

2000 hours

First Wave

100 Halifaxes to attack from zero to zero +3

Second Wave

99 Halifaxes to attack from zero +3 to zero +6

Third Wave

108 Lancasters, including 3 from 576 Sqn, to attack from zero +6 to zero +10

Fourth Wave

109 Lancasters, including 2 from 576 Sqn, to attack from zero +10 to zero +14

Fifth Wave

Remaining Lancasters to attack from zero +14 to zero +18


'BASIC': 1 x 4,000lb HC, 4 SBCs each containing 12 x 30lb incendiaries, 8 SBCs each containing 90 x 4lb incendiaries, and 2 SBCs each containing 60 x 4lb incendiaries.??

Plus 2 SBCs each containing 150 x 4lb incendiaries, 1 SBC containing 90 x 4lb incendiaries, and 1 SBC containing 8 x 30lb incendiaries


Minimum Fuel Load

1793 gallons


19 ABC aircraft from 101 Sqn to be spread evenly over the period zero to zero +18.

Plus Main Force crews were specially warned not, repeat not, to bomb before zero hour



Start Rate

C: 1 bundle / min

At 52°47N 03°45E

381 bundles per aircraft

Start Rate

D: 2 bundle / min

At 52°35N 12°31E

Stop Finally

At 52°47N 03°45E


The method for the attack was to be mixed PARAMATTA and WANGANUI.

Route marking red TIs to be dropped at 52°38N 09°45E outbound.

Wanganui flares consisting of bundles of red flares with green stars would be dropped to mark the Release Point throughout the attack, and green TIs to mark the Aiming Point. The attack would be opened with red TIs dropped in the target area (to be used by Pathfinders only and to be ignored by the Main Force).

Main Force aircraft were to aim their bombs on an exact heading of 105°M at the centre of all visible green TIs; otherwise they should aim at the centre of all red with green stars TIs while holding an exact heading of 105°M.

Red TI route markers would be dropped at 52°38N 09°45E on the way home.

Crews were also warned that Mosquitoes would be dropping spoof fighter flares about 20 miles south of the target. These would ignite at 20,000ft.



Aircraft to rendezvous at 52°50N 03°30E between 18000 and 20000 ft, and to cross the enemy coast outbound between 19000 and 22000 ft. They will then proceed to the target and bomb as high as possible between 19000 and 22000 ft, this height band to be maintained as far as the enemy coast on the homeward route.



?? UL-K2 ?? DV333 Flt Sgt C E O"Neill RCAF 1710-2359
Sgt J A A Mansfield
Sgt R H McLeod
Sgt S Hewitt
Sgt J R Ingham
Sgt G A Coon RCAF
Sgt N Conner
?? UL-R2 ????W4337 Flt Sgt J M Booth RAAF 1705-DNR
Sgt G H Kaye
Flt Sgt L W L Godfrey RAAF
Flt Sgt R E D Richards RAAF
Flt Sgt M N Jennings RAAF
Flt Sgt M W Jones RAAF
Flt Sgt D R G Taskis RAAF
?? UL-T2 ?? ED767 Sgt D Arlott 1705-0005
Sgt D Arlott
Sgt P W Green
Plt Off M A Elliott
Sgt J P Gray
Sgt H L Morrison RCAF
Sgt L Mulholland
?? UL-U2 ????ED913 Fg Off J H Richards 1649-2355
Sgt C P Rudland
Sgt G Evans
Sgt A E Hooper
Sgt S W Irons
Sgt C Milburn
Sgt H Johnson
?? UL-V2 ?? ED888 WO T J Bassett RAAF 1652-1855
Sgt E A Brown
Sgt J M W Pasley
Sgt B R Round
Flt Sgt W H Rogers RAAF
Sgt A J Palfreman
Flt Sgt L Brettell
?? UL-Y2 ????JA968 WO M J Graham 1705-0005
Sgt G P Rae
Sgt W J C Keigwin
Sgt K W Flowers
Sgt P Harris
Sgt P J Daly
Sgt D Roberts
?? UL-Z2 ?? LM332 Sgt R Whalley 1700-2010
Sgt C Van de Velde
Sgt S J Barr
Sgt J D Ward
Sgt F Burgess
Sgt J McCool
Sgt R Scott


An inaccurate wind forecast caused great difficulties for the Pathfinders, who were not able to establish their positions correctly and blew many aircraft off track. Squadron records report a thin layer of cloud over the target area but that the Pathfinder ground markers were clearly seen. Fighter flares were in great evidence and the flak was reported as moderate.

The bombing photographs of the Main Force suggested that the attack was scattered over a wide area of southern Berlin and the countryside south of the city. The Berlin report confirms this, but adds that some damage was caused in industrial areas of the eastern and western districts, with two more of the Siemens factories, a ball-bearing factory and several railway installations, being badly hit. Damage elsewhere was light, and only 136 buildings were destroyed. Only four photographs were brought back by the Squadron but, due to the low cloud, they only recorded fire tracks and smoke. The incorrectly forecast winds scattered the bomber stream, particularly on the return flight, and German fighters scored further victories here. A total of 40 aircraft, including 37 Lancasters (including the Squadron"s first operational loss), two Halifaxes, and one Mosquito, were lost. One Squadron aircraft, UL-R2, commanded by Flt Sgt Booth, RAAF, failed to return from this operation, crashing near M??nchengladbach. Unusually, apart from flight engineer Sgt Kaye, all the crew were Australian. WO Bassett in UL-V2, and Sgt Whalley in UL-Z2 both returned early due to engine failures. UL-U2 (Fg Off Richards) and UL-Y2 (WO Graham) were damaged by enemy fire but returned safely. The Bomber Command Night Raid Report is below.