Date: 24/25th March 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 625 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Kelstern, Lincolnshire.
Location: Langensalza, Germany.
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Ronald David Whamond Jamieson 1551751 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Eric Boynton Tones 1697423 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: F/O. Bartlett Leadbetter Rogers J/22911 RCAF Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Inglis Scott 1560052 RAFVR Age 21.Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric Gordon Waller 1320142 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Frederick Etheridge 1801712 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Richard Honey 1608258 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Update January 2019: New memorial dedication planned - relatives invited to contact us for details
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 18:36 hrs from RAF Kelstern, Lincolnshire to attack the heart of Germany, Berlin. The Bomber force amounted to 811 aircraft (577 Lancasters, 216 Halifaxes and 18 Mosquitoes) - not a night to remember for Bomber Command with over 70 aircraft lost!
Above left and centre: Fl/Sgt. Ronald David Whamond Jamieson and grave at Berlin War Cemetery. Right: His brother Barrie. (courtesy Harry Jamieson)
This operation has become known as the "night of the strong winds" as a very strong wind took the bomber stream further south at every stage of the outbound flight. The bombers became very scattered in particular on the homeward bound stages, where the radar controlled flak batteries were able to score many successes.
New Memorial Dedication
An elaborate cairn with a memorial plaque has been erected at the crash site of 625 Squadron’s Lancaster ED317 and crew in Germany. It was conceived and funded by René Schütz and his friends Kevin Schmidt, Livius Schillingmann and Thorben Ehmer in memory of the courageous young men that made the ultimate sacrifice. It is most remarkable that this action is being taken by citizens of the other side.
An inaugural ceremony for the plaque is planned for March 24, 2019, to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the loss. René and his friends are to be commended for this gracious and compassionate gesture. They are seeking the crew’s relatives to extend an invitation to attend the ceremony. Fittingly and conveniently, the cairn is located in a nature reserve within easy walking distance from a country road.
Berlin reported that 14 Aircraft were shot down by night fighters over the target area. Bombing was very scattered with over 100 towns and villages around Berlin being bombed and very little commercial damage done in Berlin itself. Civilians were hardest hit again with 20,000 made homeless and 150 people on the ground killed (A further 30 people killed in other areas bombed by the scattered force.)
This was the last major bombing raid on Berlin of the war although it was of course attacked by many small raids using Mosquitoes. No major industrial targets were hit although some damage was done to 5 military establishments - including the Waffen SS depot in Lichterfield.
As explained previously over 70 aircraft were lost on this raid but the true horror being 220 aircrew killed and a further 133 made PoW.
Lancaster ED317 was engaged over Langensalza, Germany by Oblt. Günther Rogge (2) of 2./NJG3 at 23:30 hrs and shot down. Theo Boiten confirms this. Full details will be presented in the Nachtjagd Combat Archive series, Vol. 1 for 1944, due out with Wing Leader publishing in 2019. Information from captured German documents note that this aircraft crashed at Negelstedt, 13 miles SE of Mühlhausen, Germany. Investigation by the Missing Research and Enquiry Service team confirmed on exhumation findings the positive ID for F/O. Rogers and Sgt. Honey. They were reinterred in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery in separate graves. The remaining five crew unidentified members were buried collectively. These findings are indicative of the destructive forces following a devastating night-fighter attack with abrupt loss of control or inflight breakup without time to bale out. A theme too frequently repeated: Theirs is a life you’ll never know (Noel Coward).
RAF Kelstern Memorial to 625 Squadron.
(1) The family of Fl/Sgt. Ronald David Whamond Jamieson had already lost his older brother. Sgt. John Alexander Barrie Jamieson was piloting Whitley Z6811 MH-D when they were shot down by a night fighter over Malden, South of Nijmegen, Netherlands.
(2) Oblt. Günther Rogge this was his 4th confirmed victory during the war. He eventually claimed a further 2, making him an ace - Günther survived the war but we have no details on his history since then.
Fl/Sgt. Ronald David Whamond Jamieson. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 6.C.15-19. Further information: Born in Ceylon, son of Ronald Barrie and Barbara Low (Babs - nee Whamond) Jamieson. His father was a tea planter but died quite young in 1928. Babs then returned to Scotland and brought a Board and room property in Kirriemuir, Scotland. She sent her two boys, Ronald and John to boarding school from which they then both joined the RAF. Sadly his older brother John, known as Barrie, also a pilot, was killed earlier on the 19th August 1941. Flying with 51 Squadron, shot down in a Whitley Z6811 MH-D, all the crew losing their lives.
Sgt. Eric Boynton Tones. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 6.C.15-19. Son of Christopher Hoggett Tones and Monica Tones, of Kildale, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "He Gave All For Others".
Above: F/O. Bartlett Leadbetter Rogers (courtesy Library and Archives/ancestry.ca site)
F/O. Bartlett Leadbetter Rogers. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 6.C.14. Son of Brigadier Joseph Bartlett Rogers, CMG, DSO, MC and Mrs. Helen (née Leadbetter). Brother of Charles Brown Rogers. Husband of Mary Doris (née Spencer). Born 7th April 1921 in Toronto, enlisted 10th April 1942. F/O Bartlett Leadbetter Rogers was 22 years old at the time of his death. He was married. His education included a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from Tri-State College, Angola, Indiana. The letter of recommendation for commission in the RCAF by G.M. Malone, partner of a Toronto, Ontario legal firm gives insight of his character and potential:
"I have had the opportunity during the past twenty years of studying Mr. Rogers and find him of an exemplary character, in fact he was awarded the Royal Canadian Humane Association Medal for bravery in the summer of 1937, the presentation being made by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Dr. Herbert A. Bruce".
Sgt. James Inglis Scott. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 6.C.15-19. Son of James Inglis Scott and Jessie Duncan Scott, of Dundee. Grave inscription reads: "Treasured Memories".
Sgt. Eric Gordon Waller. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 6.C.15-19. Son of Bert Joseph and Una Maude Mary Waller, of Canterbury, England. Grave inscription reads: "He Died That We Might Live".
Sgt. James Frederick Etheridge. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Collective grave 6.C.15-19. Son of Frederick Charles and Nellie Eliza Etheridge, of Hastings, Sussex, England. Grave inscription reads: "Fondest Remembrances. Dad, Lillian, Margaret Ronald".
Sgt. John Richard Honey. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 6.C.13. Son of John and Mable Honey, stepson of Edwin Payne of Ivybridge, Devon, England. Grave inscription reads: "Through The Clouds To The Stars He Shall Find The Kingdom Of Heaven".
For Debra and Philip Jakes MBE, relative of Sgt. John Honey and for Harry Jamieson cousin of Fl/Sgt. Ronald Jamieson and all the relatives of the crew. Uwe Jenrich for grave photographs. References: Library and Archives Canada/ Ancestry.ca: Information and photo of F/O. Rogers - 625 Squadron Aircrew and Gravesite photos and documents: F/O. Bartlett Leadbetter Rogers, J22911, page 117 and 119 on Ancestry RG 24 28546. May 2017. Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. Theo Boiten. Submission by Jack Albrecht and Nic Lewis.