One for the Gunners
This 44 Squadron Combat Report is reproduced from the National Archives.
No 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron. 17th December 1943.
Combat Report Night of 16/17th December 1943. Lancaster EE 999 X Target: Berlin
Pilot: Flt Sgt Barton
Flt Eng: Sgt Thompson
Nav: Sgt Taylor
A/Bomb: Sgt Barnes
W/Op: Sgt Willett
MU Gunner: Sgt Joy
Rear Gunner: Sgt Dunhill? (illegible)
Whilst flying at 22,000 ft, course 060 (T), time 20.08 hours, IAS 180mph, position being 52.32N 13.28E, the mid upper gunner sighted a Me109 on the port quarter slightly down, range approx 600 yds, flying a parallel course. The Lancaster dived to port but the mid upper gunner observed that he was following another Lancaster and so own Lancaster resumed course, with the fighter still on the port quarter, slightly down, range 500 yds. The enemy aircraft was observed to open fire on the other Lancaster with 20 mm cannon from the nose. The other Lancaster did not return fire or take defensive manoeuvres but appeared to suffer no damage. Both gunners of own aircraft opened fire at approx 500 yds, tracer converged on the nose and fuselage of the enemy aircraft, who burst into flames and within a few seconds disintegrated in the air. Both gunners, the W/Op, Flt Eng and navigator witnessed the destruction of the enemy aircraft. The mid upper fired 2 and 4 second bursts, the cut-out operating as the enemy aircraft passed behind the rudder. The rear gunner fired a 5 second burst. No stoppages. Horizontal vis was very good with no cloud and no moon. No searchlights were active but fighter flares were going down on the port side, approx 700 yds away, silhouetting the fighter aircraft and other Lancasters. No lights were carried by the fighter. No damage to own Lancaster or crew. Total rounds fired 640. Monica u/s.
Sgt Joy, the mid upper gunner, was trained at No 1 AGS Pembrey and No 16 OTU Upper Heyford. The rear gunner, Sgt Dunhill (?), was trained at No 4 AGS Morpeth and No 16 OTU Upper Heyford.
Squadron Gunnery Leader
No 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron
RAF Dunholme Lodge
Ed. The reproduction of the combat report was of poor quality and the text was reproduced as accurately as could be interpreted. In particular, the name of the rear gunner remains open to question.