January, 1944


Tonight is Williams Seventh operation.

In total of 648 aircraft - 421 Lancasters, 224 Halifaxes, 3 Mosquitos - on the first major raid to Magdeburg. The German controller again followed the progress of the bomber stream across the North Sea and many night fighters were in the stream before it crossed the German coast. The controller was very slow to identify Magdeburg as the target but this did not matter too much because most of the night fighters were able to stay in the bomber stream, a good example of the way the Tame Boar tactics were developing. 57 aircraft - 35 Halifaxes, 22 Lancasters - were lost, it is probable that three quarters of the losses were caused by German night fighters. Some of the Main Force aircraft now had H2S and winds which were stronger than forecast brought some of these into the target area before the Pathfinders' Zero Hour. The crews of 27 Main Force aircraft were anxious to bomb and did so before Zero Hour. The Pathfinders blamed the fires started by this early bombing, together with some very effective German decoy markers, for their failure to concentrate the marking.
22 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitos of 5 and 8 Groups carried out a diversionary raid to Berlin; 1 Lancaster lost.
111 aircraft - 89 Stirlings, 12 Lancasters, 1O Mosquitos - carried out raids on 6 flying bomb sites in France without loss.
8 Mosquitos to Oberhausen and 5 to Rheinhausen, 8 RCM sorties, 5 Serrate patrols, 8 Wellingtons minelaying off St Nazaire, 16 OTU sorties. No aircraft lost.

Squadron 78

17 aircraft detailed for operations, Target Magdeburg
January 21 1944 For this mission the JP129 (F/L R.Shard), JN972, LW226,
JP126 (Sgt. Iddon), LW324, LW300, JP118, LW331 (Sgt L.Nugent)
JP117, JP120, JN919, LW319, unknown., HR932
and LW234 were signed in for operation.

William is on his Seventh operation

January 21th, 1944



Handley Page Halifax II

JP120 EY-P

January 21th

Target Magdeburg


19:48 hour, Breighton Yorkshire



Combat at

18.000 ft at 22:36 hour 52.28N/11.13E speed 150 I.A.S. bearing 098(T)



Bombing on

18.000 ft at 23:02 hour




02:52 hour, Breighton Yorkshire

Crew JP120: EY-P

F/O Hudson, H.



Sgt.Smith, J.

(2nd pilot)


F/O Robertson, W.



P/O Uyen, William



Sgt. Monks, H.



Sgt. Hillis, J.



P/O Lane, Jack



Sgt. Moris, J.



In Combat

JP120 EY-P

Tonight William Uyen did his Seventh operation

Target: Magdeburg airborne: 19:48 hour, Breighton Yorkshire
In Combat: Combat at: 18.000ft at 22.36 hour 52.28N/11.13E
speed: 150 I.A.S.
Bearing: 098 (T)
Bombing on 18.000ft at 23:02 hour
Landed: 02:52 hour, Breighton Yorkshire

Crew: F/O Hudson, H. (Capt)
Sgt. Smith, J. (second pilot)
F/O Robertson, W. (Nav)
P/O Uyen, William (B.A.)
Sgt. Monks, H. (W/Op)
Sgt. Hillas, J. (F/Eng)
Sgt. Morris, J. (R.G.)
P/O Lane, Jack (M.U.)

As for the combat report and operational record book:

10/10ths cloud at 15.000ft. No moon, Clear visibility of 2 miles.
No searchlights prior to attack.
First indication of enemy aircraft in the vicinity was when Monica began to pip at 22.36 hour between Braunschweig and Magdeburg, at position 52.58N/11.13E at a hight of 18.000ft.
At the same time rear gunner Sgt. Morris observed an enemy aircraft on the starboard fine quarter silhouetted against the lights in the clouds.
The enemy aircraft closed over to port quarter down and climbed into the attack. The order was immediately given to turn to dive to port, and the rear gunner opened fire with a short burst at within 600/800 yards range. The enemy aircraft passed out of sight below own aircraft's tail and was lost sight of in the dark part of the sky. No fighter flares were dropped at the time of the attack. No hits were observed on enemy aircraft who did not open fire.
The primary target of Magdeburg was attack and bombed at 23:02 ours from a hight of 18.000 feet. Identified by Red and Green TI's S/M's red green stars. Visual of river . Bombed concentration of green TI's in b/sight cascaded at 23:00 hour. Many fires scattered over area of town.

Returned early


Due engine failure turned over the sea north of Holland . Furthest point reached was 54.15N/05.15E,
JN972 was one of two No.102 Sqdn Halifaxes lost on the operation on 20 February 1944.
It was initially issued to No.78 Sqdn. Airborne 23.49 hour 19 February 1944 from Pocklington. Shot down by Flak and night- fighter, crashing 02.40 hour on Siedeneer Moor, SE of Sulingen.

Returned early


Made it 100km further than the JN972,
due to receiver problems he also turned back over the sea with his furthest point reached was 54.09N/07.35E.

Returned early


due to compass failure he had to return to base, flying north of Holland over the sea at 54.30N/06.40E


It was a busy evening for the air-crew,

In Combat:

JP129 EY-A
LW234 EY-X
LW324 EY-G
LW318 EY-R
LW300 EY-H
JP120 EY-P


Lost in Action

JP117 EY-Y

crashed near Helperthorpe due to altimeter damage by flak
Airborne 20.04 21 January 1944 from Breighton. Reached the target and bombed at 2310 from 20,000 feet. On return and possibly as a result of Flak damage, crashed 02:15 hour, SE of Heslerton, 12 miles WSW of Filey, Yorkshire.
All were declared fit for operations 23 January 1944.
Sgt W.Hockler Sgt W.Walker Inj F/O F.Sait RCAF F/O F.Henderson Sgt S.Howard Sgt W.McLean Sgt W.G.baron )

Lost in Action

LW300 EY-H

LW300 EY-H Airborne 19.50 hour from Breighton.
Badly damaged by night fighter on 18.400 ft. at 53.10N/10.30E. Primary Target attacked and bombed at 23.04 hour on 11.500 feet. Monica U/S.
No search lights prior to attach.

As for combat report:       First indication of enemy aircraft was when he opened fire.
After corkscrew to starboard enemy aircraft was lost sight of,
when he broke away to port quarter down.
fuel tanks 2 and 4 are holed. Fixed aerial was shot away.
LW300 resumed course and went to bomb the target.
Unfortunately homebound ran out of fuel due to the battle-damage and the Halifax was ditched 5310N 0130E in very rough seas, breaking into two sections. 30 miles North of Norwich U.K.
Bomb aimer F/O Marston and Mid upper McMillan picked up
by Destroyer, east of Hull.
F/S D.R.H.Rees KIA Sgt P.Fowler KIA F/O C.B.Watt KIA F/O N.A.Marston Sgt E.Moxen KIA Sgt D.W.McMillan Sgt M.G.Mulligan RCAF KIA "


In Combat

JP129 EY-A

As for combat report: rear gunner killed, mid upper injured and his turret was
unserviceable in airplane of F/lt. Shard due of attack of
unidentified aircraft. First indication of enemy aircraft
on 22:30 hour bearing 113(M) at a speed of 158 I.A.S.
on 17.000 ft at 53.05N/10.38E south of Luneburg was when
the rear gunner Sgt. Birchley warned the pilot that there was an unidentified aircraft dead astern.
The rear gunner gave the instruction to corkscrew,
and as the pilot commenced to corkscrew the
enemy aircraft opened fire with a long burst that put the
intercom unserviceable. Not knowing what was happening,
the pilot continued the corkscrew. When the intercom came
up again the pilot checked up on the crew, but received no
reply from the rear gunner. The Engineer F/S Erwin went
down to the rear turret and found the turret on the beam.
He could not operate the dead man's lever to it being damaged.
The Mid upper Sgt. Couto was injured in the foot and his turret and the intercom put completely unserviceable.
The pilot realizing that the turrets were u/s and not knowing the conditioning of the rear gunner decided to jettison his load
and return to base.
The engineer took up the position at what was left of the astro dome which has been completely destroyed.
Al that was left was a whole at the top of the aircraft.
He observed an unidentified aircraft with white
lights which appeared to be at the wing tips.
The fighter appeared to be approximately 1000 yards dead astern as he closed in he switched off his lights.
JP129 went in a corkscrew for approximately 3 minutes when the fighter was at 800 yards range and enemy aircraft
was lost sight of.
Ten minutes later the engineer who had been at the astro dome
position reported another aircraft which was thought to be the
same that had made the two previous attack, dead astern with
whit his wing tip lights on. The aircraft closed in and
switched of his lights and JP129 went again in a corkscrew.
Enemy aircraft was lost sight of and not seen again.
Damage to the JP129: both turrets put completely
unserviceble, Cannon shells exploded near the port wing
and peppered the engine. Port and tail tire bust.
H2S and DR master unit destroyed.

Killed was Sgt. Birchlay. 1409572

In Combat

LW234 EY-X

As for combat report: first indication of enemy aircraft in the vicinity was when
the mid upper Gunner Sgt. MacDonald observed tracer passing between the tail plane and the main plane of the LW234 on the port side when flying on a hight of 19.000ft at 22.58 hour,
in target area, bearing 190 (T) with a speed of 165 I.A.S.
Rear gunner Sgt Gettings immediately gave the order to corkscrew, and he observed a M.E. 210 on the starboard fine quarters down at 300 yard range.
LW234 continued corkscrew and enemy aircraft
closed into point of blank range firing all the time,
damaging the port wing.
Rear gunner returned fire at approximately 150 yards range
with a short burst and as enemy aircraft broke away at port quarter up Sgt. Gettings fired a long burst which was seen to enter the under side of the M.E. which was lost sight of.

In Combat

LW324 EY-G

The primary target was attacked and bombed at 23.06 hour
at a hight of 19.000 feet.

As for combat report: The German M.E. 110 was first observed at a hight of 19.000 feet on 22.07 hour heading 314 (M) with a speed of 176 I.A.S. by the mid upper gunner Sgt. Dalton, on the port beam up at a range of 150 yards.
The M.E. 110 then swung over to starboard quarter and began turning into attack at approximately 200 yards range.
Rear gunner Sgt. Cantel Jones gave the order to corkscrew to starboard and opened fire with a fairly long burst,
and enemy aircraft dived underneath the LW324 and was
lost sight of. No hits were observed and it did not return fire.
Fighter flairs were dropped around the LW324.

In Combat

LW318 EY-R

The target was attacked and bombed at 23.03 hour on 18.000

As for combat report: Mid Upper Gunner Sgt. Le Blanc first observed a J.U.88
on 23:00 hour, when the were flying at target area on a hight of 18.000ft heading 225 with a speed of 158 I.A.S. on the port quarter up at a range of 400 yards.
Enemy aircraft closed over to starboard quarter and turned into attack. Rear gunner gave
the order to corkscrew to starboard and enemy aircraft moved to dead astern and opened fire at 400 yards.
Both gunners returned fire. The enemy aircraft closed in to 100 yards range and then broke away to port quarter up.
Immediately after the fighter had broken away, another
J.U.88 was sighted right behind the tail and opened fire from point blank range.

The Mid Upper Gunner Sgt. Le Blanc observed cannon shells passing trough the port tail of the LW318.
Both gunners returned fire and enemy aircraft broke away to port quarter down.
As no. 2 broke away a third J.U.88 broke into attack from dead astern and opened fire at approximately
3/400 yards range firing all the way in. Both gunners returned fire and hits were observed on enemy aircraft.
The engineer reported from the astro dome that the third J.U. 88 was going down in flames.
LW318 continued corkscrew throughout the whole combat, but was hit in the tail turret,
the rear gunner Sgt. Sefton age 24 was hit in the head by a shell.
His microphone was still open, so the crew could hear his breathing in it for the rest of the trip and bled to dead before anything could be done.


22nd - 29th

No operations or standby for squadron 78



No operations or standby for squadron 78



No operations or standby for squadron 78


During the last week of January the No. 78 Squadron was equipped with the new MKIII Halifaxes.
These were an improvement on the earlier aircraft,
they were fitted whit Bristol Hercules Engines
which improved the all round performance of the Halifax.




No operations or standby for squadron 78