LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant Douglas George BARRETT
Service No: 417275
Born: Kangaroo Island SA, 7 October 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 February 1942
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ME563), Germany, 27 January 1944, Aged 26 Years
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George William Read Barrett and Jane Barrett, of Riverton, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Riverton SA
Remembered: Panel 259, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide
Date: 27-28 January 1944
Total Force: Dispatched – 530, Attacking – 481
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 18; No. 463 Dispatched – 16, Attacking – 16; No. 467 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 14
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,761
Total Aircraft Lost: 33
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 3, No. 463 – 1; No. 467 – 2
For the next major raid on 27th-28th January further measures were taken to defeat early contact by enemy fighters. A long route over the North Sea was chosen in conjunction with a diversionary attack on Heligoland and support action by Mosquitos which dropped false route markers and fighter were waiting over Berlin and were not entirely shaken off by a sharp turn incorporated in the withdrawal route. This defensive manoeuvre was indeed criticised by Australians as greatly increasing the risk of collision, several aircraft being forced to dive away from other Lancasters approaching Berlin somewhat off-track. Fighter activity also caused some bunching of the Lancasters over Berlin and Squadron Leader Brill of No. 463 had his aircraft severely damaged by incendiaries falling from another aircraft. He instructed his crew to abandon the Lancaster, but then regained control and cancelled the order. Losses were again high, especially for the RAAF squadrons, which lost six of forty-eight Lancasters sent out, but with the glow of large fires reflected on the clouds the airmen were confident that the attack had been successful. This was later borne out by gloomy and hysterical German radio fulminations against this “terror raid on the residential districts of Berlin”.
Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 643, 644-5
Lancaster ME563 took off from RAF Waddington at 1737 hours on the night of 27/28th January 1944 to bomb Berlin. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 48 x 30lb (14 kg) and 900 x 4lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed in the vicinity of Teltow, 16 kms south west from the centre of Berlin, and all the crew members were killed.
The crew members of ME563 were:
Flight Sergeant Douglas George Barrett (417275) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Frank Stanley Guest Chidgey (423061) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant James Falconer (1822105) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Warrant Officer Thomas Victor Finn DFM (54207) (RAF) (Navigator)
Sergeant Roy Rees Jones (1589217) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Alan James Durham Leslie (409721) (Pilot)
Sergeant Alan Wiggins (2201712) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB637 (Warrant Officer Richard John Power (409590) (Pilot)) on 27 January 1944.
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JA860 (Flight Sergeant William Robertson McLachlan (414947) (Pilot)) on 27 January 1944.
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB296 (Squadron Leader Lorraine Joseph Simpson DFC (401542) (Pilot)) on 27 January 1944.
No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ME575 (Pilot Officer Stephen Charles Grugeon (413855) (Pilot)) on 27 January 1944.
No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED539 (Pilot Officer Cecil O’Brien (420250) (Pilot)) on 28 January 1944.
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/5/414