Flying Officer James Walter FOWLER

Service No: 416646
Born: Parkville VIC, 5 February 1911
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 August 1941 (at Melbourne VIC)
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft DV337), Germany, 26 November 1943, Aged 32 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Colin Lawson Fowler and Isobel Fowler; husband of Beryl Edna Fowler, of Brunswick, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Brunswick VIC
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: 26-27 November 1943
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 450, Attacking – 407
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 24, Attacking – 21; No. 463 Dispatched – 6, Attacking – 6; No. 467 Dispatched – 14, Attacking – 14
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,576
Total Aircraft Lost: 28
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 -1; No. 463 – 1

On 26th-27th November came the fourth raid on Berlin in nine nights. The newly-formed No. 463 Squadron sent six Lancasters, but this represented only a nominal increase in Australian effort as the same aircraft and crews had previously flown with No. 467. The operation began well with the entire main bomber force heading direct for Frankfurt-on-Main, where the stream bifurcated, Halifaxes continuing on to bomb Stuttgart while the Lancasters headed for Berlin. Enemy fighters laid flares over Frankfurt-on-Main and then apparently lost valuable time in discovering the real targets for only the later waves over Berlin met opposition in the air. Broken cloud en route gave way to clear skies over Berlin and the first Australians to arrive found fires still smouldering from earlier raids. These and the tremendous concentration of guns and searchlights left no room for doubt that this time they were truly over Berlin. Pathfinder markers were laid punctually, and, unhampered by fighters, the bombers soon created a large conflagration. Despite the good visibility, however, the target indicators were offset almost seven miles to the north-west of the true aiming point. Fortunately this area included the important industrial districts of Tegel and Reinickendorf which were severely damaged. Ground gun fire was the heaviest the Australians had encountered for some months, and as no cloud hindered searchlights, the emergency system of ranging which the enemy employed when Window prevented radar prediction, worked well. From this attack fourteen Lancaster s returned damaged beyond repair, although most of the twenty-eight bombers shot down probably fell victims to fighters which were swarming towards Berlin along the withdrawal route of the Lancasters. Two Australians reported combats and one crew of No. 463 claimed the destruction of a Ju-88.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 637, 639

Lancaster DV337 took off from RAF Waddington at 1730 hours on the night of 26/27th November 1943 to bomb Berlin. 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 at Trechwitz, 12 kms east south east of
Brandenburg and all the crew members were killed.

The crew members of DV337 were:

Sergeant Jeffrey William Barker (1586363) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant John Philip Ferrier (1337210) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer James Walter Fowler (416646) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant William Thornton Sherwin (425766) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Albert Edward Glyn Thomas (1410272) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Joseph Edmund Thomas (975702) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant John Loxton Williams (1601743) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster ED 370 (Flight Sergeant Edward John Stones (421097) (Pilot)) on 26 November 1943.


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, 166/14/133

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