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Lancaster wreck at Deutsches Technik Museum, Berlin
Starboard wing and undercarriage of Lancaster JA914 (code DX-O) on display at the Deutsches Technik Museum (DTM) in Berlin. The remains are from a bomber which was shot down during a raid on Berlin in 1943 and crashed in a lake with the loss of all crew.
A board near the exhibit gives some details about its recovery from Wünsdorfer See near Zossen, south of Berlin on 29 September 1997.
A 57 Squadron bomber based at RAF East Kirkby in Lincolnshire, JA914 was lost during a night raid on 3/4th September 1943.
Below; Lancaster bomber NX 611 in 57 Sqn colours at RAF East Kirkby
The aircraft was shot down at about half past midnight, from an altitude of 15,000 feet and some 25 miles from target. The kill was claimed by FW 190 nightfighter Stab JG300 pilot Uffz Fritz Brinkmann.
Sergeant J.T Carruthers RAF
Flight Sergeant W.E Grindley RAAF
Sergeant H.I Jones RAF
Flight Sergeant David. Livingstone RAAF
Sergeant A Moore RAF
Sergeant H.M Porteus RCAF
Sergeant A Sutcliffe RAF
Die Welt provides some details of the recovery and the memoir of a witness; 10 year Günter Bethke, who saw the British bombers coming from the south and heading for Berlin. “Two German night fighters attacked the British”, he said, “A four-engined bomber swerved from the fight and curved in a burning loop over the lake. With a deafening crash the plane exploded.”
The recovery of the Lancaster cost 25,000 Marks (about £10,000) and was funded by the DTM in Berlin where the wreck is now displayed.
Photo of recovery of the wing (upside down here) from Wünsdorfer See from DTM
Regarding the crew, Bethke said in 1997, “two bodies, my father found and buried on the morning after the crash near the lido. The English had the dead transferred later”. Two more dead, still strapped in their seats and sat in the fuselage, were recovered by the Soviets”.
One crew member may have survived the crash but appears to have been shot in the reeds by the lake’s edge immediately after the crash if Bethke’s memory is correct; “Ein drittes Besatzungsmitglied soll unmittelbar nach dem Absturz im Schilf erschossen worden sein”
Die Welt, 10 October 1997
Nachtjagd War Diaries, Volume One, Dr Theo E W Boiten, 2011