Flight Sergeant Thomas Myerscough 1921 - 1943
Parts of Lancaster Bomber DV329
Mr Volker URBANSKY
discovered the Lancaster Bomber DV329
and with information gained from
Fred Hill was able to establish which aircraft it was
Lancaster DV329 Loss Card
This is a report from Patrick Kerwin one the crew that survived and was captured a harrowing report of the last trip of the Lancaster DV329
Account of Patrick Kirwan re 23/11/1943
On the night of 23rd of November we were again briefed for Berlin via the short route that passed near Texel. By this time we had graduated to the first wave and made a point of arriving at the target well in time. On our previous trip we had even arrived before the final markers went down and had been forced to abort. Then the streets showed clearly in the light of the flares as we got well on to the target. Following the success of that trip, we adopted the same plans for this occasion with the precaution of a ten minute start as ‘W’ Willie was rather slow. An adjustment could always be made later.
Crossing the Dutch coast I saw three balls of fire going down, although I wasn't sure whether they were aircraft or a new very realistic spoof. Later I saw another. At about 20:20hrs (19:20 German time) came poor and interrupted Monica warning and Charlie Hill started a gentle weave. After a few seconds I saw a JU88 level at 200 yards on the port quarter, a position in which they commonly appeared during an attack. We entered a corkscrew and lost him. Later the Monica signal reappeared again interrupted and suppressed. It was impossible to say whether it was defective or there really was an aircraft at hand. The pip rate suddenly shop up to ten a second and then cut out. If caused by an aircraft he had to be very close. Simultaneously with our entering a steep diving turn to port there came the sound of an explosion from the front of our aircraft. I saw the port engine in flames and reported over the intercom as the wireless operator (WOp) (Myerscough) reported that the navigator, Jimmy Marsden, had been hit. There was also a fire reported in the region of the navigator’s position. While the burning engine was being feathered, the WOp reported that Jimmy Marsden was very seriously injured and perhaps dead. The order came to drop the bombs and, while this was being done, I reported massive flames from around the engine, the tank obviously being on fire.
The decision was made to abandon the aircraft. I left my turret and made for my parachute stowage point. By the light of the flames now burning through the side of the fuselage and the fire in the vicinity of the Navigators position I could see, to my horror that my parachute pack was missing. I thought “well this is it” and was about to go forward to see what I could do there when I realised that my pack must still be in the aircraft. Thankfully, I saw it on the floor below the stowage and picked it up. As I was putting it on there was a crash from up front accompanied by a scream of pain over the intercom. The pilot would be the only crew member with his microphone permanently switched on and I presume he had been hit. From the scream, I think that Charlie died within seconds.
The fighter continued to rake us with cannon. The IFF, which was near my back, and the turret which was an arms-length away on my left were both hit and the line of exploding shells continued towards the rear of the aircraft. The oxygen pipe was damaged and my mask ignited foe I had not disconnected. My face was enveloped in flames before I could tear the mask away. I had by then managed to attach one hook of my parachute harness to the pack and was still struggling with the other when Ron Ledsham (Rear Gunner) came towards me. He was clutching his stomach and ignored gesticulations for him to make for the rear door, which he had already passed. The heat was very intense and I was feeling so giddy that, accepting my chute as it was, I made for the rear door.
After two or three steps there came a loud explosion to port and the aircraft lurched in that direction. At the same time the tail seemed to break upwards, or possibly the floor on which I was standing gave was, and I fell through. The cold air blowing on my badly burned faced was a surprisingly pleasant sensation. Acutely aware that my parachute pack was only attached by one hook, I tried to restrict the force on the single strap by crossing my arms over my chest above the pack. Needless to say, when the moment came, my arms were flung aside, thinking is still had some 4000 feet to go I arrived with a thump in a thin forest of young trees. A trickle of water flowed past my ear and I lay for a while listening to this beautiful sound.
Once I had recovered my wits, I hid my parachute and flying suit as best I could, tore off the top of my flying boots and set off to get away from the area. I had walked some ten miles and was shivering with cold when, thinking I was still in Holland, I knocked on a farmhouse door. The door opened promptly and I stood facing a German soldier. Inside were several others also in uniform, presumably having just returned from duty. It was about 1.00am. A Feldwebel drew his pistol and seemed very angry but the others a argued with him and he put it away. I was taken inside and a woman I took to be the farmer’s wife placed my feet in an oven to warm me up. The following evening I was taken to a hospital where my burns were dressed prior to a journey by train to the interrogation centre at Frankfurt. At the end of one session the interrogator said ‘Did your Monica not warn you?’ which left me wondering whether the Germans had used a jamming device that night. The Squadron lost three crews on that raid and I am certain that those balls of fire I saw were no spoofs.