William Warburton Sgt Flight Engineer RAF



William Warburton Sgt Flight Engineer RAF


Report of last flight of DV400; lost 27th Jan 1944,” findings of Michael Warburton’s research into the crash of ‘DV400’. Concludes that DV400 was hit by another Lancaster that had been shot down by a German night fighter and subsequently entered cloud and collided with DV400.. Notes that 35 aircraft were lost on this operation to Berlin.


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William Warburton
Sgt Flight Engineer RAF

Written by Michael Warburton; Nephew of Flight Engineer William Warburton

William Warburton volunteered for duty as Flight Engineer with 61 Squadron on Lancaster bombers in WW2.

He was stationed at RAF Skellingthorpe in Lincolnshire and later moved to RAF Coningsby on January 12th 1944.

His last operation was to Berlin on 26th / 27th January 1944. Bill and his crew never returned.

Records and research show that William’s aircraft DV400 QR-Y was returning home and flying in cloud cover.
Another Lancaster Bomber DV231 SR-A from 101 Squadron was also returning in the same area above cloud. This aircraft was hit by Flak and then finished off by a German Night Fighter flown by Heinz Misch in a JU88 Night Fighter from 9/NJG2 Sqdn. The Lancaster aircraft went into the cloud and collided with DV400 Lancaster aircraft, resulting in a huge explosion; the wreckage from both bombers plunged to the ground.
One crew member from DV231 survived by getting out of the aircraft before it hit William’s Bomber. The crew member was A H Smallman; he became a prisoner of war and was repatriated on 6th February 1945.

A total of 35 aircraft were lost on this raid alone.
The crew from both aircraft are buried in Hanover War Graves Cemetery, Germany.
William Warburton’s Crew from DV400: Pilot - Bob West
Sgt William Warburton – Flt Engineer F/Sgt Phil Brander – Air Gunner
P/O Frank Langley – Air Gunner F/O Alan Beetch – Navigator
P/O Lloyd Cuming – Bomb Aimer Sgt Bernard Clark – Wireless operator



M Warburton, “William Warburton Sgt Flight Engineer RAF,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 9, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/26758.

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