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Acthim, John (Pilot Officer)

Prisoner of War 1944-February-26

Birth Date: 1924-February-21 (age 20)

Home: Rainy River District, Ontario

50 (B) Sqn- Squadron (RAF)
Sic Fidem Servamus Thus we keep faith
RAF Skellingthorpe
Pilot Officer
Air Chief MarshalA/C/M
Air MarshalA/M
Air Vice MarshalA/V/M
Air CommodoreA/C
Group CaptainG/C
Wing CommanderW/C
Squadron LeaderS/L
Flight LieutenantF/L
Flying OfficerF/O
Pilot OfficerP/O
Warrant Officer 1st ClassWO1
Warrant Officer 2nd ClassWO2
Flight SergeantFS
Senior AircraftmanSAC
Leading AircraftmanLAC
Aircraftman 1st ClassAC1
Aircraftman 2nd ClassAC2
Air Gunner (Mid-Upper)
Service Numbers
R/191209 - J/88492

Lancaster Mk.I LL791

Bombing Augsburg Germany 1944-February-25 to 1944-February-26

50 (B) Sqn (RAF) RAF Skellingthorpe

50 Squadron (Sic Fidem Servamus) RAF Skellingthorpe. Lancaster BI aircraft LL 791 VN-O was attacked by two night fighters during an operation against targets in Augsburg, Germany. A fire started in the bomb bay when incendiaries caught fire, which was also fed by hydraulic fluid and with the bomber uncontrollable, the order to bail was given. The aircraft crashed near Embermenil, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France

Sergeant KE Gilson (RAFVR) was killed when he bailed from the aircraft, possibly due to a parachute malfunction

Pilot Officer J Acthim (RCAF), Flight Sergeant J Ansell (RAAF, Flight Sergeant DT Balmanno (RAAF), Sergeant TJ Taylor (RAF) and Pilot Officer WH Taylor (RAF) and Sergeant HS Cammish (RAF) survived and evaded with the aid of the French Underground until five of the six were captured 1944-04-21 at Luchon, near the French-Spanish border, part of a group of 30-35 evaders who were captured at this time and became Prisoners of War. Only Sergeant Cammish continued to escape capture as an Evader

General [Royal Air Force Serial and Image Database]...

General Research of France-Crashes 39-45

Took off from Skellingthorpe at 18:37 in Lancaster Mk I (Sqn code VN-O Bomber Command) on an operation to Augsburg Germany.

Shot down outbound by a pair of night fighters and crashed near Embermenil (Muerthe-et- Moselle) 40 km ESE of Nancy France.

Killed: Sgt Kenneth Edric Gilson RAF KIA Embermenil Communal Cemetery.

POWs includes Acthim: F/Sgt John Ansell RAAF 410615 POW Stalag Luft L7 Bankau near Kreuzburg, Upper Silesia. F/Sgt David Thomas Balmanno RAAF 426020 POW Stalag Luft L7 Bankau near Kreuzburg, Upper Silesia. Sgt Thomas James Taylor RAF POW camp not listed. P/O William Herbert Taylor RAF POW Stalag Luft L3 Sagan and Belaria.

Evader: Sgt Harry S Cammish RAF Evader.

Pilot Officer Acthim broke his foot on landing after bailing from his aircraft. He was found by members of the French Underground the following day and moved around the country until captured in 1944-04-21. Acthim was severely beaten by the Gestapo when captured but eventually moved to Stalag Luft 7 as a Prisoner of War.

In Enemy Hands - Canadian Prisoners of War 1939-1945, pages 66,67,291 Footprints on the Sands of Time, RAF Bomber Command Prisoners of War in Germany 1939-45 by Oliver Clutton-Brock, page 232 The Long Road, Trails and tribulations of Airmen Prisoners from Stalag Luft VII (Bankau) to Berlin, June 1944-May 1945 by Oliver Clutton-Brock and Raymond Compton, pages 109,110,286

General Memorable Manitobans

Google MapRainy River District, Ontario
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Google MapForest Lawn Cemetery

Lancaster LL791

Avro Lancaster

Avro Lancaster Mk. X RCAF Serial FM 213
Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

The Avro Lancaster is a British Second World War heavy bomber. It was designed and manufactured by Avro as a contemporary of the Handley Page Halifax, both bombers having been developed to the same specification, as well as the Short Stirling, all three aircraft being four-engined heavy bombers adopted by the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the same wartime era.

The Lancaster has its origins in the twin-engine Avro Manchester which had been developed during the late 1930s in response to the Air Ministry Specification P.13/36 for a capable medium bomber for "world-wide use". Originally developed as an evolution of the Manchester (which had proved troublesome in service and was retired in 1942), the Lancaster was designed by Roy Chadwick and powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlins and in one version, Bristol Hercules engines. It first saw service with RAF Bomber Command in 1942 and as the strategic bombing offensive over Europe gathered momentum, it was the main aircraft for the night-time bombing campaigns that followed. As increasing numbers of the type were produced, it became the principal heavy bomber used by the RAF, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and squadrons from other Commonwealth and European countries serving within the RAF, overshadowing the Halifax and Stirling. Wikipedia

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CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
RCAF On Strength (234), RCAF 6 Group (5), RCAF 400 Squadron (7), Canadian Aircraft Losses (1732)
last update: 2021-09-18 14:32:33

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