Black Thursday – 75th Anniversary

FIDO in Operation (Art.IWM ART LD 5593) image: A runway at night, with fires burning down the sides. An aircraft is landing. The moon is visible through the clouds. Copyright: © IWM.

Dear All

Many of you will know that this December sees the 75th anniversary of Black Thursday, 16/17 December 1943, in which the Pathfinders lost 50 men killed and several seriously injured due to fog in England after the return from a Berlin operation.

We are seeking help with putting details and photographs to all the men flying that night. Whilst so much has been shared over the years, it is possible that we may have missed updates on certain aircrew. Please get in touch with us if you think you may have something we don’t know about.

We particularly need to know about aircrew flying with 83, 156, and 405 Squadrons. A list has not yet been compiled of all these men, although we have had one on 97 Squadron for several years. If anyone would like to help by providing a list of aircrew for a particular squadron flying that night, please let us know.

7 Squadron did not lose any crews due to accidents in England although they suffered the heavy loss of 4 crews on the operation. The Mosquito squadrons also escaped any bad-weather crashes. We will be looking to increase information about these squadrons for that particular night, but will make a separate announcement on this, probably next month.

All the information gathered will be shared with RAF Wyton, Pathfinder Collection, and either appear as part of the exhibition there on Black Thursday or become part of a supplementary booklet.

Many thanks in advance – Jennie Gray




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