Crew: Chatten

Chatten
Cliff Chatten, note the interesting aircraft art

LANCASTER OF-Q – EE105 (this is probably not the aircraft pictured above) was shot down over England by a German intruder on 24th August 1943

CREW
Pilot: Sgt Cliff S Chatten – Injured.
F/E: Sgt C Baumber
Nav: P/O L R Armitage
B/A: Sgt Standen
W/Op: Sgt  W.A. Reffin
M/U Gunner: F/S John Robert Kraemer (401699) – Killed, aged 23
Rear Gunner: Sgt L V Smith

The shooting down of this Lancaster over England by a German intruder would have been a very rare and unexpected event at this stage of the war. The only fatal casualty was the very unfortunate John Kraemer, but Chatten himself was severely injured. In an account written in 1980, Chatten said that it was reasonable to speculate that Kraemer, whom he called Jack, was severely injured during the initial attack, had tried to make his way up the aircraft, and had collapsed somewhere that the wireless operator, who had gone to check that the gunners had jumped, did not see him. The remaining crew left the aircraft safely, although Chatten, who had initially believed he could land the aircraft, only left it at the very last moment. He was later told that the attacking aircraft had itself been shot down over the Wash.
After recovering from his injuries, Chatten resumed his tour 10 weeks later.
From the ORB
23.8.43        21 aircraft and one reserve have been detailed to operate against Berlin. Early briefing and take off at 8.15 hours [ORB should have read ‘20.15’].  21 aircraft took off, 2 aircraft abandoned their sorties, in one case the rear turret was u/s and in the other the mid upper gunner was very sick.  All the remaining aircraft attacked the target at Berlin.  Large area of fires seen in target area after bombing and were well concentrated.  Moon was just rising – no cloud and visibility good.  W/Cmdr Burns DFC was selected and acted as Master of Ceremonies over the target.  Bundles of windows were dropped.  P/O Fairlie and crew failed to return.  Sgt Chatten was attacked by enemy intruder when over Norfolk and was shot down, the aircraft catching fire.  All the crew baled out except for the mid upper F/S Kraemer (Aus) whose body was found later in the wreckage.  Sgt Chatten landed safely, but was wounded from gunshot in the leg and ribs and was taken to Ely Hospital – he is progressing favourably.  The remainder of the crew baled out safely and were uninjured beyond minor bruises.
EE105Q  Sgts C.S.Chatten, C.Baumber, P/O L.R.Armitage, Sgts Standen, W.A.Reffin, F/Sgt J.R.Kraemer, Sgt L.V.Smith.  1 x 4000lb, 9 x 500lb.  Up 2015  Down 0300 (approx – shot down).  Berlin bombed.  19,000′.  No cloud.  Slight haze.  Bombed centre of three red TI markers.  Built up area and big white buildings were seen visually.  Bombs believed on aiming point.  Fires seen after bombing, numerous and well concentrated and visible about 40 miles away.  On reaching English coast were shot down by an intruder.  All safely baled out except mid upper gunner who was killed.  Captain received leg injuries.  Aircraft a total loss.

 

The following aircraft wreckage picture is in our files, and though we cannot positively identify it, it is believed to be the wreckage of Chatten’s aircraft.

chatten - possible picture of wreckage
Below, the crew at RAF Station Coningsby the following year, with Tattershall Castle in the background
Chatten and crew
For Chatten’s memorial window, commissioned by his family, see Memorial Windows & Monuments

"We Guide to Strike", "Achieve Your Aim"