Failed to Return

W/O J I Miller and Crew

W/O Miller and crew were lost when Lancaster LM461 failed to return the 19/20 February 1944 from an operation to Leipzig . Three of the crew were killed and the remainder became PoWs:

F/S J P Harrison (P2) was interned in Camps L6/357 (PoW No.1734), with Sgt G.E.Brown (PoW No.1596), Sgt D.V.H.Evans (PoW No.1891), Sgt R.E.White (PoW No.2101) and Sgt P.H.Hurst (PoW No.2113).

Other information about the flight and the target available here.

The entry on the 550 Squadron Roll of Honour is available here.

F/Sgt Harrison was on his "second dickey" op as 2nd pilot to W/O Miller. The remainder of Harrison's own crew, now a "headless crew", was posted off-base 2 days later. For more information see the F/Sgt J P Harrison page.

Lancaster LM461/BQ-U

This lost aircraft was researched for a book due to be published November 2011 (Scherzer Militaer Verlag), Title Aufschlagbrand. The name does not translate well into English (literally "impact fire" or similar): the term is old Luftwaffen slang for a crashed aircraft which was found in a burnt out condition.

Lancaster LM461 / BQ-U was flown by a 550 Squadron crew. On the 19/20 February 1944 while returning from a raid on Leipzig LM461 was shot down by a Luftwaffe night-fighter over Germany.

See the original site archive at, under the Aircraft link where it is listed as "FTR 20 Feb '44". Other details can be found as shown:

Recent Research

The information available to date is that the aeroplane came down in a wooded area 2km east of Sichau, 12km west of Gardelegen (north of Magdeburg), readily findable on Google Maps.

Sichau is a municipality in the district Altmarkkreis Salzwedel, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany:

Research in the German records indicates that the aircraft was shot down by Oblt. Paul Zorner 8./NJG 3, and that he made his attack at 03.22 hrs combat time and saw the aircraft crashing at 03.26 hrs. (This time is on the offical fiche). The aircraft struggled around 4 minutes before going down. This matches with the eyewitness account (on location) saying the aircraft circled and the bomb load was dropped.

The skipper crashed with plane - no time left to bale out. Maybe the gunners were dead or injured by the fighter attack because they went down with the aircraft too. The other crew members were able to abandon the plane successfully.

The three casualties were first buried at SICHAU Cemetery and the wreckage was removed to Gardelegen airfield.

The full account of the combat report could be read (albeit in German) in: Paul Zorner "Nächte im Bomberstrom" Erinnerungen 1920-1950 ISBN: 978-3-9807935-9-9

Click image A picture of the crashsite today
Picture made available by Jörg Helbig: taken by Jörg Andree
Click image Steering control from the bomber (Uwe Heine, author)
Picture made available by Jörg Helbig: taken by Jörg Andree