Preparation
  Pilot Officer John Humberstone  - 35 Squadron  
 

Pilot Officer John Humberstone - RAFVR

 
Pilot Officer John Humberstone  was serving as Navigator on board Halifax Mk. III HX324 coded TL-B during an operation to Magdeberg on January 21, 1944. The aircraft was intercepted by a night-fighter and shot down near Hannover, killing four of the crew. The remaining crewmembers, including P/O Humberstone, escaped the aircraft and became prisoners of war.

The crew consisted of:

Name

Service

Trade

S/L John  Jagger

RAFVR

Pilot

F/Sgt William Percival

RAFVR

Flight Engineer

F/Sgt J. Humberstone - POW

RAFVR

Navigator

F/L T. McGarry - POW

RAFVR

Bomb Aimer

W/O D. Smedley - POW

RAFVR

Wireless Operator

F/Sgt Nelson Rapere

RAFVR

Air Gunner

F/Sgt Eric Hie

RAFVR

Air Gunner

 John Humberstone recounts: "We were shot down by a night-fighter coming up from Hanover and I was captured at Dannenburg after walking for a couple of days to find the River Elbe in an attempt to establish where I was, and to make my way to Holland. Unfortunately I was captured. I was to take part in the long march." 

 P/O Humberstone was taken to Camp Stalag Luft III ,Sagan/Belaria, (Camp number 3366) before it was evacuated on the 28th January 1945.

 F/L McGarry’s parachute failed to open but he survived when he landed in a tree and was hospitalised before being taken to Camp L1.

 Warrant Officer Smedley was captured and taken to Camp L6/357

 

P/O H.Maskell, John Humberstone, F/O Max Muller in Cambridge

 The crewmembers who were killed are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial. 

 
  Photo courtesy of John Humberstone, research by Linda Ibrom.