97 Squadron Aircrew Flying on 16/17 December 1943

This is the full list of the twenty-one 97 Squadron crews flying on 16/17 December 1943, ‘Black Thursday’. There were twenty-one seven-man crews and four Second Pilots, making 151 men in total.

On their return to England, 5 crews were involved in serious crashes in which most or all of the crew were killed (28 fatalities). I crew had been lost over Berlin (8 fatalities).

There was an abnormally high death rate for this particular group – 94 of the 151 men flying that night would die, either on Black Thursday or in subsequent months, some surviving Black Thursday only by a few days. Thus almost 2/3rds of the men in the Briefing Room at RAF Station Bourn in the afternoon of 16 December 1943 would not make it through the war.

Photograph: Scott crew, courtesy of Kiel Almond. The entire crew was killed on Black Thursday.