Read, Aubrey William

Personal Information

Rank F/O
Forename(s) Aubrey William
Surname Read
Gender M
Age 23
Date of Death 26-11-1943
Next of Kin Son of Charles William and Mary Read, of Lincoln.

Aircraft Information

Aircraft Avro Lancaster III
Serial Number JB592
Markings ZN-W

Memorial Information

Burial/Memorial Country Germany
Burial/Memorial Place Durnbach War Cemetery
Grave Reference Coll. grave 1. B. 9-12.
Ribbon Stone 0012 (Block 1, Column 4, Row 1)

IBCC Memorial Information

Phase 1
Panel Number 88

Enlistment Information

Service Number 50611
Service Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Group 5
Squadron 106
Trade Wireless Operator
Country of Origin United Kingdom

Other Memorials

Location International Bomber Command Centre, Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Inscribed stone tablet
Memorial Text In memory of Aubrey Read 106 Sqn
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Location Holy Trinity Church, Martin, Lincolnshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Inscribed Stone Tablet & Roll of Honour in Wooden Case
Memorial Text To the memory of the Airmen of 106 Sqn who gave their lives in the 1939-45 War
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Location Former Airfield Site, Martin Moor, Lincolnshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Brick moument with inscribed Slate Tablets & Plaques
Memorial Text Dedicated to the airmen and airwomen who served on 106 Sqn in WW2. 995 gave their lives
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Miscellaneous Information

Aubrey was born in Lincoln on 9 September 1920. His first job was as a sales clerk at the Clayton Dewandre Titanic Works in Lincoln. On June 7 1937, aged 16, he enlisted in the Territorial Army as a Bandsman with the Lincolnshire Regiment, playing the clarinet and saxophone. In November 1938 (just turned 18) he enlisted in the RAF, joining the Cranwell College Band. One of his references was from the Bandmaster of the Lincolnshire Regiment, who wrote: “I am pleased to say that he is the most promising pupil I have ever had”. When war was declared Aubrey volunteered for aircrew and in February 1941 he was passed as medically fit for service by Air Support Command in Blackpool. From September to November 1942 he trained as a wireless operator at No. 2 Signals School at RAF Yatesbury, and from November 1942 to January 1943 he trained as an Air Gunner at No. 10 Air Gunnery School, RAF Walney, Barrow in Furness.
Once a qualified Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, Aubrey joined 106 Squadron in June 1943 at RAF Syerston, and completed a total of 24 night operations, including raids on Cologne (June 16: a logbook note says “M/U Gunner U/S (frostbite)”), Hamburg (four times, on 2 August he noted: “heavy electrical storm over target area - returned on 3 engines”), Milan (twice, each trip taking over eight hours) and the Peenemunde V-weapons base (17 August). Aubrey’s sister Bunty remembered how he reassured his anxious parents by describing his pilot Flying Officer Jacques Hoboken: “Don’t worry, Hobo can get us out of anything”.
During a raid on Kassel on 22 October Aubrey’s Lancaster was attacked twice by night fighters, several members of the crew were wounded and the aircraft “badly crippled”. With one fin and rudder shot away, no hydraulics or intercom, two punctured tyres, two turrets inoperable and only three engines working, they made their way back home, only to find they were unable to land at Syerston because of bad weather. The squadron record book records that eventually F/O Hoboken “executed a masterly landing” at an alternative airfield. It took more than an hour for the rear gunner to be cut free from his turret. For the “courage, resolution and devotion to duty of the highest order” displayed in “circumstances fraught with great danger” Hobo was awarded the DFC, and Flight Engineer Sgt. George Lucas the DFM. In spite of that experience, the crew joined Bomber Command’s efforts targeting Berlin the following month, flying from the squadron’s new base at RAF Metheringham. They undertook three operations in quick succession on the 22nd, 23rd and 26th and it seems that Aubrey did not have time to record them in his logbook. The final entry on 26 November- his 25th operation- simply states “Bombing - Berlin. Failed to return”. It was eventually confirmed that their Lancaster had crashed at Gross-Karben, 11 miles north of Frankfurt. W/C Baxter, 106 Squadron Commanding Officer, wrote to Aubrey’s parents expressing his deep sympathy, and commented: “He was a Wireless Operator of considerable ability and I know his Captain placed the greatest reliance in his work”.

IBCC Digital Archive

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The National Archives

Fellow Servicemen

Last Operation Information

Start Date 26-11-1943
End Date 27-11-1943
Takeoff Station Metheringham
Day/Night Raid Night (1% moon)
Operation Berlin
Reason for Loss Shot down over Germany, crashing at Gross-Karben, south of Berlin

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Casualty Pack

IBCC is delighted to introduce a unique facility to link the Losses Database to the relevant RAF Casualty Pack on the National Archives website. This project is the result of on-going collaboration between IBCC, the MOD Records Office and National Archives, Kew. This document describes what Casualty Packs are, when they were created, the process of making them available to the public and then goes on to describe the process by which you can view the contents of the packs. Casualty Packs (CPs) were created by the RAF whenever there was serious injury or loss of life associated with operational activity within the RAF. This includes operational flying losses, enemy action due to air raids, road accidents either on station or even off-station if they involved RAF vehicles. Deaths due to natural causes in service or accidents that did not involve RAF vehicles did not generally give rise to a CP.

CPs were originally given a unique reference number by the RAF. Each begins with the letter ‘P’ and is followed by six digits, then an oblique (forward slash) and the finally the year in which the incident took place- for example P396154/42.

The CPs are in the process of being made available to the general public as they are passed from the MOD Records Office, Portsmouth to National Archives, Kew. This process requires some rework to the files which is very time consuming, so the process of making them all available to National Archives will take several years. They are being made available in increasing date order.

Once CPs arrive at National Archives they are assigned a unique AIR81 number, so each CP has both a P-number and an AIR81 number. Both are searchable on the National Archives website under ‘Search the catalogue’ and both are included on the IBCC website.

The AIR81 reference on the IBCC website is a link to the file on the National Archives website. When you click on it, the relevant page will open in a new tab on your browser.

There is currently no plan to digitise AIR81 files, partly because they are fragile and partly because the information they contain can at times be sensitive, even harrowing, since they may contain exhumation reports and even photographs of corpses. Family members wishing to read the AIR81 files relating to their ancestors are advised to exercise caution and be guided by National Archives warnings where appropriate.

There are two means for accessing AIR81 files- to attend in person or to order a copy by post.

To attend in person, the attendee should first create a Reader’s Ticket. This can be done online by following this link: Then click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and click Order in Advance. Enter your Reader’s Ticket number and state the date on which you intend to visit. National Archives will have the file ready for you when you arrive, saving you time. When you visit Kew, you must quote the Reader’s Ticket number and take along two forms of ID- one bearing your signature and one bearing your address. When you view the files, you are permitted to take photographs of each page, should you wish.

Alternatively, if you wish to order a copy by post, please be aware that there is a charge for this service based on the number of pages in the file. Click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and then click Request a Copy. There is an £8.40 charge for National Archives staff to access the file and give you a quotation for the copying service. The process takes around 24 days to complete and can be expensive.

IBCC wishes to thank the staff at the MOD Records Office and National Archives for their engagement and assistance in making this facility available to our website users.