Sale, Douglas Julian

Personal Information

Rank S/L
Forename(s) Douglas Julian
Surname Sale
Gender M
Age 30
Decorations DSO*, DFC
Date of Death 20-03-1944
Next of Kin Son of Julian and Editha Sale.

Aircraft Information

Aircraft Handley Page Halifax III
Serial Number HX325
Markings TL-J

Memorial Information

Burial/Memorial Country France
Burial/Memorial Place Choloy War Cemetery
Grave Reference 1. G. 8.

IBCC Memorial Information

Phase 2
Panel Number 237

Enlistment Information

Service Number J/9929
Service Royal Canadian Air Force
Group 8
Squadron 35 (Madras Presidency)
Trade Pilot
Country of Origin Canada

Other Memorials

Location Roadside Location, Graveley, Cambridgeshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Inscribed Memorial Stone
Memorial Text Graveley Airfield 1942-1945 8 Group Bomber Command 35 Squadron Pathfinder Force 692 Squadron Light Night Striking Force R.A.F. To commemorate this airfield in honour of those who served the nation aircrew, groundstaff & WAFF of United Kingdom Dominions, C
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Location All Saints Church, Offord Cluny, Cambridgeshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Stained Glass Window, Sqn Badge & Roll of Honour
Memorial Text Remember before God all those airmen and airwomen 3who served with 35 Squadron R.A.F. Graveley 1939-1945
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Miscellaneous Information

A highly celebrated pilot with many a tale of courage, including escaping from captivity.
DSO Citation, London Gazette, 5 October 1943: "In air operations, this officer has displayed great skill and achieved many successes against the enemy's most heavily defended objectives. His unconquerable spirit of determination, great gallantry and fortitude have set an example beyond praise".
Bar to DSO Citation, London Gazette, 1 February 1944: "One night in December, 1943, this officer was the pilot of an aircraft detailed to attack a target in Germany. Although heavy cloud prevailed over the target, Squadron Leader Sale displayed great persistence and made 5 runs over the area before releasing his bombs. The return flight was safely accomplished but, whilst over base at a height of 1,500 feet, some stores exploded and flames burst out near the rear turret and the under side of one of the wings. The aircraft quickly became filled with smoke and fumes and the fire spread rapidly. The danger of the tanks exploding was soon apparent. Coolly, Squadron Leader Sale turned away from the airfield, regained height and ordered his crew to leave by parachute. By this time, he could hardly see the instruments as the smoke in the cockpit was so dense. As he was just about to leave the aircraft himself Squadron Leader Sale saw, standing beside him, a member of the crew who had been unable to leave as his parachute was badly damaged and unusable. Squadron Leader Sale therefore decided to attempt to land the burning aircraft and succeeded in so doing. The floor of the fuselage, some equipment and some stores were blazing as he and his comrade got clear. When they were a bare 200 yards away the aircraft exploded. In circumstances of great danger, Squadron Leader Sale displayed great courage and determination, setting an example of the highest order".

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The National Archives

Fellow Servicemen

Last Operation Information

Start Date 19-02-1944
End Date 20-02-1944
Takeoff Station Graveley
Day/Night Raid Night (22% moon)
Operation Leipzig. 823 aircraft, 78 losses (9.5%). Excluding early returners, the Halifax loss rate was 14.9%. As a result, Halifax Mks II and V were permanently withdrawn from service over Germany. The Kiel mine laying diversion was successful in drawing off fighters, but the German controllers only sent half of the available aircraft. As soon as the bomber stream crossed the Dutch coast they were confronted by the remaining half of the fighters and, moreover, the ones sent to Kiel were returned to join the fray. As a consequence, the fighters steadily picked off bombers all the way to this distant target. The winds were strongly than had been predicted and many bombers arrived early and had to orbit the target awaiting the Pathfinders, further increasing the likelihood of being picked off, either by flak or fighters. Leipzig was cloud covered and sky-marking had to be used. Early bombing appeared to be concentrated but later bombing less so. There was no local report nor a reconnaissance flight the following day. An American raid the following day then made it impossible to judge the effectiveness of the raid.
Reason for Loss Shot down by a Ju 88 at 20000' on outbound leg. Partially abandoned and crashed NNE of Lachendorf, Germany

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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.