On 16th-17th December 1943, the Royal Air Force suffered what became known as "Black Thursday", one month into the Battle of Berlin.
It was not enemy planes or anti-aircraft fire that downed planes and resulted in so many losses that night, but the British weather. A force of 483 Avro Lancasters and 15 Mosquitoes returned from Berlin to find thick fog blanketed England from the south coast to Yorkshire.
The Germans downed 25 Lancasters over Berlin and the surrounding areas. A further 31 Lancasters fell victim to the havoc caused by the poor weather over England. Bomber Command squadrons such as RAF 97 Squadron suffered huge losses in one night of fog. Other planes including Stirlings, Halifaxes, and Lysanders on other missions also fell victim to the fog.
Ulstermen on Black Thursday
Many men from Northern Ireland served in the Royal Air Force throughout World War Two, and those below died as a result of "Black Thursday" incidents.
John Thomas Brown
Flying Officer • 156611
The RAF suffered heavy losses on the night of 16th-17th December 1943, known as "Black Thursday". Belfast-born John Thomas Brown was one of many losses.
Stanley Nicholson Gray
Flight Lieutenant • 125739
Flight Lieutenant Stanley Nicholson Gray was one of many men in Bomber Command lost on what became known by the RAF as "Black Thursday", 17th December 1943.