F/O Lenoard Berger's arrival at 419 Squadron from 76 Base on March 19th was
marred by the death a few weeks later of fellow crewman P/O Selby Tulk
on the night of March 31st.
Berger and the other members of the crew had yet to take part in an operation with the squadron.
Both Tulk and Berger were members of F/O R.J. Hughes crew and had been together through O.T.U. and
Conversion Unit training for many months before this 419 posting.
During an interview given a few years ago F/O Berger talked about the April 10th daylight raid on Leipzig.
What he had observed as he flew over the Rhine and into Germany from his position in the nose of the Lancaster
remained with him through the decades that would pass.
Amazed at the number of aircraft that surrounded him, which he guessed
to be a thousand both bombers and fighters. He viewed the forward movement of the US
Army as they crossed the Rhine far below. He was also a witness to the great destruction and devastation
of the areas as he past over them.
The Last Operation
Bomb Aimer Berger would complete five operations with the other Hughes crew members from April 4th to April 22nd,
F/O Berger's last operation on April 22nd was a contrast to the other sorties. The allotted fuel for the operation
not sufficient to get them to the target and back. The
problem was thought to be with port inner engine consuming more fuel then it was really needing. The lack of fuel
forced them to jettison their load and turn back. It became apparent that
making it back to home base was going to cost them more fuel then they now had left. They were directed to a base
on the English coast. Once they were able to check the true amount of fuel left it was found to be just
150 gallons left in the tanks . Not quite the squadron record for returning near empty, which fell to Wing
Commander Pleasance with 30 to 40 gallons left.
The squadron would take part on only one more operation after April 22nd.
For all the operations F/O Berger was on his aircraft was KB732 known as Xterminator, one of the duties Berger
took pride in was painting the names of each of the crew on the Lancaster's fuselage. Starting with his own name "Lenny"
at the very nose then each of the others in a position close to their location on the aircraft. He also painted on the
bomb symbols for each of the operations the crew completed. The "Lenny" is just visible in this photo.
The Loss of F/S Tulk
F/O Hughes was set to take his own crew on their first operation on the night of March 31st., they were however
a spare crew on this operation. When F/L Metivier's rear gunner took ill just before
the operation began, F/S Tulk then went on the sortie with this
very experienced crew.
It must have been a shock to F/O Berger when he and the others learned of Tulk's loss.
The F/O Hughes crew on arrival at 419 were:
Navigator F/O A.F. Sutherland
B/A F/O Leonard Berger
W/O WOI A. Migliozzi
F/E F/S P.D. Cory
U/G F/S H.S. Tulk
R/G F/S R. Woodworth