Personnel Index - Detail
Back row from left to right:
Ernie Stansill (Flight engineer - British), John McHeffey (Bomb aimer and front gunner - Canadian), Ray Mallinson (Pilot - British), Joe Gascoyne (Rear gunner - British)
Front row from left to right:
Hank Eberley (Navigator - Canadian), Max Makofski (Wireless Operator - British), Fred Grimsdale (Middle gunner - British)
21/22 February, 1945; GRAVENHORST (MITTELLAND CANAL):
A force of 165 Lancasters led by 12 Mosquitoes (all 5 Group) sallied forth once again in an attempt to breach the Mittelland Canal. This time in clear visibility the attack was successful. Of the 165 Lancasters sent to Gravenhorst, 13 had failed to return and two of those were from 49 Squadron. F/O Mallinson (PB568) and crew flying their 35th operation were posted missing... a severe blow to the Squadron's morale.
A few weeks later, much to everyone’s relief, six of Mallinson's crew were reported as being PoWs. It appears however, that Eberley and Makofski managed to evade capture. The one unfortunate crew member to lose his life was F/Sgt John Gascoyne A/G; he is buried in the Reichwald War Cemetery.
Lancaster PB568 (EA-Y)
F/O R. Mallinson Pilot (P.o.W.)
Sgt E. Stansill F/E (P.o.W.)
P/O H. Eberley RCAF NAV (Evaded)
F/S M.H. Makofski W/OP (Evaded)
P/O F.E. Grimsdale A/G (P.o.W.)
F/S Le Marquand B/A (P.o.W.)
F/S J.P. Gascoyne A/G (Killed)
Crew on their 35th operation
An extract from the letter received following his loss
The start of the diary kept by Max Makofski concerning his evasion.
Note from Lewis Mack:
My father wrote a diary which covers the time from when he was shot down until just before he was introduced to the Dutch Underground. Both he and Hank Eberley were hidden by Jan and Johanna Lottering in a Dutch town called Haaksbergen which was very close to the German border. They spent most of their time upstairs. In the family bedroom there was a fireplace which jutted out from the wall and therefore on each side of the fireplace there was an alcove. A wardrobe was placed in front of one of these alcoves and a door was made in the back of the wardrobe. The two airmen went behind the wardrobe to hide from the German soldiers whenever necessary. They received warning of this by the family downstairs ringing a little bell when German soldiers were nearby. It should be noted that the Lotterings had six children ranging from 9 years down to 6 months and if any of these children would have said anything to anybody with the airmen being discovered the family could well have been shot !
Mr and Mrs Lottering therefore took a great risk in hiding my father and the navigator.
They remained in hiding for about 6 weeks until the town was liberated in April 1945. Unfortunately Mr Lottering was shot immediately prior to the liberation and passed away later that day in hospital. Mrs Lottering was left on her own to bring up the 6 children - she never remarried.
An extract from the diary of the Dutch school teacher.
Note from Lewis Mack:
This picks up from where my father's diary finishes and explains how they were put in touch and collected by the Dutch Underground. Of special interest is the way in which two halves of a torn piece of paper were used to verify the authenticity of the Dutch Underground members.
The header of the Evasion Report made to MI9.
All these documents can be viewed in full or download by clicking on the image
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Max Makofski's 'Escaping Society' membership card
In 1946 Max Makofski changed his surname to Mack.
Max owned a retail furniture shop and sold household furniture. He had a very good personality and was an excellent salesman.
Sadly, Max died on March 8th 1962 aged 41.