That evening, 759 British bombers took off on a bombing raid on Düsseldorf and the industrial plants there. But a cloud cover obscured the target, so that the scout planes could only make imprecise markings. As a result, the damage in Düsseldorf and nearby Neuss was limited. Some aircraft even set off for home with a full bomb load, as they had not identified a suitable target.
And soon the returning bombers were attacked by a large number of German night fighters. Among them was the fighter ace, Major Walter Ehle from Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (NJG 1). By that day, he had already recorded 20 kills. With his Bf-110 he attacked around 01:45 at an altitude of 4800 meters
attacked the Halifax JB837.
He opened fire from a distance of about 50 meters from the rear of the turning aircraft, causing the starboard engine and the fuselage to burst into flames. The Halifax was ablaze, broke apart and exploded in a huge explosion. The debris flew in all directions and hit the two Stirling aircraft flying nearby, the EF361 and the BF534, which had its tail severed by the flying debris.
All three aircraft crashed near Jülich and none of the crew members survived the disaster. Their bodies, some of which were completely mangled, were recovered from a wide area around Jülich and buried in Cologne's Südfriedhof cemetery.
All three crashes were recognized by Major Walter Ehle as having been shot down, although, according to his own words, he neither saw nor fired at the two Stirlings.
A very good report in English on the attack on Düsseldorf and the loss of the JB837 can be found at:
Above: The crash sites of the three aircraft:
BF837 Exploded in the air, debris between Jülich and Elsdorf and at the Reichsbahn repair works in Jülich.
EF361 Jülich Heckfeld, on the Jülich-Aachen railway line
BF534 Jülich, Lorsbeck estate
Both photos show the wreck of the Stirling EF361
The pilot of the Stirling EF361, Pilot Officer Joseph Francois Exavier Gilles Berthiaume of the Royal Canadien Air-Force.