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Osric122
30th November 2009, 07:38
I am researching the service of my grandfather "Wally" Brown as an RAF Pilot with 298 Squadron.


I am interested in:

any information about his last flight. The plane (LL343) was apparently hit by flak off Walcheren Island.
any information of his squadron 298 including any pictures, logs or records from March - September 1944
contact with relatives of the crew
The crew's last operation was Osric 122. The crew were as follows:


BRADLEY William Age: 33 2209464 Sergeant. (Flight/Eng)
BROWN William, Wallace Age: 30 CAN J20649 Flying Officer. (Pilot)
MacDUFF Robert, Denver Age: 26 NZ 417149 Flying Officer. (Nav)
PEARSON Frederick Age: 21 1578265 Flight Sergeant. (WOP/AG)
SAYLES (DFM) Francis Age: 22 52592 Flying Officer. (B/Aimer)
SMITH John, Bonsall Age: 33 1496761 Flight Sergeant. (Wop/AG)

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Regards.

Icare9
30th November 2009, 11:33
Hi, whilst waiting for the experts to come along, I presume you have the additional information from the CWGC records as below?

Name: BRADLEY, WILLIAM
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sergeant
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Age: 33. Date of Death: 31/08/1944
Service No: 2209464
Additional information: Son of Thomas and Margaret Bradley; husband of Mary Bradley, of Euxton, Lancashire.
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 225. Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL

Name: PEARSON, FREDERICK
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Flight Sergeant
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Age: 21. Date of Death: 31/08/1944
Service No: 1578265
Additional information: Son of Frederick and Harriet Pearson, of Wolverhampton.
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 221. Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL

Name: SAYLES, FRANCIS
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Flying Officer
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force
Age: 22. Date of Death: 31/08/1944
Service No: 52592
Awards: D F M
Additional information: Son of Larrett and Clara Sayles, of Fitzwilliam, Yorkshire.
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 209. Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL

Name: SMITH, JOHN BONSALL
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Flight Sergeant
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Date of Death: 31/08/1944
Service No: 1496761
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 222. Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL

Name: BROWN, WILLIAM WALLACE
Nationality: Canadian
Rank: Flying Officer
Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Age: 30. Date of Death: 31/08/1944
Service No: J/20649
Additional information: Son of James Nelson Brown and Gertrude Brown, of Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada; husband of Marion H. Brown, of Woodstock.
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 245. Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL

Name: MACDUFF, ROBERT DENVER
Nationality: New Zealand
Rank: Flying Officer
Regiment/Service: Royal New Zealand Air Force
Age: 26. Date of Death: 31/08/1944
Service No: 417149
Additional information: Son of Robert B. Macduff, and of Amelia Macduff, of Mount Eden, Auckland, New Zealand.
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 262. Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL

As F/O Brown was RCAF there may be access to the RCAF records, but others will be better able to advise on that, but at least you have some addresses that might help locate surviving relatives via Ancestry, telephone books etc.

Hope this helps

Peter Clare
30th November 2009, 12:37
Hi,

I have the following taken from 'Though Without Anger' - Cummings

30 August 1944

298 Squadron
Halifax V LL343

This aircraft was tasked to drop supplies to partisans near Diest at position 51.03 North 05.34 East. However, the mission was not accomplished and it seems probable that this was the aircraft seen by another crew to be shot down in position 51.46 North 05.34 East.

Crew as listed above.

Regards
Peter

Osric122
30th November 2009, 13:25
Thank you both for your responses. While I have been able to collect some information, icare you have added a little more detail about the crew.

Also I did not know the position of the crash. Thank you Peter.

I appreciate the quick response.

dp_burke
30th November 2009, 14:09
Contact the Canadian National Archives here. You can request an extract of his record for free or the full record for a fee.

Personnel Records Unit,
Library and Archives Canada,
395 Wellington Street,
Ottawa,
ON K1A 0N3
Fax: (613) 947 8456

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/022-909.007-e.html (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/022-909.007-e.html)

regards

Dennis

Osric122
30th November 2009, 18:06
Thanks Dennis. I will check that out.

Osric122
30th November 2009, 18:12
Hi,

I have the following taken from 'Though Without Anger' - Cummings

30 August 1944

298 Squadron
Halifax V LL343

This aircraft was tasked to drop supplies to partisans near Diest at position 51.03 North 05.34 East. However, the mission was not accomplished and it seems probable that this was the aircraft seen by another crew to be shot down in position 51.46 North 05.34 East.

Crew as listed above.

Regards
Peter
Peter,
the reference of the crash site is interesting because my grandmother thought that the plane had gone down on land - which is where 51.03 North 05.34 East is according to Google earth. Official records as sketchy as they are indicate that the plane was seen in flames off the coast of Holland or Belgium.

It will be interesting to see if anyone else weighs in on this.

Regards
Jeff

Icare9
30th November 2009, 19:32
Jeff, crashes in Occupied Territories were usually recorded by local villagers.
Today, there are many active Belgian, Dutch and French groups dedicated to the memories of the crews that helped liberate them. I'm sure you know that 298 Squadron were tasked with supplying Resistance groups and dropping agents etc.
There may be some websites in Belgium that have some more details, however I would caution that most crash sites were thoroughly investigated after the War by RAF and other investigation teams, not only for the crew but cause of loss.
As this crew is only recorded on the Runnymede Memorial, it is more than likely that they crashed into the North Sea. They may have been hit over land and struggled to make it to the UK, but in a similar situation, some crews would try to head to Normandy where they may have been able to parachute into the Allied zone.
They didn't make the rendezvous with the resistance cell, so they may have been hit by flak ships just as they reached the coast. None of the crew was able to exit in time to be found and identified.
The RCAF records may contain details of any investigation after the war and hopefully any eyewitness accounts.
I'll now let others more knowledgeable add what else they may know.
Regards, Kevin

Osric122
30th November 2009, 21:29
Thanks Kevin,

My grandmother tried for over a year to get more information. As you suggest they may have been able to make it some way before the crash.

Thanks for passing this on to others who may have access to other details.

Regards
Jeff

Henk Welting
1st December 2009, 17:44
LL343 is not listed in the crash list 1939-1945 of aircraft crashed on Dutch territory or within Dutch territorial waters. This means that the loss was over the North Sea more than 20 kms off the coast. I've a note (unconfirmed source) that the Halifax was hit by a flakship 02.01h and crashed at the position 51.46N - 03.50E.
Regards,
Henk.

Osric122
1st December 2009, 18:19
Thanks Henk. I appreciate the inforamtion.
Are you able to share more information about the source?


Regards
Jeff

Henk Welting
2nd December 2009, 09:36
Hello Jeff,
Not sure but do believe the info came from a crash sheet from Mr Hans de Haan, a wellknown Dutch Air War historian, who passed away 5 years ago.
Regards,
Henk.

Osric122
2nd December 2009, 15:57
Thank you Henk. I really appreciate the follow up. The internet really is a huge help in locating materials. You have helped me find a string of reference books that have detailed records on both sides about air operations. So I am hopeful of finding a few more details.

Best Regards
Jeff

Osric122
3rd April 2010, 15:02
Hi Henk,

new information has come through Wings to Victory. Three bodies washed up on shore on Sept 5 and 6 1944, here is the note from the detailed report crash 414 on.

i Op 5 september 1944 spoelden nabij Westenschouwen en nabij Schelphoek de lichamen aan van twee
onbekend gebleven – naar men aannam – Canadese vliegers. De daaropvolgende dag trof men nabij
Zierikzee eveneens het stoffelijk overschot van een onbekend gebleven vlieger aan waarna ze op 8
september op de tijdelijke militaire begraafplaats te Haamstede ter aarde werden besteld.
Het is ook nu weer niet uit te sluiten dat wellicht één of meerdere van hen tot de bemanningen van
deze bommenwerpers behoorde.

Apparrently the bodies were moved to Flushing(Vlissingen) or at Bergen op Zoom cemetery.

Are you aware of any record sets or eyewitness accounts related to graves of unknown airmen found washed up on shore?

Regards
Jeff

Henk Welting
3rd April 2010, 18:05
Jeff,
The only info I've is a compiled list from records of the Dutch International Red Cross (from reports set-up by the communities immediately after the hostilities) of war graves in their communities. Reported by the communitiy of (Burgh) Haamstede was that:
- an unknown RCAF airman washed up near Westerschouwen was buried at Haamstede 5-9-1944;
- an unknown RAF airman washed up near Zierikzee was buried at Haamstede 6-9-1944.
Haamstede was a temporary military cemetery plot taken care of by the German Luftwaffe located on airfield Haamstede. All burials post war moved to Bergen op Zoom.
Regards,
Henk.

Osric122
3rd April 2010, 19:34
Thanks Henke. I appreciate your help as always.

Regards

dave jones
10th May 2010, 22:50
Francis Sayles DFM, Bomb aimer on Osric122 was my Uncle. We have been reseaching for a few year now and to here there could be a grave....well that's a bit of a shocker.

Osric122
10th May 2010, 23:11
It certainly was a jolt. Have you seen the report from the dutch site?

eddieitman
11th May 2010, 00:22
David Jones, Welcome i myself am the Grandson of William Bradley, and i have been in contact with Jeff since he found me from a very bizarre request i put on our car forums for some translations that where in Belgian relating to some information i had found on my Grandfathers crash.
There is a thread on another forum with bits of information regarding the rather recent information discovered on Wings of Victory website about the bodys that washed up after the crash.
http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/war-cemeteries-war-memorial-research/25015-help-tombs-unknown-airmen-netherlands-may-my-grandfather.html
(Tombs Link)
Also on the Wings of Victory site there is the pictures and copys of the flightbooks that my Grandfather had, I sent them to the site
LL343 Database (http://www.wingstovictory.nl/database/database_detail-en.php?wtv_id=414)
Please feel free to contact me.
May i ask what Francis Sayles got the DFM for?

eddieitman
11th May 2010, 13:53
Well i have managed to find that there is a book with all the awards for the DFM, I have spoken to the British Library, and will borrow a copy of it and see if i can find the info on Sayles DFM

Larry
11th May 2010, 16:33
You will see from a search of the London Gazette, that Francis Sayles was awarded the DFM on 4th June 1943. See this link.

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/36144/supplements/3788

Look on the right hand side of the page under Flt Sgt

Wim de Meester
11th May 2010, 17:27
Perhaps I can add some useful information. That night two British a/c were lost due to action of the socalled VP-Flottilla Windhuk (VP2007, VP2011, VP2004 and M3234) which guarded the entrances to the Scheldt rivers at position AN8762.

RM72-217 reports as follows:
At 01.58 the Cdt of VP2007 reports that an enemy a/c flew in a direct line over his vessel at a height of approx. 200 metres. The order to open fire is immediately given and the foremost 2 cm gun (gunner Mtr.ObGefr. Baumann) was able to fire 8-10 rounds which all struck home. The a/c caught fire and crashed into the sea at approx. 2000 metres distance from the flottilla.

After the fires extinquished themselves the area was searched for both survivors and information till 06.05 hours. Then they had to abandon the operation in order to be in port before the RAF showed up again.

The kill was confirmed by both Schützenkönig (Strongpoint) and Westkapelle (Coastalbattery) which reported that an e/a was shot down by the boats on station.

The 4 ships had used 11 x 8,8 cm, 22 x 3,7 cm, 327 x 2 cm, 112 x 1,5 cm and 68 x LMG.

Indeed, on 5 September 1944 two bodies washed ashore at resp. Schelphoek and Westenschouwen. They were believed to be Canadian airmen. One day later a third body washed ashore at Zierikzee and all three were buried at the Haamstede cemetery on 8 September. In a footnote I have clearly indicated that these men could be/ might have been part of the lost crew but that it was not more than a possibility and that it simply can't be excluded as such.
Nothing more, nothing less.

Osric122
11th May 2010, 20:53
Thanks for the information. I have tried to look at this from the perspective of plausibility. I am new to researching this material and am hampered by distance - I live in Canada - and language - I do not understand Dutch or German. So I am grateful for the perspective of others like yourself who have access to materials. That said it seems to me that records from the local police, Red Cross and/or the Haamstede Luftwaffe base itself are potentially starting points to try and understand the link between the crash on August 31 and the bodies that washed up on the 5th and 8th of September. I have seen a translation of one police report for a body that was washed up after an unrelated crash and there was a fair amount of detail including a physical description of the body.

Does anyone know how to access these records or have ideas for other record sets to try and research this further?

Also I would be interested in seeing photos if anyone has them of the headstones of the three unknown Canadian airmen in Bergen op Zoom cemetery.

Thanks again for the contributions to date.

Jeff

dave jones
11th May 2010, 22:37
Francis Sayles won his DFM flying with 166 squadron on a mission to Manhiem. A local newspaper of the time states they refused to alter course dispite being picked up by search lights and heavy flack. Could I just say its so nice to hear from you all. I thought I was on my own in this search. I have paid a few visits to the National Achieves at Kew but can't give you anything you don't know sorry

Osric122
11th May 2010, 22:53
Hi Dave,

I sent you a couple of private posts. I would be very interested in sharing research.

Jeff

dave jones
11th May 2010, 23:00
I don't understand how the bodies on the beach were identified as Canadian but not by name or serial number. would it be usual for RAF and RCAF crew to fly without ID when on Special OPs. Could anybody enlighten me on this. It seems sad that a little more effort wasn't made after the war to solve these queries

predictedflak
12th May 2010, 03:38
I don't understand how the bodies on the beach were identified as Canadian but not by name or serial number. would it be usual for RAF and RCAF crew to fly without ID when on Special OPs. Could anybody enlighten me on this. It seems sad that a little more effort wasn't made after the war to solve these queries

Things like a "Canada" flash on their tunics would certainly be one giveaway.

I would recommend Stuart Hadaway's book "Missing Believed Killed" to get some idea of what the post war searches for missing was like. Pre-CSI Miami days with men, many ex aircrew exhuming hastily buried, badly burned and decomposed bodies. They did the best they could given the circumstances.

Jeff, you really should look at the service files of the Canadians onboard at the Library & Archives Canada in Ottawa. It doesn't matter what language some original local documents were written in. The services files all have translations into English and sometimes a few pages answers 65 years of questions.

PF

Osric122
18th May 2010, 15:52
Thanks for the suggestion PF.
I have a copy of my grandfather's service record, but there is little information on his service in the UK. It also reports him as missing, and does not mention the bodies that washed up on shore in the week after the crash.

ssg keay
19th May 2010, 12:25
In a lot of cases the bodies were not complete after a crash. ID tags could have been torn/ripped off. The battle dress uniform normally had, like predicted stated, the country's flash on it. This was sown on and harder to be torn off. if the position of the FLAK boats was known, then locating the plane wreck is not completely impossible. My buddy's group just purchased a side scan sonar and we have a magnetometer. If would be interesting to see the German report (I read and speak German) and see if the crash-site/impact point can be callculated from there. Would be worth a try. Danny

Osric122
19th May 2010, 16:08
In a lot of cases the bodies were not complete after a crash. ID tags could have been torn/ripped off. The battle dress uniform normally had, like predicted stated, the country's flash on it. This was sown on and harder to be torn off. if the position of the FLAK boats was known, then locating the plane wreck is not completely impossible. My buddy's group just purchased a side scan sonar and we have a magnetometer. If would be interesting to see the German report (I read and speak German) and see if the crash-site/impact point can be callculated from there. Would be worth a try. Danny

Hi Danny,

there is a copy of records in Dutch and German in the pdf at :
http://www.wingstovictory.nl/database/database_detail-en.php?wtv_id=414

It would be really something to have a fix on the wreck. I know there is a project in the UK trying to identify the many planes that crashed into the North Sea and Channel. I will try and find their contact information and see if they have investigated this area also.

Jeff

ssg keay
20th May 2010, 13:10
The only way to determine this is to find a map showing the patrol sectors of the Vorpostenboote. Also, those positions were not always accurate prior to the age of Loran or GPS. I am pretty sure they were set up in site of land. Danny

Osric122
22nd May 2010, 14:36
Perhaps I can add some useful information. That night two British a/c were lost due to action of the socalled VP-Flottilla Windhuk (VP2007, VP2011, VP2004 and M3234) which guarded the entrances to the Scheldt rivers at position AN8762.

RM72-217 reports as follows:
At 01.58 the Cdt of VP2007 reports that an enemy a/c flew in a direct line over his vessel at a height of approx. 200 metres. The order to open fire is immediately given and the foremost 2 cm gun (gunner Mtr.ObGefr. Baumann) was able to fire 8-10 rounds which all struck home. The a/c caught fire and crashed into the sea at approx. 2000 metres distance from the flottilla.

After the fires extinquished themselves the area was searched for both survivors and information till 06.05 hours. Then they had to abandon the operation in order to be in port before the RAF showed up again.

The kill was confirmed by both Schützenkönig (Strongpoint) and Westkapelle (Coastalbattery) which reported that an e/a was shot down by the boats on station.

The 4 ships had used 11 x 8,8 cm, 22 x 3,7 cm, 327 x 2 cm, 112 x 1,5 cm and 68 x LMG.

Indeed, on 5 September 1944 two bodies washed ashore at resp. Schelphoek and Westenschouwen. They were believed to be Canadian airmen. One day later a third body washed ashore at Zierikzee and all three were buried at the Haamstede cemetery on 8 September. In a footnote I have clearly indicated that these men could be/ might have been part of the lost crew but that it was not more than a possibility and that it simply can't be excluded as such.
Nothing more, nothing less.

Wim de Meister, Could you provide a clarification. Is AN8762 the KM grid location the location of the flotilla or the approximate location of the crash? KM grid is from the report on wings to victory crash 414.

Wim de Meester
24th May 2010, 08:14
Can't find the map quickly but AN 8762 is at the Scheldt river entrance/ estuary leaning a little to the south side area of it ( Knokke - Cadzand). As the crash took place within a few km of the flotilla it still must be considered the same grid.

rgds

Sealander
29th May 2010, 18:04
Slightly Confused,
when I read the Vorpostenboot Report they state that they were attacked
and the a/c returned. I think it is very unlikely that a Halifax on a secret mission decides to take a low level pass at a Vorpostenboot and makes a second run.
Action against shipping near the Westerschelde was undertaken by Mosquitos
that very night and one lost.
My conclusion is that the Vorpostenboot downed a Mosquito!
The Halifax then would have crashed not near the VPB but elswhere off the coast.
Sealander

Osric122
19th February 2012, 06:34
I have more information from the Raid Report of W/O Smith who reported the following:

5138N-0324E- 0200 Hrs. 600'. Est. position 5136N-0329E in sea - Aircraft seen shotdown in flames into sea (burnt on top of water for 5 minutes) by L/F red and green tracer. Some flares shot up from same position afterwards.

Assuming that W/O Smith - who was known to be flying the same route - saw LL343 I have a few questions for those who know about the Halifax V and the position of the crew members.

If the plane was on the water for 5 minutes it seems reasonable to assume that the plane ditched with an attidute that allowed it to hit with a flare to keep the nose up. In a crash of that nature which crew members would be most vulnerable?
Is it likely that everyone have been belted into their seats?
Who is likely to have had a chance to escape and send up a flare?
All of this leads to an exercise of speculation but I thought the knowledge and expertise of the larger group might lend an informed path of logic to the guessing.