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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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432 Sqn
2/3.01.1944 No.432 Squadron Lancaster II DS739 F/L John A. Allen

Operation: Berlin

Date: 2/3 January1944

Unit: No. 432 Squadron (Leaside)

Type: Lancaster II

Serial: DS739

Code: QO-Y

Base: RAF East Moor, Yorkshire.

Location: S.W. of Berlin.

Pilot: F/L John Allardyce Allen J/6643 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. William Roy Collier 1567439 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: F/O Hedley Forbes Doull J/22588 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O Kenneth Crawford J/25081 RCAF Age 19. Killed (1)

W/Op: W/OII John Ernest Scott R/123197 RCAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Arthur Corbett R/193139 RCAF Age 21. Killed (2)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Irenee Adelard Joseph Dupuis R/184367 RCAF Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS

The year 1944 started off with two consecutive raids on Berlin for the members of 432 Squadron. The first, on the night of 1-2 January, saw all nine of their Lancasters return safely including DS739 of F/L Allen. On the second raid the following night, ten of their Lancasters joined an attacking force comprised of 362 Lancasters, twelve Mosquitoes and nine Halifaxes. This night no further word was heard from Captain Allen and crew after their take off at 23:54 hours.

The incoming bomber stream was detected near the Dutch coastline and while night fighters were directed to intercept no significant combat ensued early on the outward leg. Further inland, once the target had been identified as Berlin, a second wave of fighters were dispatched but again they missed the bomber stream due to the high winds aiding the speed of the bombers. In addition, poor weather conditions and thick cloud prevented further sightings until the bombers were over the target area. The nine crews from the squadron that returned to base reported that their bomb loads had been dropped from 20,000 – 23,000 feet but owing to the cloud no results were observed. (Later reconnaissance showed the raid to be fairly ineffective with little industrial damage done).

Over the target and on the homeward leg, many night fighters were encountered with numerous combats ensuing. In total, 27 Lancaster’s were lost, mostly over Berlin and the surrounding countryside.

While it is unknown as to the actual demise of Captain Allen and his crew, their remains were originally interred by the German military in the city cemetery at Köthen, SW of Berlin, which would suggest that the aircraft crashed somewhere in the surrounding area.

The Nachtjagd War Diaries show a Lancaster was claimed 70 km. SW of Berlin by Oblt. Wilhelm Johnen of 5./NJG5, but as no conclusive evidence exists it is conjecture at best.

F/L John Allen F/L John Allardyce Allen

Burial Details:

F/L John Allardyce Allen. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 5 B 9. Son of Dr. David Wesley and Mary Isobel (nee Allardyce) Allen; husband of Honor Mary (nee Magee) Allen of Paddington, London.
Further details: F/L Allen enlisted in Toronto in December 1940 where he did his intial training. After completion of elementary flying at No.7 EFTS, Windsor, he attended No.5 SFTS Brantford, Ontario, where he gained his wings on 4 August 1941 and soon after was commisioned as a pilot officer. Arriving in England in September, 1941 he was posted to No.17 OTU soon thereafter, before being taken on strength at No. 107 Squadron in March, 1942. Here he completed his first tour of operations flying Douglas Boston bombers out of Great Massingham, Norfolk, after which, he was back at No.17 OTU this time serving as an instructor. Posted back to operations a year later, he first underwent training on Lancasters at No.1679 Conversion Unit, East Moor, Yorkshire, before joining 432 Squadron on 12 December 1943. F/L Allen had completed six operations of his second tour when he was lost. On 15 October 1943, F/L Allen married Honor Mary Magee at the Church Of The Oratory, Kensington. They were married just 11 weeks. Honor Mary Allen never remarried and died at the age of 85 in 2002.


Sgt. William Roy Collier. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 5 B 7. Son of John and Grace Donaldson Taylor Collier of Duntrune, Angus.
Sgt. Collier had completed 2½ operations of his first tour when lost. No further details.


F/O Hedley Forbes Doull. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 5 B 8. Son of George Roy and Jessie Isobel Doull of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
Further details: In third year engineering at McGill University when enlisted 30 March 1942. Previously served in 146 Battalion Mcgill Reserve, C.E.F. Intial training at No. 3 ITS, Victoriaville, Quebec and then at No.8 AOS Ancienne Lorette, Quebec. Gained Air Navigation badge 30 December 1942. After training at 23OTU and 1679 HCU he was posted to 432 Squadron 14 November 1943. F/O Doull had completed 2½ operations of his first tour when lost.



F/O Kenneth Crawford. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 5 B 12. Son of William John and Winnifred A. Crawford of Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada.
Further details: F/O Crawford signed up to join the Manitoba Volunteer Reserve while still in high school at the age of 17 before enlisting in the RCAF in March of 1942. After training at No.10 SFTS he remustered as an air bomber training at No.5 AOS and No.5 Bombing and Gunnery School Dafoe, Saskatchewan. Arriving in the UK on 24 May 1943 he attended 10 AFU., 23 OTU and 1659 HCU before being posted to 432 Squadron on 14 November 1943. His elder brother, Gordon, was also killed while serving with the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment in Italy almost eight months later to the day on 5 September 1944. F/O Crawford had completed 2½ operations of his first tour when lost.
(1) Crawford Island in Nejanilini Lake, Manitoba is named after F/O Crawford



W/OII John Ernest Scott. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 5 B 10. Son of George and Emily Scott, husband of Elsie Clara Scott of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
W/OII Scott had completed 2½ operations of his first tour when lost. No further details.



Sgt. John Arthur Cobbett. Choloy War Cemetery, France. Grave 1 H 10. Son of Harold Frank and Gladys Georgiana Cobbett of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; husband of Patricia Jane Cobbett, of Hamilton.
Further details: A tool and die maker prior to enlistment in September 1942, Sgt Cobbett trained at No.5 SFTS and gained his air gunner badge from No.3 Bombing and Gunnery School, MacDonald, Manitoba on 11 June 1943. Marrying the former Patricia Jane Warner just eight days after graduation on 19 June he was then posted overseas embarking for the UK on 30 June 1943. After training at 23OTU and 1679 HCU he joined 432 Squadron on 14 November 1943. Sgt. Cobbett had completed 2½ operations of his first tour when lost.
(2) Cobbett Lake in northern Ontario is named after Sgt. Cobbett


Sgt. Irenee Adelard Joseph Dupuis. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany, Grave 5 B 11. Son of Anatole and Anna (nee Rancourt) Dupuis of Noelville, Ontario, Canada.
Further details: Sgt. Dupuis enlisted in October 1942 after working at a munitions factory. He attended No.1 Air Gunners Ground Training School, Quebec City, and then graduated from No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery School attaining his Air Gunners badge in July, 1943. Posted overseas soon after, he arrived in England that August. After training at 23OTU and 1679 HCU he joined 432 Squadron on 14 November 1943. Sgt. Dupuis had completed 3 operations of his first tour when lost.

Researched and written by Colin H. Bamford for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the families of the crew of Lancaster DS739.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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