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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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514 Squadron Crest
09th May 1945 No 514 Squadron Lancaster III RF230 JI-B F/O. Beaton

Operation: 'Exodus'

Date: 09th May 1945 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 514 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: RF230

Code: JI-B

Base: RAF Waterbeach - via Juvincourt, France

Location: South East Roye, France

Pilot: F/O. Donald Beaton DSO. 179980 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Alfred McMurrough 939832 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav: F/O. Ray Bertram Hilchey J/40778 RCAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Goodworth Brittain 1892880 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Orval Clare Evers J/95536 RCAF Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Robert MacPherson Toms J/95531 RCAF Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

During May following the declaration that the war in Europe was over the RAF were ordered to carry out 'Operation Exodus' the repatriation of ex PoW's being released from the various camps.

Taking off from the airfield at Juvincourt at around 12:15 hrs with the recommended maximum of 24 passengers. Very shortly after at 12:26 hrs having covered some 43 nautical miles the Lancaster came down in a wooded area killing all the crew and passengers.

(Note - some reports state that this aircraft was carrying 25 passengers - we have no knowledge of the 25th passenger to date - however we welcome any further information)

The aircraft was seen to circle †he airfield twice without losing height and with all four engine running. The undercarriage was lowered on the fist circuit and red Verey lights were fired from the aircraft. The undercarriage was then raised. Permission to land was given for the airfield but no reply was received. Green Verey lights were †hen fired to indicate the pilot had permission to land. The wind was light and variable with the control vehicle on the port side of the runway.

The undercarriage was then seen to be lowered again and the aircraft headed South East from the airfield flying slowly. It was then seen to go into a vertical bank to port with the nose up. The Lancaster then went into a flat spiral levelling out just above some trees. It then dropped in a very flat attitude to the ground and caught fire.

The subsequent court of enquiry held on the 20th May 1945 found that 12 bodies were recovered from the rear of the aircraft and it is assumed that the passengers had moved to the rear of the aircraft whilst still in flight and that the pilot must have realised that the aircraft was dangerously tail heavy, it is assumed he had decided to make a forced landing.

The cause of the accident was due to the incorrect position of passengers possibly due to them moving to the rear of the aircraft when they realised something was wrong. However no reason can be given as to why the pilot had prior to this, decided on a forced landing. The aircraft was on track and the pilot had sufficient control to enable him to fly round the airfield with the undercarriage down indicating his intention to land.

Future flights of this type then introduced much stricter briefings with regard to passenger distribution.

Above: Court of enquiry reports (courtesy John Jones)

Lodon Gazette 03rd November 1944 DSO Citation :
"As pilot and captain, Flying Officer Beaton has completed many operational sorties against a variety of targets in Germany and occupied territory. In September 1944, he took part in a daylight attack on Le Havre. Whilst over the target the aircraft sustained severe damage when struck by anti-aircraft fire and went temporarily out of control. Flying Officer Beaton was badly wounded, suffering a broken leg and multiple wounds caused by flying fragments of shell. Although in great pain he regained control and set course for home. Making light of his injuries he refused to leave the controls and flew back to an airfield near the coast where he landed his damaged aircraft safely. This officer displayed outstanding courage and fortitude. Though severely wounded he never wavered in his determination to bring his aircraft and its crew home. His example was most inspiring".

Burial details:

Crew:

F/O. Donald Beaton DSO. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 12. Collective grave 7-18. Son of John and Margaret Beaton, of Glasgow, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: "Dileas Gu Bas". (Faithful unto death) And experienced pilot with 668 flying hours logged.

Fl/Sgt. Alfred McMurrough. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 11. Grave 18. Son of Jack and Kate Elisa Mcmurrugh and Husband of Irene Lilian Mcmurrugh, of Harborne, Birmingham, England. Grave inscription reads: "Treasured Memories Of Alfred, Dearly Beloved Husband Of Irene".

F/O. Ray Bertram Hilchey. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 12. Collective grave 7-18. Son of Stanley Bertram and Loretta E. Hilchey, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "He Gave His Life For Others".

Fl/Sgt. John Goodworth Brittain. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 12. Grave 6. Son of John Goodworth Brittain and Ethel Maud Brittain, of Cricklewood, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "Sacred To The Memory Of Our Only Son".

P/O. Robert MacPherson Toms. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 11. Grave 19. Son Of Edward And Effie May Toms, Of Grand Falls, Newfoundland, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Who Died The Noblest Death Men May Die, Fighting For God And Liberty".

P/O. Orval Clare Evers. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 12. Collective grave 7-18. Son of Charles Neil and Susie Evers, of Camlachie, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "We Cannot, Lord, Thy Purpose See But All Is Well That's Done By Thee".

Burial details:

Passengers - ex Pow:

Sgt. Ronald Arthur Adams. Age 26. 5111739 7th Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 12. Grave 1. Son of Albert and Ellen Louise Adams, of Coventry, England. Grave inscription reads: "Rest Eternal Grant Unto Him, O Lord".

Pte. Thomas Anderson. Age 22. 2940187 2nd Bn. Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 11. Grave 15. Son of John and Mary Anderson, of Glasgow, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: "On Whose Soul, Sweet Jesus, Have Mercy; Our Lady Of Lourdes, Pray For My Son".

Pte. William Leonard Ball. Age 31. 804169 1st Bn. The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) Attached to Pioneer Corps. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 11. Grave 16. Son of George Henry and Amelia Harriett Ball, of Ashford Common, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "In Loving Memory Of Our Dear Bill. Always In The Thoughts Of All His Family".

Pte. Samuel James Bayston. Age 29. 4751822 4th Bn. Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment). Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 12. Collective grave 7-18. Son of George and Elizabeth Sophia Bayston, of Kennington, London, England. Grave inscription reads: "Sweet Is The Spot Where You Are Laid, Our Memories Of You Will Never Fade".

Cpl. Emanuel L. Belshaw. Age 40. 2650397 2/6th Bn. East Surrey Regiment. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 12. Collective grave 7-18. Son of Emanuel and Jane Belshaw and Husband of Elsie May Belshaw, of Addlestone, Weybridge, Surrey, England. Grave inscription reads: "When Sleep Forsakes Our Eyes Our Thoughts Go To A Grave Where Our Dear One Lies".

Pte. Roland Albert Betton. Age 26. 4032985 1st Bn. King's Shropshire Light Infantry. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 12. Grave 3. Son of Albert and Harriet Betton and Husband of Dorothy Mabel Betton, of Pontesbury, Shropshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "In Memory Of A Beloved Husband And Dear Son. Never To Be Forgotten. R.I.P.".

Lt. Patrick Archibald Tomlin W.B. Campbell. Age 36. 124175 6th Bn. Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 12. Grave 2. Son of Mr. and Mrs. William Betts Campbell. Grave inscription reads: "Our Love Will Follow You Still".

Pte. Ronald Ernest Clark. Age 29. 5954856 2nd Bn. Royal Scots. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 11. Grave 14. Son of Ernest and Amelia Clark, of Luton, Bedfordshire and Husband of Edith May Clark, of Luton, England. Grave inscription reads: "Loving Memories Of A Dear Husband And Father Are Deep In Our Hearts. Wife & Daughter".

Pte. Walter Croston. Age 32. 2185985 Pioneer Corps. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 12. Grave 5. No further details - are you able to assist?

Gnr. Alfred James Spencer Crowe. Age 26. 840450 28 Field Regt. Royal Artillery. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 11. Grave 9. Son Of Alfred Edward Charles And Margaret Crowe. Grave inscription reads: "R.I.P".

Fus. Harold Cummings. Age 22. 3461448 2nd Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 11. Grave 11. Son of Frederick and Lizzie Cummings, of Salford. Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Time Goes On, Years Roll By, Thoughts Of You Will Never Die".

Pte. Richard Danson. Age 32. 3392078 16th Bn. East Surrey Regiment. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 12. Collective grave 7-18. Son of John and Lena May Danson and Husband of Grace Danson, of Kirkham, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Into Thy Hands, O Lord".

Rfl. Thomas James Edwards. Age 32. 6912680 1st Bn. Rifle Brigade. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 12. Collective grave 7-18. Son of Thomas James Edwards and Sarah Edwards and Husband of Maud Edwards, of Wanstead, Essex, England. Grave inscription reads: "To The World He Was Only One, To Me He Was All The World".

L/Cpl. George William Franks. Age 32. 6844798 2nd Bn. King's Royal Rifle Corps. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 11. Grave 13. Son of James Edward and Agnes Ellen Franks, of Westminster, London, England. Grave inscription reads: "You Will Speed Us Onward With A Cheer, And Wave Beyond The Stars That All Is Well".

Gnr. A.N. Labotske. Age ? 45537 4 Field Regt. South African Artillery. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 12. Collective grave 7-18. No further details - are you able to assist?

Pnr. W.L. Lindheimer Age ? Pal/12055 Pioneer Corps. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 12. Grave 4. No further details - are you able to assist?

Pnr. Mordhai Maschit. Age ? Pal/12056 Pioneer Corps. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 12. Collective grave 7-18. No further details - are you able to assist?

Fus. Owen Parkin. Age 25. 3448706 1/8th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 12. Collective grave 7-18. Son of Mr. and Mrs. James Parkin, of Lower Broughton, Salford, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads: "God's Garden Must Be Beautiful He Only Takes The Best. Reunited With Mam".

Gdsm. James Arthur Roe. Age 25. 2719806 1st Bn. Irish Guards. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 11. Grave 10. Son of John and Elizebeth Roe, of Edgbaston, Birmingham, England. Grave inscription reads: "A Corner In Our Hearts Is Set Aside For You; Not Just To-Day But Every Day".

Lt. Eric Thomas Theodore Snowdon. Age 27. 94190 53 A.A. Regt. Royal Artillery. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 11. Grave 8. Son of John H. R. Snowdon and Marie Snowdon, of Ealing, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "Many A Lonely Heartache But Always A Beautiful Memory Of One We Loved So Dear".

Cpl. Albert George Thompson. Age 25. 5253245 7th Bn. Worcestershire Regiment. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 11. Grave 12. Son of Albert Edward and Lizzie May Thompson, of St. Johns, Worcester, England. Grave inscription reads: "At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Him".

Pte. Ralph Turnbull. Age 28. 4451208 1st Bn. Durham Light Infantry. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 12. Collective grave 7-18. Son of Albert Victor and Elizabeth Mary Turnbull, of Gateshead, Co. Durham, England. Grave inscription reads: "Over The River, Faces I See; Dear Ones In Glory Are Waiting For Me".

Cpt. Robert Worsley Wheeler. Age 26. 85759 Royal Engineers. Clichy Northern Cemetery Plot 16. Row 11. Grave 17. Son of Herbert Edward Ogle Wheeler and Edith Catharine Wheeler, of Storrington, Sussex, England. Grave inscription reads: "Not In Monuments Alone But In The Hearts Of All, Their Memory Abides".

Pte. Patrick Yates. Age 23. 14208422 2/5th Bn. Leicestershire Regiment. Clichy Northern Cemetery. Plot 16. Row 12. Collective grave 7-18. Son Of Henry Claude And Sarah Jessie Yates.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to John Jones who supplied us with the Court of enquiry papers.

KTY 10.09.2018

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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), 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', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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