30/01.12.1944 No. 429 Squadron Halifax III MZ288 AL-O F/O. David Bell DFC
Date: 30/01st December 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 429 Squadron (Bison - RCAF)
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Leeming, Yorkshire
Location: Lost without trace.
Pilot: F/O. David Bell DFC. J/35329 RCAF Age 28. Missing (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Peter Frederick Bolderstone DFM. 3000725 RAFVR Age 19 Missing (2)
Nav: F/O. Lloyd George Watson J/38782 RCAF Age 27. Missing (3)
Air/Bmr: P/O. Willard Ainsley Streich J/95478 RCAF Age 20. Missing
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Alexander Sinclair Thomson J/92623 RCAF Age 22. Missing
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. George McGregor R/258301 RCAF Age 19. Missing
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Jack Hurst Kitchin R/222456 RCAF Age 19. Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 16:31 hrs from RAF Leeming, Yorkshire to bomb the City of Duisburg in severe weather with the cloud covering the target.
The weather prevented most of the night fighters taking off to engage the 587 aircraft taking part in the operation - nearly all allied losses (3 aircraft) were claimed by the flak batteries.
Duisburg still suffered even more damage than previous raise with 528 houses destroyed, 805 others suffering serious damage, 246 people killed which sadly included 55 foreign workers and 12 prisoners of war.
429 Squadron Halifax 'bombing up' at RAF Leeming
Halifax MZ288 lost without trace almost certainly by the anti aircraft flak batteries.
Also lost on this operation from 429 squadron:
Halifax III MZ314 AL-W - Flown by 21 year old P/O. George Walter Clarke J/86980 RCAF of Windsor, Ontario, Canada - killed with all his crew after a collision with a 578 squadron Halifax III NR193 LK-V - Flown by 28 year old, P/O. Vincent William Mathias NZ/426055 RNZAF of Christchurch, New Zealand, also killed with all his crew.
(1) Bell Island in Denison Lake, Manitoba was renamed after F/O. Bell in 1986.
Details of his DFC London Gazette 12th January 1945:
"In October 1944, Flying Officer Bell was the captain and pilot of an aircraft detailed to attack Cologne. It was his first mission as captain. In the bombing run considerable anti-aircraft fire was encountered and the aircraft was hit. The flight engineer was wounded. Flying Officer Bell promptly directed another member of the crew to render first aid to his injured comrade. Almost as the bombs were released, the aircraft was again hit. The port aileron was broken in half and it became exceedingly difficult to keep the aircraft on an even keel but, displaying the greatest determination, Flying Officer Bell flew the badly damaged aircraft to the nearest available airfield in this country where he effected a masterly landing. This officer displayed great tenacity and devotion to duty in trying circumstances."
(2) Sgt. Peter Bolderstone - flying as F/E with same pilot and on his first operation on October 28th 1944. DFM awarded with immediate effect:
"The aircraft was badly damaged by flak near Cologne and Sgt. Bolderstone was wounded. Although ordered to abandon his post to the air bomber he refused to do this and remained on duty until the aircraft had completed the mission and was safely landed in this country."
(3) Watson Peninsular no North Knife Lake, Manitoba, Canada was renamed after F/O. Lloyd Watson in 1995.
Left: F/O. Lloyd George Watson (archive)
F/O. David Bell DFC. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 245. Son of William and Annie Bell, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, husband of Barbara Bell. Born in Winnipeg, Canada 1916 - Trained at 6 ITS, 12 EFTS, 5 SFTS - Received his commission 1943.
Sgt. Peter Frederick Bolderstone. DFM Runnymede Memorial. Panel 225. Son of Hilda Bolderstone, of Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk.
F/O. Lloyd George Watson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 248. Son of Arthur Herbert and Faith Edith Watson, husband of Verna Watson, of Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada.
P/O. Willard Ainsley Streich. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 253. Son of Robert Emil and Christina Margaret Streich, of Webbwood, Ontario, Canada.
P/O. Alexander Sinclair Thomson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 253. From Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?
Fl/Sgt. George McGregor. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 255. From Trail, British Columbia, Canada. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?
Fl/Sgt. Jack Hurst Kitchin. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 255. Son of John Lyall Kitchin and Sarah Kitchin, of Trail, British Columbia, Canada.
With thanks to Kevin Martin - relative of Fl/Sgt. Jack Hurst Kitchin. For further details our thanks to the sources as quoted below. Thanks also to Michel Beckers for photographs of the crew - July 2016.