16/17.06.1944 431 Squadron Halifax III NA514 Fg.Off. Glenn H. Blachford
Date: 16/17th June 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: 431 (Iroquois) Squadron RCAF
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Croft, Yorkshire
Location: Nistelrode, Holland
Pilot: Fg.Off. Glenn Hugh Blachford J/27913 RCAF Age 27. Killed
Flight Engineer: Sgt. Jock Kennedy 1796561 RAFVR PoW Age? PoW No: 269 *
Navigator: Fg.Off. Roy Edward Carter MiD, J/28855 RCAF Age 23. Survived (1)
Bomb Aimer: Fg.Off. Spencer William Lough J/20830 RCAF Age 29. Killed
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: Sgt. Tom ‘Moose' Masdin R/193919 Age? PoW No: 470 *
Mid Upper Gunner: Sgt. Don 'Panama' H. Hattey R/112861 RCAF Age? PoW No: 220 *
Rear Gunner: Sgt. Innis 'Harry' Lindsay Elwin Gould R/207941 RCAF Age 19. Killed
* Stalag Luft 7, Bankau near Kreuzberg, Silesia, Germany. (Now Bąków, Opole Voivodeship, Poland)
REASON FOR LOSS:
NA514 took off at 22:24 hrs from RAF Croft, Yorkshire as part of a 321 aircraft raid on Sterkrade synthetic-oil plant in Germany. 162 Halifaxes, 147 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes found the target area covered by a thick cloud and that the markers dropped by the pathfinders very quickly disappeared. The main bomber force could do very little but bomb the defused glow of the markers through the cloud.
The crew of Halifax NA514 - taken during training at Long Marston in March 1944.(courtesy Fred Carter)From top left-clockwise: Fg.Off. Blachford, Fg.Off. Lough, Fg.Off. Carter MiD., Sgt. Gould, Sgt. Hattey and Sgt. Masdin (Sgt. Kennedy not shown)
Left to Right: Images of Fg.Off. Blachford, Fg.Off. Carter MiD and Sgt. Gould taken from their Service Records.
RAF photographic reconnaissance and the German reports agree that the bombing was scattered, although some bombs did hit the oil plant. This had little effect on production. 21 Germans were killed on the ground, together with a further 6 foreign workers. 18 Houses were destroyed.
The loss to the allies was huge with a total of 21 bombers shot down by the German night fighters and another 10 by flak. This amounted to 159 aircrew being killed, 53 being made PoW.
Above L-R: Fg.Off. Roy Carter MiD., Sgt. Innis Lindsay Elwin Gould with friend Lyle Mclaren from Almonte, Ontario, Canada, taken at Brockville Railway Station on 21st March 1943, Sgt. Tom Masdin, the last two are of Sgt. Innis Gould
Halifax NA514 was shot down by Oblt. Josef Nabrich of 3./NGJ1 who at this stage of the war was already a night fighter ace. The combat took place at 5.500 Mtrs. in the Kieve area at 01:12 hrs. The aircraft came down near the Hamlet of Groote Heide (510 41' N, 050 33'E) and the village of Nistelrode.
Oblt. Josef Nabrich lost his life on the 27th November 1944 at Münster-Handorf airfield during a strafing attack.
The body of Fg.Off Glenn Blachford was still in the pilot's seat while that of Fg.Off. Spencer Lough, was found nearby in a farmers field. Lough's parachute lay beside him, unopened. The young 19-year-old air rear air gunner, Lindsay Gould, had no chance of escape and his body was found in the wreckage
431 Squadron were hit hard on this operation losing some 4 aircraft with crews. The others:
Halifax III LK837 SE-L - Flown by Plt.Off. Elmer O. Johnson RCAF killed with 5 other members of his crew, 1 managed to evade capture.
Halifax III MZ520 SE-O - Flown by Plt.Off. Alan G. Fairless RCAF killed with 5 other members of his crew, 1 taken pow.
Halifax III MZ537 SE-H - Flown by Flt.Lt. M.M. Johnstone RCAF all crew taken PoW.
(1) The fate of Fg.Off. Carter was unknown until a British Military Court was convened in Essen during the period 11th to 26th June 1946.
One Austrian and nine German nationals were charged with committing a war crime, in that they, at Tilburg, on the 9th July 1944, in violations of the laws and usages of war, were concerned in the killing of Flt.Lt. R.A. Walker DFC, RAF, Fg.Off. J.S. Nott, RAAF and Fg.Off. R.E. Carter, RCAF.
Those charged were:
Franz Schonfeld who was a former Kriminalobersekretär(Criminal Secretary) holding the equivalent rank of SS-Untersturmführer (2nd.Lt.) and a member of the Nazi party;
Albert Erich Ernst Rösener who was a former Kriminalassistent (Criminal Assistant) holding the equivalent rank of SS-Oberscharführer (S/Sgt.) and a member of the Nazi party;
Karl Paul Schwanz who was a former vehicle driver for the police and a member of the Nazi party;
Karl Hermann Otto Klingbeil who was a former Kriminalassistent holding the equivalent rank of SS-Oberscharführer and a member of the Nazi party;
Michael Rotschopf (Austrian national) who was a former secretary in the offices of the security police;
Karl Johannes Brendle who was a former Kriminalassistent holding the equivalent rank of SS-Oberscharführer and vehicle driver for the police
Hans Ernst Harders who was a former Kriminalrat (Senior Criminal Detective) holding the equivalent rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer (Capt.) and the chief of the Sicherheitspolizei (Security police) and the SD (Sicherheitsdienst = security service of the SS (Schutzstaffel)).
Eugen Emil Rafflenbeul who was a former SS-Rottenführer (Cpl), vehicle driver for the police and a member of the Nazi party;
Karl Cremer who was a former Kriminalassistent holding the equivalent rank of Oberscharführer and a member of the Nazi party;
Werner Koeny, whose position and affiliation was not established.
The ten accused were all members of the Sicherheitspolizei based in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Holland.
The court heard that on the 1st July 1944 two members of the Dutch underground brought Roy Carter and an American named G.B. Lloyd * who had been hiding for some time with a farmer in Valbrough ((sic ) – could be Valberg)) to the Van Harssel family home at 59 Heuvel in Tilburg. The two airmen had been evading German forces for some time after parachuting from their crashing aircraft.
* No information regarding an Allied airman named G.B. Lloyd or his fate has been found.
The Van Harssels arranged for Carter to be kept in hiding with their immediate neighbour named Wellekens. Shortly after this Leoni van Harssel received a secret telephone call informing her that more airmen, possibly four, would be brought along later in the week.
On the night of the 8th July 1944 two Dutch policemen, members of the underground movement, arrived at the Van Harssel house with Stewart Nott and a Ronnie Norton ((sic) – this must have been Ronald Walker)). It had been arranged that a lady named Miss Jacoba Maria Pulskens who lived at 49 Diepenstraat in Tilburg would hide these airmen until their escape could be arranged. Miss Pulskens was also known as “Aunt Coba” and was largely instrumental in returning 21 Allied airmen to England.
When Nott and Walker arrived at 59 Heuvel, Carter asked if he could go along with them to the new location. This was agreed and the car in which they and the two Dutch policemen travelled was lead to 49 Diepenstraat by Leoni and Elizabeth van Harssel who were riding bicycles. En routethey came across a car with Gestapo occupants who were stopping cars but theirs was not as it was marked as a police vehicle. After they arrived at 49 Diepenstraat the three airmen were handed over into the safekeeping of Miss Pulskens.
Earlier on the 8th July, a car driven by Dutch underground members and carrying two other Allied airmen (the identity of whom is unknown) was stopped by the Gestapo and the occupants arrested. It was speculated that the location of Walker, Nott and Carter may have being obtained through interrogation of the arrested individuals.
The next morning on the orders of Harders two cars were dispatched from the Sicherheitspolizei headquarters in ‘s-Hertogenbosch to raid 49 Diepenstraat. The cars arrived near to the address at about 1100 hrs and the occupants were detailed to surround 49 Diepenstraat to ensure no one escaped during the raid.
Cremer and Rösener were detailed by Hardegen* who was the leader of the raiding party, to go through the house to the left of 49 Diepenstraat and Hardegan went to 47 Diepenstraat; the other accused were detailed to take up various positions in the vicinity to guard against any possible routes of escape and in order to prevent the inhabitants of Tilburg from approaching 49 Diepenstraat.
* This may have been Paul Hardegen, an SS-Untersturmführer (Lt.) who, whilst at the Gestapo offices in Almelo, was implicated during the trial concerning the death of Fg.Off. Gerald Hood but was not before that court. It is not known why he was not before the court for this trial, however, testimony established that Hardegen was the deputy to Harders and still held the rank of SS-Untersturmführer.
Rotschopf and Schwanz went to 49 Diepenstraat and when Miss Pulskens opened the door Schwanz detained her whilst Rotschopf, with some sort of machine carbine in his hand, went through the house to the living room where the airmen were eating a meal.
Witnesses related that Miss Pulskens saw that the airmen offered no resistance and had raised their hands above their heads in surrender. With Rotschopf’s weapon trained on them they were backed up through the living room, through the kitchen and out towards the yard or garden (Platz) where without warning he fired his weapon at the airmen. Evidence was presented that Rotschopf was shouting with rage whilst he continued to fire his weapon into the bodies of two of the airmen as they lay dying on the ground.
Subsequent to the shooting, according to Rotschopf’s own statement, he was joined in the Platz by Hardegen and Cremer and that Cremer, after he had a discussion with Hardegen, shot each of the airmen in the head with his pistol.
Following the shooting Miss Leoni van Harssel, Miss Pulskens, Mr. Josephus L.M. van Eerdewyk, from 47 Diepenstraat, along with 5 men of the Dutch resistance were arrested.
They were taken to the police station at Tilburg, interrogated and deemed to be criminals. The fate of the 5 men from the resistance is unknown. The others were sent to Mariënhof and then to the Herzogenbusch concentration camp. Miss Pulskens was sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp were she was reported to have voluntarily taken the place of another woman who had children and died in the gas chambers during March 1945. Miss Leoni van Harssel was sent to Ravensbrück and then to Dachau. She was then evacuated to Waltershausen in Germany and was about to be killed but was saved when Waltershausen was liberated by US Forces.
The bodies of the airmen were covered with a Dutch flag supplied by Miss Pulskens. Prior to being taken away in ambulances to the local hospital an Inspector in the Ordnungspolizei (civil police), a Mr. J. Stevens photographed them and found identification details for Carter and Nott. He kept the negatives, which were used in the trial, but handed over the photographs to Hardegen. Subsequently their bodies were placed in coffins and taken to the Herzogenbusch concentration camp at Vught near ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The man who transported the bodies stated that he had waited there and that he left the camp with the empty coffins.
There are no known graves for the three airmen so it was assumed that their remains were cremated at the concentration camp.
Statements made by the accused claimed that the airmen had been shot because they had tried to escape. The court rejected this version of events and sentenced Rösener, Schwanz, Rotschopf and Cremer to death by hanging. All four were hanged on the 26th June 1947 at Hameln (Hamelin), three in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Schonfeld, Klingbeil, Brendle, Harders, Rafflenbeul and Koeny were acquitted of the charge. Koeny was mistakenly identified as being present during the raid at 49 Diepenstraat but it was established that he was on convalescent leave leading up to and on the day in question
Helen Gould visiting the Cenotaph in Brookville, Ontario, Canada and laying a wreath from the family of Fg.Off. Innis Lindsay Elwin Gould (courtesy Sheila Cheesman neé Gould)
Fg.Off. Glenn Hugh Blachford. Uden War Cemetery Grave 5.B.2. Inscription: “SLEEP, DEAR GLENN, TIL JESUS COMES. “I WILL FEAR NO EVIL: FOR THOU ART WITH ME””. Born on the 17th March 1917 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Son of Hugh and Lydia Blachford, of Colonsay, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Blachford Lake in Saskatchewan is named after Fg.Off. Blachford
Fg.Off. Roy Edward Carter MiD. Runnymede War Memorial Panel 245. Born on the 2nd March 1921. Son of John and Agnes Carter, of Burketon, Ontario, Canada.
Roy E. Carter Memorial Park is named after Fg.Off. Roy Edward Carter MiD
Fg.Off. Spencer William Lough. Uden War Cemetery Grave 5.B.1. Inscription: “NO GREATER SACRIFICE CAN BE MADE THAN A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS”. Born on the 5th February 1915. Son of William Frederick and Marion Leslie Lough, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Lough Lake in Manitoba is named after Fg.Off. Lough
Fg.Off. Innis Lindsay Elwin Gould. Uden War Cemetery Grave 5.A.7. Inscription: “GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS, THAT HE LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS”. Born on the 8th March 1925 in Renfrew, Ontario, Canada. Son of Innis and Helen Gould, of Brockville, Ontario, Canada. Posthumously promoted to Plt.Off. with a Service No. of J/90089.
For Kathleen Manning and her husband - relatives of Fg.Off. Lough. Also for Sheila Cheesman (née Gould) - relative of Fg.Off. Gould and to Tred Carter - brother of Fg.Off. Carter MiD. for his extensive research and photographs.