16/17.06.1944 No 431 Squadron Halifax III NA514 SE-B F/O. Glenn H. Blatchford
Operation: Sterkrade, Germany
Date: 16/17th June 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 431 Squadron RCAF
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Croft, Yorkshire
Location: Nistelrode, Holland
Pilot: F/O. Glenn Hugh Blachford J/27913 RCAF Age 27. Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Jock Kennedy 1796561 RAFVR PoW No: 269 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankau-Kreulberg
Nav: F/O. Roy Edward Carter MiD. J/28855 RCAF Age 23. Murdered - missing (2)
Air/Bmr: F/O. Spencer William Lough J/20830 RCAF Age 29. Killed (3)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Tom Masdin ('Moose') RCAF PoW No: 470 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankau-Kreulberg
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Don H. Hattey ('Panama') R/112861 RCAF PoW No: 220 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankau-Kreulberg
Air/Gnr: F/O. Innis Lindsay Elwin Gould ('Harry') J/90089 RCAF Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 22:24 Hrs from RAF Croft, Yorkshire. Part of a 321 aircraft raid on Sterkrade synthetic-oil plant in Northern Germany. 162 Halifaxes, 147 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes left to find the target area covered by a thick cloud and the markers dropped by the pathfinders very quickly disappeared. The main bomber force could do very little but bomb the demising 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: F/O. Blachford, F/O. Lough, F/O. Carter M.I.D., F/O. Gould, Sgt. Hattey and Sgt. Masdin (Sgt. Kennedy not shown)
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: F/O. Roy Carter M.I.D., F/O. 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 F/O. Innis Gould
F/O. Roy Edward Carter MiD. evaded capture initially but then captured and shot on the 8th July in Tilburg area. (5) His grave has never been found, commemorated on the Runnymede War Memorial. The news of his death reached the allied authorities via Sgt Masdin who is thought to have also initially evaded capture.
Halifax NA514 was shot down by Oblt. Josef Nabrich (4) 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.
The body of FlO Glenn Blachford was still in the pilot's seat while that of F/O. 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 (nicknamed 'Harry') Gould, had no chance of escape and his body was found in the wreck.
431 Squadron were hit hard on this operation losing some 4 aircraft with crews. The others:
Halifax III LK837 SE-L - Flown by P/O. Elmer O. Johnson RCAF killed with 5 other members of his crew, 1 managed to evade capture.
Halifax III MZ520 SE-O - Flown by P/O. Alan G. Fairless RCAF killed with 5 other members of his crew, 1 taken pow.
Halifax III MZ537 SE-H - Flown by Fl/Lt. M.M. Johnstone RCAF all crew taken PoW.
(1) Blachford Lake in Saskatchewan is named after F/O. Blachford
(2) Roy E. Carter Memorial Park is named after F/O. Roy Edward Carter MiD.
(3) Lough Lake in Manitoba is named after F/O. Lough
(4) Oblt. Josef Nabrich lost his life on the 27th November 1944 at Münster-Handorf airfield during a strafing attack.
(5) The Gestapo who carried out this act were eventually tracked down and tried by a British Military Court - 4 of the 10 Gestapo were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death by hanging in September 1946 - the sentence was carried out, Cremer, Roesener, Rotschopf and Schwanz were hung on Friday, 5th September 1947.
Helen Gould visiting the Cenotaph in Brookville, Ontario, Canada and laying a wreath from the family of F/O. Innis Lindsay Elwin Gould (courtesy Sheila Cheesman neé Gould)
F/O. Glenn Hugh Blachford. Uden War Cemetery Grave 5.B.2. Son of Hugh and Lydia Blachford, of Colonsay, Saskatchewan, Canada.
F/O. Roy Edward Carter MiD. Runnymede War Memorial Panel 245. Son of John and Agnes Carter, of Burketon, Ontario, Canada.
F/O. Spencer William Lough. Uden War Cemetery Grave 5.B.1. Son of William Frederick and Marion Leslie Lough, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
F/O. Innis Lindsay Elwin Gould. Uden War Cemetery Grave 5.A.7. Son of Innis and Helen Gould, of Brockville, Ontario, Canada.
For Kathleen Manning and her husband - relatives of F/O. Spencer William Lough. Also for Sheila Cheesman (née Gould) - relative of F/O. Innis Lindsay Elwin Gould and to Tred Carter - brother of F/O. Roy Edward Carter MiD. for his extensive research and photographs.