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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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429 squadron badge
19/20.02.1944 No. 429 Squadron Halifax V LK993 AL-J Fl/Lt. Bowen

Operation: Leipzig

Date: 19/20th February 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 429 Squadron RCAF

Type: Halifax V

Serial: LK993

Code: AL-J

Base: RAF Leeming, Yorkshire

Location: State Forest, Gardelegen, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Jack Bowen 122988 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Pilot 2: P/O. Clifford Battison Murray J/87658 (R/130360) RCAF Age 26. Killed

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Maurice Edward Bridewell 1394634 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: F/O. Henry Francis Blackman 134380 RAFVR Age 31. Killed (1)

Air/Bmr: P/O. Albert Carmen Forsyth J/19817 RCAF Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Anderson Brown 1367292 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Milton Ray Smoke R/169663 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Patrick Anthony Gilfeather 1371853 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 23:16 hrs from RAF Leeming to attack the city of Leipzig together with 822 other aircraft (561 Lancasters, 255 Halifaxes. 7 Mosquitoes)

A very sad day for Bomber Command - they had though that the German controllers would send their night-fighter to the diversionary raid on Kiel Bay but when this bomber stream crossed the Dutch coast they were met by a larger force of the night fighters (some that had left for the Kiel diversionary raid returned) They were then under attack all the way to the target.

The winds had not been as forecasted and a number of the bombers had to circle the target waiting for the pathfinders during this period they lost 4 aircraft in collisions and a further 20 from the heavy flak.

The target was cloud covered and the pathfinders had to use the sky-marking technique. No details regarding the effect of the bombing were available.

LK993 was intercepted at 6,000 mtrs over Gardelegen and shot down "probably" by Lt. Otto Keller (2) of 9./NJG5 at 03:12 hrs.(See Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site)

Albert Carmen Forsyth J/19817 RCAF with his bride Jean Nina

Two other aircraft were lost on this operation from 429 Squadron:
Halifax V LK662 AL-Q flown by F/O. Leslie Fincham killed with two other members of his crew - four others survived as PoW.
Halifax V LK974 AL-Z flown by Fl/Lt. John Stephen killed with all but one of the crew - he survived also to become a PoW.

Poppy painting (courtesy Dorothy Murray)

I’ve wanted to paint poppies for a while now, and I finally unpacked my painting supplies, (it was a long month without them!) And it happens to be Remembrance Day so I figured it was the perfect time to try it!
I painted this for my dad. (Can you see the hidden paper plane in the sky? I thought that would be an interesting touch!) Dorothy Murray - Grandaughter of Clifford Battison Murray




Target Token (shown right) presented for accurate bombing of the target Hamburg on the 29/30th July 1943. Taking off in Wellington HE365 at 22:35 hrs and returning at 04:31 hrs. Target bombed at 01:06 at 16,000 ft. Crew: P/O. Bowen, Sgt. Posner, Sgt. Forsyth, Sgt. Brown and Sgt Gilfeather.

Below: P/O. Albert Carmen Forsyth taken during training.

Burial details:

Initially buried at the Prisoners Cemetery at Zienac, Gardelegen.

Fl/Lt. Jack Bowen. Berlin War Cemetery Grave 9.G.14. Son of Henry Robert and Ada Alice Bowen. Joined squadron on 27th May 1943 from 23 Operational Training Unit. Grave inscription reads “Lift Up Yours Hearts.” He also lost his brother on the 16th November 1916, G/7140 Pte. Harry Cecil Bowen - 1st (Home Service) Garrison Bn of the Buffs (East Kent Regiment) Buried at the Chichester Cemetery. Grave 121.53.

P/O. Clifford Battison Murray. Berlin War Cemetery Grave 9.G.17. Son of James R. Murray and Florence Murray, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, husband of Dorothy Jean Murray. Joined squadron on 12th February 1944. Grave inscription reads “Rest In Peace.”

Fl/Sgt. Maurice Edward Bridewell. Berlin War Cemetery Joint Grave 9.G.18-19. No further details as yet. Joined squadron 01st October 1943 from 427 squadron.

F/O. Henry Francis Blackman. Berlin War Cemetery Grave 9.G.16. Son of Pte. Walter Culip Blackman (2) and of Alice Louisa Blackman, of Newport, Isle of Wight. Member of the Pharmaceutical Society. Joined squadron on 18th June 1943 from 23 Operational Training Unit. Grave inscription reads “Remembrance For Ever. Mother.”

P/O. Albert Carmen Forsyth. Berlin War Cemetery Grave 9.G.13. Son of Albert Edwin and Catherine Forsyth, husband of Jean Nina Forsyth, of Southgate, Middlesex, England. Joined squadron on the 27th May 1943 from 23 Operational Training Unit. Grave inscription reads “For Ever In Our Hearts.”

Sgt. Thomas Anderson Brown. Berlin War Cemetery Joint Grave 9.G.18-19. Son of John R. Brown and Ann Anderson Brown, of Cardenden, Fife, Scotland. Joined squadron on the 27th May 1943 from 23 Operational Training Unit. Grave inscription reads “Not Just Today But Every Day In Silence We Remember.”

Sgt. Milton Ray Smoke. Berlin War Cemetery Grave 9.G.12. Son of Frank Smoke, and of Ethel Smoke, of Simcoe, Ontario, Canada. Joined squadron 10th September 1943 from 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit. Grave inscription reads “To The Memory Of A Loving Son And Brother. Mother And Sisters.”

Fl/Sgt. Patrick Anthony Gilfeather. Berlin War Cemetery Grave 9.G.15. Son of Patrick and Mary Gilfeather, of Glasgow, Scotland. Joined squadron on the 23rd June 1943. Grave inscription reads “Sadly Missed By His Mum, Dad And Brother Frank. R.I.P.”

(1) His father was killed in the first world war. 33 year old, Rifleman Walter Culip Blackman 943 2nd Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps. Killed in action in France, 1st October, 1914. Son of John and Eliza Jane Blackman, husband of Alice L. Blackman, of Mitchells Rd., Haylands, Ryde, Isle of Wight. Born at Fulham, London, England. Buried at Vendresse British Cemetery Troyon Churchyard. Memorial No. 13.
(2) Lt. Otto Keller survived the war, becoming an ace with 12 night kills and a further day kill. (See Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site)

For John Barnden, Dorothy Murray, Robin Battison, Jason Little, Geraldine Louch and all relatives of the crew. With thanks to the following: Uwe Jenrich and Peter Drysdale for grave photographs, also thanks to Keith Brown for information and photographs of the pilot, Fl/Lt. Jack Bowen - August 2016. February 2017 - Pat Gilfeather contacted us with photo of Fl/Sgt. Patrick Anthony Gilfeather. Other sources as quoted below.

KTY 07.02.2017 Photos added and new information.

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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Last Modified: 07 February 2017, 14:45