20.09.1940 No. 75 Squadron Wellington IC T2463 AA-E P/O. Braun
Operation: Invasion barges, Channel ports.
Date: 20th September 1940 (Friday)
Unit: 75 Squadron
Location: Ostend, Belgium
Pilot: P/O. Michael Ryves Braun 42390 RAF Age 19. Killed
Pilot: Sgt. Alfred Joseph Green 741824 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Lindsay Douglas Anderson 391321 RNZAF Age 20. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Joseph Edward McCormick 580801 RAF Age 25. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Lewis Alan White (D.F.M.) 62613 RAF Age 20. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Norman McDonald 755134 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
The aircraft took off at 21.15 hrs from Feltwell, Norfolk to bomb the invasion barges moored in channel ports. The aircraft was hit by AA fire from Alpha battery sited west of Ostend. As a result of which the aircraft caught fire and crashed in flames at 23.00 hrs that evening.
The son of Sgt. Green, Michael, takes up the story:
'My father, Sgt Alfred Joseph Green, RAFVR was 2nd pilot of Wellington T2463, A-EE, on the night of 19th September 1940, out of RAF Feltwell, Norfolk, to bomb the invasion barges moored in Channel ports, etc, at that critical period.
His aircraft was hit by AA fire from Alpha Battery sited to the West of Ostend, as a result of which the aircraft caught fire and crashed in flames at 23.00 hours that night. The impact point is now slightly inside the boundary of Ostende International airport, beneath a grassed area, believed to be at a depth of about 5 metres.
L-R: Sgt. Robert Noden (2nd pilot), F/O Donald Mackay DFM (navigator), F/O Neville Williams DFC (pilot), Sgt. Harold Smith (wireless operator), Sgt Lewis Alan White DFM (rear gunner). This was Alan White's usual crew but he was "borrowed" by the T2463 crew because of his excellent gunner skills. The pilot and captain that night, P/O. Michael R. Braun (Austrian extraction) alone baled out and landed within the small town of Leffinge, just West of Ostende. He was severely wounded, apparently, according to locals who recall the incident, by small arms fire from the occupying forces. He died from his injuries in Ostende Municiple Hospital that same night. The other 5 crew, consisting of distressingly few physical remains, were buried in one coffin in Leffinge churchyard. The costs for all that was involved to attempt recovery and organise a funeral as best they were able, were totally borne by the local people of Leffinge (I have copies of the invoices).
In 1957, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission exhumed the grave and reburied the 5 remains in Adegem Canadian Commonwealth War Cemetary, in 5 plots with headstones. Michael Braun remains where he was interred in 1940, in Ostende Municiple Cemetery.
Left above, Sgt. Alfred Joseph Green - Co-pilot with his son, Michael Green. Right, shows the pilot of T2463, P/O. Michael Ryves Brau
Left picture, Sgt. Norman McDonald shown in the centre - other crew members awaiting positive identification. Middle picture show Sgt. Lindsay Anderson on the extreme left, with 2nd from the right Joe Gaunt (from another crew) during training with the RNZAF The final picture shown is also Sgt. Lindsay Anderson.
Michael Green approached a 'Society' with the purpose to perhaps recover the wreckage and examine the possibility of recovering the crew. Sadly, it was handled badly and this has not taken place. Wings Museum offered to take over the recovery, however the so-called 'Society' made further progress impossible by being difficult.
Left - original grave marker. (courtesy Michael Green)
P/O. Michael Ryves Braun. Oostende New Communal Cemetery Plot 9. Row 4. Grave 3. Son of Walter W and Mariquila (nee Ryves) Wimbledon, Surrey, England. Grave inscription reads: "… And Left The Vivid Air Signed With Their Honour".
Sgt. Alfred Joseph Green. Adegem Canadian War Cemetery Coll. grave XII. H. 1-5. Son of Mary and Thomas, husband of Agnes Theresa of New Costessey, Norwich, England. Father of Michael Francis Bernard Green and Phillppa Mary. Grave inscription reads: "R.I.P.".
Sgt. Lindsay Douglas Anderson. Adegem Canadian War Cemetery Coll. grave XII. H. 1-5. Son of Robert Douglas and Stella Margaret of Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.
Sgt. Joseph Edward McCormick. Adegem Canadian War Cemetery Coll. grave XII. H. 1-5. Son of Joseph and Emily of Southsea, Hampshire,England. Grave inscription reads: "Passed On To The Higher Life".
Sgt. Lewis Alan White (DFM). Adegem Canadian War Cemetery Coll. grave XII. H. 1-5. Son of Mr and Mrs H.C. White of Derby, England. Grave inscription reads: "Everlasting Remembrance Of Our Dear Son. Mam, Dad And Family".
Sgt. Norman McDonald. Adegem Canadian War Cemetery Coll. grave XII. H. 1-5. Son of Charles and Margaret of Dundee, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: "Loved Dearly In Life And Living Yet In The Hearts Of Those Who Will Never Forget".
With thanks to the following: Michael Green, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol 1', The CWGC. Thanks to Chris Newey for the identification of the airmen In the crew photograph.