24.12.1944 No. 438 Squadron MP178 F3-H P/O. Breen
Date: 24th December 1944 (Sunday)
Unit: 438 Squadron RCAF (Wild Cats - motto; ‘Going Down’)
Type: Typhoon Ib
Base: ALG B-78 Eindhoven
Location: Bullange (Büllingen)
Pilot: P/O. Roy Frederick Breen J/92935 RCAF Age 21. Killed
We are extremely grateful to François Dutil (438 Squadron Archivist) for supplying photographs and information to Aircrew Remembered in October 2017. All photographs shown within this page are available to relatives at a higher resolution - courtesy of François.
REASON FOR LOSS:
During a patrol hit by ant-aircraft fire and crashed at Bullange (Büllingen). Another pilot was lost from the squadron on the same operation - again hit by flak, coming down north west of Dahlem. 23 year old, F/O. Dean Jerome Washburn J/29339 RCAF - killed, flying Typhoon Ib MP186 F3-V.
Francois Dutil explains more about the photo shown below: "Roy Breen was considered by his squadron mates one of the nicest guys ever, he had no enemy and was universally liked. This photo, pulls at my heart strings because Andy Lord (438 Sqd 44-45) told me about the day this photo was taken".
"It was at the Christmas dinner (24th December 1944 at B.78 Eindhoven) 143 Wing personnel had set up for the starving local Dutch children. Wing personnel had saved the foodstuffs sent from home and the cooks had gone all out with some turkeys sent from HQ. Just as they heard the trucks carrying the children entering the base, the base surgeon showed up and explained the danger of giving such food and in such abundance to children who had been on starvation rationing for so long, in borderline panic, these airmen who themselves had lived on almost nothing but Brussels sprouts for months opened the back doors and threw everything out the doors burying the feast in the snow, turkeys, cakes, the lot.
In a matter of a few short minutes, the warm and toasty hall filled with the aroma of a feast was barren and cold. All Wing personnel enjoyed a nice bowl of bland soup with the children with a few pieces of bread. Games had been organised for the children but they found them to be so weak they couldn’t really participate, so the Canadians sat them in luges and sleds made from planking and pulled them in mock races, others carried them on their shoulders in similar races. It was a wonderful day filled with smiles especially when toys and teddy bears sent from Canadian families were given out".
This photo was taken during that dinner… Roy Breen was killed that very afternoon a mere a few short hours later…
After note: Many years later the researcher, Francois Dutil, whilst based at Geilenkirchen Germany on NATO/AWACS, he was part of a remembrance ceremony at Eindhoven and actually met a few locals who had been there as children. When they heard some 438/439/440 squadron personnel were present they sought us out and it was just a deluge of thanks and hugs, a regular tear fest… he has never forgotten that.
P/O. Roy Frederick Breen. Hotton War Cemetery Grave: VIII.F.9. Son of Fred Breen and of Vera Irene Breen (née Vickerman), of Comber, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “He Gave His Life That We Might Live. He Lives In Our Memory For Ever”.
F/O. Dean Jerome Washburn. Hotton War Cemetery Grave: V.A.7. Son of Lenox Francis and Teresa Louise Washburn, of Fernie, British Columbia, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “God Lead Me On Through The Boundless Skies, My Certain Flight”.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Francois Dutil, other sources as quoted below: