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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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438 Squadron Crest
24.12.1944 No. 438 Squadron MP178 F3-H P/O. Breen

Operation: Patrol

Date: 24th December 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: 438 Squadron RCAF (Wild Cats - motto; ‘Going Down’)

Type: Typhoon Ib

Serial: MP178

Code: F3-H

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.

Burial details:

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:

KTY - 29.10.2017 - Updated 27.01.2018

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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), 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', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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