30/01.04.1945 No. 37 Squadron Liberator KH245 LF-H Fl/Lt. Cave
Operation: Graz Marshalling Yards
Date: 31/01st April 1945 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 37 Squadron 205 Group (motto: 'Wise without eyes')
Type: Liberator VI
Base: Foggia /Tortorella
Location: Vinica (now in Slovenia - on border with Croatia)
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Verner Grenville Cave NZ/415059 RNZAF Age 26. Killed
Pilot: F/O. Evelyn Bridge 155378 RAFVR Age 31. Evaded capture
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Harry Alfred Charles Crisp 187200 RAFVR Age 32. Killed
Nav: P/O. Leslie Innes 195105 RAFVR Age 24. Evaded capture
Air/Bmr: F/O. C.G. Wing 54277 RAFVR Age 25. Evaded capture
W/Op: Fl/Lt. Donald David Kimber AUS/425414 RAAF Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Reginald Adams 1292772 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Robert Reginald Attreed 1629868 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.J. Cummings 2211495 RAFVR Age 20. Evaded capture
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 17:30 hrs to bomb the rail yards at Graz in Austria, some 87 aircraft taking part and this, the only one lost!
Understood to have been shot down by a Ju88 - the initial attack rendered the rudder controls useless and the pilot was unable to carry out further 'corkscrew' manoeuvres. Although he tried various tactics to avoid a second attack, the aircraft was hit again. Fires broke out within the aircraft and it was clear that it was doomed. The pilot instructed the crew to abandon the Liberator. Shortly after the order was given the aircraft exploded in the air.
Four of the crew survived by baling out at around 9,000 ft and although suffered burns managed to return to RAF lines with the assistance of brave Yugoslavian partisans on the 04th April.
Initially buried at Vojnavac cemetery - reinterred at Belgrade after the end of hostilities.
Fl/Lt. Verner Grenville Cave. Belgrade War Cemetery. Grave 8.D.2. Born on the 06th May 1918 at Dargaville, the son of Milton Knight Cave and Stella May Cave (née Coxhead), of 2 Anzac Avenue, Whakatane, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 1,310 flying hours logged and having completed some 32 operational sorties. The family suffered the loss of his brother earlier in the war piloting Blenheim IV T2246 on the 31st October 1940. All three crew lost their lives over England.
Fl/Lt. Donald David Kimber. Belgrade War Cemetery. Grave 8.D.1. Born on the 30th April 1923 at Queensland, the son of Lewis Joseph and Mary Elizabeth Kimber, of Toowong, Queensland, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "Nobly And Fearlessly He Voluntarily Gave His Life".
Fl/Sgt. H.Harry Alfred Charles Crisp. Belgrade War Cemetery. Grave 8.D.3. Son of Harry Edward and Rose Maud Crisp, husband of Louisa Ellen Crisp, of Tottenham, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "The Trial Is Hard We'll Not Complain But Trust In Christ To Meet Again".
Fl/Sgt. Reginald Adams. Belgrade War Cemetery. Grave 8.D.4-5. Son of Charles and Alice Maud Adams, of Beckenham, Kent, England. Grave inscription reads: "His Memory Is Our Greatest Treasure In Our Hearts He Lives For Ever".
Fl/Sgt. Robert Reginald Attreed. Belgrade War Cemetery. Grave 8.D.4-5. Son of William and Agnes Louisa Attreed, of Plaistow, Essex, England. Grave inscription reads: "To The World He Was One, But To Us All The World".
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: