AR banner
Search for phrases in quotes eg "Alan Smith"

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the AddInfo button, or send us email from the Helpdesk.
148 Squadron Crest
03/04.07.1944 No. 148 Squadron Halifax B.II JP292 FS-W W/O. Charles T. Fairweather

Operation: Sombor, Yugoslavia, (Serbia)

Date: 3/4th July 1944

Unit: 148 Squadron RAF (Special Duties-SOE), Balkan Air Force

Type: Halifax B.II 

Serial No: JP292

Code: FS-W 

Base: Brindisi, Italy

Location: Backi Gracac. Serbia

Pilot: W/O. Charles Thomas Fairweather 656958 RAF Age 24. Killed

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Richard Jacques 1672823 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: P/O. Allen Haigh 182988 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. John Stanley Brown J/22188 RCAF Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Frederick Houghton 1146101 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr/Disp: Fl/Sgt. Leonard James Smith 1335857 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Easton 1568744 RAFVR Age 20. Killed


We are pleased to be able to offer the story of Fl/Sgt. Leonard James Smith as researched by Terry Maker. This remarkable 90 page article "Missing - believed killed" can be downloaded free of charge - please contact us.


Reason for Loss: 

Halifax JP292 FS-W, took off from Brindisi, Italy at 20:45, local time, Monday 3rd of July 1944, on Operation 401C, and failed to return.

JP292 was delivering supplies to Josip Broz Tito’s Partisans, in the vicinity of Sombor, (drop zone ‘Macmis’), when the aircraft was intercepted, and shot down by a night fighter, a Dornier D-o 217, piloted by Oblt, Johannes Krause, KC, of 6/NJG101, at 23:52, (local time), at Lat. 45.57.30.00 N, Long. 19.28.20.00 E, in present day Serbia, 35Km South Southeast of Sombor, and 3.5Km North Northeast of the town of Backi Gracac, in farmland. 

The aircraft, the crew, and the mission, were a total loss in the engagement. The nature of the ‘supplies’ still remains unknown, and the subject of conjecture. The crew’s remains were recovered by the German forces, and finally buried in Belgrade War Cemetery.

W/O. Fairweather, needed just 50 more hours of operational flying, to complete 300 hours, which would have been his second tour of duty. His Commanding Officer said of him: “(He), was one of the ‘Old Hands’ of the Squadron, and an extremely capable pilot, who could be relied upon to react well in any emergency.”

The ‘recovery’ of their story, after its loss for 65 years, owes itself to one ‘dog-eared’ photograph that raised interest, and had to be investigated.

Burial details: 

W/O. Charles Thomas Fairweather. Belgrade War Cemetery, Yugoslavia, Collective grave 1.E.1-7. Son of Charles and Catherine Fairweather, of North Shields, Northumberland, England.

Fl/Sgt. Richard Jacques. Belgrade War Cemetery. Collective grave 1.E.1-7. Son of George Jacques and Margaret Turnbull of Ashington, Northumberland, England.

P/O. Allen Haigh. Belgrade War Cemetery. Collective grave 1.E.1-7. Son of Mr Ernest, and Isabella Haigh, of Birkenhead, the Wirral, Cheshire, England.

F/O. John Stanley Brown. Belgrade War Cemetery. Collective grave 1.E.1-7. From Wetaskawin, Albert, Canada. No further details, are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Ronald Frederick Houghton. Belgrade War Cemetery. Collective grave 1.E.1-7. Son of Frederick and Clara Houghton, husband of Betty Houghton, of Blackpool, Lancashire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Leonard James Smith. Belgrade War Cemetery. Collective grave 1.E.1-7. Son of James and Margaret Smith, husband Of Ethel Annie Smith, of Coventry, England.

Fl/Sgt. John Easton. Belgrade War Cemetery. Collective grave 1.E.1-7. Son of John and Mary Cook Easton, of Dundee, Scotland.

Article prepared by Terry Maker, cousin of Fl/Sgt. Leonard James Smith. Terry runs the Operation Dark of the Moon Yahoo group about these specialised squadrons and more can be read on his website.

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.
Click any image to enlarge it
Do you have more information or corrections to this story? Use our AddInfo facility

Readers Interested In Further Reading:
More personal histories and associated material
Show Research Material
You can lay a wreath on this page to show your respect in an everlasting way.
Add us to your address book. Clickhere

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered
Last Modified: 21 April 2015, 23:00