10/11.08.1944 No. 613 Squadron Mosquito NT126 F/O. Cohen (Stevens)
Operation: Night intruder
Date: 10/11th August 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 613 'City of Manchester' Squadron (motto: Semper parati - 'Always ready')
Type: Mosquito VI
Base: RAF Lasham, Hampshire
Location: Breux-sur-Avre, France
Pilot: F/O. Robbert Simon Cohen BK. DFC. (Robert Stevens) 149822 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Peter George Deaves DFM. 658425 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
F/O. Cohen escaped from Netherlands from Katwijk, Holland in a foldable canoe on the 20th June 1941 with a fellow student, Coen de Iongh (1). Picked up by a RN Minesweeper off the coast of Lowestoft, Suffolk. Arrived in the UK on the 23rd June 1941. During service with the RAF used the name Robert Stevens whilst serving in case he was made PoW. His parents and younger brother were killed in concentration camps.
On the 11th April 1944 this crew, along with others from 613 Squadron bombed Kleykamp House. In 1941 the German army expropriated the building and the civil registration files of the city of The Hague were moved into the building. The files contained information on the entire population, including their religion, profession, family information and addresses.The Nazis used the data to identify and persecute Jewish civilians and resistance fighters. It was then decided that the allied forces had to bomb the building.
The bombing was executed by 6 Mosquitoes from 613 Squadron of the RAF, of which all the pilots were Dutch refugees. The bombing was only a partial success, since half of the files survived. As a result of the bombing, hundreds of people in hiding and resistance fighters, could be provided with forged identification papers. (During the bombing, 61 employees of Kleykamp were killed. 23 were injured. All pilots returned to base.)
During a night intruder operation they were shot down by anti-aircraft fire at location shown.
(1) P/O. Conrad Theodore de Iongh was later missing - believed killed on the 10th June 1943 flying Spitfire BM379 VL-Y whilst with 167 squadron. Further details here.
Fl/Sgt. Deaves DFM Citation - 05th September 1944:
'As observer this airman has taken part in a large number of sorties, involving attacks on air- fields, railway installations, mechanical transport and other military targets both by day and night. He has displayed great skill and co-operation and his excellent work has contributed in good measure to the successes obtained. He has set a fine example to all'.
F/O. Cohen DFC awarded on the 22nd July 1944, on the night of 14/15 July, Cohen bombed a train at Fontainebleau that consisted of sixty wagons with fuel. Bronzen Kruis (BK) awarded on the 06th November 1941 for his brave escape from occupied Holland.
Initially at Breux-sur-Avre Communal Cemetery, where Fl/Sgt. Deaves DFM still rests, but F/O. Cohen reinterred in Holland post war.
F/O. Robbert Simon Cohen DFC. Orry-La-Ville Netherlands Field Of Honour. Plot C. Row 3. Grave 3. Born on the 24th July 1922 at Rotterdam, Netherlands. His 49th operational sortie with 126 flying hours logged.
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Peter George Deaves DFM. Breux-Sur-Avre Communal Cemetery. Grave 1. Son of Thomas and Minnie Deaves (née Neep) of Worlington Post Office, Suffolk, England. (The post office closed in 2004 following an armed robbery)
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the late Rob Philips who was a meticulous researcher into Dutch aviators who were listed as killed or missing during WW 2. We were entrusted to make his work available to be read by others before he passed away in 2010. This has been presented as 'Lost' his archive and can be seen here. More about Rob, the person here. Also to 'Undying Memory' website for personal details on Fl/Sgt. Deaves.