11/12.11.1943 No. 35 Squadron Halifax II HR985 TL-A P/O. Ronald W. Daniel
Date: 11/12th November 1943 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 35 Squadron
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Graveley, Cambridgeshire.
Location: Gacé, France
Pilot: P/O. Ronald William Daniel AUS/413833 RAAF Age ? Evaded
Pilot U/T: Fl/Lt. John Muir Candlish J/4894 RCAF Age 25. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. W. Phipps 622605 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Nav: P/O. John Wilfred Harrison J/18220 RCAF Age 28. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Lt. Leslie Dennis Hosking 136064 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Albert John Thomson 1077841 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: F/O. Donald Wood 151237 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
Air/Gnr: W/O2. Frank George Bell R/62147 RCAF Age 24. Killed
Relatives would very much like further information and photographs of this loss - please contact us and your details will be forwarded.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 18:33 hrs from RAF Graveley in Cambridgeshire to attack the railway and marshalling yards at Cannes.
The outward trip uneventful despite a clear night for the 134 bombers taking part. The bombing was not a success with most of the target escaping damage. The main bombing hit the suburbs with 39 people killed on the ground. The French press, (under German control) reported that ‘the RAF were pure savages and created nothing but murder’.
Having bombed the area the bomber stream made their way home the very tired crews were then subject to an onslaught from the Luftwaffe night fighters, claiming 4 aircraft. HR985 was attacked and shot down by Uffz. Herbert Frass (1) of 2./NJG2 - his second abscüsse of the war. The aircraft came down in the area of Gacé at 00:58hrs. P/O. managed to bale out of the aircraft coming down in the area of Echauffour, evaded capture and returned to England on the 24th March 1944 arriving at Dartmouth on MGB503 on operation Bonaparte V. Some 30 passengers collected including 26 airman (5 RAF, 21 USAAF).
The squadron lost two other aircraft on this operation:
Halifax II HR798 TL-R Flown by Fl/Lt. W.C. Dallas. Shot down by Uffz. Werner Edelman (2) (his first claim) also from 2./NJG2 crashing at 01:30 hrs near Lisieux, France. 4 of the crew were made PoW, 2 others evaded with 20 year old Sgt. Dennis George Button 1516920 RAFVR losing his life and buried at the same cemetery as the crew of HR985.
Halifax II HR929 TL-E Flown by F/O. J.R. Petrie-Anderson DFC. DFM. Ditched off the island of Sardinia where all the crew rescued.
(1) Uffz. Herbert Frass - No further details but understood to be his final claim of the war.
(2) Uffz. Werner Edelman - this was also his final claim, killed on the 04th February 1944 in a crash at Tavaux during a transit flight.
Crew graves at St. Desir War Cemetery.
Fl/Lt. John Muir Candlish. St. Desir War Cemetery. Grave VII.E.2. Son of Robert Fairlie Candlish, and of Eva Ethel Candlish, of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada. Grave inscription reads: ‘Though He Were Dead, Yet Shall He Live.’
Sgt. W. Phipps. St. Desir War Cemetery. Grave VII.E.6. No further details - are you able to assist?
P/O. John Wilfred Harrison. St. Desir War Cemetery. Grave VII.E.5. Son of John Vivian and Anna Stella Harrison, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Grave inscription reads: ‘They Will Be Done.’
Fl/Lt. Leslie Dennis Hosking. St. Desir War Cemetery. Grave VII.E.7. Son of William Charles and Alice Maud Hosking, of Battersea, London, England. Grave inscription reads: ‘At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them.’
Grave photographs very kindly supplied by John Hughes - February 2016. Should any relative like to receive a higher resolution copy, John has agreed that I can pass it on. Also shown is the grave of Sgt. Dennis George Button, see below.
Fl/Sgt. Albert John Thomson. St. Desir War Cemetery. Grave VII.E.3. Further information (supplied by John Gow Hughes - February 2016) Born on the 20th October 1921 in Blackpool the son of Samuel and Agnes Nelson (née McGarvie) they married in Southport 1917. The mother moved to Scotland between 1922 - 1924 met and married Joseph Thomson (no details as yet what happened to Samuel Nelson) Albert was never formally adopted but he used the Thomson name. Albert enlisted in the HLI ( Highland Light Infantry ) a famous old Scottish fighting unit, they specifically recruited from Glasgow. Enlisted on the 22nd June 1939 but was discharged on the 6th October 1939 as Medically unfit, a total of 107 days. He must have enlisted into the RAFVR sometime between 1940 - 1942, I do know he was at Honeybourne and Marston Moor but no further details on this.
F/O. Donald Wood. St. Desir War Cemetery. Grave VII.E.1. Son of Arthur Francis and Edith Wood, of Harborne, Birmingham, England. Grave inscription reads: ‘God Give Me Work Till My Life Shall End, And Life Till My Work Is Done.’
W/O2. Frank George Bell. St. Desir War Cemetery. Grave VII.E.4. Son of Joseph and Florence Louise Bell (née Rodger), husband of Dorothy Bell (née Martin), of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. Brother to Ilene Louise. Grave inscription reads: ‘Given You Life For Us, That We Might Live.’Other:
Sgt. Dennis George Button. St. Desir War Cemetery. Grave VIII.C.9. Son of Thomas and Annie Button, of Lenton Abbey, Nottingham, England. Grave inscription reads: ‘The Lord Said Blessed He Who Layeth Down His Life For His Friends.’
For further details our thanks to John Hughes, relative of Fl/Sgt. Thomson. Further details from sources shown.