22/23.04.1944 No. 429 Squadron Halifax III LV963 AL-V F/O. E.L. Howland
Date: 22/23rd April 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 429 Squadron (Bison)
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Leeming, Yorkshire
Location: Dusseldorf, Germany
Pilot: F/O. E.L. Howland 1068542 USAAF PoW details not available (note A)
Pilot 2: W/O.1 Donald Stewart Brillinger R/133764 RCAF Age 22. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Eric Arthur Goss 1605337 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Nav: W/O.2 Harold A. Findlater R/97899 RCAF PoW No. 4185 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Air/Bmr: P/O. Harley William Doiron J/90917 RCAF Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Chamberlain R/225022 RCAF PoW No. 3613 Camp:Stalag Luft Heydekrug (note B)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Osborne Young R/134821 RCAF Age ? Killed (1)
Air/Gnr: P/O. William Robert Adlard J/88714 RCAF Age 20. Killed (2)
Relatives of Sgt. Ron Chamberlain are being sought by a close friend of his - please see Note B
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Leeming, Yorkshire at 22:47 hrs. to join 595 aircraft to bomb Düsseldorf. 2,150 tons of bombs were dropped causing widespread destruction - 56 very large industrial premises and over 2,000 homes destroyed. Casualties on the ground amounted to 883 killed, 593 injured with many others classed as ‘missing’.
Nearly 600 heavy bombers went to Düsseldorf on the 22nd and crews returned to speak of extremely heavy night fighter activity. They recorded that fires could be seen as much as 110 miles away.
Losses to the allied bombers on this raid were huge with 29 aircraft being shot down resulting in 133 aircrew killed and a further 68 being made PoW.
The latest nightfighter war diaries prepared bu Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie list LV963 as possibly shot down by either Oblt. Peter Ehrhardt (3) of 8./NJG5 or Uffz. Herbert term Stegen (4) of 11./NJG5 both have it listed as coming down at 01:25 hrs with the target area of Düsseldorf.
429 Squadron lost another crew during this operation:
Halifax III LK802 AL-F Flow by 24 year old F/O. James Francis Fennessey j/25009 RCAF from Delacour, Alberta, Canada - killed with 2 other crew, 4 taken PoW. One of the crew taken prisoner, 21 year old F/O. Percy Bruce Crosswell J/88362 RCAF was shot whilst trying to escape on the 13th April 1945 from Stalag Luft Sagen and Belaria, he died the next day. He has no known grave, although some reports state that he had been buried within Luckeswilde, camp cemetery, but during floods of 1945 the graves were washed away!
Note A: It is understood that F/O. Howland was seriously injured during baling out and remained hospitalised.
Note B: The son of Lt. Col Reg Rekert, Roly Brown contacted us in April 2015. Ron Chamberlain had been his fathers batman, it is assumed after war end. He became very close to Ron, but after a time, circumstances dictated that they drifted apart. He knows that Ron returned to Canada, started a taxi business in Toronto - Ron died during a visit to the UK sometime in the 1990’s. Roly Brown would very much like to make contact with Rons family again.
(1) Young Island in Red Sucker Lake, Manitoba renamed after Sgt. James Young in 1995.
(2) Adlard Lake, west of Tadoule Lake, Manitoba renamed after P/O. William Adlard in 1975.
(3) This was the 16th abschüsse for Oblt. Peter Ehrhardt. Having a total of 21 claims credited to him, survived the war, died in Düsseldorf on the 5th May 1983, we have no further details.
(4) The 6th abschüsse for Uffz. Herbert term Stegen of the war. Killed the following month on the 15/16th May 1944 in a non-operational crash at Erfurt-Bindersleben. A total of 7 claims.
LV963 had been delivered by Handley Page (Cricklewood and Radlett) between 12th March 1944 and 4th April 1944.
Crew were initially buried at Nordfriedhof in Munich on the 25th April - reinterred after war end - details shown below.
W/O.1 Donald Stewart Brillinger. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 7.E.17. From Timmins, Ontario, Canada. Next of kin details not available, are you able to assist?
Sgt. Eric Arthur Goss. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 7.E.16. Son of Albert James Goss and Elizabeth Anne Goss, of Stamshaw, Portsmouth, England.
P/O. Harley William Doiron. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 7.D.4. From Brownsville Junction, Maine, USA. Next of kin details not available, are you able to assist? Understood to have a brother, Robert - living at Brownville Junction, Maine, USA.
Sgt. James Osborne Young. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 7.A.12. From Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Next of kin details not available, are you able to assist?
P/O. William Robert Adlard. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 7.E.13. Son of Alfred Charles and Alice Jane Adlard, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
For further details our thanks to sources quoted below and also to Roly Brown who contacted us reading this loss. Also to James Stewart who contacted us informing of the details of P/O. Doiron.