14/15.02.1943 No. 158 Squadron Halifax II DT694 NP-N Sq/Ldr. Fletcher DFM. DFC.
Date: 14/15th February 1943 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: No. 158 Squadron
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Rufforth, Yorkshire
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. William Fletcher DFM. DFC. 44063 RAF Age 29. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Ernest Jackson 946859 RAFVR PoW No: 27535 Camp: Stalag Teschen and Stalag Lamsdorf (1)
Nav: Sgt. Harry Kay DFM. 1375551 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Lt. Moire Alphonse Jean Pierre 133525 RAFVR Age 25. Evaded capture (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. George Henry Miller DFM. 50188 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Henry Bousfield 1339908 RAFVR Age 27. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Cecil Howe 1416423 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Wim van der Hoeven would very much like to obtain photographs of the crew as they wish to have a memorial service in 2018 - the 75th year of the loss. Relatives are invited to contact him through our help desk.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 18:18 hrs. from RAF Rufforth in Yorkshire, 243 aircraft taking part in this operation attacking Köln between 20.04 hrs. and 20.41 hrs. All 9 aircraft lost were victims of the night fighters attacking in bright moonlight conditions.
During the return flight they were attacked and shot down by Lt. Johannes Hager (3) with his Bordfunker Uffz. Leda of 6./NJG1 flying Bf110 F-4at 20:42hrs 1 km south west of Mechelen. They attacked from behind at close range of 70 metres and brought down the Halifax with a single burst of cannon fire.
It is reported that they were also hit by anti-aircraft fire after the encounter with the Bf110. Later reports state that Sgt. Jackson that 4 of those killed were to lose their life from the subsequent attack from the anti-aircraft fire. Sgt. Kay was preparing to jump but went down with the aircraft.
The survivors landed together but the ankle of Sgt. Jackson had been broken during the jump and decided that to avoid hampering the escape of Fl/Lt. Pierre that he should surrender to receive the medical treatment he needed.
(1) Sgt. Ernest Jackson after treatment for his injuries he was initially held in Stalag Teschen where he escaped and evaded for 8 days - then recaptured and sent to Stalag Lamsdorf.
(2) Fl/Lt. Moire Alphonse Jean Pierre was the Squadrons Bomber Leader, from Ilford, England of Belgian parents. Arrived back at RAF Hendon after great assistance from the Comet Line on the 20th April 1943. Sadly he passed away in 1978 and never saw the memorial that Leo Peerboom instigated.
(3) This was the 1st claim of Lt. Johannes Hager. He survived the war as a top ace with over 48 confirmed claims. Died, September 2nd 1993, age 72.
Initially the crew killed were buried at Venlo, removed to Jonkerbos War Cemetery at the end of the war.
Sq/Ldr. William Fletcher DFM. DFC. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Coll. grave 12. E. 2-5. Son of William and Nora Fletcher and husband of Edna Blanche Fletcher, of Nottingham, England.
Sgt. Harry Kay DFM. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Coll. grave 12. E. 2-5. Son of Kaplin and Dora Kay. No further details - are you able to assist?
P/O. George Henry Miller DFM. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Coll. grave 12. E. 2-5. From Knottingley, Yorkshire, England, but no further details - are you able to assist?
Sgt. John Henry Bousfield. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Coll. grave 12. E. 2-5. Son of Adam William Bousfield and of Margaret Ann Bousfield (née Longstaffe) and husband of May Victoria Bousfield, of West Ewell, Surrey, England.
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Cecil Howe. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 12. E. 1. Son of Charles Albert and Catherine Jane Howe, of Kingsbury, Middlesex, England.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Wim van der Hoeven who sent the photos of the memorial. Leo Peerboom who instigated the memorial and to sources as shown below.