14.10.1944 No.425 RCAF Sqdn. Halifax III MZ674 KW-N F/L Jean Galipeau DFC
Operation: Duisburg - Operation Hurricane
Date: 14 October
Unit: No.425 RCAF Squadron (Alouette)
Type: Handley Page Halifax III
Base: RAF Tholthorpe, Yorkshire
Location: Bracht, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Jean Galipeau, DFC J/36436 RCAF PoW No.8369 Stalag
Luft 4 Sagan and Belaria
Flt/Eng: P/O Francis Harvey Eade,
C/95153, RCAF Age 21. Killed
Nav: F/O Dell Alfred Butler, J/36829 RCAF
Age 34. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/Sgt. Charles Frederick Williamson, RCAF PoW No.1088 Stalag
Luft 7 Bankau-Kreulberg
Gn: P/O Leonard Hunter Hogg, J/95085 RCAF
Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: F/Sgt. Joseph Omer Bazinet, RCAF PoW No: Unknown. Stalag VIJ Fichtenhain bei Krefeld, Germany. Wings awarded December 1943 at Mont Joli, Quebec
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Leo Marcel Pare, RCAF PoW
No.1077 Stalag Luft 7 Bankau-Kreulberg
Air/Gnr. P/O Charles Maurice Crabtree, J/85152
RCAF Age 23. Killed
Air Chief Marshall Sir Arthur Harris had been given a
directive which became known as Operation Hurricane to ‘demonstrate to the enemy in Germany generally the overwhelming
superiority of the Allied Air Forces in this theatre . . . the intention is to
apply within the shortest practical period the maximum effort of the Royal Air
Force Bomber Command and the VIIIth United States Bomber Command against
objectives in the densely populated Ruhr.’
On the morning of 14 October, the RAF was detailed to mount a daylight attack on
Duisberg to be followed by a second attack that night. Additionally that night,
the RAF targeted Brunswick while the American Eighth Air Force concentrated a
daylight raid against targets in the Cologne area.
At 06:05 hours F/L Galipeau and crew took
off as part of a force of 1,013 aircraft of Bomber Command for the first of the
attacks on Duisberg. After being airborne for three hours and approaching the
target, the Halifax was hit in the starboard wing
setting it on fire. Despite the crews’ efforts to put out the blaze the
aircraft became uncontrollable upon which Captain Galipeau gave the order to
The following is his account of the loss during an
interview held on 29 May 1945 upon his release as a PoW:
flight was my 20th. Everything was normal until we reached Germany. When about twenty miles or so from the target
(around nine o’clock
in the morning) there was a fair amount of flak. I saw about five big explosions
ahead of me in the air which I thought might have been aircraft exploding. Then
I saw two Halifaxes spinning down, one in flames. By that time we were
at the bombing run. Just after we released the bombs we received a direct hit
in the starboard wing by flak, the shell just going through without exploding.
The two starboard boost gauges showed 6 ½ pounds boost after that but the
r.p.m. were still okay. Then the Mid-Upper spotted the fire in the wing and
told me so. The engineer told me one tank was draining fast. After that I tried
to feather starboard propellers without success. We could not put out the fire.
I told the crew we might have to bale out. The only other thing which I could
do was to take a chance and dive the aircraft a bit in hopes of blowing out the
flames. Although this was a very dangerous thing to do I decided to try it but
the effort was not successful. By that time one of the tanks which was on fire
was almost drained. I expected the aircraft to blow up at any time so reduced
the speed to about 160 m.p.h. and told the crew to do an emergency bale out so
as to be out as soon as possible. The two starboard props were just windmilling
and made the aircraft hard to control and we were losing height fast. After I
saw the Bomb Aimer leaving I checked the intercom to see that everybody was
out. Having no answer I started to get out of my seat. I looked back and there
was quite a bit of smoke in the aircraft. I could not see anyone so I baled
out. I saw the aircraft go in a spiral and enter a thin layer of cloud (after
my chute was open). I went through the clouds after which I saw two or three
other chutes. When I got down fairly close to the ground the Germans opened up
fire on me with light machine pistol and rifle. I spilled air out of my chute
and luckily enough I reached the ground without being hit. I was captured
immediately on reaching the ground. The WOP handed me my chute. Out feet first.
Fell back on loosening quick release and became unconscious.’
F/L Galipeau enlisted in Ottawa in 1940, a month before his 23rd birthday
for General Duties. Quickly rising through the ranks he remustered for aircrew
in March 1942 and was posted to No.4 Manning Depot at Quebec City. Sent to No.3 ITS Victoriaville in January 1943 he graduated that April and was
immediately posted to No.11 EFTS at Cap de la Madeleine, Quebec. Upon
graduation in June, he attended No.13 SFTS at St.Hubert, Quebec graduating and earning his commission that October.
Arriving in England at the end of that month Galipeau joined 425 Squadron and was promoted
to Flying Officer in April 1944. That September he was promoted to Flight
Lieutenant being shot down one month later after completing 19 sorties with a
total of 90 operational hours.
His recommendation for an award from W/C Hugh Ledoux, Commanding Officer
of 425 Squadron reads as follows:
A pilot of a Halifax bomber Flight Lieutenant Gallipeau (shown right) has exhibited
outstanding skill in operations over the numerous targets assigned to him. On October 4th
Lieutenant Gallipeau’s crew were detailed to bomb a submarine base in Bergen, Norway. On the run in to the target the flak was very heavy.
Despite these adverse conditions a successful bombing attack was driven home.
Immediately on leaving the target the starboard outer engine failed and had to
be feathered. The aircraft was flown on three engines for five minutes when the
starboard inner engine also failed and losing considerable height Flight
Lieutenant Gallipeau ordered his crew to prepare for ditching. Undaunted by
this engine trouble the pilot turned off course and headed for the coast of Norway. After two attempts to restart either of the engines
he was successful in bringing into play the starboard outer engine. The pilot
immediately turned towards home gaining height until the starboard outer engine
stopped again. Displaying remarkable determination, Flight Lieutenant Gallipeau
succeeded in restarting the starboard outer engine two more times after it had
stopped. In this way he was able to land his aircraft on an emergency field
without loss of life and without damaged to the aircraft. His cool courage and
superb airmanship under these adverse flying conditions were a source of
encouragement to the remainder of his crew. His outstanding gallantry and
dogged determination in the face of danger are highly commendable. In
recognition of this officer s exceptional presence of mind and good judgement I
highly recommend that he be awarded the immediate Distinguished Flying Cross.
After the war, Galipeau served with the RCAF for a further 7 years
retiring in 1952.
Left: Obituary 1988 for Fl/Lt. Galipeau Centre: F/Sgt. Charles F. Williamson Right: P/O Charles M. Crabtree
Halifax MZ674 “Nobody’s Baby”
This nose art story begins on a Halifax production line and a new batch started 13 May 1944. Two days later Halifax Mk. III, serial MZ674 is delivered to No. 426 [Thunderbird]
Squadron of the RCAF and flies her first operation on 17 May 44. The aircraft
has received the code letters OW-W and is flown on a number of operations by
the Officer Commanding “B” flight, S/L B.D. Patterson from Calgary, Alberta. His log book shows he flew Halifax MZ674 on eleven dates, [beginning 17 May 44] which included seven operations, the last to Boulogne on 15 June 1944. During this period of time he had nose art of a Wolf
painted on this Halifax, with words “Willie the Wolf from the West” [Calgary].
In mid-June 1944, No. 426 Squadron begin
to re-equip with new Halifax Mk. VII aircraft, and serial MZ674 is transferred to No. 425
[Alouette] French-Canadian Squadron on 16 June 44. The original S/L Patterson
nose art of Wolf remains, however the new 425 crew give her a new name
P/O. Francis Harvey Eade, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 9 A 1. Son of Matthew Henry and Edgarita (nee Harvey) Eade of Timmins,
Further details: Enlisted 1941. Eade Lake, District of Cochrane,
Ontario was named after P/O Eade in 1958.
F/O. Dell Alfred Butler, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 31 A 2. Son of Alfred Celestial and Martha Jane (nee Moore) Butler,
husband of Mary (nee Wright) Butler of Cochrane, Ontario, Canada.
P/O. Leonard Hunter Hogg, Reichswald
Forest War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 31 A 2. Son of Leo Sebastian and Jessie
Thompson (nee Gray) Hogg of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Maurice Crabtree, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. Grave 9 A 2. Son of Maurice and Edith Evelyn (nee Liddell) Crabtree of
Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Further details: After graduating with a BA
from the University of Toronto, Charles enisted in the Armoured Corps taking an officers cource at Brockville before remustering into the airforce. Crabtree Island in the Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, Ontario was named after P/O. Crabtree in 1960.
Researched and written
by Colin Bamford for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the families of all
those aboard Halifax MZ674. With thanks to the daughter of Fl/Lt. Jean Galipeau, DFC, Nicole Sicotte for photographs and obituary clipping.
Chorley, W.R. Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of
the Second World War Volume 5 1944. Midland 2007
Middlebrook, M. &
Everitt C. The Bomber Command War Diaries. Midland 2011
425 Squadron Operations Record Book, National Archives AIR/27/1838
Airforce Association of Canada
University of Toronto Torontoensis 1942. Toronto Students Administrative Council 1942.
“Nobody’s Baby” by Clarence Simonsen from “Lest We Forget” Pierre Legacé blog.