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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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425crest
14.10.1944 No.425 RCAF Sqdn. Halifax III MZ674 KW-N F/L Jean Galipeau DFC

Operation: Duisburg - Operation Hurricane

Date: 14 October 1944 (Saturday)

Unit: No.425 RCAF Squadron (Alouette)

Type: Handley Page Halifax III

Serial: MZ674

Code: KW-N

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

W/Op/Air 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

REASON FOR LOSS

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 bale out.

The following is his account of the loss during an interview held on 29 May 1945 upon his release as a PoW:

‘The operational 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 1944, Flight 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 “Nobody’s Baby”.

Clarence Simonsen

Burial Details:

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, Ontario, Canada.
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.

P/O. Charles 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.

References:

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.

Halifax MZ674 “Nobody’s Baby” by Clarence Simonsen from “Lest We Forget” Pierre Legacé blog.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 01 May 2015, 22:29