12/13.05.1943 No. 429 Squadron Wellington X HE423 P/O. Geale
Date: 12/13th May 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 429 Squadron
Type: Wellington X
Base: RAF East Moor, Yorkshire
Location: Zeist (Utrecht) Holland
Pilot: P/O. Basil Alfred Alexander Geale 131641 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Obs: P/O. Howard Allen Tennis J/16322 RCAF Age 25. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. James Samuel Vose R/93441 RCAF Age 23. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Piggott 1282904 RAFVR Age 27. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Raymond Thomas Crimmins R/131089 RCAF Age 27. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 00:03 East Moor to bomb the German city of Duisburg. 572 aircraft taking part (238 Lancasters, 142 Halifaxes, 112 Wellingtons, 70 Stirlings and 10 Mosquitoes) the fourth raid on the city so far with the others only partially successful. The marking on this raid was near perfect resulting in the bombing well concentrated.
The centre of the city and the port area just off the river Rhine (the largest inland port area in Germany) suffered enormous damage.
1,596 buildings totally destroyed, 273 people on the ground killed, 4 steel factories were damaged. In the port area, 21 barges and 13 other ships (18,921 tons) were sunk with a further 60 ships (41,000 tons) damaged) Duisburg was considered not necessary to attack again for awhile!
It didn't go all well though with Bomber Command losing some 38 aircraft during this operation. A total of 214 aircrew killed, 32 being made PoW.
Intercepted and shot down by a night fighter flown by Hptm. Hans-Dieter Frank of 2./NJG1, his 23rd claim of the war at 02:29 hrs. crashing at Zeist (Utrecht) Holland.
P/O. Basil Alfred Alexander Geale. Amersfoort General Cemetery. (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 6. Grave 117. Before he volunteered, Basil was a car salesman in Piccadilly for University Motors.
Left: P/O. Basil Geale with his wife and child. (courtesy Jackie Bradley)
Came from Hook, near Kingston and his family ran a successful fish restaurant in Notting Hill called “Geales”. Still vey much trading today with another restaurant open in Chelsea Green using the same name.
Left a young wife and a nine month old daughter. When news of his death reached the family, his devastated parents flew to Holland to try and find out more details, finding the visit most distressing.
Update - 05th June 2017: The 'Geales' restaurant replied when we informed them of their history regarding this pilot:"We can't thank you enough for this wonderful and incredibly useful part of our history. Speak soon we hope". So, we have offered them a framed document regarding this loss to display for the public. Await their reply.
P/O. Howard Allen Tennis. Amersfoort General Cemetery. (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 6. Grave 114. Son of Leo Howard and Blanche Irene Tennis of Hardisty, Alberta, Canada. Howard was a schoolteacher and a gold medallist in Physical training before enlisting.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. James Samuel Vose. Amersfoort General Cemetery. (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 6. Grave 116. Son of William and Clara Vose of Collingwood, Ontario, Canada.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Piggott. Amersfoort General Cemetery. (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 6. Grave 119. Son of Robert and Daisy Ada Piggott of Sudbury, Middlesex, England.
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Raymond Thomas Crimmins. Amersfoort General Cemetery. (Oud Leusden). Plot 13. Row 5. Grave 115. Son of Thomas and Lucy Crimmins and husband of Marie Crimmins of Aberkenfig, Glamorgan, Wales.
Researched June 2017 by Linda Ibrom for Aircrew Remembered. Photo of Basil Geale and family to Jackie Bradley, his daughter. Also to Robert McAllister for grave photographs - used with permission. For further details our thanks to the following sources.