22/23.09.1943 No. 434 Squadron Halifax V LK909 IP-G P/O. Green
Date: 22/23rd September 1943
Unit: No. 434 Squadron (RCAF)
Type: Halifax V
Base: RAF Tholthorpe, Yorkshire
Location: Ströhen, south of Bremen. (war map reference L53/W6438)
Pilot 1: P/O. Herbert Green 157406 RAF Age 23. Killed
Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Robert Peter Reynolds R/135119 RCAF Age 21. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Stanley Cyril Henry Hearn 1457812 RAFVR Age 35. Killed
Nav: Sgt. John Cross 929899 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Alan Francis Cudd 138854 RAFVR Age 21 Killed
W/Op/A/Gnr: Sgt. Ernest Charles Coward 1332058 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: W/O.1 Allan Heaney R/82526 RCAF Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Dennis John Burge 1320913 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 19:02 hrs from RAF Tholthorpe, Yorkshire as part of a group of 711 aircraft on the first major raid on Hannover for over 2 years.
5 USAAF B-17's also joined which was their first night raid on Germany. 322 Lancasters, 226 Halifaxes, 137 Stirlings and 26 Wellingtons took part. 26 aircraft would not return.
Visibility in the target area was good but stronger winds than forecast caused the marking and the bombing to be concentrated between 2 and 5 miles south south-west of the city centre. It is unlikely that serious damage was caused.
LK209 was shot down by a Lt. Heinz Bock of the Luftwaffe 8./NJG1 night-fighter group, at a height of 4,500 metres at 22:40 hours over Ströhen, South Barenburg.
Lt. Boch was also killed shortly afterwards in a crash landing at Bad Aibling airfield after being hit by flak.
In an Investigation Report dated 13th May 1945, Fl/Lt. E.T. Haines visited Ströhen and interrogated the local Burgemeister.
Fl/Lt. Haines was led to the cemetery and came across the communal grave of the 8 aircrew from LK-909.
The Burgemeister revealed that the aeroplane had been hit at high altitude and had broken up, falling to the earth in small pieces.
The grave was marked as "7 English Fliers and Sgt. Heaney R82526" who was, at the time of burial, the only identifiable crew member. Once the coffins had been exhumed, only four of the bodies were identifiable.
1457812 Sgt. Hearn, 1096580 Sgt. Green, R/82526 W/O.1 Heaney and 1320913 Sgt. Burge.
As the investigation progressed, the following came to light;
Coffin 1 contained Sgt. Cross J/929899 or Sgt. Cudd 1388584.
Coffin 2 contained Sgt. Burge 1320913.
Coffin 3 contained Sgt. Heaney R/82526.
Coffin 4 contained Sgt. Coward 1332058 and Sgt. Reynolds R/135119.
Coffin 5 Sgt. Hearn 1457812.
Coffin 6 Sgt. Green 1095680.
Coffin 7 contained Sgt. Cross J/929899 or Sgt. Cudd 1388584.
The coffins had been buried in swampy ground and so decomposition was advanced and the coffins were in a poor state.
Further information on Robert Reynold's from the family:
"Bob graduated from D'Arcy McGee High School in Montreal where he was a well known athlete. He later attended Montreal Technical School. His father was the Building Superintendent at the Canadian Pacific Railway's Windsor Station in Montreal which facilitated travel by rail for the family to their country home North of Montreal at Lac Mercier near Mont Tremblant where he joined with his friends and family in Winter and Summer sports.
In search of adventure, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in July 1941, and earned his pilot's wings at Yorkton Saskatchewan November 3, 1942. He went overseas in December 1942.
Initially he was listed as MIA and then confirmed as lost. His death had a truly devastating impact on the family."
The crew were buried in a cemetery at Ströhen, known as 'Cemetery for Foreigners' and a number of aircrew were buried there from other losses. They were later reinterred in Hannover.
P/O Herbert Green. Hanover War Cemetery Grave 8.D.8. Son of George and Ruth Green, husband of Audrey Lilian Green, of Otley, Yorkshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. Robert Peter Reynolds. (grave shown left) Hanover War Cemetery Grave 8.D.6. Son of Peter Percy and Nora Reynolds of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Sgt. Stanley Cyril Henry Hearn. Hanover War Cemetery Grave 8.D.7. Son of Joseph John Charles and Alice Ernestine Hearn.
Sgt. John Cross. Hanover War Cemetery Grave Joint grave 8.D. 1-2. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
Fl/Sgt. Alan Francis Cudd. Hanover War Cemetery Joint grave 8.D. 1-2. Son of Sydney Thomas Cudd and Minnie Alice Cudd, of Morcombelake, Dorsetshire, England.
Sgt. Ernest Charles Coward. Hanover War Cemetery Grave 8.D.5. Son of Henry Walter and Lilian Coward, husband of May Coward, of Rotherham, Yorkshire, England.
W/O 1 Allan Heaney. Hanover War Cemetery Grave 8.D.4. Son of Leroy and Grace Heaney, of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Fl/Sgt. Dennis John Burge. Hanover War Cemetery Grave 8.D.3. Son of John Emil and Evelyn May Burge, of Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, England.
Right: Original grave marker for Fl/Sgt. Burge. Behind is the grave for the crew of 97 Squadron Lancaster ND64 OF-R - lost on the night of 30/31st March 1944.
With thanks to Nick Stalled for Fl/Sgt. Burge photographs, Nicola and Michael McGovern for Fl/Sgt. Reynolds photograph and information. For further details our thanks to the following sources: