15/16.10.1944 No. 424 Squadron Halifax III MZ901 QB-N Fl/Lt. Robert Douglas Guild
Date: 15/16th October 1944 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: No. 424 Squadron (RCAF-Tiger) Motto: "Castigandos castigamus" ("We chastise those who deserve to be chastised").
Badge: An heraldic tiger's head erased. The squadron was adopted by the City of Hamilton, Ontario, and adopted the tiger's head in reference to the Hamilton rugby team.
Authority: King George VI, June 1945.
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Skipton on Swale, North Riding of Yorkshire.
Location: Simonstrup, Denmark.
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Robert Douglas (Bob) Guild J/18064 RCAF Age 24. Killed
Fl/Eng: P/O. Norman Alfred Smith J/89362 RCAF Age 24. Killed
Nav: Fl/Lt. Jack Griffin Lee DFC. J/9311 RCAF Age 30. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Virgil Lee (Virg) Riley J/35063 RCAF Age 33. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. John Peter (Jackie) Grace J/35251 RCAF Age 20. Killed (1)
Air/Gnr: F/O. William Edward (Bill) Jory J/22936 RCAF Age 24. Killed
Air/Gnr: F/O. Hugh Joseph Loughran J/41353 RCAF Age 30. Killed
Relatives of Sgt. Norman Smith would very much like contact with other relatives of the crew and the family of Hptm. Johann “Hans” Dreher of 6/NJG-3 who claimed this loss. Please contact us in the first instance and your details will be forwarded.
Apart from them all being Canadians, about the only thing the six airmen had in common was that two of them hailed from Ontario; in fact one of them was not even Canadian by birth.
They became acquainted in March 1944 at RAF Ossington in Nottinghamshire, the home of No. 82 Operational Training Unit, whilst engaging in that somewhat haphazard ritual, colloquially known as "crewing up".
The pilot, and as such captain of the crew, was Flying Officer Bob Guild: aged 23 he was a Draftsman from Saint John, New Brunswick. Pilot Officer Ed. Mottus, also 23 was from Ekville, Alberta and the crew's navigator. The air bomber was Flying Officer Virg Riley: aged 32 he was the old man of the team and a Wheat Farmer from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He was one of ten children of his USA born parents.
At the opposite end of the age spectrum was 19 years old Jackie Grace: already a Flying Officer he was the wireless operator and prior to joining the RCAF had been a Clerk Typist in his home town of Renfrew, Ontario. He had five siblings - all sisters.
The second Ontarionian of the crew was air gunner Flying Officer Bill Jory. Aged 23 he was from the small town of Midland and had enlisted more or less immediately after leaving school in 1941.
The other air gunner was Pilot Officer Hugh Loughran. A Naturalised Canadian born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, he was 30 years old and had apparently travelled to Canada alone when he was a teenager. He had worked at the departmental store of T. Eaton and Co Ltd in Montreal as a Clerk and Stock-keeper and had enlisted on 15 September 1939 just five days after Canada declared war on Germany. Originally mustered as an Equipment Assistant he volunteered for air crew in 1942.
At No. 82 Operational Training Unit, crews were trained on Wellingtons for night bombing operations. The crew was on Course No. 19 from 28 March 1944 to 29 May 1944 and Bob Guild certainly seems to have made a good impression, his final assessment stated that he was "A very keen and confident pilot. He is an extremely good captain and handles his crew well"
On 1 June 1944 the crew went on 6 days leave before being posting to No. 1664 Conversion Unit at RAF Dishforth near Ripon in the North Riding of Yorkshire for training on the four engine Handley Page Halifax. The Halifax required an additional crew member, a Flight Engineer, and to fulfil this role the Guild crew acquired Pilot Officer Norman Smith a 24 year old Motor Mechanic from a Kelowna, British Columbia.
The course lasted from 6 June to 9 July 1944 and again Bob and the crew did well. Remarks in their 1664 Conversion Unit RCAF Confidential Report on Crews upon Completion of Conversion Training were a testimony to Bob and his crew's efficiency.
"If anything, an above average pilot with a good, competent navigation team and a good crew generally"
Bob Guild had been in the UK since early 1942 and was engaged to be married to Miss Catherine McBride of 114 Crown Street, Aberdeen. In a letter to his wife Virgil Riley had said that all the crew had met her and spoke very highly of her.
And in another letter to his wife Virgil wrote "Bill [presumably Bill Jory] and the skipper and I bought a car the other day, a little Morris Minor. It is a good car, good tires and motor, four seater and only cost ....." They later obtained driving licences.
The crew had clearly bonded well. They had developed into a well-honed team, an asset that would serve them well over the ensuing months.
On 10 July, the day after completing conversion training the crew were posted to No. 424 Squadron at RAF Skipton-on-Swale in the North Riding of Yorkshire where they were to begin operational flying.
No. 424 Squadron was formed at RAF Topcliffe, North Riding of Yorkshire, on 15th October 1942 as a bomber squadron. Originally in No. 4 Group, it was transferred in January, 1943, to No. 6 (RCAF) Group. In June the squadron moved to North Africa and until early October the squadron operated with No. 205 Group from bases in Tunisia, attacking targets in Sicily and Italy. Returning to the U.K. in late October 1943 and early November 1943, the squadron re-joined No. 6 Group and was stationed at Skipton-on-Swale, its base until the end of hostilities in Europe.
By October 1944 the crew had participated in numerous operations. On 4 October they took part in a daylight raid on the U-boats and U-boat pens at Bergen, Norway and on 6/7 October they were one of 523 crews of 3, 6 and 8 Groups detailed for a successful raid on Dortmund.
On 15 October 22 Halifaxes and 15 Lancasters were detailed to lay mines in the Kattegat, a sea area of 12000 square miles bounded by the Jutlandic peninsula in the west, the islands of the Danish straits islands of Denmark to the south and the provinces of Västergötland, Scania, Halland and Bohuslän in Sweden in the east.
No. 424 Squadron were to provide 10 Halifaxes for the operation, one of the crews detailed being that of Bob Guild.
However, Ed Mottus the crew's navigator, was unable to fly due to illness; taking his place was Flight Lieutenant Jack Griffin Lee.
Aged 30, Jack Lee was a Bank Clerk in civilian life. He had enlisted in February 1941 and had served with No. 424 Squadron since 22 July 1943. He had been a Navigation Instructor in Canada and was now the Squadron Navigation Leader.
REASON FOR LOSS:
With Bob Guild easing back on the stick, Halifax MZ901 took off from RAF Skipton on Swale in the North Riding of Yorkshire at 18:22 hours. Even carrying 4 x 1500lb mines the 1000 mile round trip to the Kattegat was well within the range of the bomber.
It was a moonlit evening with rainclouds as the 37 strong bomber force set course for Denmark. The briefed route would take them across the North Sea to the Danish coast before crossing the north Jutland Peninsular to the Kattegat and the mining areas code named Kraut, Yewtree and Silverthorn.
Crossing the west coast of Denmark from the southwest near Søndervig Halifax MZ901 continued over the north tip of Ringkøbing fjord heading northeast towards the target area. Twenty miles later over the village of Vind and flying at 14000 feet the bomber was attacked by a Junkers Ju88 night fighter flown by Hauptman Johann “Hans” Dreher of 6/NJG-3 based at Grove (Karup).
Witnesses at the village of Naur, 6km northwest of Holstebro, saw the Halifax exchange fire with the night fighter and taking evasive action, turn north. The bomber however was badly damaged and diving to the ground exploded near Engholm Farm at Simonstrup at about 20:20 hours.
The four mines, fortunately not fused, were thrown clear and landed in a nearby marshy meadow.
German occupation authorities took charge of the wreckage and buried the bodies of the crew in a common grave in a field on the farm of Holder Christensen, Ny Nagstrup, Idum.
The local Pastor, H.H. Frank had insisted that the remains of the crew be buried in the cemetery at Idum. His remonstrations however were summarily rebuffed by the German Commander.
Despite strict German orders to the contrary the common grave was carefully tended and neatly arranged with fresh flowers placed on it daily.
The other nine aircraft of No. 424 Squadron all returned safely but due to poor weather at RAF Skipton on Swale eight of them were forced to land at RAF stations in Berwickshire, Scotland.
F/O F. Pearson returned early as the port outer was unserviceable. He landed safely at base on 3 engines.
F/O D. Chance and F/O J. King landed at RAF Winfield.
Sqn/Ldr. A. Fentiman, F/O J. Hollinger, F/O E. Smith, F/O G. Hawthorn, and F/Lt W. Anderson all landed at RAF Charterhall.
In 1945 following the cessation of hostilities, as a gesture of admiration toward the RAF, the Danish Resistance Movement and the people of Holstebro and the nearby villages of Idum planned to conduct an impressive burial service for the bodies of the seven crew members of Halifax MZ901 and the RAF SHAEF mission at Copenhagen was invited to send representation. Sqn/Ldr. Handley Perkins of 143 Wing, Church of England Chaplain, was instructed to visit Holstebro and make the necessary arrangements. Along with Fl/Lt. R. J. Taylor, public relations officer; Walbjorn Christenson, district leader of the Danish Resistance Movement; Thorkild Elling, a deputy who spoke English and Pastor Frank, Sqn/Ldr Perkins made arrangements for the bodies to be exhumed for a service and re-interment at Idum churchyard on Valdemar Day (Flag Day) Friday 15 June 1945 at 15:00 hours.
THE POST WAR FUNERAL SERVICE AND RE-INTERMENT OF THE CREW AT IDUM
On the farm of Holger Christersen, Ny Nagstrup, Idum, where the seven Canadians had been buried, the grave was traced by a tiny hedge. In a vase there were seven fresh flowers and seven rose bushes had been planted - one for each man.
When the bodies were exhumed, under the direction of Welbjorn Christensen, they were borne to the site of the ceremony on Thursday evening (14 June). As the lorries passed each farm along the roadside they drove over branches and flowers placed there by the farm folk as a gesture of mourning.
All seven airmen were to be re-interred beside the village's 800-year-old Lutheran church in a ceremony of tribute to Canada. Alas any identification was impossible due to the condition of the bodies and the time elapsed since the crash.
The service was held in a natural amphitheatre 300 yards from the churchyard. "Nearer my God to Thee" was sung in English and Danish by the assembly of nearly 500.
The seven caskets bore floral tributes from the residents of Holstebro and people who had cycled and walked miles from other villages around Idum to pay tribute.
An attending party of 13 Typhoon pilots headed by Group Captain Dean Nesbitt DFC of Montreal faced the coffins - each draped with a Union Jack.
On their left was a firing party; on the right was the escort party from the Resistance Movement.
The Danish flag was dipped in salute by the colour party from the Resistance Group as the ceremony finished.
Address by Pastor Frank
The great ecstasy caused by the peace may be ebbing out, but in our minds there remains a great and profound joy and gratitude and harassed Europe - that Denmark has been liberated from foreign tyranny - and, last but not least; that the terrible power of Nazism has been broken. A joy and gratitude that the terrible and inhuman thing which like an evil nightmare tortured all Europe has got its mortal wound.
We are unable to imagine what would have happened, what life would have been like, if Nazism had been victorious and been able to dictate the peace.
We were on the brink of an abyss, but we were saved by God's gracious help - by the fight of those whom God gave will, courage and strength. Therefore our hearts today are full of thankfulness to God and to the men who went into the struggle for truth and justice and right against the oppressors (we do not forget the work of our Resistance Movement when we say that). Without help from the Allies, without their glorious victories, Denmark would not have been liberated. The Canadian Airmen, round the coffins of whom we are now gathered helped to bring about the victory. They made the greatest sacrifice a man can make:-they gave their lives.
We bow down our heads in profound deference and gratitude to their sacrifice. They fell for their native country and for Denmark At an early age their careers were brought to an end. Now their clay is to rest in a village churchyard, far, far away from their native country until the great morning of resurrection dawns.
Today we send our thoughts to those to whom these Canadian Airmen were bound with ties of love, and who now suffer from the loss and the sorrow. Glory and honour to those to whom the sun of peace is shining through tears.
The great sacrifices which have been made to win the war, must not have been made in vain; on the contrary, they must rouse us all to help in the work for winning the peace. This day is the day of our flag. On the 15th of June 1219 - according to tradition it fell to us from the heavens during a campaign in Estonia. Our Flag is the flag of the cross. The white cross on the red ground speaks to us of the greatest and most pregnant event in the whole history of mankind - of the Cross raised on Calvary. Love is known in this that he has sacrificed his life for us, and we, too, ought to lay down OUR lives for the brethren. May our Flag awaken in us, too, a will to do our part for the benefit not only of our country, but in fruitful working together with other nations. It was given to us in a crusade. It will only be saved if we make our daily lives a crusade.
Thus our Flag speaks earnestly to us about the spirit of self-sacrifice and self-oblivion.
The Airmen, whom we now veer to the last resting-place, laid down their lives for the brethren.
God bless us all! Amen
Squadron Leader Handley Perkins of Windsor, Ontario, Protestant Chaplain with 143 (Typhoon) wing voiced the appreciation of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force and the people of Canada.
"On their behalf I would like to express appreciation for all that has been done in the preparation of this ceremony.
It makes us realise more than we knew before how much the people of Denmark appreciate the sacrifices of the young men of the Air Force.
We have always felt that the Air Force was a special link between the Allied forces outside Europe and the Free Fighters within occupied Europe and for that reason we feel we have a special tie with you, and now when our Canadian brothers lie buried in your beautiful countryside we feel that there is a part of Denmark that shall forever be Canada"
Lieutenant Colonel Otto J. Fedderson, from the staff of Jutland's Dragoons and Jutland's Resistance Movement at Aarhus, placed wreaths on the caskets with the remarks: "For these Canadian soldiers who have given their lives for their country and the freedom of the world - for the liberation of Denmark too - in deepest gratitude. God Bless You."
The interment was made in a great single grave with Pastor Frank and Sqn/Ldr. Perkins joining in the committal ritual and the Danish flag dipped in salute as the Last Post was sounded, followed by "Reveille".
The 12 strong firing party under F/Sgt. R. Douglas McCallum of Sackville, New Brunswick discharged three volleys over the grave. Trumpeter was LAC Robert Corwin of London, Ontario.
The ceremony ended with the congregation singing the Danish hymn “Altid frejdig når du går” (On your way! Be brave and true! - The song is often used for burials and was also used as a rallying point for the freedom struggle against the German occupation of Denmark 1940 - 1945).
In the churchyard at Idum today seven grave markers now stand together with a memorial cross made from wreckage of the aircraft.
In December 2017 we learned that Danish Peter Richter and his family have started a tradition of remembering this crew every Christmas Eve by placing candles on the graves. The local school also places flowers on the graves every year on Liberation Day, 5 May; the daughter of Peter Richter being one of those attending.
OTHER LOSSES SUSTAINED DURING THE SAME GARDENING OPERATION
Hauptman Johann Dreher had a second victory later that night when he shot down Lancaster NG143 of 207 Squadron captained by F/O. Denis William Ready, the aircraft crashing into the Kattegat Sea at 22:40 hours. The bodies of the crew have never been found and the seven airmen are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
Two more aircraft on the same operation were also lost that night. Lancaster LM208 also of 207 squadron was shot down by a night fighter piloted by Oberleutnant August Györy of 5./ NJG 3. The aircraft exploded in the air near the village of Låstrup at 21:02 hours. The captain, Fl/Lt George Henry Montgomery and his crew were killed and all seven lie in the village cemetery at Låstrup.
Halifax MZ826 of No. 10 Squadron piloted by Sq/Ldr. Stanley William Hart was shot down by a night fighter piloted by Oberleutnant Fritz Brandt of Stab II./ NJG 3. The aircraft exploded in the air and crashed near the village of Nørre Halne at 21:06 hours. The navigator Fl/Lt. William R. Parks managed to bale out and was the only survivor. Helped by locals and the Danish Resistance he reached Sweden from where he was smuggled back to England in the bomb bay of a Mosquito.
The other six crew members were unceremoniously buried by the Germans in a common grave at the barracks at Vadum Lager. After the war the remains of the airmen were re-interred in Vadum churchyard following a service attended by a detachment of British soldiers, a number of Danish dignitaries and some 2000 Danes.
(1) Fl/Lt. Robert Douglas (Bob) Guild
was born on 3 September 1920 at Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada the son of USA born John Herbert Guild (a District Assessor) and Canadian Jennie Winifred Guild nee Armstrong. He had two siblings, sisters Jean Evelyn Guild born 1922 and Dorothy Evangeline Guild born 1924. The family lived at 33 Cranston Avenue, Saint John.
He was educated at Winter Street Junior High School (1926-1934), Saint John High School (1934-1938) and Saint John Vocational where he undertook a Special Drafting [sic] Course (1938-1939).
From 1940 until enlisting in the RCAF he was employed as a Draftsman [sic] by T. McAvity & Sons Ltd of Saint John, manufacturers of fire hydrants, valves etc.
He participated quite extensively in hockey, football, baseball, track and swimming.
When he enlisted at Moncton New Brunswick on 7 May 1941 he was 5' 9" weighing 147 lbs with a fair complexion, blue eyes and auburn hair.
After training at RCAF Dartmouth No 3 Initial Training School at RCAF Victoriaville No. 17 Elementary Flying Training School at RCAF Stanley, Nova Scotia and No. 8 Service Flying Training School at RCAF Moncton, New Brunswick he was awarded his Pilot's Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 2 January 1942.
He embarked for the UK and on arrival was posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre at RAF Bournemouth on 10 February 1942.
On 27 April he was posted to No 3 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF South Cerney in Gloucestershire and on 24 June to No. 2 Flying Instructors School where he successfully completed No. 24 A (War) Flying Instructors Course.
Promoted to Flight Sergeant on 2 July 1942 he was posted to No. 15 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit on 19 August as an instructor. On 2 January 1943 he was further promoted to Warrant Officer Second Class.
On 6 March 1943 he was posted to No. 1512 Beam Approach Training Flight at RAF Dishforth, North Riding of Yorkshire. He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 24 May 1943 and to Flying Officer on 20 November 1943.
On 14 March 1944 he was posted to No. 82 Operational Training Unit at RAF Ossington, Nottinghamshire and on 6 June 1944 to 1664 Conversion Unit at RAF Dishforth in the North Riding of Yorkshire.
He was posted to No. 424 Squadron at RAF Skipton-on-Swale, North Riding of Yorkshire on 10 July 1944 and on 1 September following was promoted to Flight Lieutenant.
A Personal Assessment written prior to confirmation of Bob Guild's death by Sqn/Ldr. A.E. Fentiman of "B" Flt 424 in 29 November 1944 stated that he was:
"A very willing hand and one who does not hesitate to offer his help. An above average Skipper and a good Captain"
(2) P/O. Norman Alfred Smith was born on 22 May 1918 at Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada the son of Alexander James Smith and Florence Essex Smith nee Hooper. He had five siblings, Douglas, Dorothy, Irene, Enid and Una.
Norman worked in his father's garage (Smith Garage) before he was called to duty.
(3) Fl/Lt. Jack Griffin (Jack) Lee was born on 19 September 1919 at Ingersoll, Ontario Canada the son of Edward Lee (a Bank Manager) and Ethel Geraldine Lee nee Griffin. He had a brother Edward Lee, also a navigator in the RCAF born c 1913 and a sister Margaret G. Lee born c 1911. The family lived at 113 Metcalfe Street, St. Thomas, Ontario
He was educated at Victoria Public School, and Woodstock Public School Ontario (1920-1925) Wellington Public School, St Thomas, Ontario (1925-1927) and St. Thomas Collegiate Institute (1927-1932) after which he studied Business Administration at the University of Western Ontario (1932-1933). He was employed as a Clerk by the Bank of Montreal from July 1933 until enlisting in the RCAF in 1941. During this time he passed the Associates' Course of the Canadian Bankers' Association in 1936 and later the Fellows' Course in Banking.
He played golf, softball, badminton, skated and swam.
When he enlisted on 17 February 1941 he was 5'10" weighing 137 lbs with a fair complexion blue eyes and light brown hair.
After training exclusively in Ontario at No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Fingal (guard duty), No. 1 Initial Training School at RCAF Toronto, No. 4 Air Observer School at RCAF London (Course 28 July -September 1941) No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Jarvis he was awarded his Air Observers Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 8 November 1941.
The following day he was posted to No. 2 Air Navigation School at RCAF Pennfield Ridge in New Brunswick. On 9 December 1941 he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer and on 11 December he was posted to No. 1 Air Navigation School at RCAF Rivers, Manitoba.
On 10 January 1942 he was posted as an instructor to No. 3 Air Observer School at RCAF Regina, Saskatchewan (on 12 September 1942 moved to RCAF Pearce in Alberta, attached to No. 3 Air Observer School)
On 1 July 1942 he married his fiancée, Schoolteacher Mary Jean Lemon at Port Stanley, Ontario who later lived at 145 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario.
His promotion to Flying Officer was on 1 October 1942
He embarked for the UK on 12 December and after arriving on 18 December 1942 was posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre, RAF Bournemouth. On 5 March 1943 he was posted to No.6 Elementary Flying Training School and on 6 April 1943 to No. 22 Operational Training Unit at RAF Wellesbourne Mountford, Warwickshire (Course No. 40)
On 22 July 1943 he was posted to No. 424 Squadron at RAF Kairouan/Zina, Tunisia, North Africa. He returned to the UK with squadron, embarking from North Africa on 25 October 1943 and disembarking in the UK on 6 November and was then based at RAF Skipton-on-Swale, North Riding of Yorkshire.
Following his promotion to Flight Lieutenant on 9 December 1943 he was attached to No. 1659 Conversion Unit (from 11 to 21 December 1942). He was also appointed Navigation Leader of No. 424 Squadron (date unknown).
He was awarded the DFC effective 2 October 1944 and promulgated in the London Gazette of 13 October 1944. The citation reads:
This observer has completed, in various capacities, numerous operations against the enemy in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty.
The recommendation for the award stated that:
This officer has taken part in many sorties involving attacks on important and well defended targets in the African theatre of war during 1943, in addition to a raid on Nuremburg from a base in England in 1944. Not only has he displayed outstanding devotion to duty in the air, but has shown exceptional organising ability as Squadron Navigation Officer since return to England. The success obtained by his own and other crews on the squadron is due almost completely to his skill as a navigation instructor and to his consistent example of high courage, determination and leadership as chief navigator of the squadron over a long period of time.
(4) F/O. Virgil Lee (Virg) Riley was born on 26 April 1911 at Moose Jaw Saskatchewan the son of a Naturalised Canadian parents Arthur Scott Riley (a farmer born Iowa USA) and Thelma Ann Riley nee Tolley (born Missouri USA).7
He had nine siblings: Ralph Lafonde Riley born c 1898, Lester Floyd Riley born c 1902 Carl Ray Riley born c 1904, Charles Edgar Riley born c 1907, Velma Areta Riley born c 1909, Alexander Warren Riley born c 1913, F/O. George Wilfred Riley RCAF born c 1921, Oliver Arthur Riley, died 1901 and Donamae Mildred Riley dead by 1945.
He was educated at Assiniboia (1917-1926) and Rock Glen (1929-1932 both schools in Saskatchewan. He played baseball, softball and tennis.
After first leaving school in 1926 he worked on his father' wheat farm but returned to school in 1929. In 1932 the family moved to British Columbia where they lived at 875 Byers Lane in Trail and here Virgil again worked on his father's wheat farm. In 1935 he took employment with Barden Dairy at their Niagara Falls Storage Plant until 1937 when he went to work as a Chemical Operator/Smelterman for C. M. & S Co. of Canada, a mining and smelting company based in Trail, British Columbia. He remained in this employment until joining the RCAF.
On 16 November 1933 he married Ivy Kazia Belbeck at Constance, Saskatchewan: they had two daughters, Sherrel Anne Riley born in 1938 and Carol Lee Riley born in 1942 and lived at Castlegar British Columbia
When he enlisted at Calgary on 10 July 1942 he was 5'8" tall weighing 150 lbs with a medium complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.
After training at No. Service Flying Training School at RCAF Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, No.2 Initial Training School at RCAF Regina, Saskatchewan, No. 2 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Mossbank, Saskatchewan and No. 7 Air Observer School at RCAF Portage La Prairie, Manitoba he was awarded his Air Bombers Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 3 September 1943. On the same day he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer.
He embarked for the UK on 9 November 1943 where he was posted to No. 3 Personnel and Reception Centre at RCAF Bournemouth on 10 November. He was then posted to No 2 (Observers) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Millom in Cumbria on 25 January 1944 and after promotion to Flying Officer on 3 March 1944 to No. 82 Operational Training Unit at RAF Ossington, Nottinghamshire on 28 March 1944. He was attached to 1664 Conversion Unit at RAF Dishforth, North Riding of Yorkshire on 6 June 1944. He was posted to No 424 Squadron RAF Skipton-on-Swale, North Riding of Yorkshire on 10 July 1944.
(5) F/O. John Peter (Jackie) Grace was born on 21 April 1924 at Renfrew, Ontario Canada the son of William Michael Grace and Vennie (Barbara) Grace nee Reitz. He had five sisters: Maureen Grace born c 1925, Elizabeth Grace born c 1927, Olive Grace born c 1928, Louise Grace born c 1931 and Mary Jane Grace died 1935. The family lived at 498 Dominion Street Renfrew Ontario.
John Peter Grace attended Renfrew Sep. School 1930-1937 and Renfrew Collegiate Institute 1937-1941. He engaged in rugby, hockey, baseball, boxing and swimming.
After leaving school he was employed as a Clerk Typist at Renfrew Machinery (1941-42) and a Typist at the Department of Fisheries in Ottawa during 1942. He enlisted in the RCAF on 8 September 1942 at Ottawa when he was described as being 5'6½ tall weighing 124 lbs with a fair complexion, blue eyes and auburn hair.
After training at No 2 Wireless School at RCAF Calgary, Alberta and No. 2 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Mossbank, Saskatchewan he was promoted to Sergeant on 6 August 1943 and re-categorised as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner. He was awarded his Air Gunners Badge on 6 September 1943 and commissioned as a Pilot Officer on the same date.
Following two weeks pre-embarkation leave he embarked at Boston, Massachusetts, USA for the UK on 9 October 1943. Arriving in the UK on 17 October he was posted the day after to No. 3 Personnel and Reception Centre at RAF Bournemouth. On 2 November he was posted to No. 2 (Observers) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Millom in Cumbria.
He was promoted to Flying Officer on 6 March 1944 and on 28 March posted to No. 82 Operational Training Unit at RAF Ossington, Nottinghamshire. On 6 June he was posted to No. 1664 Conversion Unit at RAF Dishforth, North Riding of Yorkshire and on completion of training to No. 424 Squadron at RAF Skipton-on-Swale, North Riding of Yorkshire on 10 July 1944.
In 1960 the Province of Ontario honoured his memory by the naming of Grace Island in Lake St. Joseph, Kenora, Ontario.
(6) William Edward (Bill) Jory was born on 2 October 1920 at Haileybury, Ontario the son of Philip Henry Jory (a Druggist) and Emma Jane Jory nee Faragher. He had one brother John Jory born 1909 and three sisters, Phyllis Grace Jory born 1903 died 1934, Jean Jory born 1912 and Helene Jory born 1916. The family lived at 334 King Street Midland OntarioOperation: Gardening (Mine laying in the Kattegat)
He attended Midland Public School (1927-1934) and Midland High School (1934-1941) where each year he was a rugby and basketball star and in 1941 he was Senior Boy.
Almost immediately after leaving school Bill Jory enlisted at RCAF Toronto Ontario on 21 August 1941. He was described as being 5'7" tall, 134 lbs of medium complexion, green (?) eyes and brown hair.
He stated that he played rugby, softball, lacrosse, basketball, badminton, tennis and enjoyed building model aircraft.
Unfortunately the results that he achieved during his first twelve months of training were not encouraging. He failed his initial pilot training and after transferring to observer training also failed to achieve a satisfactory result. He had however made a good impression on his instructors and having been accepted for training as an air gunner was re-mustered for such on 5 October 1942.
At last he had found his niche in the air force and after training at No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Mont Joli, Quebec he was awarded his Air Gunners Badge, promoted to Sergeant and also commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 22 January 1943.
On 25 January 1943 he commenced a Gunnery Instructor's Course at No 6 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Mountain View Ontario which he passed on 6 February 1943
On 9 February 1943 he was posted to No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Jarvis in Ontario as an Instructor and later at RCAF Mountain View.
He was promoted to Flying Officer on 9 October 1943.
The following year on 5 March 1944 he embarked for the UK where on arrival he was posted to No. 3 Personnel and Reception Centre at RAF Bournemouth.
He was posted to No. 82 Operational Training Unit at RAF Ossington, Nottinghamshire on 28 March 1944: to No. 1664 Conversion Unit at RAF Dishforth, North Riding of Yorkshire on 6 June 1944 and to No. 424 Squadron at RAF Skipton-on-Swale, North Riding of Yorkshire on 10 July 1944.
(7) F/O. Hugh Joseph (Hugh) Loughran was born on 11 March 1914 at 13 Old Lodge Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland the son of Patrick Loughran (a Hairdresser) and Ellen Loughran nee McManus. He had four siblings: Elizabeth Loughran born c 1915, Henry Loughran born c 1921, Gerald Loughran born c 1932 and Joseph Loughran born c 1934.
Hugh Loughran attended St Patrick's Christian Brothers School, Belfast.
By the age of 16 Hugh Loughran was living in Canada and employed by T Eaton Co Ltd of Montreal as a Floor Walker. He later worked for T Eaton & Co Ltd at various times until June 21 1939 a Clerk and Stock-keeper and for a year at Hotel Norton Palmer as a Receiving Clerk and Timekeeper.
A naturalised Canadian he lived at 5804 Jeanne Mance Street Montreal Quebec and enlisted at Montreal, Quebec on 15 September 1939 mustered as Equipment Assistant. On enlistment he was 5'6½ tall weighing 136lbs with a dark complexion brown eyes and brown hair. His hobbies were amateur photography and motorcycling.
Re-mustered as an Air Gunner October 1942 he trained at No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery School at Mont Joli, Quebec and after being awarded his Air Gunners Badge on 30 December 1942 he was retained as an Instructor at RCAF Mont Joli.
He was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 30 June 1943, Warrant Officer Second Class on 30 December 1943 and commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 1 February 1944.
He embarked for the UK on 7 March 1944, disembarking on 14 March and being posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre at RAF Bournemouth. He was later posted to No. 82 Operational Training Unit at RAF Ossington, Nottinghamshire on 28 March 1944 and to No. 1664 Conversion Unit at RAF Dishforth, North Riding of Yorkshire on 6 June 1944. He was posted to No. 424 Squadron at RAF Skipton-on-Swale, North Riding of Yorkshire on 10 July 1944 and promoted to Flying Officer on 1 August 1944.
(8) F/O. Edward H. Mottus was born in 1922.
From the Lethbridge Herald of 1 October 1943:
Navigators from No. 2 Air Observer School, R.C.A.F. Graduates included: C. A. Btackmore, Biack- falds; J. H. Boyle and F. L. Hickey, Edmonton: D. N. Cundy, Medicine Hat; F. H.'plfh, Calgary; R. P. Lone, Peace River; E. H. Mottus, Eckvllle.
After the war he filed for his many patents for chemical inventions in the USA.
He died in 1994 and was buried at Gilby Kalmu Cemetery. Eckville, Red Deer Census Division, Alberta, Canada.
Also in the same grave is Ruby Mottus 1923-1994. Both she and Edward Mottus lived in Missouri USA.
If you have any further details concerning Edward Mottus please contact our helpdesk
(9) Hptm. Johann "Hans" Dreher was born on 30 November 1920 at Munich, Bavaria. He was killed on the night of the 3/4 March 1945 during a ground strafing attack when he hit trees at Sutton, near Derwent, Yorkshire. He had 7 abschüsse to his credit - making him an "ace".
He was awarded the Frontflugspange für Kampfflieger in Gold mit anhänger (Bomber Operations Clasp with Pendant) the Eisernen Kreuzes 1&2 Klassen (Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class), the Luftwaffe Ehrenpokale für besondere Leistungen im Luftkrieg (Luftwaffe honour cups for special achievements in the air war on 16 November 1942), the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (German Cross in Gold on 29 March 1943) and the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 5 April 1944)
Fl/Lt. Robert Douglas Guild. Idum Churchyard Cemetery, Denmark, Collective Grave 270-276.
His epitaph reads:
"I hope to see my pilot
Face to face,
When I have crossed the bar"
P/O. Norman Alfred Smith. Idum Churchyard Cemetery, Denmark, Collective Grave 270-276.
Fl/Lt. Jack Griffin Lee DFC. Idum Churchyard Cemetery, Denmark. Collective Grave 270-276.
His epitaph reads:
At the going down
Of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them
F/O. Virgil Lee Riley. Idum Churchyard Cemetery, Denmark, Collective Grave 270-276.
His epitaph reads:
Hath no man than this - - -
St. John XV.13
F/O. John Peter Grace. Idum Churchyard Cemetery, Denmark, Collective Grave 270-276.
His epitaph reads:
Grant him rest."
By mother, dad and sisters
F/O. William Edward Jory. Idum Churchyard Cemetery, Denmark, Collective Grave 270-276.
His epitaph reads:
In loving memory
Of our dear son, Bill
May his soul rest in peace
F/O. Hugh Joseph Loughran. Idum Churchyard Cemetery, Denmark, Collective Grave 270-276.
An earlier version of this story researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher and RCAF specialist Colin Bamford in 2010 is also available here
Special thanks to Gordon Hoyle, son of Una the sister of P/O. Norman Smith who contacted us in December 2015. Also to Peter Richter and family who visit the graves every year and place candles.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock in February 2018 for all the relatives and friends of the crew