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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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419 Squadron Crest
16/17.06.1942 No. 419 Squadron Wellington III X3723 VR-H P/O.Arnold H. Harris

Operation: Essen Germany

Date: 16/17th June 1942 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 419 Squadron

Type: Wellington MkIII

Serial: X3723

Code: VR-H

Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk

Location: North Sea - 3 miles North West Noordwijk, Holland

Pilot: P/O. Arnold Harvey Harris J/15584 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Norman Edward Costigan R/61096 RCAF Age 29. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Harry Alexander MacDonald R/76219 RCAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Frederick Ritchie Donnison J/15419 RCAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Thompson Hunter R/69856 RCAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk at 23:36 hrs to bomb Essen. 106 bombers taking part in this operation but only a very small quantity of bombs hit the target area. The night fighters shot down 6 of the 8 allied bombers that failed to return.

The Squadron lost another crew during this operation, the other:

Wellington III X3359 VR-N Flown by 20 year old, Fl/Sgt. Charles Emile Leblanc R/76262 RCAF from Nova Scotia, Canada. He being the only fatality from this crew, 2 evaded capture, 2 taken PoW after their aircraft was finished off by flak after they experienced engine heating problem, crashing near Wuustwezel in Belgium.

Reported as ‘probably’ the 9th victory for Oblt. Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein of E/NJG2 at 03.23 hrs in location as shown. After a total of 83 kills to his credit, he was shot down and killed on the 20/21st January 1944 at Lubars, near Magdeburg - thought to be by a Mosquito.) Information and photographs courtesy Tom Kracker.

Burial details:

P/O. Arnold Harvey Harris. Noordwijk General Cemetery Noordwijk Holland. Plot 1. Joint grave 6. Mr and Mrs. H. Harris of Milner, brother to Pearl Harris, British Columbia, Canada. Joint grave marker shows that he shared the same original grave as 31 year old, Seaman William Macleod LTX 7717C Royal naval Reserve - Patrol Service, from Whiteinch, Glasgow, Scotland. Aboard HMS Cayton Wyke when it was torpedoed by a German Motor torpedo boat off the Goodwin sands. 15 of the crew have no known graves.

Right: medal collection of P/O. Harris.

Fl/Sgt. Norman Edward Costigan. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 103. Son of Joseph and Margaret Costigan, of Stettler, Alberta, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Harry Alexander MacDonald. Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, Bergen op Zoom, Holland. Grave 29.B.12. Son of Mr and Mrs. Dan Macdonald. Husband of Marian (née Bertrand) MacDonald of Ottawa, Canada.

P/O. Frederick Ritchie Donnison. Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, Bergen op Zoom, Holland. Grave 6.H.5. Son of Fred and Mary Donnison of Trenton, Nova Scotia, Canada, husband of Mabel Donnison, of Lillooet, British Columbia.

Fl/Sgt. John Thompson Hunter. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 104. Son of John Irving Hunter and Elsie Thompson Linklater Hunter, of Goderich, Ontario, Canada.

Researcher - Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered November 2016 - with thanks to Dan Logan of the 491 Squadron website, Marlyn O’Brien, Astrid van Erp, Margaret Costigan, Francis Thomas Costigan, Pieter Schlebaum for crew and grave photographs. Others from the collection of Michel Beckers.

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: 05 November 2016, 22:30

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