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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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433 Squadron Crest
05.08.1944 No. 433 Squadron Halifax III MZ828 BM-H F/O. Harrison

Operation: St-Leu

Date: 05th August 1944 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 433 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: MZ828

Code: BM-H

Base: RAF Skipton-on-Swale

Location: Skipton-on-Swale Village

Pilot: F/O. James Robert Harrison J/21448 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Dennis Lawson Whitbread 1624919 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Nav: F/O. James Frederick Kinder J/20875 RCAF Survived - seriously injured, recovered.

Air/Bmr: F/O Edwin Tauno Widenoja J/27281 RCAF Survived - seriously injured, recovered.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O Lorne E Dufresne J/24065 RCAFSurvived - injured, recovered.

Air/Gnr: F/O Alan Bourne R/256048 RCAF Survived - injured, recovered.

Air/Gnr: P/O Norman Sydney Godfrey 171881 RAF Survived - injured, recovered.

Civilian: Mstr. Kenneth Battensby Age 5. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 10:38 hrs on an operation to bomb the flying bomb site at St-Leu-d'Esserent the 6th successive day of attacks on this type of target - this time 742 aircraft from 4, 5, 6 and 8 group attacking two targets, Forêt de Nieppe and St-Leu-d'Esserent storage sties.

Understood to have been hit by anti-aircraft fire during the operation damaging starboard outer engine, however the pilot expertly managed to get the aircraft back to the base. During their second landing approach the pilot applied full power to go round again but the Halifax turned sharply to starboard and fell into a dive.

Rear L-R: F/O. Widenoja, F/O. Kinder, Sgt. Beaudette, F/O. Harrison. Front: Sgt. Whitbread, F/O. Dufresne Fl/Sgt. Bourne.

The aircraft lost valuable height and it clipped some trees prior to then hitting a much larger tree on the village green at Skipton-on-Swale. The aircraft came to a halt - almost intact but several pieces flew off the aircraft. Sadly, not only did two crew lose their lives but all a 5 year old boy playing in his back garden who was hit by some of these pieces. The remaining five crew survived suffering various degrees of injuries.

Burial details:

F/O. James Robert Harrison. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall) Sec. E. Row A. Grave 3. Son John George Harrison and Pearl Nama (née Broadworth), of Crossfield, Alberta, Canada.

Sgt. Dennis Lawson Whitbread. Kempston Cemetery. Block J. Grave 30. Son of Arthur Charles and Daisy Beatrice Whitbread and husband of Lilian May Whitbread, of Kempston, England.

Mstr. Kenneth Battensby. Skipton on Swale Churchyard. Son of Robert Henry and Audrey Battensby (née Hunter), of 53 Gresham Road, Middlesbrough, England.

Researched by Linda Ibrom for Aircrew Remembered - June 2017 and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Yorkshire Air Museum, Dimities Corcodilos for grave photo of Mstr. Kenneth Battensby, Peter Lucas for grave photo of F/O. James Harrison, Richard for grave photo of Sgt. Dennis Whitbread.

LI - 22.06.2017

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: 24 June 2017, 09:16

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