15/16.06.1944 425 (Alouette) Sqn, RCAF Halifax III LW715 KW:Q Fg Off. Kirk
Date: 15th/16th June 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: 425 (Alouette) Squadron, RCAF
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Tholthorpe
Location: Desvres, France
Pilot: Fg Off. Earl Edward Kirk J23788 RCAF - Evaded capture
Flt Eng: Sgt. Clifford Adams 1450691 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Nav: Fg Off. Harold G. Facey RCAF J23944 RCAF PoW No: 6281Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria L3.
Air/Bmr: F/O. Dave Stubbs J/27390 RCAF PoW No: 6310 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria L3
WOp/Air Gnr: F/O. Frederick D. Hagen J26861 RCAF - Evaded capture
Mid Upper Gnr: Sgt. Donald Ralph McEvoy DFM. J88896 RCAF Age 21. Killed
Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Robert Vernon Furneaux R193367 RCAF Age 21 - Evaded capture
Air Gnr: Plt Off. O.R. Collins J36710 RCAF - Evaded capture
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from Tholthorpe at 20:45 hrs. on an operation to destroy light enemy naval vessels gathering in Boulogne Harbour. 227 aircraft taking part 155 Lancasters, 130 Halifaxes and 12 Mosquitoes of 1, 4, 5, 6 and 8 Groups. Although visibility was not so clear as the previous night the reported results was that this was the greatest destruction carried out of the war in this area with around 200 people killed on the ground.
LW715 was hit by flak from 1.-3./gem Flak Abt 501. Crashed Desvres (Pas-de-Calais) 20km South East of Boulogne at 22:46 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (12 May 1944 - 23 July 1944) Part 3 - Theo Boiten). This was the only aircraft lost during this operation.
An abandonment was ordered over the French coast. As Fg Off Hagen picked up his parachute, the ripcord caught somewhere and out billowed the silk on the fuselage floor. He gathered it up as best he could, attached it to his harness, then hurried to join the queue at the front escape hatch. At this critical point he and his captain, Fg Off Kirk, proceeded to put on an Alphonse-Gaston act that ended with both trying to leave via the same hatch at the same time. The jam soon straightened out, and they departed the bomber at the 12,000-foot level. They left none too soon, for, only moments later, the aircraft practically disintegrated in an explosion.
On the ground Kirk teamed up with Plt Off Collins and the pair evaded successfully, despite the fact that the former’s left arm was paralysed for a month and the latter was partially incapacitated for a like period by a foot injury. Also successful in evading were Fg Off Hagen and Fg Off Furneaux. Flt Sgt McEvoy was fatally injured in an excessively heavy parachute landing.
Fg Off. Frederick D. Hagen - died 7th October 1996 and Flt Sgt. Robert Vernon Furneaux - died 30th January 2016.
Five of this crew escaped an earlier incident in the early hours at 03:40 hrs. on the 16th March 1944. During the return trip from an operation to Stuttgart the Halifax III LW413 KW:Q ran out of fuel. The crew successfully abandoned the aircraft with slight injuries. However 1 person was killed when the aircraft fell onto houses in Adelaide Street, Halesowen, Birmingham.
Sgt. Clifford Adams. Marquise Communal Cemetery. Plot 1. Row A. Grave 22. Son of Doris Lillian Adams of Hexthorpe, Doncaster, Yorkshire, England. Inscription on headstone reads: ”PRECIOUS MEMORIES SILENTLY TREASURED.” Also remembered on the Doncaster War Memorial.
Sgt. Donald Ralph McEvoy DFM. Marquise Communal Cemetery. Plot 1.Row A.Grave 21. Inscription on headstone reads: “HE SERVED WELL MAY HIS DEAR SOUL REST IN PEACE.” Born on the 18th April 1923 the son of Bernard and Inez McEvoy of Lindsay, Ontario, Canada.
Citation reads: "Can/R.165361 Sergeant Donald Ralph McEvoy RCAF 425 (RCAF) Squadron. In June 1944, this airman was the mid-upper gunner of an aircraft detailed to attack an enemy target. On the return flight the bomber was attacked by a fighter. Sergeant McEvoy defended his aircraft with great skill and his accurate bursts of fire caused the destruction of the attacker. Some nights later, Sergeant McEvoy shot down another enemy aircraft after a spirited fight. This airman has proved himself to be a gallant and determined member of aircraft crew. Gazetted 29 August 1944." His DFM was sent to his next of kin on the 11th June 1946.
Researched by Linda Ibrom for Aircrew Remembered - June 2017 and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Denise Pannell (cousin) of Sgt. Adams, Operation Picture Me of Canada for photo of Mcevoy - Len from Find-A-Grave for grave photographs. Thanks to John Jones for the flak unit details (Apr 2021). Thanks to John Jones for the DFM citation and additions to the narrative (Apr 2021).