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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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420 Squadron Snowy Owl Crest
03/04.05.1944 No. 420 Squadron Halifax III MZ596 PT-F P/O. Peter J. O. Lapointe

Operation: Training

Date: 3/4th May 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 420 Squadron RCAF (Snowy Owl)

Type: Halifax III

Serial: MZ596

Code: PT-F

Base: RAF Tholthorpe, Yorkshire

Location: Caernarfon Bay area, North Wales.

Pilot: P/O. Peter John Orville Lapointe J/85411 RCAF Age 23. Missing

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Gerald Ellwood 939956 R.A.F.V.R. Age 23. Missing

Nav: P/O. Ernest Wilberforce Michie T/86258/R/79767 RCAF Age 23. Missing

Air/Bmr: P/O. Richard John Joseph Monaghan J/6527/R/136773 RCAF Age 24. Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. William Gordon Beer 178145/1338354 RAFVR Age 22. Missing

Air/Gnr: P/O. Harold Edwin Simmons J/6527/R/136773 RCAF Age 21. Missing

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Hillhouse MacDougall R/117210 RCAF Age 36, Missing

Air/Gnr: P/O. William Stobbart 178242/1104089 RAFVR Age 28. Missing


The author of this outstanding work of research requested we publish it in its completion, as he wrote it. If you have comments or corrections, we will be happy to pass them to the author.


REASON FOR LOSS:

At the start of the Second World War, my father, Gordon (Don) Beer was working in an engineering factory as a machinist in East London. He, like many others, volunteered for the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) as aircrew. This was initially refused but eventually he did join the RAF as 1338354 AC2 Beer G W. He did his basic training at RAF Yatesbury, Calne, Wiltshire. His radio operator training was carried out at Blackpool, Lancashire which had at this time of the war become one massive RAF Camp. When he finally passed out of training he became a Sergeant Wireless Operator and Air Gunner (WOP AG).

On completion of their aircrew trades training, the new air crewmen were posted to an Operational Training Unit (OTU). There the different aircrew trades would mingle in a hanger or other large area and would then buddy up and divide themselves into crews. Some of these young men may have known each other from their earlier training as most if not all would have had gunnery training. The newly formed crews were integrated and further training was carried out with an experienced instructor in the aircraft to minimise any mistakes. This training included flying on operational sorties with the main bomber streams over enemy targets. The loss rates on OTU's were quite high as the aircraft, though well maintained, were old and tired aircraft retired from active squadron duties. More losses would have been sustained were it not for the vast experience of the instructors who had all completed operational tours of 30 or more combat operations over enemy territory.

Sergeant Beer was then posted to 22 OTU at RAF Gaydon Warwickshire. This is where the Lapointe crew were formed. The crew of five was a mixture of British and Canadian aircrew. Sergeant Gordon William (Don) Beer, the radio operator from the East End of London and Sergeant William (Bill) Stobbart, the rear gunner from Hallbankgate Cumberland were both British. The pilot, Pilot Officer Pierre (Pete) Lapointe was French Canadian. The other two crew members were Sergeants Ernest Wilberforce Michie Navigator and Richard John Joseph (John) Monaghan Observer (Bomb Aimer (the Observer also doubled as the front gunner)) who were Canadian and members of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). On completion of their continuation training, they were posted to Bomber Command, Six Group (an all Canadian group) where they joined a Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron, 420 (Snowy Owl) Squadron flying Wellington medium Bombers. The photograph below may have been taken whilst the crew were on advanced training at 22 Operational Training Unit RAF Gaydon.

Original Wellington crew: L to R, Sgt, Beer, Sgt, Michie, P/O. Lapointe, Sgt. Stobbart, Sgt. Monoghan. (Photo provided by Don G. Beer. Please request permission before reproducing)

The crew joined 420 Squadron in Tunisia in September 1943, the squadron which had been flying Wellington IIIs at RAF Middleton ST George was then re-equipped with desertised Wellington Mark Xs in May and June 1943, for the squadron's posting to North Africa. The squadron eventually moved to Hani East in the Kairouan Area, Tunisia, the squadron's home for just over three months of active duty with 205 Group during which time it attacked targets in Sicily and Italy. The squadron rejoined 6 Group in the UK in November 1943, and was located briefly at Dalton before settling down at Tholthorpe for the duration of the war.

Lapointe Halifax crew in front of what is probably "A" Apple being loaded with 1,000 Lb bombs with number 37 tail units. L to R, Sgt. Ellwood, Fl/Sgt. Stobbart, Sgt. MacDougall, Sgt. Beer, W/O2. Monaghan, W/O2. Michie, P/O. Lapointe. (Photo provided by Don G. Beer. Please request permission before reproducing)

On the squadron’s return to England, it was posted to RAF Dalton, North Yorkshire from November to December 1943, still flying Wellington Medium Bombers. The Squadron then transferred to RAF Tholthorpe after being equipped with Halifax III aircraft. On their return to the United Kingdom, the complete Wellington crews were rotated in turn from RAF Dalton to 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU) based at RAF Topcliffe, Yorkshire, where the crews were trained and re-equipped with Halifax heavy bombers. This meant that the crew was increased to seven with an additional mid upper turret gunner and a flight engineer. After converting to their new (to them) aircraft the crews were then returned to squadron duties at RAF Tholthorpe from where they flew operationally until their deaths in the early hours of the morning of 3rd/4th May 1944. The Halifax crew consisted of the original five crew members from the Wellington plus a mid upper turret gunner, Sergeant John Hillhouse MacDougal of the RCAF (originally with 431 (Iroquois) Squadron and a Flight Engineer Sergeant Gerald Ellwood RAFVR. Without further research in Canada, it is unclear why Sergeant MacDougal would have been transferred from 431 squadron to 1659 HCU and joined a crew from 420 squadron. It is also odd that on his entry in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) site he is recorded as dying whilst with 431 squadron.

Sometime in April 1944, when returning from an operational sortie somewhere into Europe their aircraft was severely damaged. Family hearsay says that while flying back from their target where their aircraft had been damaged they were transiting the 'SAFE; corridor through London when they were attacked by a night fighter which caused them to crash land somewhere near Waltham Abbey in Essex. This was probably the sortie of April 22/23 1944.

Crew Mission Record

September 26, 1943. Pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, rgun W Stobbart arrived at 420 Squadron based at Hani East in the Kairouan Area, N. Africa.

September 29/30. Pilot Lapointe was "second dickey" in JA125 flown by the CH Tucker crew on a mission to bomb Formia.

October 4/5. Wellington X-HZ414. (call sign X-X-ray) pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, rgun W Stobbart. Formia Roads. Bombs fell slightly north of target. (This appears to be the only operative mission the crew flew in North Africa as 420 squadron ceased operations in North Africa the following day and began preparations to return to England.)

Jan 29, 1944. Lapointe's crew returned from 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit. The crew now included mgun J MacDougall and eng G Ellwood.

Feb 20/21. LW377-G. (call sign G-George) pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J MacDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood. Stuttgart.

Feb 25/26. LW386-A. (A-Apple) pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J MacDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood, mugun. Augsburg. A few fighters were seen in the target area.

March 1/2. LW476-J. (J-Jig) pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J MacDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood, Stuttgart.

March 13/14. LW386-A. pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J MacDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood. Lemans.

March 15/16. LW386-A. pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J MacDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood. Stuttgart.

March 18/19. LW386-A. pilot PJ Lapointe, (G Pritchard-second "dickey"), ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J MacDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood. Frankfort.

March 22/23. LW386-A. pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J MacDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood, mgun Fenton. Frankfurt.

April 9/10. LW386-A. pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J MacDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood. Villeneuve St George.

April 10/11. LW386-A. pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J MacDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood. Ghent.

April 18/19. LW386-A. pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J MacDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood. Noisy Le-Sec.

April 20/21. LW386-A. pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J MacDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood. Lens.

April 22/23. LW386-A. pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J MacDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood. Düsseldorf. Aircraft was damaged by flak but returned safely to base. (The plane was considered unrepairable with routine maintenance.) Comment: This aircraft was later categorised as category 5, 'Beyond economic repair' and scrapped. I believe that this was the raid on which the aircraft crashed near Waltham Abbey so cannot explain the comment that the aircraft returned safely to base. Perhaps it meant that the crew returned safely to base without injury.

April 30/May 1. LW421-K. (call sign K-King) pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J MacDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood. Somain. Orbited on instructions from Master Bomber.

May 1/2, LW421-K. pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J McDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood. Ghilsein.

May 3/4. MZ596-F. (call sign F-Fox) pilot PJ Lapointe, ab RJ Monaghan, nav E Michie, wop G Beer, mgun J McDougall, rgun W Stobbart, eng G Ellwood, mugun HE Simmons. Did not return from a night cross-country astrolab training flight from homebase Tholthorpe to John O’Groats then down to Lands end (it was on this leg that they disappeared) and then returning to Tholthorpe . Nothing was heard from the crew after takeoff. N.B. No crash site or remains have ever been found. It is still a mystery why the plane and crew disappeared but it would appear that they crashed into Caernarfon Bay, North Wales.

I have been given extracts from the diary of the aircraft crew chief or head mechanic, Corporal Bert Parker who maintained the aircraft on A flight 420 squadron. His son Dale Parker has a web site which includes details of 420 squadron and he has supplied most of the detail on the day to day flying of the Lapointe crew above. The extract from the fateful night 3/4 May 1944 reads as follows:

May 3: Stand down. Night flight training of bullseye and cross countries. "F" MZ596 was reported missing from night training flight. (pilot P/O Lapointe, ba WO2 Monaghan, nav WO2 Michie, wop Sgt Beer, muag Sgt McDougall, ag F/Sgt Stobbbart, eng Sgt Ellwood, and mdgun Sgt Simmons.) Training flights all day and night. Fairly hazy and high winds. A ladder fell over and hit J. Christie on the foot. He is in hospital but OK.

As can be seen from this extract, the two Canadians Ernest Michie and John Monoghan had been promoted to Warrant Officer second class and Bill Stobbart promoted to Flight Sergeant .The only member of the original Wellington crew not to have been promoted was Don Beer.

On the night of their deaths, the crew were not on operations, but on a Navigation training Exercise (NavEx) from Tholthorpe to John O’Groats to Lands End and then the return journey to Tholthorpe. The aircraft was a new Halifax III tail serial number MZ596 with the call sign “F” Fox. The aircraft went down about midway on the John O’Groats to Lands End section, around about the Caernarfon Bay area, at approximately half past midnight on the 4th of May. The search and rescue flight at RAF Valley on the Island of Anglesey searched the Bay by both sea and air but could find no trace of wreckage or bodies. Some several nights later, a foot was washed ashore on the beach at RAF Llanbedr but as there had been several aircraft of varying types crashed into the bay over the last few weeks it could not be identified. According to the unit Board of Enquiry, (all aircraft losses had one to find the cause of the loss and if necessary allocate blame to those responsible) Sergeant Reginald Gould, a rear gunner stated that he had seen gunfire (nearly all machine guns were loaded with ammunition belts loaded with three rounds solid ball and then one round tracer bullets) in the position that MZ 596 would have occupied in the formation. He also stated that a short time after seeing the gunfire that there was flames in the sea below. His navigator confirmed this and the position was radioed to RAF Valley for the search and rescue services. This information was discounted by the Board of Enquiry as Sergeant Gould and his crew were relatively new. I met Sergeant Gould and he confirmed to both me what he had seen.

Halifax Mark III MZ596-F had a crew of eight airmen. At this time in the war, some of the later marks of Halifax aircraft had a Preston Green mid-under turret fitted, this previously non-existent protection from attack from below would have cut down the toll taken by Luftwaffe night fighters using upwards firing cannon. Of course, this necessitated another crewmen gunner. The extra man was Air Gunner Sergeant Harold Edwin Simmons who had been posted onto the squadron from 1659 H.C.U. a couple of days previous to this night's tragic events.

As often happened on navigational training flights one of the crew was being given additional pilot training, possibly Gerald Ellwood the flight engineer. This training was to give other crew members the chance to fly the aircraft home and land it in the event of the pilot being killed or injured and the aircraft still able to fly. The aircraft itself had either been on major overhaul or was new and recently ferried in as the engine records show that the engines had only run for 10 hours prior to takeoff. On the previous two nights, the squadron had flown raids into France and Germany. The previous night’s raid had been the crew's last; they had completed their combat tour and were being posted to other duties after some leave (with the exception of the pilot who wished to continue flying combat missions). They should not have been flying this night but the squadron was an aircraft down due to crew illness. They were the standby replacement crew and their aircraft was the standby replacement aircraft. In many documents (I have a telegram which says this) it is stated that the aircraft was lost in the North Sea. This type of misinformation was often given out in case any information got back to the enemy and hindered the escape of any captured or free airmen on enemy soil.

When the aircraft disappeared during the night of 3/4 May 1944 the crew had a mixture of ranks from sergeant to pilot officer. With their demise and as there had been a recent Officer Selection boards at the Tholthorpe (on the 13th, 14th of February and the 4th of April) , some of the NCO aircrew were given temporary commissions and promoted to Pilot Officer. This promotion was made retrospective to the 2nd of May 1944, the day before their deaths and applied to Sergeant Beer (gazetted to Pilot Officer on the 2nd of May in the supplement to the London Gazette, 8 august, 1944), Flight Sergeant Stobbart (gazetted to Pilot Officer on the 2nd of May in the supplement to the London Gazette, 15 August 1944) and Warrant Officers second class Michie and Monaghan. Sergeant Simmons, the mid under gunner was also commissioned and promoted to Pilot Officer, but as he had joined the squadron from the HCU only days previous to events. It is not clear as to where he would have attended a commissioning board. I have no confirmation when the Canadians were promoted, nor if there is the equivalent of the London Gazette so I have assumed that the promotion and commissioning dates would have been the 2nd of May as well.

The original Wellington crew, like most of their contemporaries, were awarded the following medals: 1939-45 Star with Bomber Command Clasp, Italy Star, Aircrew Europe Star, 1939-45 War Medal and the Defence Medal. The Canadians also received the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with clasp for 60 days service outside Canada. The other two original Halifax crewman, Ellwood, British and MacDougal, Canadian would receive the same medals minus the Italy Star. The mid under gunner Simmons would possible have had the same as MacDougal but It is also unclear as to what his medal entitlement would be.

The entire crews names are recorded in and on several memorials. The first is in the RAF Bomber Command Book of Remembrance in York Minster sited with the RAF Bomber Command Memorial clock. A truly fitting memorial with a profound visual impact.

Left: RAF Bomber Command Memorial clock at York Minster (Photo provided by Don G. Beer. Please request permission before reproducing)

The book is situated in front of the astronomical clock which is a memorial to the Allied aircrews that flew from airfields in Yorkshire and the North-East and lost their lives during World War II. It was dedicated in 1955. On one face of the clock is shown the precise position of the sun in relation to the Minster at any time and on the other, the position of the northern stars by which aircrew navigated at night.

The Royal Air Force also has a dedicated church, St Clement Danes, the Central Church of the Royal Air Force. St Clements Danes also has Books of Remembrance for all members of the Royal and Commonwealth Air Forces, books I to X, of which books II to IX contain the names of all those died on service during the Second World War. I have verified that all the crew are commemorated somewhere in these books.

Lastly the Commonwealth War Graves Commission monument at Runnymede: during the Second World War more than 116,000 men and women of the Air Forces of the British Commonwealth gave their lives in service. More than 17,000 of these were members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, or Canadians serving with the Royal Air Force. Approximately one-third of all who died have no known grave. Of these, 20,450 are commemorated by name on the Runnymede Memorial, which is situated at Englefield Green, near Egham, west of London. The design of the Runnymede Memorial is original and striking. On the crest of Cooper's Hill, overlooking the Thames, a square tower dominates a cloister, in the centre of which rests the Stone of Remembrance. The cloistered walks terminate in two lookouts, one facing towards Windsor, and the other towards London Airport at Heathrow. The names of the dead are inscribed on the stone reveals of the narrow windows in the cloisters and the lookouts. They include those of 3,050 Canadian airmen. Above the three-arched entrance to the cloister is a great stone eagle with the Royal Air Force motto, Per Ardua ad Astra". On each side is the inscription: “In this cloister are recorded the names of twenty thousand airmen who have no known grave. they died for freedom in raid and sortie over the British Isles and the lands and seas of northern and Western Europe. Within the tower is a vaulted shrine, which provides a quiet place for contemplation, containing illuminated verses by Paul H. Scott."

The details of the panels on which the names can be found and a virtual certificate is on the internet at www.cwgc.org then search the Debt of Honour Register by name and service.

The entire crew, with the exception of Sergeant Gerald Ellwood is also mentioned in a Canadian memorial book entitled They Shall Grow Not Old. where some 18,000 service biographies of RCAF personnel who lost their lived in WWII are listed. The Canadians have their own entrys and the rest of the crew and the flight details are given under the name of Harold Edwin Simmons. All the crew retain the rank as of their death in this book which is available from the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum Inc. in Canada. Where I know of other memorials to these men, I have included them somewhere in their personal briefs.

The following is taken from the book 'They Shall Grow Not Old':

Lapointe, Peter John Orville P/O (P) J854lI. From Vancouver, B.C. Killed May 4/44 age 23."420 Snowy Owl Squadron (Pugnamus Finitum)”. Halifax aircraft lost. Please see Simmons H.E. for casualty list and flight detail. Pilot Officer Pilot Lapointe has no known grave; his name is inscribed on the Runnymede War Memorial Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey, England.

MacDougall, John Hillhouse SGT (AG) RII72I0.From Noranda, Quebec. Killed May 4/44 age 36. "420 Snowy Owl Squadron (Pugnamus Finitum)”. Halifax aircraft lost. Please see Simmons H.E. for casualty list and flight detail. Sergeant Air Gunner MacDougall has no known grave; his name is inscribed on the Runnymede War Memorial Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey, England. (Though listed as being on “420 Snowy Owl Squadron (Pugnamus Finitum)” here, Sergeant MacDougall is listed as a member 0f “431 Iroquois (The hatilen ronteriios) Squadron on the CWGC website).

Michie, Ernest Wilberforce P/O (N) T86258/R79767. From Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Killed May 4/44 age 23. "420 Snowy Owl Squadron (Pugnamus Finitum)”. Halifax aircraft lost. Please see Simmons H.E. for casualty list and flight detail. Pilot Officer Navigator Wilberforce has no known grave; his name is inscribed on the Runnymede War Memorial Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey, England.

Monaghan, Richard John Joseph P/O (BA). J6527/RI36773. From Smith Falls, Ontario. Killed May 4/44 age 24. "420 Snowy Owl Squadron (Pugnamus Finitum)”. Halifax aircraft lost. Please see Simmons H.E. for casualty list and flight detail. Pilot Officer Bomb Aimer Monaghan has no known grave; his name is inscribed on the Runnymede War Memorial Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey, England.

Simmons, Harold Edwin P/O (AG) J90758/RII5338. From Toronto, Ontario. Killed May 4/44 age 21. "420 Snowy Owl Squadron (Pugnamus Finitum)”. The crew of Halifax "MZ 596 took off on a night cross-country flight and were lost in the North Sea. P/O.s E. W. Michie, P. J. Lapointe, R. J. Monaghan, Sgt. J. H. MacDougall, P/O.s G. W. Beer (RAF) and W. Stobbart (RAF) were also killed. Pilot Officer Air Gunner Simmons has no known grave; his name is inscribed on the Runnymede War Memorial Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey, England.

Had the British airmen had their own entries I believe that they would have read as follows.

Beer Gordon William P/O RAFVR (WOP/AG) 178145/1338354 From East Ham, London, England. Killed May 4/44 age 22. "420 Snowy Owl Squadron (Pugnamus Finitum)”. Halifax aircraft lost. Please see Simmons H.E. for casualty list and flight detail. Pilot Officer Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Beer has no known grave; his name is inscribed on the Runnymede War Memorial Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey, England.

Stobbart William P/O RAFVR (AG) 178242/1104089 From Hallbankgate Cumberland England. Killed May 4/44 age 28. "420 Snowy Owl Squadron (Pugnamus Finitum)”. Halifax aircraft lost. Please see Simmons H.E. for casualty list and flight detail. Pilot Officer Air Gunner Stobbart has no known grave; his name is inscribed on the Runnymede War Memorial Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey, England.

Sergeant Ellwood is not mentioned in the Canadian Book of Remembrance but, like the rest died on the 4th of May 1944. If he had been mentioned, I believe that the entry would be as follows:

Ellwood Gerald Sgt RAFVR (FE) 939956 Killed May 4/44 age 23. "420 Snowy Owl Squadron (Pugnamus Finitum)”. Halifax aircraft lost. Please see Simmons H.E. for casualty list and flight detail. Sergeant Flight Engineer Ellwood has no known grave; his name is inscribed on the Runnymede War Memorial Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey, England.

Sergeant Gerald Ellwood (1921 – 4.5.1944), the son of Robert and Margaret Ellwood. Gerald was the Flight Engineer on the crew. Flight Engineers were often ex-apprentice engine or airframe fitters who volunteered for this duty when the 4 engine bombers came into service.

Pilot Officer Stobbart (1916 – 4.5.1944), the son of John James and Edith Ethel Stobbart of Hallbankgate Cumberland is also remembered on a war memorial cross in the churchyard of Farlam St Thomas a Becket Church (actually in Kirkhouse) Cumbria United Kingdom. (shown left Photo provided by Don G. Beer. Please request permission before reproducing)

Pilot Officer Beer (21.3.1922 – 4.5.1944), the son of William and Lillian Beer, husband of Elsie Martha Beer (nee Patten) is also remembered in the West Ham Book of Remembrance in the Borough of Newham, East London, the book is situated in the Town Hall reception area which is open to view whenever the reception is open. A recent addition to the lych gate War memorial at St John's Church Buckhurst Hill Essex United Kingdom also includes his name. (see below)

All five Canadians are also remembered on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM) on the website for the Canadian Veterans Association

In memory of Pilot Officer Peter John Orville Lapointe (1921 – 4/5.1944) who died on May 4, 1944
 Military Service:
 Service Number: J/85411

Age: 23 
Force: Air Force 
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
 Division: 420 Sqdn.
 Additional Information: Son of Peter John and Gertrude LaPointe, of Vancouver, British Columbia. Cemetery: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL; Surrey, United Kingdom Grave Reference: Panel 251. Commemorated on Page 359 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance.

In memory of Pilot Officer Ernest Wilberforce Michie (14.5.1920 – 4.5.1944) who died on May 4, 1944 
Military Service:
 Service Number: J/86258

Age: 23 
Force: Air Force
 Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
 Division: 420 Sqdn.
 Additional Information: Son of George Ross and Marian Michie, husband of Mary Wilma Michie, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Ernest was born at Griswold, Manitoba, educated at Haig school and Weyburn collegiate and enlisted whilst still a student at Regina on the 20.11.1940. He was a virtuoso trumpet player. He is also commemorated at the Saskatchewan rural municipality for commemoration 67 – Weyburn. His family have also commemorated him with a Geo-memorial island. Michie Island which has the location of 54.3458°N / 96.2114°W map reference 63I8. An apt memorial for a navigator.
Cemetery: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL; Surrey, United Kingdom
Grave Reference: Panel 252.
 Commemorated on Page 393 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance.

In memory of Pilot Officer Richard John Joseph Monaghan (1920 – 4/5.1944 who died on May 4, 1944 
Military Service:
 Service Number: J/86527

Age: 24
 Force: Air Force 
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
 Division: 420 Sqdn.
 Additional Information: Son of William J. and Anna Elizabeth Monaghan, of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Cemetery: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL; Surrey, United Kingdom 
Grave Reference: Panel 252. 
Commemorated on Page 396 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance.

In memory of Sergeant John Hillhouse MacDougall (1908 – 4.5.1944) who died on May 4, 1944
Military Service:
Service Number: R/117210

Age: 36
 Force: Air Force
 Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force 
Division: 431 Sqdn.
 Additional Information: Son of Peter MacDougall and of Mary MacDougall (nee Wason). Cemetery: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL; Surrey, United Kingdom 
Grave Reference: Panel 255.
 Commemorated on Page 372  of the Second World War Book of Remembrance.

In memory of
 Pilot Officer Harold Edwin Simmons (1923 – 4/5.1944) 
who died on May 4, 1944
 Military Service:
 Service Number: J/90758
 Age: 21
 Force: Air Force
 Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 420 Sqdn.
Cemetery: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL; Surrey, United Kingdom
 Grave Reference: Panel 252.
Commemorated on Page 443 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance.

G W Beer Memorial Plaque in the lych gate at St. John the Baptist Church, Buckhurst Hill (Photo provided by Don G. Beer. Please request permission before reproducing)

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Don G.N. Beer from Orpington, Kent for his extensive research into this loss. © 2014. The author (Mr. G.N. Beer) asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be wholly or in part reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author. Aircrew Remembered hold this permission. Others who wish to use this page or photographs are requested to contact us in the first instance.

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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