01.09.1942 No. 405 Squadron Halifax II BB216 LQ-D Fl/Sgt. Mackenzie loss
Operation: Saarbrucken, Germany
Date: 1st September 1942 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. No. 405 Squadron RCAF
Type: Handley Page Halifax II
Base: RAF Topcliffe, Yorkshire.
Location: Near Chapel St.Leonards, Lincolnshire
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Norman Angus MacKenzie R/86313 RCAF Age 27. Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. James Alexander RCAF Injured
Nav: P/O. Edgar B. Mason RCAF Injured (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Kaucharik RCAF Injured
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Clarence Gordon Eagles R/83536 RCAF Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold Stone 1267726 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (3)
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Louis Donald Dawdy R/90329 RCAF Age 26. Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Topcliffe at 23.03 hrs. Whilst crossing the coast at 23.44 hrs, the port outer engine caught fire and although the blaze was quelled, structural failure of the port wing followed and the order to bale out was given. At least two of the airman fell into the sea and drowned, while the Halifax crashed at 23.58 hrs at Chapel St. Leonards, 5 miles NNW of of Skegness, Lincolnshire.
Crew of Halifax BB216. The only names that we have are that of Sgt. Harold Stone second from left (4), Fl/Sgt. MacKenzie third from left and P/O. Mason, third from right. Can you identify the others? (courtesy Lynn Tarzwell, nee Mason)
On the 4th September 2004 a memorial was unveiled in the village of Mumby. Relatives travelled from Ontario for the impressive and poignant ceremony. Many dignitaries attended including Major Marvin Mungeone of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Group Captain John Ford, Squadron Leader John Wright. The service was conducted by the Rev. Daffyd Robinson in the blazing sunshine in the corner of a cornfield.
A Mr. David Hill (the main organiser of the event) thanked all who attended and recalled the events told by his mother who was 36 at the time of the crash:
"On the night of the 1st September 1942, we lived at Field Farm, Langham. Between 11 pm and 12 pm we had retired to bed and there was such a roar of noise and our bedroom was lit up as a plane roared by, very low and on fire.
Not many minutes after there was such a roar and a crash and rattling of milk churns and a heavy thud and we all thought that our end had come!
There was a trail of fire in the fields as we looked out, we knew then that a plane had crashed. My husband went out and a plane wing was in a field - about 25 yards from our back door. A big blaze of fire about half a mile away was where the rest of the plane had hit the ground.
After a short time the airman who had landed in a field of peas (cut and in rows) thinking that he was landing in the sea, came over to our door. He had hurt himself on landing. He was very concerned about his three pals still in the plane. He was the last to survive - Gordon Eagles was found in our field of Swedes - his parachute had caught fire and so he was killed by the fall.
We found pieces of metal on our front lawn. Also my husband walked to the spot that night, where Gordon was killed and found his gold watch. The works had come out of the gold case but I carefully put them together and wound it up and the watch ticked away. On the back of this watch was his name and it was a 21st birthday present from his mum and dad. I took the watch to the police station and also wrote to Topcliffe and asked for Gordon's home address. I would have liked to have written to his parents but this was not allowed.
About 7am a medical officer, driven by a W.A.F.F. came and they picked up P/O. Mason from Moybray's of Anderby and he had some of Mr. Mowbray's clothes and a dressing gown. We were able to give these people a good breakfast. In the afternoon, at about 5 pm an ambulance collected the body of Gordon Eagles."
Above and below photographs courtesy of Mr. Paul Pepper, Honorary Poppy Appeal Organiser for Thirsk and District.
In the St Columba's Church, Topcliffe village Yorkshire a small wooden plaque beneath the south western most window of the nave in memory of Sgt. Harold Stone and his fellow crew. Only the name of Sgt. Stone is mentioned by name implying that it was his family that provided the plaque. On top of this plaque sits a small wooden mouse indicating that it was carved by the renowned local craftsman "Mousey Thompson".
The plaque reads:
"This window and the north west window have been renewed in memory of Sgt. Harold Stone, rear gunner and fellow members of his crew killed in action 2 Sept 1945" (3)
(1) MacKenzie Peninsula on Shannon Lake, Manitoba is named after Fl/Sgt. MacKenzie
(2) Aircrew Remembered have recently been contacted by Lynn (Mason) Tarzwell, daughter of P/O. Edgar B. Mason. Further information is being compiled as Edgar was also a member of a crew of Halifax LK913 which crashed following being hit by incendiaries dropped by a Stirling over Montlucon, France. Sadly Edgar died in 2002.
(3) The late sister of Sgt. Stone, a Mrs. B.A. Rackow, is understood to have organised this. She also has requested that the Poppy Appeal organisation of Thirsk and District lay a wreath at his grave every Remembrance day. Mr. Paul Pepper takes charge of this as well as many others at Dishforth Cemetery where 57 aircrew of the RCAF are buried as well as 20 of the RAF and 1 from the RAAF.
(4) Harold Stone - We were contacted by a friend of the family, Mr Kenneth Topp who recognised Sgt Stone in the photo. The mother of Harold Stone had two sisters, Gladys who was a talented artist and Gwenda Villiers who was an actress. The wedding dress and slippers of his mother will be on exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in May 2014.
Memorial at the crash site and graves of Fl/Sgt. MacKenzie, Sgt. Eagles and of Sgt. Stone. (courtesy Paul Pepper)
Fl/Sgt. Norman Angus MacKenzie. Dishforth Cemetery Grave 19.Son of John and Mary MacKenzie, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Sgt. Clarence Gordon Eagles. Dishforth Cemetery Grave 18. Son of William and Annie E. Eagles, of Southampton, Ontario, Canada.
Sgt. Harold Stone. Dishforth Cemetery Grave 17. Son of Bertie Heyer Stone and Phyllis Stone.
Fl/Sgt. Louis Donald Dawdy Runnymede Memorial. Panel 103. Son of Louis Joseph and Ruby Pearl Dawdy, of Kingsville, Ontario, Canada.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew. This page of remembrance dedicated to Lynn (Mason) Tarzwell, daughter of P/O. Edgar B. Mason and all relatives of the crew. With thanks to Mr. Paul Pepper Honorary Poppy Appeal Organiser for Thirsk and District. Also to Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 3", Commonwealth War Graves Commission.