07/08.11.1942 No. 9 Squadron Lancaster I W4265 WS-L P/O. Arthur Joseph McDonald
Operation: Genoa, Italy
Date: 07/08 November 1942 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 9 Squadron - Motto: "Per noctem volamus" ("Throughout the night we fly")
Badge: A bat. The badge is based on a device used previously.
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Location: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Pilot: P/O. Arthur Joseph McDonald J/16133 RCAF Age 21 - Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. John William Bowes 937978 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (2)
Nav: WO2 Donald Leonard Grimes R/775892 RCAF Age - Killed (3)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: WO2 Douglas Dunbar Low R/91655 RCAF Age 25 - Killed (4)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Nichol Curd 1110218 RAFVR Age 22 (23rd mission) - Killed (5)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Raymond Gwilym Gwyn Anthony 1313821 RAFVR Age 26 - Killed (6)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Charles Perchard 1334872 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (7)
We appeal to relatives of the crew with further information and/or photographs to please contact us via the HELPDESK
REASON FOR LOSS
Took off at 17:53 hours from RAF Waddington on a bombing operation to Genoa.
A force of 175 aircraft comprised of 85 Lancasters, 45 Halifaxes, 39 Stirlings and 6 Wellingtons was despatched for this raid on Genoa. Crews reported that visibility was good and there was little opposition. Photographs and reports from returning crews confirmed that the raid had been a very successful and well concentrated with 147 aircraft having bombed the target. 4 Halifaxes, 1 Lancaster and 1 Wellington were lost.
Lancaster W4265 returned to base at RAF Waddington but at 02:00 hours, whilst preparing to land, collided with Lancaster R5916 also of No. 9 squadron. In the resulting crash the crew members of both crews were all killed.
The Report on Flying Accident or Forced Landing not Attributable to Enemy Action (Form 765) gives the following information regarding the circumstances of the incident.
"The accident occurred at night over base aerodrome. Neither aircraft had contacted base. Just before the collision occurred a Lancaster was observed immediately over the Watch Office at the estimated height of 1,500 feet, travelling in a Southerly direction with navigation lights burning. Aircraft returning from operations would be flying in a Northerly direction and it is thought the collision occurred head-on. As both aircraft were destroyed and there were no survivors nothing further is known".
The report was prepared in relation to Lancaster W4265 but the circumstances apply equally to both aircraft. It was clearly impossible to determine which of the Lancasters was flying in a southerly direction or why.
For details of the crew of Lancaster R5916 click here
BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS OF THE CREW
(1) P/O. Arthur Joseph McDonald was born 13 March 1921 at Hardieville, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada the son of Fidelis McDonald (a Motor Mechanic) and Elizabeth McDonald nee Arsenault. The family lived at Turner Valley in the Calgary area of Alberta. He had three brothers and two sisters, two half-brothers and two half-sisters. His mother died in 1926.
Arthur attended Turner Valley Primary School from 1927 to 1935 and Turner Valley High School from 1935 to 1939 where he was educated to Junior Matriculation standard Grade XII equivalent. After leaving school he was employed as a Clerk/Stenographer at the Royalite Oil Company in Turner Valley. He played Hockey, Baseball and Football all moderately.
He served in the Non-Permanent Active Militia as a Private in the Calgary Highlanders at Turner Valley commencing in July 1940 but on 22 August he was interviewed regarding his application to join the Royal Canadian Air Force. The interviewing officer recorded that he found Arthur McDonald to be "above average; a good type, keen, alert and should be able to qualify for any member of aircrew. A confident, mature, pleasant, clean and smartly dressed man". When he enlisted at Calgary on 23 November 1940 he was 5' 9½" tall weighing 147 lbs with a medium complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.
After training at No. 2 Initial Training School at RCAF Regina,Saskatchewan, No. 8 Elementary Flying School at RCAF Vancouver, British Columbia and No. 3 Service Flying Training School at RCAF Calgary, Alberta he was awarded his Pilot's Badge (Wings) on 20 August 1941 and promoted to Sergeant. He embarked for the UK a month later on 18 September.
Arriving in the UK he was posted to No 3 Personnel Reception Centre and on 20 October to No. 20 Operational Training Unit at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. On 20 February he was promoted to Flight Sergeant and on 20 May 1942 was posted to No. 9 Squadron at RAF Honington in Suffolk. His promotion to Warrant Officer Second Class came on 28 August 1942 and on 3 September he was selected for a commission as a Pilot Officer. In September he moved with No. 9 squadron moved to RAF Waddington where it converted from Wellingtons to Lancasters.
(2) Sgt. John William Bowes was born in 1921 at Tynemouth, Northumberland the son of Harry Bowes and Margaret R. Bowes nee Thompson later of Summerhouse, Darlington, Co. Durham
He is commemorated in the Darlington Book of Remembrance at the War Memorial hospital
(3) WO2. Donald Leonard Grimes was born on 9 September 1920 at Hanna, Alberta, Canada the son of Sydney Lawrence Grimes (born Birmingham, England) and Ellen Cora Grimes nee Brown (deceased). He attended Dundee Primary School at Hanna from 1926 to 1934 and Hanna High School 1934 to 1938 to Senior Matriculation. From leaving school in 1938 he had worked as a farm labourer and then ran his father's farm for a year prior to enlisting. He played softball, baseball and hockey and also boxed.
At his interview on 13 November 1940 he was recorded as "A fine type. Above average. OK any position aircrew. Recommended for Pilot. Suitable for commissioned rank". He enlisted at Calgary on 23 November 1940 the same date and place as P/O. McDonald. He was described as 5'5¾" tall weighing 140 lbs with medium complexion, blue eyes and black hair.
After training at No 2 Initial Training School at RCAF Regina, Saskatchewan, No 4 Air Observer School at RCAF London, Ontario, and No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Jarvis, Ontario he was awarded his Observers Badge on 19 July 1941 and promoted to Sergeant. He was then posted to No. 2 Air navigation School at RCAF Pennfield on 21 July 1941.
On 21 August 1941 he married Arras Robertina Allison at London, Ontario and she later lived at 154 Horton Street, London, Ontario. After 18 days leave he was posted to No. 1 "Y" Depot at Halifax and on 21 September embarked for the UK. On arrival in the UK he was initially posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre before being posted to No. 20 Operational Training Unit at RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland on 20 October. Promoted to Flight Sergeant on 20 February 1942 he was posted to No. 9 Squadron at RAF Honington, Suffolk on 20 May and further promoted to Warrant Officer Second Class on 19 July 1942. In September he moved with No. 9 squadron moved to RAF Waddington where it converted from Wellingtons to Lancasters.
He is commemorated in the London Ontario, Books of Remembrance.
(4) WO2. Douglas Dunbar Low was born on 28 June 1916 at Grandview, Manitoba, Canada the son of George Low (a Blacksmith born in Scotland) and Jean Low nee Dunbar (born Scotland).The family later lived at 287, 5th Street, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada.
He was educated at Grandview Public School from 1922 to 1939 and Grandview High School from 1931 to 1933 to Junior Matriculation (Grade XI). After leaving school he worked as a clerk/bookkeeper at a druggist's and for four years prior to enlisting as a Menswear Clerk (Salesman?) He enjoyed swimming, fishing and playing softball, tennis and badminton. At his interview for the Royal Canadian Air Force the interviewing officer made the following observations, " Tall, straight, confident manner, gentlemanly, ideal. Recommended for W/Op or Observer".
He enlisted at Winnipeg, Manitoba on 24 January 1941 when he was described as being 6' tall weighing 165 lbs with a ruddy complexion, blue grey eyes and dark brown hair. Single with no children he stated that his hobby was radio.
After training at No. 2 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Mossbank, Saskatchewan, No. 2 Wireless School at RCAF Calgary, Alberta and No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF MacDonald, Manitoba he graduated as a Wireless Operator and Air Gunner. He was awarded his Air Gunners Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 13 September 1941. On 6 October he embarked for the UK and after three weeks at No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre was posted to No. 1 Signals School at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire on 11 November 1941. On 14 January he was sent to No. 20 Operational Training Unit at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland and on 15 March was promoted to Flight Sergeant. On 20 May 1942 was posted to No. 9 Squadron at RAF Honington in Suffolk from where the Squadron moved to RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire in September 1942 and converted to Lancasters. Douglas Low was promoted to Warrant Officer Second Class on 1 November 1942.
In 1995 the Province of Manitoba honoured the memory of Douglas Low by the naming of Low Bay in Fidler Lake.
(5) Sgt. Nichol Curd was born in 1920 at Houghton le Spring, County Durham son of Albert A. Curd and Margaret Curd nee Charlton, of New Penshaw, County Durham. His only sibling, Margaret Curd, was born in 1922.
He is commemorated on the Memorial Plaque 1939-1945 at Washington Grammar School, Spout Lane, the Book of Remembrance RAF 1939-45 at the Church of St Peter, St Peter's Way, Monkwearmouth, Sunderland and the Sanctuary Lamp and Plaque 1939-45 at All Saints' Church, Old Village Church, Penshaw.
(6) Sgt. Raymond Gwilym Gwyn Anthony was born in 1916 at Pontypridd, Glamorganshire, Wales the son of Benjamin and Mary Ann Anthony nee Bowen: husband of Margaret Eileen Anthony nee Williams, all of Mountain Ash, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales.
(7) Sgt. Robert Charles Perchard was born c1921 the son of John and Elsie Perchard, of Trinity, Jersey, Channel Islands.
He is commemorated on the Jersey Roll of Honour
BURIAL DETAILS AND EPITAPHS
(1) P/O. Arthur Joseph McDonald was buried at Lincoln (Newport) Cemetery Section H. Grave 318 North.
(2) Sgt. John William Bowes was buried at Denton (St. Mary) Churchyard County Durham (south side of church)
His epitaph reads:
He died that we might live
(3) WO2 Donald Leonard Grimes was buried at Lincoln (Newport) Cemetery Section H. Grave 317 North.
His epitaph reads:
You are always in my heart.
Your loving wife Arras
(4) WO2 Douglas Dunbar Low was buried at Lincoln (Newport) Cemetery Section H. Grave 317 South.
His epitaph reads
In loving memory of Douglas
Loved dearly in life and
Living yet in the hearts of
Dad and mum
(5) Sgt. Nichol Curd was buried at Penshaw (All Saints) Churchyard, County Durham Section 5. Row 2. Grave 5.
His epitaph reads:
A noble, fearless airman,
A hero come home to rest
A later monument reads:
A token of undying love for our only son Nichol Curd
Sergt. Wireless Operator RAFVR crashed at Lincoln
after his 23rd operational flight over enemy territory
November 8th 1942 aged 22 years.
He did his duty
(6) Sgt. Raymond Gwilym Gwyn Anthony was buried at Maes Yr Arian Cemetery. Glenboi, Mountain Ash - Grave 9022
His epitaph reads:
Of earthly life laid down
To enter into
The fuller inheritance
(7) Sgt. Robert Charles Perchard was buried at Lincoln (Newport) Cemetery Section H. Grave 316 South
His epitaph reads:
His memory will never fade
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - September 2017
With thanks to the sources quoted below.