08/09.09.1939 No. 102 Squadron Whitley III K8950 DY-M Sq/Ldr. Murray
Operation: Knickel (leaflet dropping)
Date: 8/9th September 1939 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 102 Squadron
Type: Whitley MkIII
Base: RAF Driffield
Location: near Kassel, Germany
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Sydney Stuart Murray 26117 RAF PoW No: 60 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Bellaria (3)
2nd Pilot: Fl/Lt. Alfred Burke Thompson 39585 RAF PoW No: 59 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Bellaria (3)
Obs: Sgt. Charles A. Hill 580896 RAF PoW No: 2 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug (6)
Air/Gnr: AC1. Sam A. Burry 524802 RAF PoW No: 1 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus (357)
Air/Gnr: AC1. Peter Frederick Pacey 567315 RAF PoW No: 2 Stalag Kopernikus (357)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 23:55 hrs, one of 12 aircraft tasked to drop leaflets over the Rhur (6 from 77 Squadron, 6 from 102 Squadron.
Understood to have been shot down by Flak over Thuringia, crashing near Kassel, Germany. All survived and became the first complete bomber crew to be taken into captivity.
Alfred Thompson right with Squadron Leader Sydney Murray with Luftwaffe guards.
Sq/Ldr. Sydney Stuart Murray received the OBE on the 28th December 1945, he was then a W/Cdr. Retired from the Airforce on the 06th April 1957 as a Group Captain.
Fl/Lt. Alfred Thompson joined the RCAF in 1936. Canada was not officially at war with Germany until the following day of their loss. Alfred was taken to Berlin and made to pose in propaganda photos with Luftwaffe commander Hermann Goerring. Those pictures may later have saved his life. Alfred was sent to several POW camps before ending up at Stalag Luft III near Sagan. There, he was recruited for the Great Escape. Thompson made it through tunnel "Harry" but was recaptured soon after. As a single man with no children, Thompson was vulnerable to execution, but he carried with him the propaganda photo. Commission relinquished on the 24th November 1944 on appointment to the RCAF as Fl/Lt. He returned to university after the war. He became a lawyer, and later a Crown prosecutor, in Simcoe County, Ontario. He died on the 01st January 1985 at his home town of Penetanguishene at the age of 85.
AC 1 Peter Frederick Pacey 14th November 1946 - promoted to Warrant Officer - 567315. All the crew that were not commissioned officers were promoted to Warrant Officer after their release.
None - crew all survived as PoW.
Researcher: Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered - February 2017. Photographs from the collection of Michel Beckers.