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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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15/16.03.1945 No. 347 (F) Squadron Halifax III NR287 L8-C Cdt. George Ostre

Operation: Hagen

Date: 15/16th March 1945

Unit: No. 347 (French) Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: NR287

Code: L8-C

Base: RAF Elvington, Yorkshire

Location: Scawton, Yorkshire

Pilot: Cdt. George Ostre 3361 FFAF Age 27. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgc. M. Sciolette FFAF Injured

Nav: Cne. Raymond Chevalier 36290 FFAF Age 25. Killed

Air/Bmr: Ltn. Antoine Chemin 814 FFAF Age 31. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Adj. Henry Chabres 37435 FFAF Age 27. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Rene M.E. Ramond 1423 FFAF Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgc. A. Tilliers FFAF Injured


We would like to appeal for any further photographs / information on this loss and crew on behalf of an elderly relative who has nothing.


REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 17:02 hrs to join 266 aircraft to bomb Hagen. The bombers arrived with very clear weather and the resulting damage to Hagen was classed as severe. Over 500 people on the ground were killed and a further 30,000 made homeless. The usual firestorm following this type of raid caused 1,439 fires in the town.

Allied losses on this raid amounted to 10 aircraft lost with 72 aircrew killed and another being made PoW’s for the remaining period of the war.

Halifax NR287 had bombed the target and was returning home when the crew had to wait whilst another Halifax landed at the airfield. The aircraft flew north a little and then turned to land. During this period the pilot asked the flight engineer to make sure all bombs had been dropped during the mission. As he was doing this he noticed that he saw trees speeding past him in the dark, there was a crash and he fainted. He woke to hear the sound of petrol flowing from the burst tanks. He got out of the wreckage and whistled a second whistle replied. Just 2 survivors and they were found by people from the village carrying storm lanterns who took them to the vicarage where some R.A.F. people provided them with first aid and they were then taken to hospital at Northallerton.

It appears that the first impact the Halifax hit a stone wall and the wings and engines were ripped off whilst the fuselage bounded a considerable distance before hitting a tree. The pilot, navigator, wireless operator and the rest of the crew were all killed by this and only the flight engineer Sergeant Chef Sciolette and rear gunner Sergeant Chef Tilliers survived.

Halifax NR287 was built to contract ACFT/2553/C4/C by E.E.C. Ltd at Salmesbury and delivered directly to 347 Squadron on 2nd December 1944. It sustained Cat E2/FB Burn damage in this incident and was struck off charge some days later on 26th March 1945. A brief entry in the Elvington ORB states: 16.03.45. 00:00 hours. Aircraft of 347 Sqdn crashed at Scawton. 5 killed. Two admitted to Northallerton Hospital."

Burial details:

A plaque now commemorates all the crew lost and for some years after the war they were all remembered by name at each Armistice day Service.

All crew who lost their lives in this tragic crash were originally buried in Harrowgate Cemetery (Stonefall) but later returned to France. Details of their final resting places are not known as yet to Aircrew Remembered - are you able to assist?

Researched by webmaster for the relatives of Cne. R. Chevalier and the rest of the crew relatives.

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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Last Modified: 28 February 2016, 22:29

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