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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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No. 466 Squadron
7/8.06.1944 No. 466 Squadron Halifax III MZ-283 HD-F Fl/Sgt. Pearce

Operation: Juvisy- Sur-Orge, France

Date: 7/8th June 1944

Unit: No. 466 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: MZ283

Code: HD-F

Base: RAF Driffield, Yorkshire

Location: Illeville-Sur-Monfort, Eure, France

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. William Robinson Pearce AUS/417228 RAAF Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Kenneth Benson Woodman 542141 RAF Age 28. Killed

Nav: W/O. John William Godfrey AUS/401941 RAAF Age 26. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Paul Baily Giles AUS/417475 RAAF Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Nelson Heywood AUS/426841 RAAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Robert Beard AUS/29888 RAAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Ronald Cottle AUS/432670 RAAF Age 19. Killed


Halifax MZ283 took off from RAF Driffield at 22.48hrs for a bombing raid on the railway junction at Juvisy, France.

The aircraft crashed at 03.00hrs (local time) at Illeville, Eure, France. The aircraft may have been hit by flak or shot down by a night fighter.

195 Halifaxes, 122 Lancasters and 20 Mosquitoes were detailed to attack the railway targets at Acheres, Juvisy, Massey-Palaiseau and Versailles that night and all attacks were successful.

17 Lancasters and 11 Halifaxes were lost. Fourteen aircraft from No. 466 Squadron took part in this raid and Halifax MZ283 was the only one that failed to return

Fl/Sgt. Giles (courtesy Carol Wheat) Fl/Sgt. Beard (courtesy William Damiano) Fl/Sgt. Heywood (courtesy Australian National Archives)

466 Squadron Halifax (courtesy IWM)

Burial details:

All the crew are buried together in a communal grave in Illeville-Sur-Montfort Churchyard, Eure, France

Fl/Sgt. William Robinson Pearce. Son of Bertie Clifton Pearce and Stella Ann Pearce of Parilla, South Australia. William was born on the 19th February 1922 in Mallala, South Australia and enlisted on the 31st January 1942 in Adelaide

Sgt. Kenneth Benson Woodman. Son of John Benson Woodman and Florence Mary Woodman of Hunton Bridge, Hertfordshire. Kenneth is remembered on the Langleybury War Memorial, Hertfordshire

W/O. John William Godfrey. Son of John Blowers Godfrey and Marian De Witt Godfrey of Elwood, Victoria, Australia. John was born on the 27th October 1917 and enlisted in Melbourne

Fl/Sgt. Paul Baily Giles. Son of Percy Cooper Giles and Ruth Sederena Giles of Kapunda, South Australia. Paul was born 24th January 1923 in Auburn, South Australia. He attended Kapunda High School between 1935-1940. He was a excellent scholar and a keen sportsman and was captain of the cricket and football teams. In February 1941 Paul then attended Adelaide High School. He enlisted on the 23rd May 1942 in Adelaide. His father Percy Cooper Giles presented a memorial prize (for Stirling character and Leadership) in his son's memory to Kapunda High School. This prize continues to this day

Fl/Sgt. William Nelson Heywood. Son of Arthur Nelson Jack and Victoria May Heywood of Shorncliffe, Queensland, Australia. William was born on the 12th April 1923, Toowoomba, Queensland. He enlisted on the 14th August 1942 in Brisbane and trained at Parkes, New South Wales and Port Pirie, South Australia and qualified as a wireless operator/air gunner. William was posted overseas in June 1943

Fl/Sgt. Robert Beard. Son of Francis Edward and Ethel Maud Beard. Husband of Monica Beard of Liverpool, England. Robert was born on the 28th July 1921 in Toodyay, Western Australia and enlisted in Perth

Fl/Sgt. John Ronald Cottle. Son of Frederick William and Mary Florence Cottle of Chullora, New South Wales, Australia. John was born on the 24th February 1924 and enlisted at the No. 2 recruiting centre on the 15th January 1943

Researcher Kate Tame for Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. Acknowledgements: Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt Bomber Command War Diaries, Carol Wheat niece of Fl/Sgt. Giles, William Damiano nephew of Fl/Sgt. Beard, W. R. Chorley Bomber Command Losses, Australian National Archives.

KT. Page ammended 17.12.2015

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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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