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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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428 Squadron Crest
25/26.05.1943 No. 428 Squadron Wellington X HZ476 NA-A Sgt. Pepper

Operation: Düsseldorf

Date: 25/26th May 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 428 Squadron (RCAF)

Type: Wellington X

Serial: HZ476

Code: NA-A

Base: RAF Dalton, Yorkshire (satellite airbase of RAF Topcliffe)

Location: Bree, Belgium

Pilot: Sgt. (posth W/O) William George Pepper R/105665 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Pilot 2: P/O. (posth F/O) Roy Gibson Madge J/13710 RCAF Age 23. Killed (1)

Nav: Fl/Sgt. (posth P/O) Frank Greenaway Baker J/17661 RCAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. (posth W/O) Norman James Waters R/107768 RCAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth George Higgs 1380092 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. (posth W/O) William Ernest Douglas R/102484 RCAF Age 20. Killed

January 2015 - we have been contacted by the family of Sgt. Kenneth Higgs - they are seeking the buyer from Ebay who purchased his medals. All they want to know is where the medals originated from - they have emailed the buyer and await a reply.


759 aircraft taking part on this operation with Wellington HZ476 taking off from RAF Dalton at 23.34 Hrs.

Above and below - the photographs sent by the family of Sgt. Higgs. (courtesy Bridget Higgs) W/O. William George Pepper identified as the chap in the centre of above photograph (see credits)

W/O. William George Pepper identified as the chap in the top centre of above photograph (see credits)

Thought to be possibly the crew of Wellington HZ476 (courtesy Michel Beckers of the Netherlands)

Left to right: P/O. Roy G. Madge, Fl/Sgt. Frank G. Baker, Fl/Sgt. Norman J. Waters.

Above - crash area of Wellington HZ476 at Bree in Belgium

Some 94,000 lbs of high explosive bombs were dropped, together with 133,000 lbs of incendiaries. The bombing effect was undermined by diversionary fires set by the Germans resulting in scattered bombing over a wide area with less than 100 buildings destroyed with some 30 people killed in the city. The allies lost some 27 aircraft either through night fighter attacks or by the fierce flak. No claims by the Luftwaffe for this Wellington.

(1) Madge Island on the Porter River was renamed after F/O. Roy Gibson Madge in 1995

Crew graves - available to relatives at higher resolution (courtesy Michel Beckers of the Netherlands)

Crew grave markers - taken we understand in the late 1960's (courtesy Bridget Higgs)

Burial details:

All the crew initially buried at St. Truiden, reinterred at Heverlee after the end of hostilities.

W/O. William George Pepper. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 4.F.16. Son of William George and Annie Pepper, of Ohaton, Alberta, Canada.

F/O. Roy Gibson Madge. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 4.F.15. Son of Edna Madge, of Varsity View, Charleswood, Manitoba, Canada.

P/O. Frank Greenaway Baker. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 4.F.17. Son of George Stanley Baker and Ada Albertha Baker, of Wainwright, Alberta, Canada.

W/O. Norman James Waters. Heverlee War Cemetery. Coll. grave 4.F.8-14. Son of Albert James Waters and Anna Josephine Waters, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Right: medals of Sgt Higgs (courtesy Michel Beckers)

Sgt. Kenneth George Higgs. Heverlee War Cemetery. Coll. grave 4.F.8-14. Son of Edward John Higgs and Rose Higgs, of Halmore, Gloucestershire. England.

W/O. William Ernest Douglas. Heverlee War Cemetery. Grave 4.F.20. From Balcarras, Saskatchewan, Canada. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Researched for relatives of this crew. For further details our thanks to the following, the family of Sgt. Kenneth George Higgs, Michel Beckers of the Netherlands. Thanks also to Bill Pepper who contacted us in February 2017 and identified W/O. William George Pepper in the crew photographs.

KTY - 21.02.2017 W/O. Pepper identified in the crew photographs.

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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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