25/26.05.1943 No. 428 Squadron Wellington X HZ476 NA-A Sgt. Pepper
Date: 25/26th May 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: No. 428 Squadron (RCAF)
Type: Wellington X
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.
REASON FOR LOSS:
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)
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.