20/21.07.1944 No 158 Squadron Halifax III MZ352 NP-E Fl/Lt. Platten
Operation: Ardouval, France
Date: 20/21st July 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 158 Squadron
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Lissett, Yorkshire
Location: Target area Ardouval, France
Pilot: Fl/Lt. John Anthony Platten 141887 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Christopher Maurice Ashford 574775 RAF Age 23. Killed
Nav: F/O. James Alvin Smith J/22369 RCAF Age ? Killed
Air/Bmr: P/O. Bedford Philip Upper J/89809 RCAF Age 20. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Edward Whitley Bellhouse 1080344 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Henry Edward Laurence Craze 578032 RAF Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack Howarth Witham 1568125 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 22.26 hrs to bomb the flying-bomb site at Ardouval, France.
As described by Bill Chorley, the loss may be attributed to poor weather conditions on the night.
A total of 87 aircraft took part in the operation to bomb both this target and the other facility at Wizernes. It was reported that only 23 aircraft actually bomber Ardouval and none at the other target.
V1 Launch site at Ardouval, France (insert image courtesy Hemis Sas)
Above: Crew graves photographed by our Kate Tame during her visit in 2012. Any relative who would like a higher resolution image of the graves and or the church please don't hesitate to contact us.
Right: St. Hellier Churchyard, Seine-Maritime, France.
Fl/Lt. John Anthony Platten. St. Hellier Churchyard. South East corner. Collective grave. Son of Sidney George and Edith Miriam Platten, of Norwich, Norfolk, England.
Sgt. Christopher Maurice Ashford. St. Hellier Churchyard. Collective grave. Son of Maurice Esmonde Ashford and Eleanor Mary Ashford, of Ilford, Essex, England.
F/O. James Alvin Smith. St. Hellier Churchyard. Collective grave. From Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Next of Kin Details not currently available.
P/O. Bedford Philip Upper. St. Hellier Churchyard. Collective grave. From Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Next of Kin Details not currently available.
Fl/Sgt. Edward Whitley Bellhouse. St. Hellier Churchyard. Collective grave. Son of John Whitley Bellhouse and Emily Bellhouse, of Horsforth, Yorkshire, husband of Joan Bellhouse, of Horsforth, England.
Sgt. Henry Edward Laurence Craze. St. Hellier Churchyard. Collective grave. Son of Sydney Lawrence Craze and Lynda Nellie Florence Craze, of Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.
Sgt. Jack Howarth Witham. St. Hellier Churchyard. Collective grave. Son of Leonard and Gladys Whitham, of Glasgow, Scotland.
The wonderful award winning memorial at RAF Lissett village. Unveiled in 2009 and made from metal - it is inscribed with the names of the 851 people who lost their lives at or departing from the airfield during WW2.
A miniature of the memorial is available direct from the designer Peter Naylor. At date of publication these cost from £25.00. (Please mention us when you apply for one)
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 5, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Les Allison and Harry Hayward - 'They Shall Grow Not Old'.