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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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12/13.06.1944 No 78 Squadron Halifax III MZ631 EY-Y Fl/Sgt. Rae

Operation: Amiens, France.

Date: 12/13th June 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 78 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: MZ631

Code: EY-Y

Base: RAF Breighton, Yorkshire.

Location: Varengeville-sur-Mer, Seine Maritime, France

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Stanley Allen Rae NZ/423420 RNZAF Age 29. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Ronald Edward Miles 1192828 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav: F/O. Harry Sager J/29415 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Frederick George Tomlinson 1301516 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harry George Colwell 1600445 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Edwin Spinks 1625934 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Gilmartin 520265 RAF Age ? Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 22:21 hrs. from RAF Breighton to bomb the communication / rail facilities at Amiens. 671 aircraft took part in this and other raids during the night. Bombing of this target had been classed as reasonably accurate.

The losses from Bomber Command though were huge with 30 aircraft lost. A total of 140 aircrew were killed, 22 being made PoW however, a further 31 managing to evade capture. 78 Squadron lost 3 aircraft during this raid, the other two:
Halifax III LV915 EY-H Flown by F/O. John Frederick Wyllie RCAF Killed with all 7 crew
Halifax III LV820 EY-F Flown by F/O. Henry Thomas Mills RAFVR Killed with all 7 crew.

Halifax MZ631 thought to have been damaged by a night fighter at Varengeville-sur-Mer (no claims established for this) then crashing in the village of Longueil, killing all the crew. They had completed their bombing run and were on their way home. This crew had only completed 4 operations, with the first on the eve of the 'D' day landings just the week before!

Crew graves, as taken by Kate Tame of Aircrew Remembered. Any relative who would like a higher resolution of these images, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Burial details:

Right: Longueil Churchyard, Seine Maritime, France.

Fl/Sgt. Stanley Allen Rae. Longueil Churchyard, France. Grave 2. Son of William Michael and Lucy Caroline Rae, of Auckland City, New Zealand, husband of Thelma Alice Rae, of Grey Lynn, Auckland.

Sgt. Ronald Edward Miles. Longueil Churchyard, France. Coll. grave 3-5. Son of Edward Charles and Jessica Gertrude Miles, husband of Alice Irene Miles, of Hawtonville, Newark, Nottinghamshire, England.

F/O. Harry Sager. Longueil Churchyard, France. Coll. grave 3-5. Son of Moe and Mary Sager, of 3885 Laval Street, Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada. Born on the 26th January 1921 in Montreal, Canada. Enlisted May 1942, Joined the squadron at the same time as Fl/Sgt. Rae.

Sgt. Frederick George Tomlinson. Longueil Churchyard, France. Coll. grave 3-5. Son of Frederick Wilson Tomlinson and of Phoebe Amelia Tomlinson (nee Shipley), husband of Mary Tomlinson, of Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, England.

Sgt. Harry George Colwell. Longueil Churchyard, France. Coll. grave 3-5. Son of Harry George and Fanny Constance Colwell, of Betchworth, Surrey, England.

Sgt. Frank Edwin Spinks. Longueil Churchyard, France. Grave 1. Son of Frank Alfred and Elsie May Spinks, of Southfields, Surrey, England.

Sgt. Thomas Gilmartin. Longueil Churchyard, France. Coll. grave 3-5. Next of kin details not currently available - can you assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Kate Tame, 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'. Thanks also to RAF Commands Forum for notifying us of the correct Squadron code.

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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