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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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429 Squadron Crest
24/25.05.1944 429 Squadron Halifax III LW137 AL:K Flt.Lt. Thomas Rawlinson DFC

Operation: Aachen

Date: 24/25th May 1944 (Wednesday/Thurssday)

Unit: 429 (Bison) Squadron, RCAF

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LW137

Code: AL:K

Base: RAF Leeming, Yorkshire

Location: Emilia Polder, Netherlands

Pilot: Flt.Lt. Thomas Rawlinson DFC. 168670 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Flt.Eng: Plt.Off. Albert Bates 175422 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Nav: Plt.Off. G. Lee Caunt 174007 RAFVR PoW No: 5790 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagen and Bellaria L3

Air Bmr: WO2. Arthur John Murphy R104613 RCAF Age 21. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Plt.Off. Walter James Bush 173860 RAFVR PoW No: 3686 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagen and Bellaria L3

Air Gnr: Plt.Off. A.C. Shierlaw J/19859 RCAF PoW No: 6392 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagen and Bellaria L3

Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. James Raymond Henry Cochrane R117164 RCAF Age 23. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Leeming in Yorkshire at 22:53 hrs together with over 440 aircraft from various squadrons and locations to bomb the railway yards at Aachen - an important target as they were the main route between France and Germany.

LW137 was claimed by Ofw. Karl-Heiz Scherfling, his 29th Abschuss and the first of two that night, from 12./NJG1, 15km north of Breda at 4.200 m at 01:30 hrs whose fire started a fierce blaze. Abandoned at 8,000 feet and crashed into the Emilia Polder 2km NW of Made (Noord-Brabant) itself some 6km NW of Oosterhout.

After 30 confirmed night victories Scherfling and his Bordschütze were killed in action (his Bordfunker survived but was wounded) when on the 20/21st July 1944 he crashed following an interception south of Mol, Belgium by Mosquito NT113 from 169 Sqn flown by Wg.Cdr. Neil Ballingal Reid Bromley OBE. DFC. 33158 RAF and his navigator Flt.Lt. Philip Vincent Truscott DFC 86235 RAFVR. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (12 May 1944 - 23 July 1944) Part 3 - Theo Boiten)

Wg.Cdr. Bromley OBE, DFC and Flt.Lt. Truscott were killed in action on the 6th September 1944 after their Mosquito VI PZ230 was reported missing during Bomber Support sortie. Believed to have exploded in mid-air at 22:30 hrs near Accum 7km WNW of Wilhelmshaven.

Those who died now rest in Jonkerbos War Cemetery, being brought here from the Roman Catholic Cemetery at Oosterhout after the end of the war.

Crew of LW137 Rear L-R: Plt.Off. A.C. Shierlaw, Plt.Off. Lee Caunt, Flt.Lt. Thomas Rawlinson DFC, Flt.Sgt. James Cochrane, Plt.Off. Walter Bush. Front: Plt.Off. Albert Bates, WO2. Arthur Murphy.


Above L to R: Plt.Off Bates (courtesy Peter Trehearn), Plt.Off. Murphy and Plt.Off. Cochrane from their Service files


Burial details:

Fl.Lt. Thomas Rawlinson DFC. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 24.J.6. Son of Robert and Margaret Elizabeth Rawlinson and husband of Mary Rawlinson of Preston ,Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads “In Memory Of A Dearly Loved Husband And Loving Father.Rip”.

DFC awarded to whilst with 429 Sqn. Gazetted 16th May 1944. Citation reads: "Acting Flight Lieutenant Thomas RAWLINSON (168670), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 429 (RCAF) Squadron. This officer has completed a notable tour during which he has attacked Berlin on 6 occasions. He has displayed the greatest keenness throughout, and his determination to make every sortie a success has won high praise. He is a model captain whose gallant example has been reflected in the fine spirit of his crews"

Plt.Off. Albert Bates. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Grave 24.J.7. Son of Albert and Lily Bates and husband of Iris M. Bates (née Trehearn) of Rhyl, Flintshire, Wales. Albert had been a mechanic before joining the RAF and married his wife, Iris in 1939. They had one daughter Anne Marie Trehearn Bates. Grave inscription reads “In The Evening And In The Morning We Will Remember Them”

Plt.Off. Arthur John Murphy. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Joint grave 24.J.1. Believed to be from Montreal, Quebec, Canada - next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?

Commissioned and promoted to Plt.Off with a Service No. J86671

Plt.Off James Raymond Henry Cochrane. Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Joint grave 24.J.1. Born on the 5th October 1920 in Capleau, Ontario. Son of Weldon and Mabel Cochrane of Chapleau, Ontario, Canada.

Flt.Sgt. Cochrane was commissioned and promoted to Plt.Off with a Service No. J86710 on the 22nd May 1944.

Researched for Aircrew Remembered by Linda Ibrom June 2017. With thanks to Peter Trehearn, nephew for information and photographs of Plt.Off. Albert Bates and crew. Thanks to John Jones for the DFC details for Flt.Lt. Rawlinson and image of Plt.Off. Cochrane (Nov 2020). Narrative updates by Aircrew Remembered (Nov 2020).

RS 21.11.2020 - DFC citation added and narrative update

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, 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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