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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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RCAF Crest 1939 - 1952
19/20.10.1943 No.10 RCAF Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron B-24 Liberator 3701 F/O Stephen A. Sanderson

Mission:  Transportation

Date:  19/20 October 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit:  No. 10 RCAF Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron

Type:  B-24 Liberator

Serial:  3701

Code:  H - Harry

Base:  Gander, Newfoundland.

Location:  Montagne Noire (Black Mountain) near St. Donat, Quebec

Pilot:  F/O Stephen Andrew Sanderson, AFM J/21297 RCAF Age 24 Killed (1)

2nd. Pilot:  F/L Joseph Alfred Raymond Poirier, J/9147 RCAF Age 21 Killed (2)

Nav:  Sgt. William Gordon MacNaughton R/7526 RCAF Age 28 Killed

W.Op/AG:  W/O2 Joseph Alexander Barabonoff R/129211 RCAF Age 20 Killed (3)

W.Op/AG  W/O1 Jacob Silverstein, MiD R/67673 RCAF Age 25 Killed

Air/Gnr:  P/O Robert William MacDonald, MiD J/37357 RCAF Age 21 Killed

Passengers

F/L Frank Robert Fisher, J/5821 RCAF Pilot. Age 22 Killed (4)

F/O Jay Syver Johnston, MiD J/7987 RCAF W.Op/AG. Age 21 Killed

P/O James Lamont, MiD J/39103 RCAF W.Op/AG Age 23 Killed (5)

W/O1 Franklin Elwood Jenkins, R/72936 RCAF Age 23 Killed

W/O1 Wilfred Howlett, R/113408 RCAF Age 22 Killed

F/Sgt. Raymond Frank Ware, 4074 RCAF Age 25 Killed

Sgt. Eric Morgan Finn, R/72026 RCAF Wireless Mechanic Age 22 Killed

Sgt. Franklin Hicks Elliott, R/74645 RCAF Age 36 Killed

Sgt. Stanley Albert Wood, R/51027 RCAF Aero Engine Mechanic. Age 38 Killed (6)

Cpl. Harold David Beattie, R/84899 RCAF Age 25 Killed

Cpl. Alec Clare Johnston, R/64066 RCAF Aero Engine Mechanic. Age 22 Killed

Cpl. Howard Kenneth Hambly, R/78656 RCAF Air Frame Mechanic. Age 24 Killed

Cpl. Ronald Douglas Marr, R/99167 RCAF Age 22 Killed

LAC Guy Ridgewood Patterson, R/207868 RCAF Radio Telephone Operator. Age 27 Killed

LAC Albert James Radcliffe, R/177668 RCAF Age 21 Killed (7)

LAC Edwin William Read, R/150207 RCAF Armourer. Age 19 Killed

LAC Charles Laurie Dynes, R/173349 RCAF Age 21 Killed

LAC Joseph Achille John Paul Veilleux, R/177329 RCAF Age 20 Killed

                                        

(1)  Sanderson Lake, Northwest Territories is named after F/O Sanderson

(2)  Poirier Lake in the District of Kenora, Ontario is named after F/L Poirier.

(3)  Barabonoff Lakes, Saskatchewan are named after W/O2 Barabonoff

(4)  F/L Frank Fisher is remembered in the name Memorial Mountain located near Armstrong, British Columbia. (See note).

(5)  Mount Lamont in British Columbia is named after P/O Lamont

(6)  Wood Lake in Saskatchewan is named after Sgt. Wood

(7)  Radcliffe Island in Stony Lake, Manitoba is named after LAC Radcliffe

Note: The geographical name Memorial Mountain was established at the request of the Armstrong branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Town of Armstrong and the District of Spallumcheen, to remember all the young men from this semi-rural farming district at the north end of the Okanagan Valley who died on active service in World War II. The dedication has since been extended to recognize all the World War I fatalities from the district. The mountain overlooks the community, and is visible from the Armstrong Cenotaph in the town’s Memorial Park.

REASON FOR LOSS

After being grounded for most of the day by bad weather the aircraft took of from Gander at 22:16 hours intending to land at Mont Joli, Quebec on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. At 01:45 the crew requested permission to land at Mont Joli but were denied as the runways were closed due to the poor weather and told to proceed to Rockcliffe in Ontario or Dorval, Quebec. Besides a call for help heard by another aircraft flying near Grand-Mere some 250 miles west of Mont Joli nothing further was heard from the aircraft.

Upon being reported overdue and missing the RCAF launched a massive air search along the planned flight path but despite over 700 sorties between 20 October and 26 November no trace of the aircraft was found. Even though villagers in St. Donat reported hearing an aircraft and the sound of a crash that night, it was dismissed by the military authorities who had already concluded that the Liberator was lying somewhere on the bottom of the St. Lawrence River.

And so it remained a mystery until almost three years had passed, when, on 26 June 1946 during an aerial search for another lost aircraft, wreckage was spotted near the top of Montagne Noire. That same day a search party blazed a trail up through the rugged terrain and discovered the burnt out wreckage and the bodies of the 24 airmen.

In part due to the harsh and remote mountainside and the fact that only three of the bodies could be positively identified, it was decided to inter the remains at the crash site. There they remained until 1985 when they were re-intered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at the cemetery in the village of St.Donat.

                           

B-24 Liberator H for Harry wreckage at the crash site
Simon Mercier/Wikimedia Commons/CC By-SA 4.0

                           

Original grave site and cenotaph
Simon Mercier/Wikimedia Commons/CC By-SA 4.0

Burial Details:

F/O Stephen Andrew Sanderson. St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of George and Helen Sanderson, husband of Marie (nee Carruthers) Sanderson of London, Ontario, Canada.

Further details: Sanderson enlisted in October, 1940 and upon graduating from No.1 ITS, Toronto was sent to No.3 Elementary Flying Training School in his hometown of London, Ontario. After graduation he was assigned to No.6 Service Flying Training School at Dunnville, Ontario following which he spent eleven weeks at Central Flying School, Trenton, becoming an instructor on 9 August 1941 at No. 14 SFTS, Aylmer, Ontario. It was here that he was awarded the Air Force Medal for an incident that occurred during a training flight in October of that year. His citation reads:

Sergeant Pilot Sanderson displayed exceptional devotion to duty on 17 October 1941 when, on discovering his aircraft to be on fire, first of all ensured the safety of his pupil by ordering him to jump from the burning aircraft, the pupil making a successful parachute landing.  The pupil being safe, Sergeant Pilot Sanderson prepared to abandon the aircraft, but seeing that the fire was diminishing, stayed with the aircraft and proceeded to carry out a successful forced landing.  His actions at all times during this emergency were extremely commendable.  This NCO has carried out some 400 hours of instructional flying. This, together with the initiative and presence of mind displayed on the above occasion, constitute a most valuable contribution to the success of flying training at this unit.

A summary of the accident report involving Harvard 3068 stated "On recovery from spin engine took fire.  Pupil abandoned aircraft on order of pilot who subsequently got fire under control and landed wheels up."  The incident was blamed on carburettor icing and a stuck throttle.  The pupil was F/O Leroy Means Sullivan of Chattanooga, Tennessee who was killed in a flying accident at Martlesham Heath, England while piloting Typhoon JP728 of RAF No. 56 Squadron, 7 November 1943.

In November 1942 Sanderson was posted to Eastern Air Command.

F/L Joseph Alfred Raymond Poirier, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Joseph Aime Poirier and Ann Marie (nee Ouellette) Poirier of Kenora, Ontario.

Sgt. William Gordon MacNaughton, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of William and Goldie May (nee Gillis) MacNaughton of Valley Junction, Beauce County, Quebec, husband of Alice Belle Allison (nee Laite) of Montreal, Quebec.

W/O2 Joseph Alexander Barabonoff, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Alexander and Polly (nee Ziebin) Barabonoff of Whitebeech, Saskatchewan.

Further details: Enlisted in Toronto in 1941 where he worked as a Fitter.

                                                            

W/O1 Jacob Silverstein, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Samuel and Dena (nee Packer) Silverstein of Windsor, Ontario.

Further details: Enlisted in August 1940, Windsor, Ontario. Completed 114 operational sorties and a total flying time in excess of 1000 hours when lost.

This warrant officer has completed hundred of hours of operational flying on anti-submarine patrols.  On one occasion during an attack against a heavily armed enemy submarine his coolness and efficiency in operating his radio, thus obtaining the assistance of another aircraft, were of outstanding assistance in repelling the U-boat attack on a convoy.

P/O Robert William MacDonald, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of James A. and Annie Belle MacDonald of Woodstock, New Brunswick.

Further details: Enlisted in Moncton, N.B. 20 August 1940. Trained as a wireless operator at No.1 Wireless School, Montreal and then at No.3 Bombing and Gunnery School, McDonald, Manitoba graduating in June of 1941.

Warrant Officer MacDonald by his great skill and perseverance has established a reputation as an outstanding Wireless Operator.  His operational record is extensive and he has at all times displayed keenness, devotion to duty and willingness to work under any and all conditions.

F/L Frank Robert Fisher, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Steele and Agnes Ellen (nee Hamill) Fisher of Armstrong, British Columbia.

Further details: After enlisting in October 1940, Fisher graduated from No.1 ITS Toronto the following January. After completing Elementary Flying Training at St. Catherines, Ontario in March he was posted to No.9 Service Flying Training School at Ottawa where he gained his wings in June 1941. At the time of his death he had flown 1218 hours, 303 of which had been on operations for a total of 35 sorties. He is credited as the pilot of a Liberator that sank U-341 one month prior to the crash that took his life.

His brother, F/O William John Fisher was killed just two weeks prior while serving with RAF 354 Sqdn. at Cuttack, India.

F/O Jay Syver Johnston, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of John Eugene and Florence (nee Goulder) Johnston of Sarnia, Ontario.

Further details: Enlisted in London, Ontario October 1940 completing training at No.1 ITS Toronto. After being found unsuited for pilot training he was posted to No.2 Bombing and Gunnery School, Mossbank, Saskatchewan and No.3 Wireless School at Winnipeg, Manitoba. At the time of his loss he had completed 115 sorties and accumulated 1092 flying hours, 853 being on operations.

This wireless operator/air gunner, since listed as missing, was wireless operator on a VLR Liberator which attacked an enemy submarine, later assessed as probably sunk.  He efficiently carried out his duties throughout this action, despite severe weather conditions and extreme range.  He has had a splendid record throughout a long period of operational flying.

P/O James Lamont, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of John and Mary (nee Hynd) Lamont of Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Further details: Born in Foleshill, Warwickshire James emigrated to Canada with his parents and brothers and sister in 1927. After enlisting at Vancouver in March 1941, he trained at No.2 Wireless School Calgary, Alberta and No.5 Bombing and Gunnery School Dafoe, Saskatchewan. At the time of his death he had completed 756 operational hours.

This warrant officer was a wireless operator/air gunner on a VLR Liberator which engaged an enemy submarine while patrolling in the North Atlantic area.  Throughout the attack this warrant officer, disregarding personal danger, obtained photographs of the action and the results of his excellent work made a complete analysis of the engagement.

W/O1 Franklin Elwood Jenkins, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Milton Everett and Elizabeth M. Jenkins of Hill View, Prince Edward Island.

W/O1 Wilfred Howlett, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Henry William and Denelda Howlett of Galahad, Alberta.

F/Sgt. Raymond Frank Ware, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Deighton Raymond and Marie Louise Ware of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Sgt. Eric Morgan Finn, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Arthur James and Hilda (nee Morgan) Finn of Toronto, Ontario.

Sgt. Franklin Hicks Elliott, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Theron Edwin and Iola Ida (nee Hicks) Elliott, of Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A. Husband of Isobel Elliott of Slocan City, British Columbia. 

Sgt. Stanley Albert Wood, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Albert and Elizabeth Wood of Palgrave, Ontario.

Cpl. Harold David Beattie, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of William Allen and Jessie Catherine (nee MacIntosh) Beattie of Nash Creek, New Brunswick.

Cpl. Alec Clare Johnston, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of John Clare and Hazel Jane (nee Greenwood) Johnston of Islington, Ontario. Husband of Edithe Myrtle (nee Kent) Johnston of Toronto, Ontario.

Cpl. Howard Kenneth Hambly, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Howard Norman and Jenny (nee Harvey) Hambly of Woodstock, Ontario.

Cpl. Ronald Douglas Marr, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of George Oliver and Mary Florence Marr of Ketepec, New Brunswick.

                                                           

 LAC Guy Ridgewood Patterson, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of George and Catherine (nee MacLeod) Patterson of St. Bruno, Quebec. Husband of Jean Martha (nee Warren) Patterson of Cornwall, Ontario.

LAC Albert James Radcliffe, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of John and Ethel Florence Radcliffe of Rivers, Manitoba.

Further details: His brother Sgt. Kenneth Lloyd Radcliffe was killed while serving with RAF 44 Sqdn. during a raid on Berlin in 1944. (See Lancaster ME672).

LAC Edwin William Read, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Clifford Benjamin and Ethel Mary (nee Kingston) Read of Rochester, New York.

LAC Charles Laurie Dynes, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Edgar Vernon and
Gladys Elmina (nee Taylor) Dynes of Oakville, Ontario.

                                                             

Further details: Enlisted 3 September 1942. After dropping out of high school Charles worked as an auto mechanic for his father. Served with the Lorne Scots Militia from 1940 to 1942. Active in ice hockey, swimming and rugby while in school and an adherent of the United Church of Canada along with his parents and brother James Robert and sister Guidry Elaine Dynes.

LAC Joseph Achille John Paul Veilleux, St. Donat Roman Catholic Cemetery Collective Grave Lot GE 34. Son of Emile and Marie Anne Veilleux of Thetford Mines, Quebec.

                                                           
                                                           
                                                                  The Cenotaph on Montagne Noir
                                                     Simon Mercier/Wikimedia Commons/CC By-SA 4.0


Researched and written by Colin Bamford for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the families of all those lost aboard Liberator H for Harry.

References
1943 Saint-Donat RCAF Liberator III crash. (2014, September 30). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:06, October 7, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1943_Saint-Donat_RCAF_Liberator_III_crash&oldid=627644345

Oakville Trafalgar High School A Book Of Remembrance Vol. 1. Oakville ON Oakville Trafalgar High School, 2008

Sanderson, Marr and Dynes photographs copied from Veterans Affairs Canada website.  http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canadian-virtual-war-memorial

Commonwealth War Graves Commission, http://www.cwgc.org/

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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