30/31.08.1943 No. 78 Squadron Halifax II JD201 EY-Y Fl/Lt. Albert R. Short
Date: 30/31st August 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 78 Squadron
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Breighton, Yorkshire.
Location: Murrow Station, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Albert Robert Short 131009 RAFVR Age 30. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Walter George Onion 576165 RAF Age ? Killed
Nav: P/O. Frank Street 139622 RAFVR Age 32. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Terence Donovan O'Boyle 134769 RAFVR Age 27. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Max Howard Davies 138148 RAFVR Age 30. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ernest Alfred White 1396247 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. Leslie John Victor Cotton 155939 RAFVR Age 37. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 00.03 hrs from RAF Breighton, Yorkshire to join 660 aircraft (297 Lancasters, 185 Halifaxes, 107 Stirlings, 57 Wellingtons and 14 Mosquitoes) to make a double attack on Mönchengladbach (1) and Rheydt. With a two minute pause after the first phase to enable the pathfinders to transfer the marking from Mönchengladbach to Rheydt. The attacks were classed as a "model" of pathfinder marking.
Mönchengladbach reported that over 1000 buildings were destroyed of which 171 were classed as industrial - Rheydt reported 1,280 buildings destroyed. Losses on the ground for the combined raids was 370 people killed on the ground and a further 2,152 people injured with 12 missing.
The allies lost 34 aircraft (7 Lancaster's, 6 Wellington's, 13 Halifax's, 6 Stirling's and 2 Mosquitoes) with 78 Squadron losing 3 this night - JD453 EY-C Flown by Sgt. Ronald Collins (3 killed and 4 made p.o.w.'s see "Here") and JD409 EY-D flown by Sgt. Alan Johnstone (6 killed and 1 evaded capture).
It is understood that Halifax JD201 with it's very experienced and qualified crew on route to the target had a major problem when one of the propeller's detached and the aircraft broke up. The aircraft came down near Murrow Station, Wisbech in Cambridgeshire at about 01.00 hrs. - killing all the crew.
The webmaster has visited the grave of the pilot and placed flowers on remembrance day 2013.
(1) Mönchengladbach was renamed from Mönchen-Gladbach in 1960.
78 Squadron, 1943 (archives)
Left: Grave of the pilot, Fl/Lt. Short (archives)
Fl/Lt. Albert Robert Short. Great Yarmouth (Gorleston) Cemetery. Sec. W. Grave 42. Son of Charles R. Short and Elizebeth E. Short, of Great Yarmouth, husband of Rose Lillian Short, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England
Sgt. Walter George Onion. Plymstock Churchyard. Row A.6. Grave 33. N.o.K details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
P/O. Frank Street. Bollington Churchyard. South of church. Son of Harry and Clara Street of Bollington, Cheshire, England.
F/O. Terence Donovan O'Boyle. Kensall Green R.C. Cemetery. Sec. N.E. Grave 855. Son of John and Elizabeth O'Boyle, husband of Dora Merrick O'Boyle, of Kentish Town, London, England.
F/O. Max Howard Davies. Sutton Bridge Churchyard. Sec. S. Grave 31. Son of Albert Edward and Brunetta Rose Davies, husband of Evelyn Barham Davies, of Northampton, England.
Sgt. Ernest Alfred White. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 14337. Son of George and Jessie Louise White, of Peckham, London, England. Husband of Margaret Eileen White, of Peckham, London, England.
P/O. Leslie John Victor Cotton. St. Laurence-In-Thanet Churyard. North of Church. Son of Henry Herbert and Florence Cotton, of Totton, Hampshire, England.
Researched for all the members of the crew. With thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', 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.