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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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627 Squadron Crest
08/09.06.1944 No 627 Squadron Mosquito IV DZ353 AZ-B Fl/Lt. Harry Steere DFM. DFC

Operation: Rennes, France (Railways)

Date: 8/9th June 1944

Unit: No. 627 Squadron

Type: Mosquito FB.IV

Serial: DZ353

Code: AZ-B

Base: RAF Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire

Location: St. Erblon, South of Rennes, France

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Harry Steere DFC. DFM. 46016 RAF Age 30. Killed

Nav: F/O. ‘Windy’ Kenneth William Gale DFC. AUS/404241 RAAF Age 24. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 23:47 hrs from Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire to attack railways to prevent German troop reinforcements reaching Normandy. The first "Tallboy" (12,000lb bomb) was used on this night by 617 squadron. Classed as successful raid with, out of a total of 483 aircraft used on this and other railways, only 4 were lost (3 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito). 

DZ353 being the only Mosquito lost on this raid crashed between Orgeres and St. Erblon - a transmission received by another aircraft was that they had been hit and that they were on fire. 

Fl/Lt. Harry Steere was a former Battle of Britain fighter pilot flying Spitfires with No. 19 Squadron and was awarded his DFM (June 1940) for his claims during 1940 (6 with a further 5 shared destroyed, a further claim unconfirmed as destroyed, with two other probables). Prior to joining 627 Squadron both had served with 139 Squadron.

DFC Citation for F/O. Gale:

‘Accomplished numerous operations the majority of which have been established in the Middle East and the remainder in Great Britain. The aircraft in which he was a navigator has on several occasions been damaged by the enemy and has subsequently been forced to make a crash landings, but these incidents have not arrested this officers determination to bring every operational flight to a successful conclusion’.

Burial Details:

Fl/Lt. Harry Steere DFC. DFM. St. Erblon Communal Cemetery. Grave. 1. Son of Ernest and Bessie Steere, of Wallasey, Cheshire, husband of Joan Margaret Steere, of Wallasey, England.

F/O. Kenneth William Gale DFC. St. Erblon Communal Cemetery. Grave. 2. Son of William James Gale and Margaret Frances Gale, of Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia. Also of Coronation Drive Milton, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Born 12th April 1920. A clerk prior to service.

KTY 05.08.2015 Page updated

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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Last Modified: 05 August 2015, 20:55

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