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
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’.
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.