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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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414 Squadron Crest
27.03.1943 No. 414 Squadron Mustang I AP185 F/O. Hugh D. Steeves

Operation: Rhubarb.

Date: 27th March 1943 (Saturday).

Unit: No.414 (RCAF) Squadron.

Base: RAF Dunsfold, Surrey.

Type: North American Mustang I

Serial No: AP185

Time: 16.10 hours.

Location: North of Brighton, East Sussex.

Pilot: F/O. Hugh Douglas ‘Steevie’ Steeves J/7474 RCAF Age 23. Killed.

REASON FOR LOSS: 

Extract from No. 414 Squadron ORB:

F/O. Steeves and F/O. Mossing took off on a Rhubarb, weather was good for operation but patches of fog mist and rain had been reported. They were instructed to turn back if weather doubtful. When flying to South Coast they ran into dense fog. 

F/O. Steeves was No.1 and said 'climb' over R/T. F/O. Mossing climbed in fog and approximately one and a half minutes later heard leader say 'return to base'. F/O. Mossing emerged from cloud at 6000 feet and called for a homing from RAF Tangmere, he did not hear from F/O. Steeves again. At 16.10 hours F/O. Steeves crashed into the side of a hill North of Brighton and was killed instantly.

Right: F/O. Hugh ‘Steevie’ Steeves (Christopher Clarke and Brenda Burroughs)

28th March 1943:

Bright warm day, weather too good for Rhubarb. Major O'Reilly, Fl/Lt Clarke and F/O Macmillan drove to Brighton to investigate crash. Interviewed police at Hassocks, visited the scene of the accident. Aircraft completely broken up, crashed through some trees and hit the side of a hill, bounced about 300 yards, burned and exploded. RAF Station Brighton very co-operative.

Arranged for local funeral contractors to remove body of F/O. Steeves from Hassocks and prepare for burial. Funeral Tuesday March 30th at 15.00 hrs. Internment Brookwood cemetery.

No. 414 Squadron pilot line up - On the prop: Colin ‘Chick’ Davidson, On the wing:  F/O. Raymond Charles MacQuoid (1), Standing L-R: Gordon Zetterstrand, Fl/Lt. Miskelly, Bill Blakney, George Burroughs, Stuart Chapman, Charles Stover, F/O. Laurence Aloysius Doherty (2), David Bernhardt, F/O. Frederick Leroy Vaupel (3), F/O. Louis Phillip Theriault (4), F/O. Hugh Douglas Steeves (5). Seated: Fred Clarke, Jack Godfrey, Roy Begg, Jack Amos, Bod Sanderson (courtesy Christopher Clarke). 


Original grave marker at Brookwood Cemetery. Hugh's grave today (courtesy Christopher Clarke) 

(1) F/O. Raymond Charles MacQuoid J/5801 414 Squadron - killed 01st April 1943
(2) F/O. Laurence Aloysius Doherty J/7468 Killed 06th June 1943
(3) F/O. Frederick Leroy Vaupel J7420 414 Squadron - killed 17th June 1943
(4) F/O. Louis Phillip Theriault J/13595 414 Squadron - killed 21st August 1943
(5) F/O. Hugh Douglas Steeves J/7474 414 Squadron - killed 27th March 1943

Burial Details:

F/O. Hugh "Steevie" Steeves. Brookwood Military Cemetery Grave 34.C.1. Son of Colonel Rufus Palmer Steeves and Mrs. Dorothy Gretchen Steeves of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

With special thanks to Mr Christopher Clarke in Canada and also the daughter of George Burroughs, Brenda, for the supply of information and photographs. Fred Paradie - 'Paradie Archive'.

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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