02/03.06.1944 158 Squadron Halifax III LK875 NP:Q Plt.Off. Thompson
Operation: Trappes, France
Date: 2nd/3rd June 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: 158 Squadron
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Lissett, Yorkshire
Location: Between Criquebeuf-la-Campagne and Ecquetot, Eure, France
Pilot: WO2 Russell Bennett Thompson R116352 RCAF Age 23. Killed
Flt.Eng: Sgt. George Gettings 907306 RAF Age? Evader (1)
Nav: Fg.Off. John Kinnaird Greenway J22100 RCAF Age 20. Killed
Air Bmr: Flt.Sgt. William Alexander Younie R166259 RCAF Age 28. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Dennis Raymond Day 1324989 RAF Age 21. PoW No. 80015 (2)
Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Vernon Nelson Hansen 429431 RAAF Age 21. Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Thomas John Sheridan 2209172 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Halifax LK875 took off from RAF Lissett at 22:24hrs to bomb the rail yards at Trappes. The aircraft was attacked at about 6,000 feet and caught fire inboard to the inner port engine. The aircraft lost height steadily and the fire spread from the wing to the fuselage. Sgt. Gettings and Sgt. Day both baled out at approx. 4,000 feet. The aircraft crashed between Criquebeuf-la-Campagne and Ecquetot, Eure, France.
LK875 was claimed by Hptm. Werner Hoffmann Stab I/NJG5 – 27km North West of Evreux (UB3): 2,000m at 01:24. (Nachtjagd Combat Archives 1944 Part 3 – Theo Boiten)
Five more aircraft from 158 Squadron took part in this mission to Trappes with the loss of 13 lives, 5 PoW's and 13 evaded capture
A Halifax Mk III aircraft. Sgt. Thomas John Sheridan (courtesy of Debbie O'Regan)
(Left) L to R: WO2 Thompson, Sgt. Day and Flt.Sgt. Younie. (credit: Lewis Day) (Middle) L to R: WO2. Thompson, Fg.Off Greenway, Flt.Sgt. Younie. Unknown lady is assumed to be a member of the WRAF. (credit: Lewis Day). (Right) Wedding photograph of Sgt. Day and Violet Hazel Ashby outside The Cheltenham Minster, St. Mary’s, on 16th May 1942. (credit: Lewis Day).
(1) Sgt. George Gettings evaded capture in France. He was liberated on the 26th August 1944 and returned to RAF Northolt, UK on 28th August 1944.
(2) Sgt. Day evaded for 3 days before being captured on the 6th June 1944 and was taken to Chartres Civilian Jail. He was incarcerated as a PoW in the following camps and times: Stalag 133 Chartres-Morancez from the 9th June to 2nd July 44; Stalag 12a Limburger from 4th July to 8th July 44; Stalag Luft 7 Bankau from 10th July 1944 to 19th January 1945; Stalag 3a Luckenwalder from 8th February to 20th May 1945 and repatriated to England on the 27th May 1945.
Sgt. Dennis Raymond Day passed away on the 29th November 2003 and was laid to rest in the local cemetery in Cheltenham, beside his wife Violet who has passed away in 2001.
Letter sent to Sgt. Day's wife, Violet, from OC No. 158 Squadron, Wg.Cdr. C.C. Calder DFC, notifying her that her husband and the rest of the crew were reported missing following the raid on Trappes. (credit: Lewis Day)
Fg.Off. Greenway, Sgt. Sheridan, Plt.Off. Thompson and Plt.Off. Younie (courtesy of Kate Tame)
Four of the crew are buried in a collective grave in the south-eastern corner of Ecquetot Communal Cemetery and one member of the crew Flt.Sgt. Hansen is buried in the south-western corner of Criquebeuf-la-Campagne Churchyard some 15 km. from Ecquetot
Plt.Off. Russell Bennett Thompson. Ecquetot Communal Cemetery. Born on the 10th March 1921 in Glenella, Manitoba. Son of Harold Bennett Thompson and Edith Margaret (née Caddos) Thompson of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
WO2 Thompson was posthumously promoted to Plt.Off with Service No J86841, wef the 30th May 1944.
Fg.Off. John Kinnaird Greenway. Ecquetot Communal Cemetery. Born 15th September 1920 in Broadstairs, Kent, England. Son of Thomas Charles an Elsie (née Haselden) Greenway of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Canada.
John arrived in Canada on the 27th May 1922 and is remembered on the Lloydminster War Memorial, Saskatchewan
Plt.Off. William Alexander Younie. Ecquetot Communal Cemetery. Born 5th February 1916 in North Norfoik, Manitoba. Son of William and Jess (née McPherson) Younie of Canada. Husband of Vera Evelyn Younie of Caeron, Glamorgan. His father predeceased him in 1937.
Posthumously promoted to Plt.Off. with Service No. J89867. William is remembered on a family headstone in Sidney Cemetery, Manitoba, Canada
(Left) Flt.Sgt. Vernon Nelson Hansen. Criquebeuf-la-Campagne Churchyard, Eure, France. Son of William Henry and Rosie Maud Hansen of Warwick, Queensland, Australia. Vernon was born on the 28th April 1923 in Warwick, Queensland and enlisted at No. 3 Recruiting Centre, Brisbane on the 16th October 1942.
Standing alongside is Mrs Vera Evelyn Williams, whose first husband was Plt.Off. William Alexander Younie, who also lost his life that night and is buried in the nearby village of Ecquetot. (credit: Lewis Day)
(Right) This was Flt.Sgt Hansen’s very first mission which was as a replacement crew member. His sad death was even more poignant given that he had endured a devastating family tragedy. His dedication and bravery to continue serving his country in light of this tragedy should be remembered and honoured. (credit: Lewis Day)
Sgt. Thomas John Sheridan. Ecquetot Communal Cemetery. Son of Thomas and Catherine Sheridan of Manchester, Lancashire. Thomas was born in 1924, Cholton, Lancashire.
Original research by: Kate Tame for Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew
With special thanks Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial, Debbie O'Regan cousin of Sgt. T. J. Sheridan, Thanks to Lewis Russell Day, the son of Sgt. Dennis Raymond Day, for the information and photographs of his mother and father and crew photographs (Nov 2018). Thanks to John Jones for the Nachtjagd claim (Feb 2021). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Feb 2021).