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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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425 Squadron Crest
22/23.03.1944 No. 425 Squadron Halifax III LW417 KW-G F/O. C.E.Tindall

Operation: Frankfurt

Date: 22/23rd March 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 425 RCAF Alouette Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LW417

Code: KW-G

Base: RAF Tholthorpe, North Yorkshire.

Location: Unknown. West of target

Pilot: F/O. Charles Edward Tindall J/20618 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Flt/Eng: Sgt. James Cyril Patten 1876219 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Nav: F/O. Kenneth Victor Duffield J/24048 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. R.C. Quinlan R/156968 RCAF PoW No: 3836. Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelstang

W/Op/AG: P/O. Clarence Walter Hay J/88340 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.E. Brine R/190329 RCAF PoW No: 3799. Camp: Stalag Copernicus

Air/Gnr: P/O. Donald Walter Pulham J/88342 RCAF Age 19. Killed (1)

REASON FOR LOSS:

A very large raid was planned for this night as a combined force of 816 Lancasters, Halifaxes and Mosquitos set out for Frankfurt. The route chosen was to fly in an easterly direction crossing into main land Europe over northern Holland. From there the formation was to fly due south to Frankfurt. This circuitous route, as well as several diversionary attacks on other cities, confused the German defences as to which city had been selected as the primary target. This delay in the appearance of the night fighters allowed the majority of the bomber stream to reach the target.

Flying at altitudes of 20,000 to 25,000 feet a staggering 54,000 lbs. of high explosive and 408,000 lbs. of incendiaries were unleashed on the city. It was a devastating blow destroying much of the old city as well as disrupting the core services of water, gas and electricity for an extensive period of time. Much of the industrial areas to the west were particularly hard hit and over 1000 inhabitants lost their lives.

Although some of the bombers were lost en-route to the target, most were intercepted over the target area or, having dropped their bomb load, were shot down while homeward bound.

No crash site was recorded for Halifax LW417 but it is believed to have been brought down to the west of Frankfurt by night fighter ace Oblt. Martin Becker. Becker, (shown right) who survived the war and went on to become a commercial pilot. Credited with six victories that night and by wars end had accounted for a total of 52 Allied aircraft shot down.

In all 33 aircraft failed to return.

(1) P/O. Pulham, who had only been married nine months, was on his first operational flight when lost. Pulham Lake in northern Ontario is named after P/O. Pulham.


Burial Details:

F/O. Charles Edward Tindall. Cologne Southern Cemetery Plot 4-Row AA–Grave 4. Son of Charles and Thelma Irene Tindall, husband of Georgette Tindall, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



Sgt. James Cyril Patten. Cologne Southern Cemetery Plot 4-Row AA–Grave 8. Son of Thomas George and Ada Maud Patten of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England.



F/O. Kenneth Victor Duffield. Cologne Southern Cemetery Plot 4-Row AA–Grave 5. Husband of Mrs. K.V. Duffield of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



P/O. Clarence Walter Hay. Cologne Southern Cemetery Plot 4-Row AA–Grave 6. Son of Thomas and Carrie Tomkinson Hay of Verdun, Province of Quebec, Canada.



P/O. Donald Walter Pulham. Cologne Southern Cemetery Plot 4-Row AA–Grave 7. Son of George Walter and Lillian May Pulham, husband of Fern Violet (née Pizzey) Pulham of Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Born in Brantford on 21st April 1924 - prior to service worked for the aircraft division, Cockshutt Plow Company Ltd. (shown right) which manufactured undercarriages for several types of British bombers, including the Avro Lancaster Mk X being built by Victory Aircraft at Malton, and built plywood fuselages and wings for the Avro Anson training aircraft and for Britain's famous de Havilland Mosquito bomber.


Researched by Colin Bamford, Canadian researcher for Aircrew Remembered. Courtesy of Album of Honour for Brant County World War II 1939 – 1945. Published in 1946 by The Brantford Kinsmen Club, Ontario, Canada and kindly reproduced with their permission.

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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