01/03.11.1944 No. 408 Squadron Halifax VII NP744 EQ-X F/O. Vernon Gilson
Date: 2/3rd November 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 408 Squadron RCAF (Goose)
Type: Halifax VII
Base: RAF Linton-On-Ouse
Location: 1.5 miles southwest of Lustin, Belgium
Pilot: F/O. Vernon Beverley Gilson J/26151 RCAF Age 22. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Archibald Anderson RAFVR Injured. (Severely)
Nav: F/O. Donald Anderson Staples J/35924 RCAF Age 25. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Louis Joseph Reaume J/35091 RCAF Age 29. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Donald Haigh Woodworth RCAF Injured. (Slightly)
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Gordon Sutton RCAF Injured. (Slightly)
Air/Gnr: P/O. Allan Clifford Ineson J/93699 RCAF Age 19. Killed
Update November 2017: A Memorial plaque is currently under preparation to be placed at the crash site of this Halifax NP744. It is hoped the plaque will be in position sometime during 2018. Further details will follow as soon as our Belgium colleagues have informed us.
REASON FOR LOSS:
408 Squadron Halifax VII with Hercules XVI engines Serial No's: SS28837, SS20996, SS29119, SS29245. Took off at 16:18 hrs. from Linton-On-Ouse on the third wave. Due to return to Linton-On-Ouse at 21:45hrs.
The aircraft was carrying 1 x 2000lb. H.C. (High Capacity) bomb, 4 x 1000lb. M59 bombs, 1 x 1000lb. MC LD bomb, 1 x 500lb. M58 bomb, 1 x 500lb. GP (General Purpose) bomb, 1 x 500lb. M.C (Medium Capacity) bomb and 4200lbs. of S.A.A (standard) .303 rounds.
Reported over the target in the War Room at 19:14 hrs. The aircraft was attacked by a FW190 night fighter on leaving the target. In a running battle the aircraft was shot-up and burning and crashed 1.5 miles southwest of Lustin, Namur, Belgium.
Three crew members survived with one reporting that the FW190 strafed the crashed aircraft. Lustin is 100 miles South West of Dusseldorf, approximately 24 mins flying time (at 250mph). So the crash occurred on or around 19:38hrs. NJG11 operated FW190 night fighters and on that night there were two pilots reporting a four engine bomber kill in the area:
Fw. Wilhelm Jansen, Stab 1/NJG11, 4-mot, S. Dusseldorf, 4500m, 19:31hrs
Fw. Walter Schermutski, 2/NJG11, Lancaster, S.W. Dusseldorf, 3000m, 19:40hrs
The crew killed were initially buried on 3rd Nov at 16:30hrs. at Fosses, U.S. Military Cemetery No1, 8.5 miles Southwest of Namur, Belgium. Later confirmed on 19th July 1947 that the remains of these crew members had been re-interred at Leopoldsburg British Cemetery, Limburg, Belgium.
The three crew members injured were admitted to 50th (US) Field Hospital on 3rd November and evacuated to 15th (US) General Hospital A.P.O. 350 US Army on 4th November.
(1) Staples Lake in Saskatchewan is named after F/O. Donald Staples
Above: F/O. Louis Joseph Reaume: Sketch was done by a fellow RCAF member as he was coming to after fainting from the sight of the syringe for his pre deployment vaccines, according to a story told to Adam by the archival lady at the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association in Windsor.
Left: Perspex reported to be taken by a local policeman's daughter and fashioned into the cross and engraved 'Halifax Lustin 2 Nov 1944' (courtesy Simon Jeffs)
F/O. Vernon Beverley Gilson. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. VIII.A.5. Son of Percival Willard Gilson and Doris Gilson, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Husband of Olive Margaret (née Parnell). Grave inscription reads: "Their Bodies Are Buried In Peace; But Their Name Liveth For Evermore".
F/O. Donald Anderson Staples. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. VIII.A.6. Son of John T. and Jean M. Staples, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Always Thoughtful True And Kind Beautiful Memories Left Behind".
F/O. Louis Joseph Reaume. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. VIII.A.3. Born on the 08th October 1915 and from 221 Cameron Avenue, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
P/O. Allan Clifford Ineson. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. VIII.A.4. Son of George William F. Ineson, and of Lucy Kathleen Ineson, of Kitchener, Ontario. Canada. Grave inscription reads: "In Everloving Memory Of My Dear Son Allan, Gone Into A Better Land".
Researched by Simon Jeffs (Nephew of F/O. Gilson) for the Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives and friends of the crew. Also to Adam Reaume who contacted us in November 2017 with additional photographs and information. Also to Marchal Raphaël who is researching this loss further in order to place a plaque at the crash site.