22/23.06.1944 No. 76 Squadron Halifax III LW620 MP-G Sq/Ldr. West
Date: 22/23rd June 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 76 Squadron
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor, Yorkshire.
Location: Hotham, 10 miles WSW of Beverley, Yorkshire.
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Robert George West J/9142 RCAF Age 25. Killed
Fl/Eng: P/O. Alfred Thomas Clarke 175596 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Nav: Fl/Lt. Peter Scott Milliken J/10425 RCAF Age 27. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. James Johnson 1556755 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Wilfred Jim Lowe 173593 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. Leslie James Barnard 178232 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Glen 639111 RAF Age 22. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS
Halifax LW620 took off at 23:07 hours on the night of 22 June 1944. Its operation, along with 220 other aircraft in the sortie comprised of 111 Lancasters, 99 Halifaxes and 10 Mosquitos, was to bomb the railway yards at Laon and Rheims. Reportedly, the operation was a success in terms of the destruction of the yards, rolling stock and locomotives.
During the raids, which cost Bomber Command a total of eight aircraft and their crews, LW620 took numerous hits from a German night fighter sustaining severe damage to the inner port engine. Taking evasive action to loose the fighter, Sq/Ldr. West feathered the propellor and managed to limp back toward base. As he was preparing to land, West unfeathered the damaged propellor upon which it immediately sheared off of the hub and smashed into the cockpit killing him instantly. The now pilotless and out of control aircraft dived into the ground in the early hours of 24 June (03:21 hrs) killing the remainder of the crew.
It is thought that the night-fighter responsible for the damage was Oblt. Heinz Ferger 3./NJG3 with combat taking place at 01:15 hrs at 2,500 mtrs. over Amiens. Oblt. Ferger was already classed as an ace at his time (17 kills) and was killed later on (April 1945) after being shot down by a Mosquito during finals to Lübeck airfield. At the time of his death he had been credited with between 23-27 kills.
Sqn. Ldr. Robert George West. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, Yorkshire. Section B, Row G, Grave 11. Son of Water and Florence Jane West of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. West Lake, Saskatchewan (Map No. 074F16) is named after Sqn Ldr. West
Fl/Lt. Peter Scott Milliken. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, Yorkshire. Section B, Row G, Grave 10. Son of George Watson and Mary Belle Milliken of Sinclair, Manitoba, Canada. Milliken Creek, Saskatchewan is named after Fl/Lt. Milliken
P/O. Alfred Thomas Clarke. Dover (Charlton) Cemetery Section 3. T. Grave
14. Son of Henry and Evelene Matilda Clarke of Dover, Kent. England.
Fl/Sgt. James Johnson. Glasgow (St. Kentigern's) Roman Catholic Cemetery, Section 3, Grave 1861/2. Son of James and Mary Johnson of Glasgow, Scotland.
P/O. Wilfred Jim Lowe. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, Yorkshire. Section B, Row G, Grave 9. Son of Wilfred John and Ruth Lowe of Maidenhead, Berkshire, England.
P/O. Leslie James Barnard. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, Yorkshire. Section B, Row G, Grave 8. Son of Horace James and Ethel Barnard of Copnor, Hampshire, England.
F/S Thomas Glen. Heston (St.Leonard) Churchyard, Middlesex. New Extension, Grave104B. Of Hounslow, Middlesex. No further details - are you able to assist?
Researched and compiled by Colin Bamford for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to relatives of the crew of Halifax LW620.
Sqn. Ldr. West and Fl/Lt. Milliken photographs courtesy of and copied from Veterans Affairs Canada website.