05/06.08.1944 298 Squadron Halifax V LL334 8A:Q Fg Off. Charles E. Anderson
Operation: "Diplomat 9", SOE (Special Operations Executive)
Date: 5th/6th August 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit No: 298 Squadron
Type: Halifax V
Base: RAF Tarrant Rushton, Dorset, England
Location: Essoyes, France
Pilot: Fg Off. Charles Edward Anderson J13450 RCAF Age 22. KiA
Flt Eng: Sgt. Cyril Muskin RAFVR - Evader (1)
Nav: Plt Off. Elliot Annon 178837 RAFVR - Evader (2)
Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Jack Threlkeld 1508714 RAFVR - Evader
WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. David E. Lewis 1294559 RAFVR - Evader (1)
Air Gnr: Plt Off. Ronald Frederick Reader 413792 RNZAF- Evader (3)
Above: Fg Off. Charles Edward Anderson (Courtesy of Stephen Paul Garnier)
"Diplomat 9" was the code name for a Tactical Bombing Mission.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Several variations exist on the loss of this aircraft and crew members and details - we decided to publish the story to the crew and wait for further evidence from readers of this site.
LL334 took off from RAF Tarrant Rushton at 23:42 hrs on a "Diplomat 9" Mission. The target was located at a position about 3½ km NNW of Fontette, 2 km WNW of Saint-Usage and 1½ km NE of Noé-les-Mallets.
Claimed by Uffz. Heinz G. Siebert, his 10th Abschuss, from 2./NJG5, 5-15 km SW of Chaumont at 50m, at 02:10 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (24 July 1944 - 15 October 1944) Part 4 - Theo Boiten)
It is believed that he was injured returning from an operation on the 16th March 1945 during a landing at Bayreuth airfield. Understood to have survived the war
The aircraft made a forced landing at Essoyes killing Fg Off Anderson.
(1) Sgt. Muskin and Flt Sgt. Lewis was hidden by a Monsieur Trubert at Essoye and returned safely to the UK.
(2) In 1991, Stephen Paul Garnier asked his father-in-law, Elliott Annon, to write something of his time as a Navigator in the war. Some of what he wrote was subsequently included in the book 'Massacre over the Marne', by Oliver Clutton-Brock, published by 'Patrick Stephens Limited) - pages 126-127.
Elliott Annon writings are titled Elliott Annon Adventures.
Above: Plt Off. Elliot Annon (Courtesy of Stephen Paul Garnier)
In 2001, based on what he had written, he told his father-in-law that he was going to travel to France and retrace his escape route. He specifically asked him to try to find the grave of the pilot, Charles Anderson and pay respects on his behalf. He said that Anderson's courageous flying after they had been hit had saved the lives of the crew. Sadly, Anderson paid the ultimate price.
In August 2001, Stephen went to France, retraced the escape route and found Anderson's grave. He could not help but be moved by his age of only 22 on that fateful day, 6th August 1944, that so much was asked of those so young.
Elliott Annon passed on the 6th September 2006, R.I.P.
(3) Plt Off. Reader was found wounded in the rear turret of the aircraft. He was treated in a German Hospital for his injured Pelvis where he was visited by Mademoiselle Fortier of Essoyes, known as "Tante Louise". Plt Off. Reader later escaped from his escorts after they left him in the car when they stopped for a drink at a cafe. He returned to England and was interviewed on the 20th October 1944.
Rosemary Deans contacted us in August 2021 who told us that Fg Off. Anderson was the maternal uncle of William Charles Kitson, the husband of Rosemary Deans. They were able to visit Fg Off. Anderson’s grave in 2006, shortly before his sister passed away. While she was very happy to see where her brother rested, she never did learn the details of his heroism.
Above William Charles Kitson on his visit to Fg Off. Anderson’s grave in 2006 (Credit: Rosemary Deans)
Mr. David Pugh visited the grave of the pilot on Remembrance Sunday 2015 - placing a British Legion cross.
Mr. David Pugh is conducting further research into this and hope to add more once he has visited the Mayor and other locals who may recall the crash.
Above: Photograph of Fg Off. Anderson from his Service Record.
Fg Off. Charles Edward Anderson. Essoyes Communal Cemetery. Born on the 26th August 1921 in St. Boniface, Manitoba. Son of Charles Edward and Miranda (née Hutchison) Anderson from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Husband of Viola Elaine (née Rothwell) Anderson and father to Linda Joyce Anderson from Garrick, Saskatchewan, Canada.
With thanks to David Pugh who visited the grave of the pilot in November 2015 and sent in the photographs. Also to Colin Cummings “Though Without Anger’ - which describes transport and special duties aircraft losses 1940 - 1945. Additional research and updated narrative including image of Fg Off. Anderson carried out by Aircrew Remembered (Aug 2021). Thanks to Rosemary Deans for additional photograph of the visit by William Charles Kitson (Aug 2021). Many thanks to Stephen Paul Garnier for the Elliott Annon Adventures and for the additional photographs (Jun 2023).
Other sources listed below: