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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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434 crest
12/13th June 1944 434 Squadron Halifax III LW173 W/Cdr. Bartlett DFC and bar

Operation: Arras - Communications

Date: 12/13th June 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 434 Squadron (motto: In Excelsis Vincimus - 'We conquer in the heights')

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LW173

Code: WL-K

Base: RAF Croft, County Durham

Location: Givenchy-en-Gohelle (Pas-de-Calais) France

Pilot: W/Cdr. Christopher Smales Bartlett DFC and bar 39928 RCAF Age 26. Killed

Fl/Eng: P/O. Charles Harrison Kyle C/85505 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Nav: F/O. Roger Gordon Kelso J/14241 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. James Richard Alexander J/17186 RCAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt.(A) Dorcas Herbert Crawford J/12105 RCAF PoW No: 6075 Camp: Stalag Luft 3 Sagan and Belaria

Air/Gnr: P/O. Richard Edward John Campbell J/85772 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: F/O. Robert Bradford Learn J/26620 RCAF Age 24. Killed


Taking off from RAF Croft at 22:44 hrs.

Possible claim by Lt. Heinz Altner 8/NJG5 - Lens area either at 01:39 or 01:41 hrs.

Above L-R: W/Cdr. Bartlett, F/O. Kelso, P/O. Campbell and F/O. Learn (courtesy John Jones)

The squadron lost two other aircraft during this operation, the others:

Halifax III MZ293 WL-S Flown by 27 year old, P/O. Frederick Arthur Ernest Tandy J/19727 RCAF, the six other crew members all lost their lives.

Halifax III LW713 WL-P Flown by 21year old, P/O. William Edward Wood J/86392 RCAF, the only fatality, 2 taken PoW, the other 4 evaded capture.

Above L-R: P/O. Tandy and P/O. Wood (courtesy Operation Picture Me)

DFC Citation:

'Flight Lieutenant Christopher Smales Bartlett of 216 Squadron. One night in May, 1941, this officer carried out a flight which necessitated transporting a party of Royal Engineers and landing them beside a highly strategical railway bridge which it was intended to destroy. Much of the complete success of this daring and difficult operation can be attributed to the skill displayed by this officer. Flight Lieutenant Bartlett has also executed eleven successful night raids'.

Bar to DFC:

'Acting Wing Commander Christopher Smales Bartlett, DFC of 434 (RCAF) Sqn. In the course of his second tour of operations this officer has attacked many strongly defended targets, including several attacks on Berlin and numerous others on industrial centres in the Ruhr. He is a forceful and courageous leader whose example has inspired all'.

Burial details:

W/Cdr. Christopher Smales Bartlett DFC and bar. Calais Canadian War Cemetery. Plot 4, Row G, Grave 9. Son of Christopher Pennycuick Bartlett and Dora Margaret Bartlett (née Smales), of Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, Canada. Bartlett Lake in Saskatchewan named after him. Grave inscription: 'To All The World He Was But One, To Us He Was All The World'.

P/O. Charles Harrison Kyle. Calais Canadian War Cemetery. Plot 4, Row G, Grave 12. Born on the 24th January 1921 at Saskatchewan, Canada. Son of Howard David and Annie Eloise Kyle (née Harrison) of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Brother of Pte. William Leonard Kyle of the Royal Regiment of Canada R.C.I.C. killed on the 19th February 1945 age 27.

F/O. Roger Gordon Kelso. Calais Canadian War Cemetery. Plot 4, Row E, Grave 12. Born on the 31st March 1922 at Mitchellton. Son of Llewellyn Gordon Kelso and Annie Marjory Kelso (née Harrison), of Toronto, Ontario. Grave inscription: 'At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them'.

F/O. James Richard Alexander. Calais Canadian War Cemetery. Plot 4, Row G, Grave 10. Born on the 25th December 1916 at Cabri, Saskatchewan. Son of James Kirkpatrick and Edith Mae Alexander (née Kirkpatrick) of British Columbia, Canada.

P/O. Richard Edward John Campbell. Givenchy-en-Gohelle Communal Cemetery. Grave 2. Born on the 04th June 1924 at Winnipeg, Manitoba. Son of Oswald Michael Joseph Campbell and Anne Bridget Campbell. Grave inscription: 'Eternal Rest And Peace Grant Him, O Lord; May Perpetual Light Shine On Him'.

F/O. Robert Bradford Learn. Givenchy-en-Gohelle Communal Cemetery. Grave 1. Born on the 02nd April 1919 at Banff, Alberta. Son of Dr. Cecil Royden Learn, M.D., and Elenore Mae Learn, of New Westminster, British Columbia. Grave inscription: 'Son'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to John Jones for research and photographs, Operation Picture Me, other sources as quoted below:

JJ/KTY 29-03-2021

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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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