Date: 25/26th September 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 692 Squadron (motto: Polus Dum Sidera Pascet - 'So long as the sky shall feed the stars') 8 PFF Group
Type: Mosquito B.X VI
Base: RAF Gravely, Cambridgeshire
Location: Mignault, Belgium
Pilot: F/O. Leonard James Brennan NZ/413020 RNZAF Age 22. Killed
Nav: F/O. John Thomas Bolger Aus/405291 RAAF Age 23. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 19:06 hrs from RAF Gravely on an operation consisting of 48 Mosquitos on a raid to Mannheim, Germany. We have not established if they were hit by anti aircraft fire or a night fighter attack.
The body of the pilot was recovered from the burnt out wreckage but that of the navigator was found some way from the crash site wearing a half-opened parachute. It can be assumed that F/O. Bolger had attempted to escape the stricken aircraft but it was too low to allow his parachute to deploy.
This was the only loss from the Mosquitoes although a Stirling III from 199 Squadron which was providing airborne Mandrel jamming screen for the Mosquito force crashed in bad weather on return. The pilot of Stirling III LJ518 EX-K 26 year old, P/O. Francis Reginald Chatwin 179033 RAFVR was killed with the remaining 7 crew members.
F/O. Leonard James Brennan. Mignault Communal Cemetery. Grave 1. Born on the 10th November 1921 at Onehunga, Auckland. Worked as a clerk for Campbell and Ehrenfried Ltd, wine and spirit merchants, Auckland. Enlisted on the 25th May 1941 at Levin. Pilots badge awarded and promoted to sergeant on the 08th November 1941 after training with 3 and 2 Flying Training School in New Zealand. Embarked for England on the 17th November 1941. Awarded his commission on the 21st July 1943. Flew various aircraft with various units including the Tiger Moth, Liberator, Oxford, Mosquito and Wellington. A flying instructor with 16 Flying Training School. Son of Francis Michael Brennan and of Elizabeth Sarah Brennan (nee Simmons), of Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand. An experienced pilot with a total of 1588 flying hours logged and completed at least 5 operational sorties.
/O. John Thomas Bolger. Mignault Communal Cemetery. Grave 2. Born on the 15th April 1921 at Maryborough, Queensland. Worked as a clerk for the Ordinance Department, Australian army prior to service. Enlisted on the 10th July 1940 at Brisbane. Son of Thomas and Elsie Josephine Bolger (nee Moran). Bother to Hugh Burke, Moia Theresa Agnes, Brian Patrick (died age 3 in 1925) of Hendra, Queensland, Australia. His brother 20 year old Fl/Sgt. Hugh Burke Bolger Aus/414193 was killed on the 12th July 1943. 467 Squadron Lancaster ED531 PO-T crashed at Sion, Switzerland with the loss of all 7 crew.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, National Archives Australia, NAA, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, other sources as quoted below:
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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