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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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409 Squadron Crest
18.02.1943 No. 409 Squadron Beaufighter VIF X7893 P/O. Thomas S. Briggs

Operation: Ranger Patrol

Date: 18th February 1943 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 409 Squadron (Nighthawk) RCAF

Type: Bristol Beaufighter VI.F

Serial: X7893

Code: KP-?

Base: RAF Coleby Grange, Lincolnshire (For this operation - based at RAF Coltishall)

Location: North West of Große Heide, Germany 

Pilot: P/O. Thomas Simpson Briggs J/16215 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Nav: P/O. Douglas McBeath J/16258 RCAF Age 23. Killed

We are indebted to Martin Frauenheim for his wonderful research into this loss. Martin contacted us in December 2014 to appeal for relatives of the crew to contact us in order to add any further information for his village records in Germany where the crew died. He has researched this for over 30 years.

December 30th 2014 - 409 Squadron RCAF have been contacted and they are trying to obtain further information and possible photographs for us and our German researcher friends.

Also thanks to Dave Kirby in Woodbridge, Virginia, USA for translating German Documents.


Taking off from RAF Coltishall at 21.20 hrs on a Ranger Patrol over Holland and Western Germany and were due to return at around 00.00 hrs.

Nothing further was heard from them and the aircraft crashed at 23.06 hrs. It is understood that the aircraft hit the wires from a cable car and crashed just north east of Große Heide in Germany. 

For years one of the propeller hubs laid in some bushes before Martin Frauenheim and his fellow researchers discovered and renovated it. One of the blades had been cut down and used in a cooling fan.

Burial details:

Initially buried by the Germans at Bramsche near Hanover, finally laid to rest at the CWGC cemetery detailed below.

P/O. Thomas Simpson Briggs. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Joint Grave 26.C.14-15. Son of Thomas Smith Briggs and Leonora Briggs, of Venn, Saskatchewan, Canada. Born on 28th April 1919. Parents married August 18th 1916 in Saskatchewan. Grave inscription reads: ‘What would we give to hear thy voice and see thy happy self.’

P/O. Douglas McBeath. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Joint Grave 26.C.14-15. Son of Douglas and Margaret Stevenson McBeath, of Golden, British Columbia, Canada. Parents were married at Golden on May 18th 1914. His father died at Golden - March 24th 1959, mother died at Golden - March 29th 1973. Also had another son, Samuel Blair - died in June 1974  at Fulford Harbour, British Columbia, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “Ever lovingly remembered by Dad, Mother, brothers and sisters.’

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Martin Frauenheim of Hagen, Germany. Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries’ (Updated 2014 version) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Aircrew Remembered own Archives.

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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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