AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.
Check our Research databases: Database List


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.

51 Squadron Crest
06.08.1944 No. 51 Squadron Halifax III LW546 MH-R Fl/Lt. Brown

Operation: Hazebrouck

Date: 06th August 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 51 Squadron (4 Group)

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LW546

Code: MH-R

Base: RAF Snaith, Yorkshire

Location: Lost - no trace

Pilot: Fl/Lt. George Brown NZ/413374 RNZAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. William Leonard Healey 1876797 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed

Nav: F/O. Sidney Harry Coleman 147097 RAFVR Age 30. Missing - believed killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Aubrey Francis Cowling 176488 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Edgar Frederick Jones AUS/423786 RAAF Age 32. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ernest William Donkin 542206 RAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Baptist 3040779 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed


Taking off from RAF Snaith at 19:10 hrs. 26 others from the squadron talking part in an operation totalling 62 aircraft to bomb the small rail yards at Hazebrouck.

Weather: Thick fog, cloud lifting 06:30 hrs breaking and becoming fine at midday. Visibility fog at first, lifting 08:00 hrs. and becoming very good. Deteriorating and becoming poor 21:00 hrs. Wind: ENE - NNE light, becoming ESE 3-10 mph.

Extract from the Squadron operation Book for this day:

'Small amount of cloud encountered en route out with considerable industrial haze in the target area, thinning out at about 8,000 ft. Most crews were able to identify the target visually and all but three heard the master bomber. His first instructions were to undershoot the red target indicators by 2 seconds., then to aim 200 yards to starboard of the yellow target indicators. Further yellow target indicators were dropped and these were reported both by the master bomber and by crews to be have been on the aiming point. Crews reported many bomb bursts in the area of the target indicators and some sticks were seen to be undershooting at one point in the attack. On the whole it was thought to have been a fairly good attack.
Flares were seen in the target area after leaving. Accurate predicted flak from possible 12 guns in the Saint-Omer area also some light flak from Dunkirk and Gravelines.
4 Aircraft sustained minot damage. 1 failed to return and reported as missing.'

Painting of Halifax LW546 Commissioned by Phil Brown and published here with his permission.

Some reports state that the crew were requesting for a route home and apparently transmitted after leaving the French coast over Calais. A crew member from another aircraft reported that he has seen red Verey lights in the Channel but we are unable to confirm this or the source.

(1) The family also lost his younger brother, Sub/Lt. John Atkinson Brown RNZNR. Lost flying a Sea Hurricane Z4450 on the 10th August 1943 whilst with 759 Squadron during a deck landing training exercise. The other brother Robert Ramsay Brown returned to New Zealand at the request of his father, having lost two sons.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. George Brown. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 262. Born on the 02nd May 1919 at Piopie, the son of George and Jane Brown (née Atkinson), of Carterton, Wellington, New Zealand. Worked in the Bank of New Zealand as a clerk prior to service. Enlisted on the 15th June 1941 at Levin. A total of 1225 flying hours logged.

Sgt. William Leonard Healey. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 231. Son of Albert Edward and Annie Louisa Healey, of Tottenham, Middlesex, England.

F/O. Sidney Harry Coleman. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 205. Son of Harry and Isabell Coleman and husband of Winifred Mary Coleman, of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England.

P/O. Aubrey Francis Cowling. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 210. Understood to be from St. Eval, Cornwall, England. No further details - are you able to contribute?

Fl/Sgt. Edgar Frederick Jones. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 260. Born on the 02nd October 1911 at Pantyffynnon, Carmarthenshire, Wales, the son of William and Mary Ann Jones and husband of Olga Isolene Jones, of 78 Rosemeath Avenue, Kingsgrove, New South Wales, Australia. Enlisted in Sydney, Australia. A commercial traveller prior to service.

Fl/Sgt. Ernest William Donkin. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 217. Born at 71 Blenheim Terrace, Hull, the son of Herbert and Emma Isabel Donkin, of Hull, England.

Sgt. Robert Baptist. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 217. Son of Robert and Grace Baptist, of Gateshead, Co. Durham, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, also to Phil Brown relative of Fl/Sgt. Ernest William Donkin. To Julie Macdonald and Phil Dunstan-Brown - relatives of the pilot, Fl/Lt. George Brown. Other sources as quoted below:

KTY - 01.12.2017

KTY Updated 24.11.2019

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2023
Last Modified: 01 April 2021, 19:50

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor