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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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627 Squadron Mosquito XX KB366 Fl/Lt. Harold Earl Brown

Operation: Kaiserslautern (1)

Date: 27/28th September 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 627 Squadron. 5 Group (motto - At First Sight)

Type: Mosquito B.XX

Serial: KB366

Code: AZ-O

Base: RAF Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire

Location: Kaiserslautern, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Harold Earl Brown J/8965 RCAF Age 29. Killed

Nav: Fl/Lt. Hugh Wilson Cowan 67107 RAFVR Age 29. Killed


Taking off from RAF Woodhall Spa as bomber support on an attack on the town and railway yards at Kaiserslautern. A total force of 227 aircraft took part.

The city was covered with two sheets of cloud but crews went down to 5,000 feet or lower, from which altitude streets could be clearly seen in the light of fires which quickly sprang up around the two aiming points the civic centre and the railway repair shops. An extremely good aiming-point photograph that showed perfect ground detail was obtained by Fl/Lt. Boyle (2) had bombed on two southerly red spot fires from an altitude of 5,000 feet.

The only 'Heavy' lost on this operation was that of a 463 Squadron Lancaster III PB263 JO-T flown by 26 year old Australian, F/O. Russell Johnstone Miller, although many others returned with flak damage.

This was even more markedly a fire raid than at Karlsruhe, for only 75 tons of the total load of 810 tons were high-explosive bombs. The optimism of crew reports was fully justified, as over half the fully built-up area of Kaiserlautern was wrecked, industrial plants including the important textile works of Kammgarnspinnerei were heavily damaged as well as railway targets.

KB366 was hit by the 2./leichte Flak-Abteilung 828 at heights between 1700 - 400 meters and crashed near the rail station at Einsiedlerhof at 01:55 hrs.

(1) In World War II, Allied bombing destroyed more than 85% of Kaiserslautern. The railway and several main roads were primary targets, with the heaviest attacks occurring on 7 January, 11 August, and 28 September 1944 (on this day 909 tons of bombs were dropped!). On 20 March 1945, as the last of the 1st Army crossed the Rhine at Remagen, the U.S. 80th Division, 319th Infantry, part of the 3rd US Army, seized Kaiserslautern without resistance. The city became part of the French occupation zone after the Second World War. The establishment of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate was ordered on 30 August 1946 as the last state in the western occupation zones by ordinance No. 57 of the French military government under General Marie-Pierre Kœnig. Little reconstruction took place until the currency reform of 1948. The pace of the economy remained slow until 1952 when construction for newly established garrisons of American troops brought economic growth to the area.

Unexploded ordnance from WWII continues to be discovered in and around Kaiserslautern. In May 2012 an unexploded 250-pound (110 kg) Allied bomb was found, buried deeply and reportedly covered by water pipe, during a construction project in the downtown area of the city. On 5 September 2013, another WWII bomb was found during construction near the train station in Enkenbach-Alsenborn. (Wikipedia)

(2) Squadron Leader Alfred Bertram Boyle DFC and Bar (404713) (O11338) Born on the 10th August 1914 in Queensland Australia. Son of Robert Bertram Boyle and Elizabeth Anna Frazer. Husband of Annie Woolley Hartill a serving member of the ATS. Retired from the RAAF on the 11th of August 1957. Passed away on the 29th May 1988 at the Royal Perth Hospital in Perth, Western Australia.

DFC Citation: 'A fine operational captain of aircraft, W/O Boyle has completed a large number of successful sorties over Germany, Italy enemy-occupied France, including attacks on heavily defended targets at Berlin and Essen. On one occasion, during an attack on St.Nazaire, W/O Boyle's aircraft was struck by a falling incendiary, which ignited inside the fuselage during the bombing run. Nevertheless, this airman completed his attack before attempting to deal with the incendiary'.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Harold Earl Brown. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave: 2.K.20. Born on the 26th April 1915 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Son of Harley E. and Mary Brown. Worked for Winnipeg Free Press prior to enlisting on the 18th April 1941 at Winnipeg.

Husband of Jessie McDougall Brown (née McDougall later Stone then Leary - died 21st August 1996 age 82), of Rolla, North Dakota, USA. Grave inscription: 'He Is Not Forgotten'.

Harold Brown Bay, in the Nelson River, Manitoba was named after him in 1995

Fl/Lt. Hugh Wilson Cowan. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Grave: 2.K.21. Also remembered on the family memorial at Ayr Cemetery. Born on the 15th September 1915 at Ayr, Scotland. Son of Alexander Wilson Cowan (died 04th January 1976, age 92) and Agnes Black Cowan (née Barclay - died 19th May 1953, age 72), of Ayr and husband of Euphemia Millar Cowan, of Dollar. (M.A. Hons. Glasgow). Blue for Association Football. Grave inscription: 'Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Theo Boiten 'Nachtjagd combat Archives 1944, A Place of Honour, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 22-01-2022

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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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