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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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406 Squadron Mosquito NF Mk. 30 MM728 Fl/Lt. Raymond Richard Burgess

Operation: Intruder

Date: 25 July 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 406 Squadron (motto: 'We kill by night')

Type: Mosquito NF Mk. 30

Serial: MM728

Code: HU-?

Base: RAF Winkleigh, Devon

Location: La Provostiére, Riaillé, north-east of Nantes

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Raymond Richard Burgess J/7612 (R/75450) RCAF Age 27. Killed

Obs: Fl/Lt. William Neil Macpherson J/9133 (R/91271) RCAF Age 27. Killed


On the previous day whilst returning from a defensive patrol burst a tyre on landing at 08:45 hrs. The pilot managed to save the new Mosquito from further damage.

Taking off at 14:50 hrs on an intruder operation.

Taken from the operational record books:

From the little debris found on the site of the crash, it is evident that the aircraft was a Mosquito. Eyewitnesses estimated that this aircraft was one of 2 that were bombing the target. Several people in the village of Riaille saw this Mosquito flying low and on one engine.

It was attacked by two German fighter planes from the airfield of Varaddes and was shot down at 16:00 hrs. Both of the crew were killed in the crash.

The machine caught fire and the bodies were badly burned before being pulled out by Monsieur Hardy, Louis of Riaille and a friend. Monsieur Hardy found papers on the bodies and a 'Flying Log Book' which gave the identity of the, two victims. These papers were handed over to a representative of the Red Cross, Monsieur Paul Jubineau, who, after taking note of the contents, burned them to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. It was learned that a Mosquito had crashed on the same afternoon near Lusanger about 18 miles from Riaille. This aircraft probably belonged to the same Squadron as the aircraft reported on here. Fitt. Thompson has sent in a report on the Lusangor crash. A small card picked up by an onlooker bore the mark 'MM728'.

The squadron suffered two other losses on this operation/;

MM 736 Flown by 30 year old, Fl/Lt. William Ronald Rutherford Sutton J/5474 (R/72051) RCAF. Navigator being 32 year old F/O. George Bishop J/23710 (R/16658) RCAF both listed as missing, believed killed,

MM708 Flown by 23 year old F/O. Ralph Leslie Green J/19483 (R/107664) RCAF. Navigator being 22 year old, F/O. Arthur Woodley Hillyer 170751 RAFVR with both crew listed as killed.

Burial and other details:

The two crew members were buried side by side. Over 400 locals attended the funeral, hundreds of flowers were left on the graves.

Fl/Lt. Raymond Richard Burgess. Riaille Communal Cemetery. Born on the 03rd December 1918 at Biggar, Saskatchewan, Canada. Worked as an accountant with the Canadian Bank of Commerce in Biggar. Enlisted on the 14th December 1940. Wings awarded on the 26th September 1941. Son of Albert Richard (died 29th November 1952, age 62) and Sadie Sarah Beatrice Burgess (née Holland - died 20th December 1976, age 72)80), of Biggar, Saskatchewan, Canada. Brother of Ronald Allen (died 30th September 1993, age and Rhoda Fay (died 23rd June 2007, age 87). Epitaph: 'Ever Remembered Ever Loved'.

Burgess Bay, Saskatchewan was named after him.

Fl/Lt. William Neil Macpherson. Riaille Communal Cemetery. Born on the 10th May 1917 at Wellesley, Ontario, Canada. Enlisted on the 27th June 1941. Observer wings were awarded on the 08th December 1941. Son of Duncan MacPherson (died 16th March 1947, age 64) and Cassie May MacPherson (née Bryden - died 12th January 1957, age 75). Brother of Ross, of Wallenstein, Canada. Husband of Edythe Pauline Macpherson (married on the 22nd February 1944) of 8 Hart Terrace Southbents, Whitburn, Sunderland, England later of Wallenstein, Canada.

Above: Riaille Communal Cemetery

Fl/Lt. William Ronald Rutherford Sutton. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 244. Born on 15 September 1913 in York, Ontario. Enlistef on the 06th September 1940. Son of William Edwin (died 10th March 1964, age 81) and Jemima Wood Sutton (née Rutherford - died 03rd August 1977, age 94) , of 54 Summerhill, gardens, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. B.A. (Toronto).

F/O. George Bishop Runnymede Memorial. Panel 245. Born on 13 August 1912 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Enlisted 14th May 1942. Son of John Wark Bishop (died 13th August 1971, age 98) and Mary Leila Bishop (née Cook - died 19th June 1973, age 83), of 1034 Queens Avenue, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Husband of Christine Ophelia (née Topley) Bishop father of John Lesley Bishop (born 06th December 1940) of 980 Heywood Avenue, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

F/O. Ralph Leslie Green. Lusanger Communal Cemetery. Joint grave. Born on the 13th August 1920. Enlisted on the 10th June 1941. Son of Alfred Douglas (died 27th November 1973, age 84) and Nellie Victoria Green (died in 1970, age 87), of Vanguard, Saskatchewan, Canada. Epitaph: 'Not Just To-Day But Every Day In Silence We Remember. Some Day We'll Understand'.

F/O. Arthur Woodley Hillyer. Lusanger Communal Cemetery. Joint grave. Son of Harry Richard and Dorothy Hillyer, of West Drayton, Middlesex, England. Epitaph 'Greater Love Hath No Man Than This" Good-Night, Beloved'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the National Archive, Kew, AIR-27-1791-71/2, Government of Canada Service Files, Parade RCAF Archives.

KTY 10-03-2024

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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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