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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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412 Squadron Spitfire IX PL245 Fl/Lt. Philip Marcel Charron

Operation: Operation: Dive bombing - reconnaissance

Date: 19th November 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 412 Squadron (motto: Promptus Ad Vindictam - 'Swift to avenge')

Type: Spitfire LFIX

Serial: PL245

Code: VZ-?

Base: B.88 Heesch

Location: Lippramsdorf, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Philip Marcel Charron J/16584 RCAF Age 27. Killed


On 19th November 1944 at 13.30 hours, a section of four aircraft took off on a dive bombingArmed reconnaissance operation. They wera flying in the following positions:

No.1 Fl/Lt. Philip Marcel Charron J/16584
No.2 F/O. James Webster Johnston J/37120
No.3 P/O. William Cowan J/88196 (1)
No.4 W/O. Ambrose John Comeau R/64563

The bombing was carried out at Veen, Germany, after which, the section proceeded to carry out an armed recce. While in the Bocholt area, P/O.Cowan. who had a hang-up, went down to drop his bomb on a suitable target. When he rejoined the section which was then at 5,000 feet, 40 plus enemy aircraft were seen ahead and 1,000 feet above.

The section immediatly wont in to attack them and were themselves attacked by other enemy aircraft which apparently came up from below.

P/O. Cowan's aircraft was hit and he want into cloud. When he came out of the cloud he could not see the rest of tho section but a large number of enemy aircraft were coming in on him from all directions. He estimated that about 100 enemy aircraft were in the area.

Fl/Lt. Charron flying Spitfire LFIX PL245 was shot down and crashed at Lippramsdorf, Germany at 14:45 hrs.

F/O. Johnston was flying Spitfire LFIX PL130 was last seen engaging forty plus FW190 enemy fighter aircraft in the Bocholt area of Germany

W/O. Ambrose John Comeau flying Spitfire LFIX PL204 was also shot, survived as a PoW No: 31613 Stalag Lamsdorf.

P/O. Cowan flying Spitfire LFIX MJ452 returned to base through cloud at 14:40 hrs

the time of the above action was approximately 14.10 hours.

Above: Fl/Lt. Philip Marcel Charron (Courtesy Second World War Service Files, Canada)

(1) F/O. William Cowan - Crystal red section of six aircraft took off at 09.50 hrs. on the 22nd February 1945., on a bombing sortie with the railroad line between Bocholt and Borken as target. Shortly after the section became airborne, Red 3 (W/O. Cowan) called up on his R/T to say his engine was not running properly. Fl/Lt. L.A. Stewart. J/7454 called him back saying he could return to base and land with his bomb on safe. To this message he replied saying his engine ran smoothly up to +4 lbs. boost. To this section leader replied saying he could come to the bomb-line, drop his bomb then come home by himself. About two miles west of Cleve, Red 3 called up on his R/T saying he was going to drop his bomb safe and return immediately. At this point he left the formation. This was at approximately 10.00 hours.

The remaining five continued on the mission when about two minutes later, Crystal Red 3 again called up saying he would have to bale out. Ground stations (local flying contra and sector control) were both heard to contact him, to which he replied he was steering 270 degrees (West) but thought he would have to bale out. That was the last message I heard over the R/T from Red 3. He had baled out but struck the tailplane, he was killed when the parachute failed to deploy fully. The reason that the investigation team came to this theory was that the wire mesh casing for the ripcord was smashed which could not have happened on impact with the soft ground.Checks were made on other aircraft found heavy deposit on the flame trap and evidence of combustion in the induction trucks. The condition was attributed to the use of 150 octane fuel which was shortly after discontinued

Burial and other details:

Fl/Lt. Philip Marcel Charron Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 12.E.11. Born on the 22nd January 1917 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Enlisted on the 31st October 1040 in Montreal, Canada.

Son of René (died 1976, age 79) and Marie Charron (née Howes - died 1973, age 74) of 1809 Sherbrooke Street, Montreal, Quebec Husband of Constance Mary Charron (née Drake - married in Lincoln, England on the 08th July 1942), father of Yvonne Marie Charron, of 'Zane', Westerham Hill, Kent, United Kingdom.

F/O. William Cowan. Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery. Grave XV.E.6. Buried on the 24th February at 14:30 hrs. Born on the 21st November 1919 in Lethbridge, Alberta. Enlisted on the 12th December 1941 in Ottawa. Educated at Lethbridge College and Lethbridge Technical School. Worked for Hingley Roofing and sheet Metal Ltd in Calgary.

Son of William (died 07th November 1970, age 82) and Anne Donaldson Cowan (née Stewart - died 11th February 1965, age 68) brother of Stewart, Elizabeth and Rachel, of1823-8th Avenue, Lethbridge, Alberta. Epitaph: 'Until The Day Break, And The Shadows Flee Away'.

F/O. James Webster Johnston. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 17.D.2. Born on the 28th June 1924 in Dundee, Scotland. Educated at Lachlan High School and Sir George William College in Montreal. Worked as a draughtsman for Dominion Engineering of Lachine. Enlisted on the 15th September 1942 in Montreal.

Son of Archibald Downie Johnston (died 1994, age 100) and Isabella Rattray Johnston (née Webster - died 1983, age 85), brother of Archibald also a serving member R/121084 RCAF of 134 Provost Street, Lachine, Province of Quebec, Canada. Epitaph: 'May We Be Worthy Of His Great Sacrifice His Memory Is Cherished Love Mum Dad And Norman'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of these pilots with thanks to the National Archive Kew, AIR27-.1806-21/22, AIR27-1806-27/28, Second World War Service Files Canada, Paradie RCAF Archives

Other pages that may interest you:

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Pages detailing RCAF losses

KTY 05-11-2023

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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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