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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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427 Squadron Crest
15/16.09.1943 No. 427 Squadron Halifax V DK253 ZL-M Fl/Sgt. Chibanoff

Operation: Montlucon

Date: 15/16th September 1943 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 427 Squadron (RCAF)

Type: Halifax V

Serial: DK253

Code: ZL-M

Base: RAF Leeming, Yorkshire

Location: Moor Lane, Harmondsworth, West Drayton

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Alexander Chibanoff R/147645 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. David Richard Coe 1649543 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Nav: F/O. Frederick Vere Webb J/14505 RCAF Age 27. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Kendall Bell Begbie J/22698 RCAF Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alfred Richard John Gaiger 1337997 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric Thomas Potts 1302756 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold William Frost R/188092 RCAF Age 20. Killed


Leaving at 20.35 hrs from RAF Leeming, Yorkshire to attack the rubber factory at Montlucon, one of 13 aircraft from the squadron.

The crew of DK253 L-R Rear: Sgt. Alfred Gaiger, Sgt. David Coe, Sgt. Eric Potts, Sgt. Harold Frost.

Front: F/O. Kendall Begbie, Fl/Sgt. Alexander Chibanoff and F/O. Frederick Webb.

Left: The remains of the factory after the operation

It seems that they had carried out the bombing run and that it is ‘possible’ that they suffered a ‘hang up’ by one of the bombs, this had dislodged causing loss of control.

Although reports state that the Halifax jettisoned the bomb load prior to the crash? The aircraft crashed at around 02.50 hrs.

It is well known however that the Halifax had experienced several other losses due to one of the dingys becoming dislodged and obstructing control systems.

A Mr. George Rust, who was an eye witness to the crash as a child, investigated this incident and his further reports into the crash can be found on his website.

A memorial to the crew was erected and placed by British Airways during expansion of London Heathrow on July 7th 1999. (Courtesy London Remembers)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Alexander Chibanoff. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 45.J.3. Born in Mortinmor, Alberta, Canada on the 10th December 1921. Son of Ikor John and Mary Chibanoff, of Glendon, Alberta, Canada.

Fl/Eng: Sgt. David Richard Coe. Dersingham (St. Nicholas) Cemetery, Norfolk. Son of Arthur Richard and Elizabeth Coe, of Dersingham, Norfolk, England.

Nav: F/O. Frederick Vere Webb. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 45.J.5. Son of Mr. and Mrs. William Webb, and stepson of Blanche L. Webb, of Vancouver, British Columbia. Canada.

Air/Bmr: F/O. Kendall Bell Begbie. Edinburgh (Warriston) Crematorium. Panel 1. Son of Alfred Vernon Begbie and Mary Louise Begbie of Riverside, Ontario, Canada, husband of K.B. Begbie.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alfred Richard John Gaiger. Alderly Edge Cemetery. Grave 75. Son of Alfred James and Harriet Hannah Gaiger, husband of Alice May Gaiger, of Alderley Edge, Cheshire, England.

The family must have been devastated by his death as they lost another son, 19 year old Bdr. Alexander Philip killed at sea on February 9th1943. Then just two days after Alfreds loss came the news that another brother had been killed 21 year old Gnr. Albert Thomas in Italy. All remembered on the family grave.

Left: Family grave at Alderley Edge, Cheshire (courtesy Mike Berrell)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric Thomas Potts. Knaresbourough Cemetery. Sec C. Grave 38. Son of Ralph and Jane Potts, husband of Joan Potts, of Knaresborough, Yorkshire, England.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold William Frost. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 45.J.4. Son of Harold David and Marie Elizabeth Frost, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

For further details our thanks to the following, Relative of Sgt Gaiger - the brother of his wife (the webmaster met at his work, Norwich, Norfolk in July 2014), Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), 'Paradie Archive'. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. London Remembers. Further information from these titles/organisations are available from us, just use the 'help' button on the main page above or 'add info' button also shown on this page.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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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