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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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No. 77 Squadron
28/29.06.1944 77 Squadron Halifax Mk III MZ748 KN:A Plt Off. Colin I. Jakeman

Operation: Railway Yards Blainville, France

Date: 28th/29th June 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit No: 77 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: MZ748

Code: KN:A

Base: RAF Full Sutton, Yorkshire

Location: Between Fourmetot and Corneville-sur-Risle, Eure, France

Pilot: Plt Off. Colin Ian Jakeman J86240 RCAF Age 21. KiA

Flt Eng: Flt Sgt. Alfred Manstoff DFM 1615909 RAFVR Age 21. Evader (1)

Nav: Plt Off. Robert John West 173984 RAFVR Age 27. KiA

Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. F.L. Giles 1322679 RAFVR Age? Evader (2)

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. John William Hargreaves 1028990 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 86199 (3)

AirxGnr (Mid Upp): Fg Off. Andrew Harold Anthony Dowd DFC 144347 RAF Age? Evader (4)

Air Gnr (Rear): Flt Sgt. Ross John James McFadden R137691 RCAF Age 27. KiA


Took off from RAF Full Sutton at 21:55 hrs to attack rail facilities at Blainville. Part of a group made up of 202 Halifax’s and a further 28 Pathfinder Lancaster’s to attack railway yards at both Blainville and Metz. Both targets were hit.

MZ748 bombed the target successfully and was homebound when intercepted and shot down by Oblt. Jakob Schaus, his 18th Abschuss and 2nd of this night, from 4./NJG4 over Pont Audemer, SW of Rouen at 2300 m at 03:20 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (12 May 1944 - 23 July 1944) Part 3 - Theo Boiten)

12 Halifax aircraft were lost from this raid on Blainville and 8 from the attack on Metz, with a total loss of 59 lives, 33 PoW's, 47 evaders and 1 crew member who was injured and died later of his wounds

Above: A Halifax Mk III type aircraft. Map showing Metz and Blainville

(1) Flt Sgt. Manstoff was sheltered near Tocqueville until August 1944.

Flt Sgt. Manstoff was awarded the DFM whilst with 77 Sqn. London Gazette 10th November 1944. Citation: 'This airman has displayed the highest standard of skill, fortitude and bravery in air operations'.

Above: Flt Sgt. Manstoff (Courtesy of Paul Markham)

(2) Flt Sgt. Giles was reported as an evader, however, the service records of the two RCAF crew members who perished record that he was a PoW. No further information has been found.

(3) Flt Sgt. Hargreaves was captured near Caen on 13th August 1944.

Records show that he was held at the following PoW camps:

Stalag 12a Located between Limburg an der Lahn and Diez, 4km SW of Limburg;
Stalag 3a and work camps (Also Oflag 3-6) Luckenwalde (was originally interrogation centre) Brandenburg, Prussia;
Stalag Luft 7 Bankau nr. Kreuzburg O.S." (O.S. standing for Oberschlesien, Upper Silesia). Today called Bąków nr. Kluczbork (Poland).

(4) Fg Off. Dowd was sheltered near Bourneville until liberated he was liberated. He was awarded the DFC for his service with 77 Sqn. London Gazette 20th April 1945.

Burial details:

Above left: Fourmetot Churchyard and right: Corneville-sur-Risle Churchyard

Above: Plt Off. Colin Ian Jakeman (Courtesy Veteran Affairs Canada) and Grave marker (courtesy of Kate Tame)

Jakeman Lake, Manitoba is named after Plt Off. Colin Ian Jakeman

Plt Off. Colin Ian Jakeman. Fourmetot Churchyard. Inscription: 'HIS WAS THE DARING HEART; THE STEADFAST SOUL. HIS SPIRIT WILL FOR EVER LIVE'. Born on the 24th April 1923 in Roblin, Manitoba. Son of Russell William and Jessie Taylor (née Patterson) Jakeman of Roblin, Manitoba, Canada.

Above Left: Plt Off. West grave marker(courtesy of Kate Tame) and right: Nevendon War Memorial (courtesy Find a Grave)

Plt Off. Robert John West. Corneville-sur-Risle Churchyard, Joint Grave 1. Inscription: 'BLESSED ARE THEY WHO RISE IN THE LORD'. Born in the 3rd Qtr of 1917 in Aston, Warwickshire. Son of Robert William and Kathlin West of Wickford, Essex. Husband of Ivy Grace (née Graham) West.

His brother Flt Sgt. Leo West. 1256886. RAFVR. also lost his life on the 22nd July 1942 Wellington Z8420 and is buried in Bergen General Cemetery, Netherlands. Robert and Leo are remembered on the Nevendon War Memorial in St. Peter Churchyard, Nevendon, Essex, England.

Above: Plt Off. Ross J.J. McFadden (Courtesy Veteran Affairs Canada) and Grave marker (courtesy of Kate Tame)

Plt Off. Ross John James McFadden. Corneville-sur-Risle Churchyard, Joint Grave 1. Born on the 11th September 1916 in Berkeley, Ontario. Son of George and Elda May (née Howe) McFadden of Berkeley, Ontario, Canada.

Flt Sgt. McFadden was posthumously granted a commission and promoted to J88350 Plt Off with effect the 27th June 1944.

Researched by Kate Tame of Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. Updated to photographs for Plt Off Jackman, Plt Off. McFadden and Commemorative link for Plt Off Jackman (Aug 2020). Archive report updated with new information and thanks to Paul Markham for the photograph of Flt Sgt. Manstoff (Mar 2023).

Other sources listed below:

RS 13.03.2023 - Update report and addition of photograph for Flt Sgt. Alfred Manstoff

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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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