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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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408 (Goose) Squadron RCAF
15/16.03.1944 408 (Goose) Squadron RCAF Lancaster II LL718 Fg Off. Alexander C. Colville

Operation: Stuttgart, Germany

Date: 15th/16th March 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit No: 408 (Goose) Squadron, RCAF, 6 Group

Type: Lancaster II

Serial: LL718

Code: EQ:E

Base: RAF Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire

Location: Lost without trace

Pilot: Fg Off. Alexander Colborne ‘Alex’ Colville J21864 RCAF Age 28. MiA (1)

Flt Eng: Sgt. Michael Yorke Zisslin Kalms 1600536 RAFVR Age 19. MiA

Nav: Fg Off. William Van Fossen 'Bill’ Reid J24232 RCAF Age 20. MiA

Bomb Aimer: Fg Off. Moody Albert Siddons J27697 RCAF Age 30. MiA

WOp/Air Gnr: WO1. Arthur Coles Kitchener ‘Art’ Hodson R103899 RCAF Age 27. MiA

Air Gnr (MU): Sgt. Francis Ernest Albert Smith 1801964 RAFVR Age 29. MiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Dennis Vivian Davies 1652786 RAFVR Age 21. MiA

Above Fg Off. Alexander Colborne ‘Alex’ Colville and Fg Off. William Van Fossen 'Bill’ Reid from their Service Records

Above Fg Off. Moody Albert Siddons and WO1. Arthur Coles Kitchener ‘Art’ Hodson from their Service Records


LL718 took off from RAF Linton-on-Ouse at 19:03 hrs on the 15th March 1944 to join a force of bombers on a mission to bomb Stuttgart in Germany.

The aircraft failed to return to base at the expected time of 03:00 hrs on the morning of the 16th March. Nothing was heard from any member of the crew since the time of take off.

No reason for the aircraft’s loss has been recorded and to this day the crew remain Missing in Action and are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.

43 British bomber (29 Lancaster and 14 Halifax) losses are recorded in various reference documents and rationalised German claims recorded a total of 40 Abschüsse. Night fighters claimed 25 Lancasters and 11 Halifaxes, and two unidentified 4-Motor. Flak claimed a Lancaster and a Halifax. LL718 is not amongst the identified Lancaster claims but may have been one of the 2 two unidentified 4-Motor or one of the 3 differences between total British bomber losses vs the total claimed by German forces.

(1) Fg Off. Alexander Colborne ‘Alex’ Colville was the second of three sons of Annie Colville to have been killed in the service of Canada and the Commonwealth. Other families tragically lost three sons during the war but uniquely all three Colville son’s were pilots:

Flt Sgt. William Freeborne 'Bill’ Colville was killed, along with two crew members and five passengers, when their Hudson Mk.I crashed on take-off at RCAF Station Torbay in Newfoundland on the 6th May 1942;

Fg Off. John Spencer ‘Sandy’ Colville was KiA when his Typhoon Ib was shot down by flak over France on the 18th August 1944.

Burial details:

Above The Runnymede Memorial

Fg Off. Alexander Colborne ‘Alex’ Colville. Runnymede Memorial Panel 245. Born on the 19th September 1915 in Bowmanville, Ontario. Son of Alexander and Annie Josephine (née Colborne) Colville of Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Michael Yorke Zisslin Kalms. Runnymede Memorial Panel 232. Born in July 1924 in West Ham, Essex. Son of Jack and Debora Alice (née Zisslin) Kalms, of Edgware, Middlesex, England.

Fg Off. William Van Fossen 'Bill’ Reid. Runnymede Memorial Panel 248. Born on the 21st November 1923 in Luseland, Saskatchewan. Son of William John and Nina Estelle (deceased) (née Van Fossen) Reid of Unity, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Fg Off. Moody Albert Siddons. Runnymede Memorial Panel 248. Born on the 4th January 1914 in Cascade, British Columbia. Son of Frank Arthur and Pearl Emily (née Wheatcroft) Siddons, of Langford, British Columbia. Separated from Marie Elizabeth (née Dillabaugh) Siddons of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Moody A. Siddons was a Police Officer in the British Columbia Provincial Police Service from 1935 until 1941 and purchased his discharge to enlist in the RCAF.

He enlisted on the 23rd July 1941 and served in the RCAF Police before being accepted for aircrew training on the 17th February 1942. He was awarded his Air Observer Badge on the 25th June 1943

Plt Off. Arthur Coles Kitchener ‘Art’ Hodson. Runnymede Memorial Panel 250. Born on the 21st September 1916 in Didsbury, Alberta. Son of William Mayo (deceased) and of Florence (née Ashworth) Hodson, of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.

Posthumously commissioned and promoted to J86273 Plt Off. with effect 14th March 1944

Sgt. Francis Ernest Albert Smith. Runnymede Memorial Panel 238. Born on the 17th May 1914 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Son of Sydney William Noel Pierrepont and Constance (deceased) (née Kennedy) of Beeston, Nottingham, England.

Sgt. Dennis Vivian Davies. Runnymede Memorial Panel 228. Son of David John and Anne Jane Davies, of Rhondda, Glamorgan, Wales.

Researched by Ralph Snape for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew.

Other sources listed below:

RS 06.05.2023 - Initial upload

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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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