11.11.1944 440 (City of Ottawa) Squadron, RCAF Typhoon Ib MP124 Fg Off. Francis J. Crowley
Operation: Dive Bombing, Netherlands
Date: 11th November 1944 (Saturday)
Unit No: 440 (City of Ottawa) Squadron, RCAF, 143 Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force
Type: Typhoon Ib
Base: ALG B-78, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Location: 3¼ km (2 mls) east of Rouveen, Netherlands
Pilot: Fg Off. Francis Joseph Crowley J26914 RCAF Age 23. KiA
Above Fg Off. Crowley from his Service Record
REASON FOR LOSS
Fg Off. Crowley took off from B-78, Eindhoven at 15:20 hrs on the 1th November 1944 as one of eight Typhoons on an operational attack against German railways.
After releasing his bombs on a railway approximately 3¼ km (2 mls) east of Rouveen in the Netherlands at 16:00 hrs, his Typhoon was hit by flak and exploded in mid-air before pulling out of the dive. Fg Off. Crowley was not seen to abandon the aircraft and was classified as "Missing Believed Killed in Action".
Prior to him being KiA his flying career was eventful with a number of incidents and crashes from mechanical failure to being shot down by enemy action.
On the 15th June 1942 whilst serving with 14 (F) Sqn at RCAF Station Sea Island, in British Columbia, Sgt. Crowley R95588 was remanded to his Commanding Officer for negligent damaging (believed to be as a result of unauthorised low flying) Kittyhawk I, RCAF 978.
On the 16th October 1942 whilst serving with 111 (F) Sqn at RCAF Station Elmendorf Field in Alaska, Flt Sgt. Crowley was reprimanded for damaging Kittyhawk II AK863 whilst engaging in unauthorised low flying.
On the 23rd May 1944 Fg Off. Crowley, flying Typhoon Ib MN637 I8:Y, was hit by flak and caught fire. He baled out off Cherbourg at about 900 ft and before he jumped he called over the R/T saying “Here’s Stinky baling out”. Aircraft from the Sqn orbited him in his dinghy until the Walrus of Air Sea Rescue appeared on the scene. After considerable difficulties the Walrus successfully took off and Fg Off. Crowley was flown to land returning to his Sqn the same evening.
On the 10th September 1944 Fg Off. Crowley suffered 1st & 2nd Degree burns to face and left hand in an accident at Melsbroek, Belgium.
“I was flying Typhoon MN796 forming up for an operational sortie at approximately 2500 ft when without warning my engine failed completely. Attempted to reach drome for crash landing - impossible to set it down in a very rough field.
One wheel was down (part) broke off on impact and aircraft bounced caught fire before coming to rest. Was in more or less 'blacked out' state but managed to get free from the wreckage without assistance. Heat and flames spurred my efforts and mental reactions”.
Above the seven WW2 graves at the Staphorst (Rouveen) New General Cemetery
Fg Off. Francis Joseph Crowley. Staphorst (Rouveen) New General Cemetery Grave 1. Born on the 25th July 1921 in Toronto, Ontario. Inscription: 'A PRAYER FOR THIS GALLANT SON. HE DIED THAT PEACE AND FREEDOM MIGHT BE WON'. Son of Joseph and Lillian (née Pellow) Crowley, of Brockville, Ontario, Canada.
Researched by Ralph Snape and dedicated to this pilot and his family.
Other sources as quoted below: