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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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458 Squadron Wellington VIII HX726 P/O. Lawrence Harry Gleason

Operation: Torpedo Bombing

Date: 13th February 1943 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 458 Squadron (motto: 'We find and destroy')

Type: Wellington VIII

Serial: HX726

Code: MD-?

Base: RAF Luqa, Malta

Location: At base

Pilot: P/O. Lawrence Harry Gleason J/17063 (R/87397) RCAF Age 25. Killed

Pilot 2: Sgt. Eric Ansell Brown 1289528 RAFVR1 Age 21. Killed

Obs: F/O. Maurice McAllister Kempton J/9516 (R/94642) RCAF Age 29. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold Ernest Stanley R/91441 RCAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O.2. Peter Edwyn Elkford Brown R/92308 RCAF Age 32. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Wendell Pierce Drew R/75285 RCAF Age 23 Injured (1)


Shortly after taking off the pilot experienced problems with one of the engines and turned back to Luqa airfield. .

During the attempted landing the pilot overshot the runway and crashed in a quarry, the aircraft caught fire. Five of the crew were killed, but amazingly Fl/Sgt. Drew survived with minor injuries. He was treated at the station sick quarters and returned to service.

(1) Later, on the 29th July he was listed as being missing - believed kllled. With 405 squadron on Lancaster III JB707. On an operation to Hamburg when shot down by a night fighter over Denmark. Further details here.

Burial details:

Crew were buried on the 17th February 1943.

P/O. Lawrence Harry Gleason. Capuccini Naval Cemetery. Prot. Sec. (Men's). Plot F. Coll. grave 104. Born pn the 26th March 1918 at Canora, Saskatchewan, Canada. Educated at Canora Public High School. Enlisted on the 24th February 1941 at Saskatchewan. Trained at No, 3 Elementary Flying Training School, No. 7 Service Flying Training School and 31 Operational Training Unit.

Son of Harry Gleason (died 10th November 1959, age 74) and Agnes Myrtle Lizell (née Pollock - died 08th February 1983, age 90) brother of Yvonne Frances and Agnes Mable (died 13th April 1978, age 66) of P.O Box 5, Canora, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Sgt. Eric Ansell Brown. Capuccini Naval Cemetery. Prot. Sec. (Men's). Plot F. Coll. grave 104. Born 1922 to Ernest Stanley and Grace Brown, of Tottenham, London., England.

F/O. Maurice McAllister Kempto. Capuccini Naval Cemetery. Prot. Sec. (Men's). Plot F. Coll. grave 104. Born on the 08th October 1914 at Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, Canada. Enlisted on the 06th March 1941 at Regina Saskatchewan Canada. Served as Lance Corporal, 3 Coy, 12th Divisional Signals at Moose Jaw 1933 to 1936 when Signals amalgamated with the KORC. His brother, 28 yrar old Eric Clifford Kempton died of injuries following a truck accident whilst avoiding a horse on the highway in Moose Jaw..

Son of Clifford Forge and Mary Kempton (née McAllister), of 632 Oxford Street, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Sgt. Harold Ernest Stanley. Capuccini Naval Cemetery. Prot. Sec. (Men's). Plot F. Coll. grave 104. Born on the 10th April 1920 in Nigeria. A restuarant caterer prior to service. Enlisted on the 30th January 1941 at Toronto,

Son of Frank Xavier Stanley and Eva May Stanley (née Young), of Sudan Interior Mission, Minna, Northern Nigeria, West Africa.

W/O.2. Peter Edwyn Elkford Brown. Capuccini Naval Cemetery. Prot. Sec. (Men's). Plot F. Coll. grave 104. Born on the 08th October 1910 at Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. Enlisted on the 20th February 1941.

Son of Peter John (died 27th September 1972, age 89) and Gladys Beatrice Baron Brown (née Hill - died 01st October 1930, age 45), of 423 Wellington Street, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.

(1) F/O. Wendell Pierce Drew. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 245. Born on the 05th October 1920. Worked on his father's farm prior to service. Educated at Radisin High School. Enlisted on the 12th November 1940. Awarded Observer wings on the 28th November 1943.

Son of Albert George (died 1966, age 83) and Achsah Anna Drew (died 1968, age 86), brother of Wayne (died 22nd October 1916, age 17 days), Alice Aileen (died 05th September, age 4 months), and Marjorie (died 23rd June 1924, age 7 days) of Radisson, Saskatchewan, Canada. Reported to be engaged with a Miss Gladys Hope. Drew Lake in Saskatchewan, Canada was named after him.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the National Archive, Kew. AIR-27-1902-14/15, Paradie RCAF Archives. WW2 records Canada Government, 458 Squadron website.

Other pages that may interest you:

Pages regarding 1943 losses

Pages detailing RCAF losses

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 16-11-2023

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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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