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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. 51 Squadron
22.10.1943 No. 51 Squadron Halifax II JN920 LK-L Fl/Sgt. Hall

Mission: Kassel, Germany

Date: 22nd October 1943 (Friday)

Unit: No. 51 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: JN920

Code: LK-L

Base: RAF Snaith, Yorkshire

Location: Retie, South East of Turnhout, Belgium

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Clowes Edwin Hall. R/73485. RCAF Age 25. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Melville Sidney Williams. 1654794. RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Nav: Sgt. George Herbert Bennett. 1474654. RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Edward Parker. 1318622. RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Stephen Sitch. 1444720. RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Campbell Cowie. 1822254. RAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Vardare Lewis. 1337949.RAFVR Age 25. Killed


Took of from RAF Snaith at 17:55 hrs for a bombing raid on Kassel. The aircraft may have been hit by flak or shot down by a night fighter and crashed at 20.01hrs near Retie. Halifax JN920 was part of a large force of some 569 aircraft to take part in this raid and much damage was caused to city and surrounding areas. 43 aircraft were lost from this mission

In 1999 a memorial and service of dedication took place in Belgium to honour these brave young men (Wings Museum)

Sgt. John Campbell Cowie. Halifax MkII aircraft

Trolleys with 500lb bombs are towed towards the awaiting Halifax aircraft of No. 51 Squadron, RAF Snaith. Kassel after the bombing raid on the 22nd October 1943.

Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerpen, Belgium

Fl/Sgt. Hall is remembered on the Fredericton War Memorial. Sgt. Cowie is remembered on the Lossiemouth War Memorial

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Clowes Edwin Hall. Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerpen, Belgium. Grave Ref. IVa. B. 2. Son of Harold E. and Gladys M. Hall of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. Clowes arrived in the U.K. from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada on November 8th 1941. Fl/Sgt. Hall is remembered on the Frederiction War Memorial

Sgt. Melville Sidney Williams. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 170. Son of Sidney and Edith Maud Williams. Husband of Eva Anne Williams of Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales.

Sgt. George Herbert Bennett. Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerpen, Belgium. Grave Ref. IVa. B. 4. Son of George Herbert and Hannah Bennett of Waterloo, Liverpool. At the time of his death George's address was 29 Middleton Road, Waterloo, Liverpool, England.

Sgt. Edward Parker. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 161. Son of Edward and Catherine Parker of Bethnal Green, London, England.

Sgt. Ronald Stephen Sitch. Retie Communal Cemetery, Antwerpen, Belgium. Grave Ref. South-East Corner. Son of Stephen Henry and Nellie Clara Sitch of Mountnessing, Essex, England.

Sgt. John Campbell Cowie. Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerpen, Belgium. Grave Ref. IVa. B. 5. Son of William and Jane Cowie of Lossiemouth, Morayshire. Husband of Jeannie Cowie of Lossiemouth. Born in 1923 John had worked as a fisherman and had lived at 36 Great Western Road, Buckie and is remembered on the Lossiemouth War Memorial, Scotland.

Sgt. Thomas Vardare Lewis. Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerpen, Belgium. Grave Ref. IVa. B. 3. Son of William and Sara Ann Lewis. Husband of Emma Lewis of Ilfracombe, Devon, England.

Researched by: Kate Tame for Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew.

KTY Updated 16.11.2019

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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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