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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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77 Squadron Crest
22/23.05.1944 77 Squadron Halifax V LL138 KN:N WO. Geoffrey T. Haworth

Operation: Orleans

Date: 22rd/23rd May 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit No: 77 Squadron

Type: Halifax V

Serial: LL138

Code: KN:N

Base: RAF Full Sutton, Yorkshire

Location: Séris, France

Pilot: WO. Geoffrey T. Haworth 1062415 RAFVR Age? PoW (1)

Flt Eng: Sgt. Reginald Alfred Rose 1874808 RAFVR Age 19. KiA

Nav: Sgt. Charles Thiepval Hale 1457196 RAFVR Age 25. PoW (2)

Bomb Aimer: Fg Off. Alvin Marshall Beatty J25737 RCAF Age 34. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Raymond George James 1601379 RAFVR Age? KiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Flt Sgt. Robert James Peggs 415913 RAAF Age 20. KiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. John D. Taylor 1549741 RAFVR Age? PoW No: 61, Stalag Luft 7, Bankau (Bakow, Poland), near Kreuzburg (Klucsbork, Poland)

Above Sgt. Reginald Alfred Rose (Courtesy of Paul Markham)


Taking off from RAF Full Sutton in Yorkshire at 23:40 hrs to attack the rail facilities at Séris. Just ten minutes after releasing their bomb load they were attacked by a night fighter - damaging the controls and forcing the Halifax into a uncontrollable dive - 3 of the crew managed to bale out of the stricken aircraft - the remainder of the crew were killed during the initial attack.

LL138 was claimed by Oblt Jakob Schaus, his 9th Abschuss, from 4./NJG4, 5-30km South West of Orleans (ED 4/EC 9) at 3,000m at 02:35 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archives 1944 Part 3 - Theo Boiten).

128 aircraft took part in this operation, 108 Halifaxes, 12 Lancasters together with 8 Mosquitoes - most of the bombs landed on the passenger station and the railway repair workshops.

A busy night for Bomber Command with operations on Le Mans railway yards, Brunswick and Dortmund as well as various ‘Gardening’ operations, with many allied losses.

(1) The pilot was injured, suffering a fractured spine and despite the French villagers hiding him for several hours it was apparent that he needed treatment they were forced to hand him over to German troops. A crowd gathered during the transportation to Paris - keen to vent their anger on the “terror fliers” but the German guards protected them and the crowd dispersed. After a short stay at Stalag Luft Bankan, near Kreulberg, Upper Silesia was then transferred to Stalag Lamsdorf before being repatriated in a prisoner exchange in January 1945 - via Switzerland. (on the HMS Letitia 2nd February 1945).

(2) He reported that his navigator, Sgt. Charles Hale remained in the vicinity of the crashed aircraft and was captured.

The following is an extract from a report from No.1 Section (France), MREU. Service determined the fate of Flt Sgt. Hale and the rest of the crew:

Mr. Stours is an American subject and a reputed sculptor, his wife French by birth is a writer, both live in an ancient castle in the vicinity of Mer, 6 km south of Séris. They state that on the 23rd May 1944 at 4pm their daughter who did a lot of good work for the Allies, and is a nurse by vocation was discreetly informed by the Gendarmerie that a wounded airman required attention, near Séris.

She proceeded on her bicycle and found Flt Sgt. Charles Hale, lying in agony since 6 am in a lonely spot severely wounded in the leg and thigh by machine gun bullets. He had parachuted previous to the crash of the aircraft.

She gave him first aid and stayed by him till the German arrived with a stretcher. The one in charge of the party said ”Its you again, you will be shot, for interfering” and made her stand back. She pluckily replied “it's now quarter to nine, I dine at 9 pm so if you want to shoot me you had belter do it now”. Her courage was too much for the Hun, she was released. Flt Sgt. Hale was taken to hospital towards Tours.

The four dead aircrew were buried at the Séris cemetery

The following is an extract from a letter from Sqn.Ldr. Jennens, for the Senior British Officer, North Compound, Stalag Luft 3 dated the 21st August 1944 to Lady Ampthill which provides the explanation of Sgt. Hale’s death:

"On the 28th. June, 1944 [sic], whilst being transport (censored by Germans) as a Prisoner of War in a German lorry with German guards and six other Allied Officers and Men we were forced to stop due to engine trouble. While repairs were being carried out we were attacked by Allied Fighters. I regret to have to state that F/LT. John CLOUGHTON [sic], RNZAF and Sgt. Charles HALE of 18 Chissenhall Avenue, St. Helens, Lancs, were killed in the attack. The transport returned to Tours and the two bodies were handed over to a Red Cross Field Hospital on the way. I later identified the two bodies at the General Hospital in Tours. I presume them to have been buried in the Cemetery attached to the Hospital.”

F/LT. John CLOUGHTON was in fact Sqn Ldr. John Greville Clouston 40218, RNZAF from 165 Sqn. He was shot down on D-Day whilst flying Spitfire LF.IXB MK589, SK:G.

Pilot Sqn Ldr. Lionel William Vaughan Jennens, 28224 PoW No. 1427 from 7 Sqn. Stirling I W7436, MG:D shot down by Bf 109s. on the 18th December 1941.

Lady Margaret Ampthill was the Chairman of the “Wounded and Missing and Relatives Department of the British Red Cross Society.

Burial details:

Sgt. Reginald Alfred Rose. Séris Communal Cemetery. Military Plot. Grave 1. Inscription: "O MEMORIES: O PAST THAT IS". Son of Alfred Henry and Lily Emily Rose, of Ardleigh, Essex, England.

Sgt. Charles Thiepval Hale. Nantes Communal Cemetery (Pont-Du-Cens) Plot L. Row D. Grave 19. Son of Charles and Hannah Hale (née Jones) of 15 Greenfield Road, St. Helens, Merseyside, England.

Fg Off. Alvin Marshall Beatty. Séris Communal Cemetery. Military Plot. Grave 4. Born on the 9th December 1910 in Tisdale, Saskatchewan. The son of William Marshall and Clara Isabella (née Thomson) Beatty. Husband of Winnifred Katie (née Reid) of Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada. Born in Manitou, Manitoba, Canada.

Sgt. Raymond George James. Séris Communal Cemetery. Military Plot. Grave 3. Inscription: ‘I SHALL ALWAYS REMEMBER HIM SMILING’. Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. J. James, of Southampton, England.

Flt Sgt. Robert James Peggs. Séris Communal Cemetery. Military Plot. Grave 2. Inscription: NOT JUST TO-DAY BUT EVERY DAY IN SILENCE WE REMEMBER YOU. OUR SON "JIM". Born on the 21st February 1924 in Pingelly, West Australia. The son of Robert William and Pathania Alice Peggs, of Kalamunda, Western Australia. Prior to service worked as a store man.

Page placed for Shelley Campbell - relative of Flt Sgt. Robert James, by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster). Also to Bill Barry of the Saskatchewan virtual War Memorial for detailed information on Fg Off. Beatty. (May 2016). Thanks to John Jones for the night-fighter claim and details of Sgt. Hale's capture and death (Nov 2020). Other updates Aircrew Remembered (Nov 2020). Many thanks to Paul Markham for the photograph of Sgt. Rose (Aug 2023).

Other sources listed below:

RS 09.08.2023 - Addition of Sgt. Rose photograph

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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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