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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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434 squadron badge
04.08.1944 No 434 Squadron Halifax III LW436 WL-Y F/O. Lang

Operation: Bois de Cassan

Date: 4th August 1944 (Friday)

Unit: No. 434 Squadron (RCAF)

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LW436

Code: WL-Y

Base: RAF Croft, Yorkshire.

Location: Drosay, Seine-Maritime, France

Pilot: F/O. R.J. Lang J/25389 RCAF Evaded capture.

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Norman Marley 1592882 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Nav: F/O. Jack Arthur Kelly J/37186 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Raymond Glen Bruegeman J/88569 RCAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Gerald Henry Donovan R/190192 RCAF Evaded capture.

Air/Gnr: F/O. George Gordon Perkins J/28280 RCAF Age 27. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. A. Nelles Boyd R/212438 RCAF Evaded capture.


Taking off at 10.29 hrs from the northern airfield at RAF Croft, Yorkshire to attack the flying bomb site at Bois de Cassan.

Huge daylight operation with over 1,100 aircraft taking part - 601 Lancasters, 492 Halifaxes, 21 Mosquitos - carried out major raids on the Bois de Cassan, Forêt de Nieppe and Trossy St Maxim flying-bomb stores. The weather was clear and all raids were successful.

Although the pilot reported later that he thought they had been hit by anti-aircraft fire, Halifax III LW436 was shot down by Hmtm. Gustav Tham (1) flying a Me110 at 13.35 hrs. with the aircraft crashing in Drosay, Seine-Maritime, France.

Three of the crew managed to either bale out or thrown from the aircraft following the explosion of the fuel tanks, the remainder of the crew were found near where the aircraft crash site.

The crew who survived were helped by locals and returned to England in September 1944.

This Halifax III LW436 was shot down by Hmtm. Gustav Tham (1) flying a Me110 at 00:35 hrs with the aircraft crashing in Drosay, Seine-Maritime, France.

(1) Survived the war with a total of 15 kills, mostly as a night fighter.

Information courtesy Kracker Archives.

Crew graves photographed by our Kate Tame during her visit in 2012. At the time they were carrying out repairs to the Church wall and the grave of P/O. Bruegeman was under the protection of scaffolding. Any relative who would like a higher resolution copy of the graves please contact us as we would be happy to email them.

Above: original graves (courtesy John Jones)

Burial details:

Sgt. Norman Marley. Drosay Churchyard. Grave 2. Son of Norman and Bertha M. Marley, of Washington, Co. Durham, England. Grave inscription: 'God Be With You Till We Meet Again'.

F/O. Jack Arthur Kelly. Drosay Churchyard. Grave 3. Born on the 02nd June 1924 in Toronto. Son of William Joseph and Margaret Kelly (née Moran), of 225 Christie Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription: 'He Hath Loved God, And Shall Obtain Pardon For His Sins'.

P/O. Raymond Glen Bruegeman. Drosay Churchyard. Grave 1. Son of Reuben Ezra and Mary Alma Bruegeman, of Hanover, Ontario, Canada, husband of Dorothy Priscilla Bruegeman, of Hanover, Canada. Grave inscription: 'Beloved Son Of Reuben & Mary Bruegeman, Hanover, Ontario, Canada "Thy Kingdom Come".

F/O. George Gordon Perkins. Drosay Churchyard. Grave 4. Son of Harold and Edna Perkins, of St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription: 'Jesus Said, I Am The Resurrection, And The Life St.John Xi.25'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Kate Tame, John Jones, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses' Vol. 5, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'.

KTY Aircraft serial number amended following advice from Jack Brook, October 2015

KTY 21-07-2021 New information added courtesy John Jones

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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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