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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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427 Squadron Halifax III LV836 F/O. Ross K. Laut

Operation: Stuttgart

Date: 20/21st February 1944 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 427 Squadron (motto: Ferte Manus Certas - Striking sure'). 6 Group

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LV836

Code: ZL-Y

Base: RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire

Location: Near Yafforth, North Yorkshire

Pilot: F/O. Ross K. Laut J/22723 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Edward John Rowe 1271023 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: F/O. William Norman Hegy J/20660 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Roy William Moody J/87165 RCAF Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Henry Jones 1420376 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Albert Charles Harris 545284 RAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alfred Frederick Fitton 2209093 RAFVR Age 19. Killed


Weather conditions: Around the Leeming area was poor with drizzle and low cloud present on what was reported as being a very dark night. Weather over the target was cloud covered.

Bomb load consisted of 720x4lb. 90x4lb. 24x30lb. incendiary bombs.

Fourteen aircraft from the squadron were detailed on this operation to Stuttgart making a total force of some 598 aircraft.

LV836 took off at 00:15 hrs and detailed to gain height and make circuits until all the squadron's aircraft were airborne. Just 5 minutes later at approximately 00:20 hrs the Halifax came down near Yafforth in a cultivated field, killing all the crew instantly in the impact and consequent blaze. The aircraft wreckage was scattered over a large area.

The area now occupied by the Romanby Golf and Country Club. The subsequent court of enquiry failed to discover any reason for the accident.

Above L-R: F/O. Ross Laut, F/O. William Hegy, P/O. Roy Moody, Sgt. Edward Rowe, Sgt. George Jones, Sgt. Alfred Fitton and Sgt. Frank Harris.

Stuttgart was cloud covered and bombing scattered but the local report states that much damage was caused to the centre of the city and in the north east and north west suburbs. The Bosch dynamo, pump and magneto factory was the most strategic hit. With 125 killed on the ground and 510 injured.

Burial details:

Apart from the pilot who was on his fourth operational sorties the crew were on their second.

F/O. Ross K. Laut. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall). Sec. F. Row A. Grave 19. Born on the 26th July 1921. Enlisted on the 24th August 1940. Commissioned on the 22nd January 1943. Son of Frank and Nina Laut, of Crossfield, Alberta, Canada. Epitaph: 'Rest In Peace'.

Sgt. Edward John Rowe. East Grinstead Cemetery (Mount Noddy). Sec. 1. Grave 453. Son of Alfred James Rowe and Margaret Rowe, of East Grinstead. Epitaph: 'He Made The Great Sacrifice With Others Of His Crew On An Air Operation. Giving All That We May Live'.

F/O. William Norman Hegy. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall). Sec. F. Row A. Grave 17. Born on the 18th April 1920 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Enlisted on the 29th May 1940. Commissioned on the 06th November 1942. Son of Edward Clarence Hegy and Elizabeth M. Hegy, of Airdrie, Alberta, Canada. Epitaph: 'There Is A Link Death Cannot Sever Love And Remembrance Last For Ever'.

P/O. Roy William Moody. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall). Sec. F. Row A. Grave 18. Born on the 24th February 1923 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Enlisted on the 25th May 1942. Son of Cecil William and Daisy Moody, of 627 Hibern Road, Point St. Charles, Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada. Epitaph: 'Hearts That Love You Will Never Forget In Memory You Are With Us Yet. Family'.

Sgt. George Henry Jones. Newport Cemetery (St. Woolos) . CON. A. 80. Grave 132. No further details - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Frank Albert Charles Harris. West Kingston Churchyard, (St. Mary). West of Church. Son of Frank and Ida Harris, of West Kington. Epitaph: 'Enjoy The Peace Thy Valour Won'.

Sgt. Alfred Frederick Fitton. Over Churchyard. Grave 268. Son of Alfred and Blanch E. Fitton. of Winsford. Epitaph: 'This Was A Sad Day Of Remembrance Of A Dear One Gone To Rest'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to National Archives Kew, Air-27-1846-3/4, International Bomber Command Centre IBCC, National Archives Australia NAA.

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 25-03-2023

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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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