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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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425 Squadron Crest
05/06.03.1945 No 425 Squadron Halifax III MZ454 KW-S F/O. Arthur R. Lowe

Operation: Chemnitz

Date: 05/06th March 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 425 Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: MZ454

Code: KW-S

Base: RAF Tholthorpe, Yorkshire

Location: Little Ouseburn, Yorkshire

Pilot: F/O. Arthur Robert Lowe J/29556 RCAF Age 23 - Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. James Laurids Lynch R/201189 RCAF Age 20 - Killed

Nav: F/O. Earl Stuart Brabbins J40690 RCAF Age 23 - Survived - abandoned aircraft

Air/Bmr: F/O. J.F. Brownell J40341 RCAF - Survived - abandoned aircraft

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Kenneth J.S. McCuaig R204103 RCAF - Survived - abandoned aircraft

Air/Gnr: F/O. Paul John Hall J/43949 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. John William Hyde J/95349 RCAF Age 35. Killed


Taking off from RAF Tholthorpe in Yorkshire at 16:40 hrs for an operation to Chemnitz.

The bomber force consisted of some 498 Lancasters, 256 Halifaxes with 6 Mosquitoes on operation Thunderclap - (the bombing of the eastern-most cities of Germany to disrupt the transport infrastructure behind what was becoming the Eastern front. Also to demonstrate to the German population, in even more devastating fashion, that the air defences of Germany were now of little substance and that the Nazi regime had failed them)

The operation started badly with no less than 9 aircraft crashing at their various bases due to icing up of the aircraft. Halifax MZ454 was one of these, crashing at 17:02 hrs with the exploding bombs damaging the church at Little Ouseburn, some of the crew managed to bale out of the aircraft at low level.

MZ454 at Tholthorpe November 1944

For further details see here.

Above: L-R rear: F/O. Lowe, F/O. Brabbins, F/O. Brownell, Sgt. Lynch. Front: Sgt. Hyde, F/O. Hall, Fl/Sgt. McCuaig.

On the 50th anniversary of the crash a memorial window was placed in the church at Little Ouseburn, Yorkshire in 1995.

Burial details:

F/O Arthur Robert Lowe: Age 23. Adopted by John Wright Brown and Kathleen Taylor Massy Brown (Aunt) on July 16 1942. Lived with them for more than a decade in New Jersey but remained a Canadian citizen. Completed two years at Yale and planned to complete a law degree after the war. Birth father was a F/Lt in the RCAF.

He was initially buried with his crew, but since war end the family elected to have his remains returned to Red Bank in New Jersey, USA.

F/O. Arthur Robert Lowe. Red Bank Fairview Cemetery. Plot J.J. Lot 2446. Grave 3. Son of Arthur Robert Acton and Charlotte Mary Lowe, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

CWGC: Graves Registration Report Form Note: Mrs. Brown, mother of a/n casualty, has placed on the grave a granite marker inscribed as follows; “A. Robert Lowe, Flying Officer R.C.A.F. 1921-1945 Killed in action overseas”

Sgt James Laurids Lynch: Age 20. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall) - Sec. G. Row H. Grave 16. Son of James T. Lynch and Anna L. Lynch, of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

His epitaph reads:

Eternal rest

Grant unto him, O Lord

F/O. Paul John Hall: Age 20. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall) - Sec. G. Row H. Grave 10. Son of John J. Hall and Catherine A. Hall, of St. George’s, Newfoundland, Canada.

His epitaph reads

Eternal rest

Grant to him, O Lord

And let perpetual light

Shine upon him. Amen

P/O John William Hyde: Age 35. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall). Sec. G. Row H. Grave 9. Son of John Henry and Ethel May Hyde and husband of Gertrude Elizabeth Hyde, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.A Lumber Inspector. Two sons- Alan DOB Oct. 17 1935 and Robert DOB Nov. 26 1936.

His epitaph reads:

Ever remembered

By his loving wife and sons Alan and Robert


F/O. Earl Stuart Brabbins was born on 10 August 1921 at Edmonton Alberta Canada the son of Charles Percival and Emily Jane Brabbins nee Chilton. He survived the war and died at Edmonton on 11 September 2013 aged 92.

F/O. J.F. Brownell of Windsor, Ontario, Canada - nothing further known. If you can assist please contact our helpdesk

Fl/Sgt. Kenneth J.S. McCuaig was born in 1921 at Kirkland Lake Ontario Canada. He graduated at RCAF Jarvis, 99 Air Bombers and Course, 75 WAGS Jan 17-Apl 10 1944. He survided the war and died in 2004 aged about 82. He was buried at Pinecrest Cemetery Ottowa, Ontario - Section 4 Urn.

Supplement: Co-Authors:

John Naylor

Maureen Hicks

Pete Pearson

Reg Price DFC, 625 Squadron vet

Submission by John Proctor, Jack Albrecht and Nic Lewis.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources shown below.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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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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