Date: 05/06th March 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 425 Squadron
Type: Halifax III
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
REASON FOR LOSS:
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
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.
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:
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
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:
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.
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.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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