01.09.1942 405 (Vancouver) Sqn RCAF Halifax II BB216 LQ:D Flt.Sgt. Mackenzie.
Operation: Saarbrucken, Germany
Date: 1st September 1942 (Tuesday)
Unit: 405 (Vancouver) Squadron RCAF
Type: Handley Page Halifax II
Base: RAF Topcliffe, Yorkshire.
Location: Near Chapel St.Leonards, Lincolnshire
Pilot: Flt.Sgt. Norman Angus MacKenzie R86313 RCAF Age 27. Killed (1)
Flt.Eng: Sgt. James Alexander RAFVR Injured
Nav: Plt.Off. Edgar Bohun Mason J7777 RCAF Age 28. Injured (2)
Air Bmr: Sgt. Joseph Anthony Kaucharik C85909 RCAF 23. Injured
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Clarence Gordon Eagles R83536 RCAF Age 21. Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Harold Stone 1267726 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (3)
Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Louis Donald Dawdy R90329 RCAF Age 26. Missing (4)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Topcliffe in Yorkshire at 23:03 hrs. Just after crossing the coast at 23:44 hrs, the port outer engine caught fire and although the blaze was quelled, structural failure of the port wing followed and the order to bale out was given. At least two of the airman fell into the sea and drowned, while the Halifax crashed at 23:58 hrs at Chapel St. Leonards, 5 miles NNW of of Skegness, Lincolnshire.
ome of the crew: L-R- Fg.Off. Joseph Anthony Kaucharik, Sgt. Harold Stone, Flt.Sgt. Norman Angus MacKenzie, Flt.Sgt. Louis Donald Dawdy, Plt.Off. Edgar Bohun Mason, Sgt. Clarence Gordon Eagles and Sgt. James R. Alexander. (with thanks to Lynn (nee Mason) Tarzwell, Lincolnshire County Council Coastal Country Park, Henry Kaucharik)
THE MEMORIAL CEREMONY:
On the 4th September 2004 a memorial was unveiled in the village of Mumby. Relatives travelled from Ontario for the impressive and poignant ceremony. Many dignitaries attended including Major Marvin Mungeone of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Group Captain John Ford, Squadron Leader John Wright. The service was conducted by the Rev. Daffyd Robinson in the blazing sunshine in the corner of a cornfield.
A Mr. David Hill (the main organizer of the event) thanked all who attended and recalled the events told by his mother who was 36 at the time of the crash:
"On the night of the 1st September 1942, we lived at Field Farm, Langham. Between 11 pm and 12 pm we had retired to bed and there was such a roar of noise and our bedroom was lit up as a plane roared by, very low and on fire.
Not many minutes after there was such a roar and a crash and rattling of milk churns and a heavy thud and we all thought that our end had come!
There was a trail of fire in the fields as we looked out, we knew then that a plane had crashed. My husband went out and a plane wing was in a field - about 25 yards from our back door. A big blaze of fire about half a mile away was where the rest of the plane had hit the ground.
After a short time the airman who had landed in a field of peas (cut and in rows) thinking that he was landing in the sea, came over to our door. He had hurt himself on landing. He was very concerned about his three pals still in the plane. He was the last to survive - Gordon Eagles was found in our field of Swedes - his parachute had caught fire and so he was killed by the fall.
We found pieces of metal on our front lawn. Also my husband walked to the spot that night, where Gordon was killed and found his gold watch. The works had come out of the gold case but I carefully put them together and wound it up and the watch ticked away. On the back of this watch was his name and it was a 21st birthday present from his mum and dad. I took the watch to the police station and also wrote to Topcliffe and asked for Gordon's home address. I would have liked to have written to his parents but this was not allowed.
About 7am a medical officer, driven by a WAAF came and they picked up Plt.Off. Mason from Moybray's of Anderby and he had some of Mr. Mowbray's clothes and a dressing gown. We were able to give these people a good breakfast. In the afternoon, at about 5 pm an ambulance collected the body of Gordon Eagles."
Above and below photographs courtesy of Mr. Paul Pepper, Honorary Poppy Appeal Organiser for Thirsk and District.
In the St Columba's Church, Topcliffe village Yorkshire a small wooden plaque beneath the south western most window of the nave in memory of Sgt. Harold Stone and his fellow crew. Only the name of Sgt. Stone is mentioned by name implying that it was his family that provided the plaque. On top of this plaque sits a small wooden mouse indicating that it was carved by the renowned local craftsman "Mousey Thompson".
The plaque reads:
"This window and the north west window have been renewed in memory of Sgt. Harold Stone, rear gunner and fellow members of his crew killed in action 2 Sept 1942" (3)
(1) MacKenzie Peninsula on Shannon Lake, Manitoba is named after Flt.Sgt. MacKenzie.
The Wing Commander wrote to the parents of the pilot:
"The body of Norman was found at the controls of the aircraft. It is quite obvious that he was fighting to the last to bring the aircraft down safely. It is one of the most superb actions of heroism of which I know. To die like this, doing his duty to the very last, is given to but few of us and yet it is the hope of all of us here that, if we have to go, we will go in the same manner as your boy.
Your son had been on five operations and had 25:50 operational hours to his credit. Norman was an outstanding lad in his squadron. I can say this honestly and sincerely and he is greatly missed by us all.Norman was buried with military honours in a Yorkshire cemetery beside two of his comrades who lost their lives in the same operation.
I am fortunate in having a photograph of Norman and his crew taken earlier in the day on which they took off. I am enclosing it herewith, It can be seen what a good looking bunch of lads were this crew. You can understand how deeply they are missed by this squadron. One of his companions was a Jewish lad of good family and his relatives requested that he should be buried with his comrades, although this entailed burial on Saturday, which is contrary to Jewish religious beliefs. We were all sincerely affected by their generous gesture. It is typical of the outlook of people in this country generally".
The letter concluded with the sincere sympathy of the officers and members of the Squadron.
(2) Aircrew Remembered have been contacted by Lynn (Mason) Tarzwell, daughter of Plt.Off. Edgar Mason. Edgar was also a member of a crew of Halifax LK913 NA-N which crashed following being hit by incendiaries dropped by a Stirling over Montlucon, France on the 16th September 1943. Sadly Edgar died in 2002.
(3) The late sister of Sgt. Stone, a Mrs. B.A. Rackow, is understood to have organised this. She also has requested that the Poppy Appeal organisation of Thirsk and District lay a wreath at his grave every Remembrance day. Mr. Paul Pepper takes charge of this as well as many others at Dishforth Cemetery where 57 aircrew of the RCAF are buried as well as 20 of the RAF and 1 from the RAAF. We were contacted by a friend of the family, Mr Kenneth Topp who recognised Sgt. Stone in the photo. The mother of Harold Stone had two sisters, Gladys who was a talented artist and Gwenda Villiers who was an actress. The wedding dress and slippers of his mother will be on exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in May 2014.
(4) Flt.Sgt. Louis Dawdy - Happy to report that we have recently been contacted by Naomi Bell who identified her Great Uncle Louis, "Mickey" to the family for reasons unknown, from a similar photograph in the families possession.
Memorial at the crash site and graves of Flt.Sgt. MacKenzie, Sgt. Eagles and of Sgt. Stone. (courtesy Paul Pepper)
Flt.Sgt. Norman Angus MacKenzie. Dishforth Cemetery Grave 19. Born on the 17th January 1915, the son of John and Mary MacKenzie (nee Matheson), of 704 Arlington Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Formerly from Flesherin, Portnaguran. Grave inscription reads: "Ever Remembered By His Mother And Father And Sisters Katherine, Katie Bell And Alexandria".
Sgt. Clarence Gordon Eagles. Dishforth Cemetery Grave 18. Born on the 03rd August 1921, the son of William and Annie E. Eagles, of Southampton, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads; "In Loving Memory Of A Dear Son And Brother Ever Remembered By His Mother".
Sgt. Harold Stone. Dishforth Cemetery Grave 17. Son of Bertie Heyer Stone and Phyllis Stone. Grave inscription reads: "He Lies Content With That High Hour In Which He Lived And Died, He Wants No Recompense".
Flt.Sgt. Louis Donald Dawdy Runnymede Memorial. Panel 103. Born on the 31st May 1916, the son of Louis Joseph and Ruby Pearl Dawdy, of Kingsville, Ontario, Canada.
Researched by Colin Bamford with additional information from the webmaster. This page of remembrance dedicated to Lynn (Mason) Tarzwell, daughter of Plt.Off. Edgar B. Mason and all relatives of the crew. With thanks to Mr. Paul Pepper Honorary Poppy Appeal Organiser for Thirsk and District. Review and minor updates by Aircrew Remembered (Dec 2020).