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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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440 (City of Ottawa) Squadron
07.06.1944 440 (City of Ottawa) Squadron, RCAF Typhoon Ib MN307 Flt Lt. Wilfred J. Mahagan

Operation: Ramrod, France

Date: 7th June 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit No: 440 (City of Ottawa) Squadron, RCAF, 143 Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force

Type: Typhoon Ib

Serial: MN307

Code: I8:?

Base: RAF Hurn, Dorset, England

Location: Villers-Bocage in France

Pilot: Flt Lt. Wilfred Joseph Mahagan J11280 RCAF Age 21. KiA

Above Flt Lt. Wilfred Joseph Mahagan from his Service Record


On the 7th June 1944 Flt Lt. Mahagan took off from RAF Hurn at 19:30 hrs to join a force of eight Typhoons on a Ramrod south of Caen in France.

Ramrod: Short range bomber attacks to destroy ground targets.

At approximately 08:10 hrs Flt Lt. Mahagan’s Typhoon was seen to receive a direct hit from flak, go down in flames and explode near the ground. He was not seen to bale out and was classified as “Missing believed Killed in Action”.

Two other Typhoons from the Sqn were also lost on this mission:

Fg Off. Ronald William Doidge J26406, RCAF - Typhoon Ib MN257 I8:D - Evaded;

Flt Lt. Stanley Vincent Garside J5058, RCAF - Typhoon Ib MN548 I8:F - KiA.

A Missing Research & Enquiry Unit (MREU) conducted a sweep of the canton of Villers-Bocage in France and was informed of two crashes adjacent fields near Noyers-Bocage. One of the crashes was identified as the wreckage of Typhoon Ib MN307.

The second crash was that of 442 Sqn Spitfire LF.IX NH325, whose pilot Flt Lt. Thomas Hubert Oscar Hallihan J8904 RCAF was KiA on the 11th July 1944.

An eyewitness to the crash saw the pilot jump from the aircraft but he was too low for his parachute to open. This eye witness also informed the investigating officer that members of the SS who were in the area immediately arrive at the scene and shot the pilot in the head. The witness was adamant that the airman was still alive but badly injured. The SS then looted the body and amongst the items taken was a gold ring bearing the initial “M” and his identity disks.

The SS refused to allow the pilot’s body to be buried but the next day the mayor of Villers-Bocage obtained permission from the commander of a local German unit to bury him by claiming that the body had to be buried as it had laid in the field for a number of months.

Flt Lt. Mahagan was placed in an oak coffin and laid to rest in the Noyers-Bocage communal cemetery, where he remains to this day, with a catholic priest administering the last rites.

Burial details:

Above: Grave marker for Flt Lt. Mahagen (Courtesy of BBremness – FindAGrave)

Flt Lt. Wilfred Joseph Mahagan. Noyers-Bocage Old Churchyard in SE part. Inscription: ‘GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN’. Born on the 19th January 1923 in Toronto. Son of William Joseph and Eileen Joyce (née Currier) Mahagan, of Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada.

One of only two CWGC graves in this Churchyard

Researched by Ralph Snape and dedicated to this pilot and his family.

Other sources as quoted below:

RS 23.05.2023 - Initial upload

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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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