03/04.05.1944 No. 625 Squadron Lancaster III LM515 CF-W P/O. Neil McArthur McGaw
Date: 03/04th May 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: 625 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Kelstern, Lincolnshire
Location: Trouan-le-Petit, France
Pilot: P/O. Neil McArthur McGaw 173338 (1380678 as SNCO) RAFVR Age 27 Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Kenneth Garner 1627183 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Frederick Charles Clarke 1463568 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Daniel Moriarty J/26211 RCAF Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Reginald John Tailby 1332880 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Richard Walter Andrews 1853736 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Charles White AUS/419560 RAAF Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Kelstern in Lincolnshire at 21:58 hrs to attack the German military bases (Panzer divisions) at Mailly-le-Camp along with 346 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes.
The operation was a success as far as the bombing was concerned with 114 barrack buildings destroyed, 47 transport sheds and some ammunition buildings in the camp destroyed, 192 vehicles, 37 tanks were also hit. 218 German soldiers were killed and a further 156 injured.
1,500 tons of bombs were dropped. But, due to the delays in signalling the main force to come in and bomb, the Luftwaffe night fighters were waiting for them. 43 were lost this night - 177 aircrew killed, 18 being taken PoW, 31 evading capture.
Right: Battle Under the Moon. Published by Crecy Publishing 1995 ISBN 978-0859791090. A great tool for relatives researching the operation on Mailly-Le-Camp.
The Squadron suffered three losses during this operation:
Lancaster I ME697 CF-A Flown by Sq/Ldr. R.W.H. Gray 134113 RAFVR who was taken PoW, 5 other crew killed, 1 evading capture. Sq/Ldr Gray managed to evade capture until the 9th May - later awarded the DFC.
Lancaster III LM317 CF-U Flown by P/O. Charles David Angelo Short 175260 RAFVR killed with all other 6 crew members.
No details on how the aircraft was lost, but it is known that they were shot down within minutes after completing its bombing run. No night fighter claims have been placed to this loss.
Sgt. Richard Walter Andrews shown front row, 2nd from left, front row - during training at 116 Air Gunners course.
Also buried within the same churchyard are 6 of the crew of Lancaster LM437 VN-P of 50 Squadron (1 evaded capture) - lost during the same operation. The graves formerly identified in July 1946.
P/O. Neil McArthur McGaw. Trouan-le-Petit Churchyard. Collective grave 3. Born in 1917. Son to Malcolm John and Ellen (née McArthur) McGaw of Campbeltown, Argyll, Scotland. He was a Police Constable with Kent County Constabulary pre-war serving on C Division.
Sgt. Kenneth Garner. Trouan-le-Petit Churchyard. Grave 8. Son of Leslie and Edith Garner, of Northampton, England.
Sgt. Frederick Charles Clarke. Trouan-le-Petit Churchyard. Grave 4. Son of James and Jessie Mary Ann Clarke, of Hackthorn, Lincolnshire, England.
F/O. Daniel Moriarty. Trouan-le-Petit Churchyard. Collective grave 3. Born on the 20th December 1923 the son of Michael and Margaret (née Burke) Moriarty, both Irish citizens. He was born in Dowlais, Wales, where his father was employed as a steelworks labourer. By 1929, the family was living in Boston where Michael drove a truck. Prior to enlisting, Daniel was employed as a bellhop at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC, USA.
Sgt. Reginald John Tailby. Trouan-le-Petit Churchyard. Grave 4. Son of Victor and Fanny Ada Tailby, of Eastbourne, Sussex, England, husband of Moira Trilby.
Sgt. Richard Walter Andrews. Trouan-le-Petit Churchyard. Grave 7. Further information: Son of Ernest Preston Andrews 1881-1954 from Leicester and Annie Elizabeth Jones 1893-1959 from Gloucester, England. His Mother's parents were Licensee's of the Bell Inn Barton Street, Gloucester, most of his Aunts and Uncles were in the pub trade. He had six siblings, Freddy, Bunny, Nancy, Joan, Betty and Robert. The main part of his childhood he was brought up in 11 Albert Street Gloucester. On the 28th December 1943 he got married to Joan Doreen M. Croose, by the 4th of May 1944 he was dead. His son, Tony, whom he never met was born on the 30th August 1944. Every year his family would put a article in the Gloucester Citizen newspaper in his memory.
Fl/Sgt. Thomas Charles White. Trouan-le-Petit Churchyard. Grave 5. Born 23rd November 1923 the son of Charles Thomas White and Anastasia Alice White, of 7 Kelson Street, Coburg, Victoria, Australia.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of the crew. Thanks also for details/photos on Sgt. Richard Walter Andrews to Laura Bale, relative. Also to David Champion for further details on Daniel Moriarty. For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below. Also to the Lincolnshire roll of honour for photo of Sgt. Clarke. Thanks to Derek Jones from the Police Remembrance Trust for the details of P/O. McGaw's police service.