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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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419 Squadron Crest
23/24.10.1944 No. 419 Squadron Lancaster I KB776 Sq/Ldr. McGuffin DFC

Operation: Essen, Germany

Date: 23rd October 1944 (Monday) see note below

Unit: No. 419 Squadron (RCAF)

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: KB776

Code: VR-F

Base: RAF Middleton-St. George, County Durham

Location: Not known - Thought to be target area.

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. William Chester McGuffin DFC. (‘Small Boy’) J/15712 RCAF Age 29. Killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Mallabone (‘Bones’) 1817408 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: F/O. Robert Molloy (‘Polecat’-also known as ‘Lofty’) J/28476 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Joseph Futoranski (‘Clueless’) J/28887 RCAF Age 21. Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Roy Cecil Schlievert (‘Ace’) J/90886 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Robert Thomas Neville (‘Teddy Bear’) J/92282 RCAF Age 33. Killed (3)

Air/Gnr: P/O. Edmund Neufeld J/92280 RCAF Age 21. Killed (4)


Not much information in our archives on this loss except that Lancaster KB776 took off from Middleton-St. George at 16:13 hrs as part of the largest air raid up to this date of the war on the City of Essen. 8 aircraft lost and all of these are thought to have been brought down by the heavy flak over the area.

A massive 1,055 aircraft took part on this bombing mission. A total of 4,538 tons of high explosive was dropped with the result that 607 buildings were destroyed, and a further 812 were damaged. On the ground 662 people were killed which included 124 foreign workers and a further 560 people were injured.

The main target for this raids had been the Krupps Steel Works and as a result of this raid and another 36 hours on was that the electrical supply network was destroyed and the pig-iron plant ceased work completely. No further production was made from this section of the Krupps works.

The crew in front of a Halifax prior to converting to Lancasters. Photo now thought to be positively identified by Susan Reynolds, niece of P/O. Edmund Neufeld: Left to right: F/O. Molloy, F/O. Futoranski, Sgt. Mallabone, Sq/Ldr. McGuffin DFC, P/O. Neville, P/O. Schlievert and P/O. Neufeld Taken August 3rd 1944 (courtesy Susan Reynolds and Peter Brown)

Sq/Ldr. William Chester McGuffin DFC. Standing in front of Lancaster KB765 VR-Q lost on 30/12/1944. (courtesy Peter Brown) The McGuffin Memorial at the renamed "McGuffin Lake" Alberta, Canada. (With thanks to: Airman's Memorial Cairns Committee, Royal Canadian Legion, McGrane Branch No 28, Lac La Biche, Alberta and also to Geographical Names Board of Canada)

Sq/Ldr. William Chester McGuffin DFC sitting in the cockpit of a Wellington (Not sure where and why - yet, courtesy Peter Brown)

Sq/Ldr. McGuffin DFC Citation reads:

”One night in August 1944, Sq/Ldr. McGuffin was detailed as captain of aircraft to attack Bremen. On approaching the target his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and severely damaged. The oxygen economiser and the hydraulic and intercommunication systems were rendered unserviceable.
In spite of this, Sq/Ldr. McGuffin pressed home his attack. His aircraft was again hit before leaving the target but he flew it safely to base. Sq/Ldr. McGuffin is a most efficient and gallant captain."

Reichswald Forest War Cemetery (CWGC)

Burial details:

Sq/Ldr. William Chester McGuffin DFC. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 14.A.6. Son of Dr. and Mrs C.F. McGuffin of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Born in London, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. John Mallabone. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Coll Grave 27.B.8-10. Son of John Thomas Mallabone and Ethel Mary Mallabone, of Bedworth, Warwickshire, England.

F/O. Robert Molloy. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 14.A.5. From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. No further details as yet, are you able to assist?

F/O. Joseph Futoranski. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Coll Grave 27.B.8-10. Nephew of Mr. and Mrs. William Rapko, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

P/O. Roy Cecil Schlievert. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Coll Grave 27.B.8-10. Son of Otto and Emma Schlievert, of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada.

P/O. Robert Thomas Neville. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Coll Grave 27.B.8-10. Husband of Mrs. P.I. Neville, of Elgin, Manitoba, Canada. No further details as yet, are you able to assist?

P/O. Edmund Neufeld. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Coll Grave 27.B.8-10. Son of Peter and Anna Wiebe Neufeld, of Rossendale, Manitoba, Canada. Youngest of 12 children.

Researched for the relatives of the crew. In particular Peter Brown - nephew of Sq/Ldr. McGuffin DFC, Susan Reynolds niece of P/O. Neufield, Emily Haldin niece of P/O. Neville.

(1) Mcguffin Lake in Manitoba is named after Sq/Ldr. McGuffin
(2) Futoranski Lake, south east of Nejanilini in Manitoba is named after F/O. Futoranski in 1974.
(3) Neville Island within Island Lake in Manitoba was renamed after P/O. Neville in 1984: Latitude 53 degrees, 47', longitude 94 degrees, 07'
(4) Neufeld Bay on McMillan Lake in Manitoba is named after P/O. Neufeld (Neufield is spelt in a number of different ways, on the rear of the photo it is spelt "Newfield” others have written Newfeld) McMillan lake is located in North Western Manitoba, adopted on February 24th 1989: Latitude 56 54’ 48” Longitude 101 45’ 20”.

note: Bomber Command War Diaries class this operation as 23/24th October 1944. The Nightfighter War diaries class this operation as 23rd October as does Bomber Command Losses Volume 5, as all aircraft returned well before midnight. No claims by night fighters listed.

Left: P/O. Robert Thomas Neville (‘Teddy Bear’) J/92282 RCAF

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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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