Operation: Montzen, Belgium
Date: 27/28 April 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 419 RCAF Squadron (Moose)
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Middleton St. George, North Yorkshire
Location: Heer - Maastricht, Netherlands
Pilot: P/O Roderick Austin McIvor J/85471 RCAF Age 24. Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Stanley James Rigden R/109302 RCAF Age 23. Killed (2)
Nav: WO2 John Donald Bremner R/157928 RCAF Age 20. Killed
Air/Bmr: P/O Stanley Herbert Goulding J/88393 RCAF Age 21. Killed (3)
W/Op/AG: WO1 William Thomas Claridge R/119519 RCAF Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O Kenneth David Tucker J/89456 RCAF Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O Edmund Ronald Dujay J/88394 RCAF Age 20. Killed
(1) McIvor Lake in the District of Kenora, northern Ontario is named after P/O McIvor.
(2) Rigden Lake in Saskatchewan is named after Sgt. Rigden.
(3) Goulding Lake in northern Ontario is named after P/O Goulding.
REASON FOR LOSS
In preparation for the D-Day landings in early June, Bomber Command was tasked with disrupting the German supply routes. Part of this initiative was to destroy all rail facilities which could be used to transport troops, war material and fuel to the Normandy area of France and Belgium.
P/O McIvor and crew took off from Middleton St. George at 23:26 hours as part of a force consisting of 120 Halifaxes, 16 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitoes bound for the rail yards at Montzen.
Diversionary operations over the North Sea were also mounted in an effort to confuse the Nachtjagd controllers which had the effect of delaying the interception of the bomber stream by the nightfighters until the bombing force had reached their target.
The controllers released the night fighters in a tactic known as “Zahme Sau” where twin engine fighters would infiltrait the bomber stream flying amongst the bombers and shooting down as many as possible.
As a consequence of the diversionary tactic the Nachtjagd fighters were late in arriving in the Montzen area such that the majority of bombers lost were part of the second wave. By coincidence, to the bomber streams peril, several Nachjagd aces had arrived at St.Trond the previous day and were in turn scrambled to intercept the bombers as they flew past on the return leg chasing them out over the North Sea.
In all 15 allied aircraft were lost from the 144 aircraft that comprised the Montzen raid. P/O McIvor and the crew of JN954 would be one of the early casualties. At 01:33 hours at a height of 3700 metres they were attacked and brought down by the Messerschmitt Bf110 G-4 of ace Oblt. Hans-Heinz Augenstein from 12./NJG1. The Halifax crashed at Heer, 4 kms E.S.E. of Maastricht in the Netherlands.
P/O Roderick Austin McIvor:
Educated at Souix Lookout Continuation School, McIvor worked as a miner in the gold mines of northern Ontario before enlisting in Winnipeg on 30 December 1941.
From No.2 Manning Depot, Winnipeg, he was posted to No.2 Initial Training School, Regina, Saskatchewan on 26 April 1942 and from there to No.2 Elementary Flying Training School, Fort William, (now Thunder Bay) Ontario on the 2 August 1942 training on DH Tiger Moths.
From there he was posted to No.10 Service Flying Training School, Dauphin, Manitoba on 29 September 1942. It was here that pilots had their first experience at flying multi engine aircraft training on Cessna Crane’s. Upon graduating with his pilots badge on 22 January 1943, he arrived at No.1 “Y” Depot, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 6 February 1943 to await embarkation to the UK.
Arriving from New York on 18 March, he was stationed at No.3 PRC Bournemouth until 25 May when he was posted to No.11 Pilot Advanced Flying Unit at Shawbury, Shropshire for further training on Airspeed Oxford aircraft. Next, McIvor was posted to No.24 Operational Training Unit at Honeybourne, Wocestershire on 7 October to begin training on a heavy bomber, the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley. Here, during a training flight, he was commended by his instructor for showing great presence of mind when he experienced engine failure on takeoff. From there he was posted to No.1659 Heavy Conversion Unit for training on the Handley Page Halifax heavy bomber in preparation for joining No.419 Squadron on 13 December 1943. Receiving his commission on 23 March 1944, P/O McIvor had completed 21 operational trips when he was lost.
Sgt. Stanley James Rigden:
Stanley came to Canada from Scotland with his parents as an infant in 1921. After completing his Education at the Goldeye one room school, he took up farm work until he enrolled in an Air Frame Mechanics course at Calgary, Alberta in December 1940. Enlisting for RCAF ground crew duties in July 1941, he was posted to No.1 Manning Depot, Toronto and from there to No.1 Technical Training School at St.Thomas, Ontario on 1 August 1941. Posted to “Y” Depot, Halifax in January 1942, he arrived at No.3 PRC Bournemouth in the UK on the 21st of that month where he was assigned to RCAF 410 Squadron at RAF Drem, East Lothian, Scotland on 1 February 1942. Attached to 3072 Service Echelon at Drem and Catterick training on Beaufighters until 16 June 1943 attaining the classification of Fitter 2 A. Remustering for aircrew he transferred to No.4 Technical Training School at St. Athan, Wales to train as a Flight Engineer on Halifax bombers. On completion of the course he was awarded his Flight Engineers badge on 4 October 1943 with the rank of Sergeant. Stanley was then posted to 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit at Topcliffe, Yorkshire to gain actual flying experience completing 43 hours flown in daylight over 9 cross country trips and 25 hours flown at night on 4 cross countries. He was then posted to 419 Squadron on 13 December 1943. During his time in the UK he met and married Miss Elisabeth Wordley on 25 February 1944, spending 7 days leave together. Sadly, almost 8 weeks later to the day, Stanley would lose his life over the Netherlands.
WO2 John Donald Bremner:
John Bremner enlisted in Vancouver on 30 March 1942. An eager recruit who had tried to enlist in the RCAF before the age of 18 enrolled in a course of Chemical Engineering at the University of British Columbia and joined the Canadian Officers Training Corps as an army cadet in 1941. He was finally accepted by the RCAF in March, 1942 and sent to No.3 Manning Depot at Edmonton, Alberta for basic training. Although he had specified aircrew as either pilot or observer on his application, the medical staff recommended that in their view he was most suitable for further training as an Observer. From the Manning Depot, John spent the next 6 weeks at No.4 Service Flying Training School, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan joining No.7 Initial Training School also at Saskatoon, on 5 July 1942 spending 10 weeks there until 12 September. From there he was posted to No.2 Air Observers School at Edmonton where he gained his Air Navigators badge on 30 December 1942. After the customary 2 weeks pre embarkation leave, Bremner arrived at “Y” Depot, Halifax on 15 January 1943 and embarked for the UK on 26 January arriving at No.3 PRC, Bournemouth on 5 February 1943. After attending courses attached to No.3 PRC, he was posted to No.3 Observers Advanced Flying Unit at Halfpenny Green, Staffordshire on 8 June 1943, prior to being sent to No.24 Operational Training Unit at Honeybourne from 25 July to 7 October 1943. From there he was posted to 61 Base headquartered at Topcliffe when he was then posted to 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit for training on Halifax heavy bombers on 20 October until he joined 419 Squadron on 14 December 1943.
P/O Stanley Herbert Goulding:
After leaving Blind River Continuation School in northern Ontario, Stanley came south looking for work which he found working odd jobs as a carrier and farm hand. After a period of unemployment he enrolled in the RCAF Pre-entry Aircrew Education Course at the Ontario Teachers College in Hamilton. Upon completing the course with a pass mark he enlisted in Hamilton on 14 March 1942. Stationed at No.1 Manning Depot, Toronto until 8 May when he was posted, as being a potential pilot, to No.1 Service Flying Training School at Camp Borden, Ontario until 16 August 1942. Unfortunately, he failed the course on navigation and was redirected to No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School at Fingal, Ontario to train as an air bomber on 22 November 1942. Goulding was then posted to No.4 Air Observers School, London to complete his training gaining his Air Bombers badge on 2 April 1943. Posted to “Y” Depot, Halifax, he embarked for the UK on 26 May arriving at No.3 PRC, Bournemouth on 5 June. He then completed a four week course at No.3 Observers Advanced Flying Unit at Halfpenny Green for bomb aimers from 16 June to 12 July before being posted to No.24 Operational Training Unit for training on Whitley bombers. From 24 OTU he was posted to 61 Base on 7 October and then to 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit on 20 October where he trained on Halifax aircraft until joining 419 Squadron on 13 December 1943. During the time that he was with 419 Squadron he completed 21 sorties against the enemy.
WO1 William Thomas Claridge:
Born in Ashington, England, William immigrated to Canada with his parents in 1929. After completing high school at Sinclair, Manitoba he held various odd jobs before enlisting in Winnipeg on 18 July 1941 for training as a Wireless Operator. Following short stays at No.2 Manning Depot at Brandon and No. 10 Repair Depot, Calgary, He was posted to No.2 Wireless School at Calgary from 15 September 1941 to 23 May 1942 when he was awarded his Wireless Operators badge. Claridge was next posted to No.5 Bombing and Gunnery School, Defoe, Saskatchewan completing his gunnery course there on 26 June 1942 qualifying him as a Wireless Operator Air Gunner. He was then posted to No.3 Air Observers School initially at Regina and also at Pearce, Alberta when it moved there that September until 6 April 1943 when he was posted to “Y” Depot awaiting transport to the UK. Embarking on the 16 May he arrived at No.3 PRC, Bournemouth on 24 May 1943. Posted to No.4 Observers Advanced Flying Unit at RAF West Freugh, Scotland for a months refresher course on 15 June until 13 July 1943 prior to being posted to No.24 Operational Training Unit until 7 October that year. William next trained at 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit to familiarize himself with the Halifax bomber from 20 Octber to 14 December 1943 when he joined 419 Squadron.
P/O Kenneth David Tucker.
After graduating from East Amherst School in 1940, Kenneth took a job as a clerk at Robbs Engineering Works Ltd., until he enlisted at Moncton on 31 August 1942. Upon completion of basic training at No.5 Manning Depot, Lachine, Quebec he was posted to No.16 Service Flying Training School at Hagersvile, Ontario on 7 November 1942 until 21 February 1943. In order to bring his educational standing up to the requirement for RCAF aircrew as an air gunner, Kenneth was sent to No.23 Pre-Aircrew Education Detachment at the University of Toronto which he completed on 2 April 1943. From there he was posted to No.2 Air Gunners Ground Training School at Trenton, Ontario until 15 May 1943 completing his Canadian training on 9 July 1943 at No.3 Bombing and Gunnery School at MacDonald, Manitoba. Taken on strength of “Y” Depot he embarked for the UK on 16 July arriving at No.3 PRC on 23 July following which he was posted to No.24 Operational Training Unit on 10 August. After two months there he was posted to 61 Base awaiting his posting to No.1659 Heavy Conversion Unit on 20 October until he joined 419 Squadron on 13 December 1943. Kenneth David Tucker was participating in his 19th sortie when lost.
P/O Edmund Ronald Dujay:
Edmund was born in the coal mining community of Joggins Mines, Nova Scotia. Schooled in Joggins and completing his Grade 10 he found work as a clerk for Messrs Landry & Comeau prior to enlisting in the RCAF in Moncton on 14 October 1942. After completing his basic training at No.5 Manning Depot at Lachine, Quebec he was posted to No.8 Service Flying Training School at Moncton on 27 November 1942. On 4 April 1943 he was posted to No.1 Air Gunners Ground Training School at Quebec City until the 16 of May when he was posted to No.9 Bombing and Gunnery School, Mount Joli, Quebec graduating with his Air Gunners badge on 26 June 1943. On 10 July, he was posted to “Y” Depot Halifax and embarked for the UK on 16 July arriving at No.3 PRC on the 23 July 1943. Soon after, on the 3 August, he was posted to No.24 Operational Training Unit until 7 October when he was posted to 61 Base and then to 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit on 20 October 1943. He joined 419 Squadron on 13 December 1943 and flew 20 operations before he was lost.
Oblt. Hans Heinz Augenstein:
Oblt. Augenstein was a German night fighter ace who is credited with shooting down 46 allied aircraft before he and his Radio Operator Gunther Steins were killed when they were shot down over Münster-Handorf by a Mosquito night fighter flown by Sq/Ldr. Edward Hedgecoe, DFC+Bar and his Navigator F/O. Norman Bamford, DFC+Bar. His Air Gunner Uzz. Kurt Schmidt baled out unhurt.
P/O Roderick Austin McIvor. Maastricht General Cemetery, Row 1 Grave 87. Son of James Austin and Gertrude Letitia (nee Faulkner) McIvor of Sioux Lookout, Ontario, husband of Jean G. McIvor of Sherridon, Manitoba, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "He Died That We Might Live In Peace".
Sgt. Stanley James Rigden. Maastricht General Cemetery, Row 1 Grave 85A. Son of Harry and Annie Rigden of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. Husband of Elizabeth Frances (nee Wordley) Rigden of Debenham, Suffolk. Grave inscription reads: "To Stan. Love And Proud Remembrance By Family And Friends "God Bless You".
WO2 John Donald Bremner. Maastricht General Cemetery, Row 1 Grave 86A. Son of John William and Clara Rundle Bremner of Bralorne, British Columbia, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Splendid You Passed... Into The Light That Nevermore Shall Fade".
P/O Stanley Herbert Goulding. Maastricht General Cemetery, Row 2 Grave 119. Son of Thomas Herbert and Mary Annie (nee Bivand) Goulding, of Blind River, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "They Rest In Peace. "Thy Will Be Done".
WO1 William Thomas Claridge Maastricht General Cemetery, Row 1 Grave 88 Son of Joseph and Hannah Bell (nee Gray) Claridge, of Ashington, Northumberland. Grave inscription reads: "I Will Be With Thee: I Will Not Fail Thee, Nor Forsake Thee".
P/O Kenneth David Tucker. Maastricht General Cemetery, Row 1 Grave 94. Son of Arthur F. and Jennie M. Tucker, of Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Shall Remember You".
P/O Edmund Ronald Dujay. Maastricht General Cemetery, Row 2 Grave 120. Son of John and Leanna Dujay, of Joggins, Nova Scotia, Canada Grave inscription reads: "Here Lies Our Loved One, May He Rest In Peace. Always Remembered By Family".
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher and RCAF specialist Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew.
With thanks to Mariusz Łożyński for correction of service number W/O1. Claridge - November 2019.