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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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76 Squadron crest
76 Squadron Halifax II BB282 MP:R Flt Sgt Clifford Arthur Milan

Operation: Essen

Date: 5/6th March 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 76 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: BB282

Code: MP-R

Base: RAF Linton-On-Ouse, Yorkshire

Location: 10 km west of Harlingen, Waddenzee, Holland

Pilot: Flt Sgt. Clifford Arthur 'Tip' Milan R92878 RCAF Age 28. Missing

Flt Eng: Sgt. Owen Joseph Trainor 1094818 RAFVR Age 20. Missing

Nav: Fg Off. Charles George Hitt 49032 RAF Age 30. Missing

Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Ernest John 'Jack' Fry R79103 RCAF Age 25. Missing

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Haydn Winston Edwards 1286321 RAFVR Age 31. Missing

Air Gnr (MU): Sgt. Horace Clarence Cope 1321550 RAFVR Age 22. Missing

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Russell Benson Van Buren R109924 RCAF Age 33. Missing

Update November 2022 - Would Stanley Hitt and George Clark please contact us - your email details no longer work.


Halifax BB282 took off from RAF Linton-On-Ouse, Yorkshire at 18:53 hrs. on an operation to to attack the Krupps works (1) in Essen. 442 aircraft took part (157 Lancasters, 131 Wellingtons. 94 Halifaxes, 52 Stirlings, 8 Mosquitoes). However, 56 aircraft had to return because of technical difficulties. During the raid a total of 14 aircraft were lost.

Above L-R: Flt Sgt. Clifford Milan, Fg Off. Charles Hitt, Flt Sgt. Ernest Fry.

Above L to R: Sgt. Horace Cope, Sgt Van Buren whilst under training, (Credit: Susie Van Buren Osher)

Above: Some of the BB282 crew L to R: Flt Sgt. Milan, Sgt. Van Buren, Sgt. Edwards, Fg Off. Hitt, Flt Sgt. Fry (Credit: Susie Van Buren Osher)

The damage reported showed 160 acres of destruction with 53 buildings within the Krupps works hit. A local report states that 3,018 houses were destroyed and a further 2,166 seriously damaged. Reports of deaths on the ground range between 457 and 482 killed, 10 of these fireman. Aircrew losses amounted to 75 killed, 18 made PoW 3 more injured and 1 crew member evaded capture.

BB282 was the only aircraft from 76 Squadron to have been lost. It was intercepted over Waddenzee, Holland 10 Kms west of Harlingen, on return from the target and shot down at 4.200 mtrs. Time of attack is placed at 22.20 hrs. The Luftwaffe ace Maj. Helmut Lent (2) has this aircraft confirmed as his 61st victory.

The Air Warden, stationed on the roof of the town hall in Harlingen, reported the following on the night of the 5th March:

22.05 Engine noise E-W (East - West)
22.10 Same as before
22.13 Same as before
22.15 A flash of light
22.20 Engine noise E-W and flashes of light in the direction of Vlieland
22.30 Engine noise in the North.

With thanks to Mike deBeaudrap who has carried out extensive research on this loss.

Above: before and after photographs of the Krupps Works (courtesy Life magazine)

(1) The Krupps factory was headed by Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach (1870–1950), who assumed the surname of Krupp when he married the Krupp heiress, Bertha Krupp. After Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, the Krupp works became the centre for German rearmament. In 1943, by a special order from Hitler, the company reverted to a sole-proprietorship, with Gustav and Bertha's eldest son Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach (1907–67) as proprietor. After Germany's defeat, Gustav was senile and incapable of standing trial, and the Nuremberg Military Tribunal convicted Alfried as a war criminal in the Krupp Trial for "plunder" and for his company's use of slave labor. It sentenced him to 12 years in prison and ordered him to sell 75% of his holdings. In 1951, as the Cold War developed and no buyer came forward, the authorities released him, and in 1953 he resumed control of the firm.

Left: Luftwaffe ace Maj. Helmut Lent (archives)

(2) Oberst (Posthumos) Helmut Lent went on to claim a total of 102 night fighter victories and a further 8 victories. On the 7th October 1944 he died after suffering injuries sustained during a crash landing on the 5th October 1944 during a crash landing in his Ju 88 G-6 at Paderborn Airfield following engine failure and subsequent collision with a high tension cable. His crew were rescued - injured from the crash. Walter Kubisch (radio operator) and Hermann Klöss (2nd radio operator) died the same day, Werner Kark (War correspondent and Air/Gnr) died the next morning.

Burial details:

None - all are still classed as missing - commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Above: Runnymede Memorial panels (archives)

WO2 Clifford Arthur 'Tip' Milan. Runnymede Memorial Panel 180. Born 31st January 1915, Ghost Pine Creek, Kneehill, Alberta. Son to William Arthur and Laura Lora (née McGhee) Milan from Alberta, Canada.

Sgt. Owen Joseph Trainor. Runnymede Memorial Panel 167. Son of John Peter and Sarah Annie Trainor, of Huyton, Lancashire, England.

Fg.Off. Charles George Hitt. Runnymede Memorial Panel 125. Son of Charles Edwin and Emily Hitt, of West Kensington, London, England.

Plt.Off. Ernest John 'Jack' Fry. Runnymede Memorial Panel 175. Born 12th June 1918, Quebec, Canada. Son of Ernest John and Ella (née Bulmer) Fry; husband of Shirley Fry, of Chicoutimi, Province of Quebec, Canada.

Flt Sgt. Fry was posthumously commissioned and promoted to Plt Off. with a Service No. J16944, on the 26th April 1943 with effect 9th February 1943.

Sgt. Haydn Winston Edwards. Runnymede Memorial Panel 148. Son of Samuel and Letitia Edwards; husband of Edith Annie Edwards, of Eastcote, Middlesex, England.

Sgt. Horace Clarence Cope. Runnymede Memorial Panel 146. Son of George Edward and Florence Cope; husband of Irene May Cope, of West Alvington, Devon, England.

Above: WO2. Van Buren: (Credit Patricia Brady Redfearn)

WO2 Russell Benson Van Buren. Runnymede Memorial Panel 180. Born 29th September 1910, Troy, Rensselaer, New York. Son of Charles Bradley and Lena M. (née Wilson) Van Buren, of North Troy, New York State, USA, husband of Dorothy Helen (née Eddy) Van Buren.

Sgt. Van Buren was posthumously promoted to WO2 with effect 16th February 1943.

Researched for Stanley Hitt brother of Fg Off. Charles George Hitt, Mike deBeaudrap and for all the relatives of the crew. Updates by Aircrew Remembered (Jun 2020). Thanks to Mike deBeaudrap for pointing out the error in crew positions (Apr 2021). Thanks to Mike deBeaudrap for the new crew images provided by Susie Van Buren Osher, the granddaughter of WO2 Van Buren,(Apr 2021).

RS 22.04.2021 - Addition of new crew images

KTY 16.11.2022 - Appeal placed

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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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