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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
25/26.08.1944 419 (Moose) Squadron RCAF Lancaster X KB708 VR:E Fg.Off. William A. Milner

Operation: Russelsheim (Opel works)

Date: 25/26th August 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 419 (Moose) Squadron (RCAF)

Type: Lancaster X

Serial: KB708

Code: VR:E

Base: RAF Middleton St George

Location: Winterbourne, Wiltshire

Pilot: Fg.Off. William Arthur Milner J86366 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Flt.Eng: Sgt. John Leonard Brunner Trotman 1868451 RAFVR Age 37. Killed

Nav: Fg.Off. Pierre E. Gariepy J29337 RCAF Survived/injured

Air Bmr: Fg.Off. Irving Jack Kirschner J28245 RCAF Age 21. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Howard Francis Anderson R197617 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. L.J. Weston RCAF Survived/injured

Air Gnr: Sgt. Peter Wiens RCAF Survived/injured


Took off at 19:34hrs. from RAF Middleton St George. On return the crew attempted to get into Boscombe Down, but the runway was shrouded in fog and landing lights were obscured. The pilot opened the throttles to go round again, but all four engines cut through lack of fuel.

The Lancaster crashed at 04:25 hrs. into trees at Winterbourne, Wiltshire near the airfield. Of those who died, three are buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, while Sgt. Trotman was laid to rest at nearby Durrington cemetery. At 37 he was well above the average age of aircrew.

Fg.Off. Kirschner (Left from his service file); Right (Courtesy of Peter Wiens)

Sgt. Weston with the Dog and Sgt. Wiens on the right (Courtesy of Peter Wiens)

RAF Atherstone Group 1: Left to right: Sgt. Milner, Sgt. Weins, Sgt. Anderson, Fg.Off. Gariepy (Courtesy of Peter Wiens)

RAF Atherstone Group 2: Left to right: Sgt. Milner, Fg.Off. Kirschner, Sgt. Anderson, Sgt. Weins (Courtesy of Peter Wiens)

Burial details:

Fg.Off. William Arthur Milner. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave 43.G.3. Son of Albert Edward and Agnes Miligan (née Smith) Milner of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Sgt. John Leonard Brunner Trotman. Durrington Cemetery, Wiltshire. Grave 802. Eldest son of John William and Maria Elizabeth (née Brunner) Trotman.

Sgt Trotman's father lived in India, working in the family business of tea planters supply merchants, losing his first wife Annie Louise and youngest son, also called John in a typhus outbreak. (They had 3 other children, Ursula, Cuthbert and Winifred.) John Trotman senior returned to England with his remaining children and in 1904 married his second wife, Maria, a well-bred Swiss/German and devout Catholic who had been the children's nanny. They had John Leonard, Brunner, Mary Angela, Francis, Mary Magdalene, Thomas, Anna and Peter.

Sgt Trotman was educated at Radcliffe School before going out to learn the family business in India. In 1926 we returned to England to train at the Ford Motor Company as a mechanic before enlisting in the airforce in 1939. A huge cricket fan and player, which is echoed on the inscription on his gravestone."Well played John"

Fg.Off. Irving Jack Kirschner. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave 43.G.4. Born 15th November 1922 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Son of George L and Bessie Kirschner of 2915 Ontario Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Employed as an agent for a publishing company, he enlisted in July 1942 and received his commission before embarking overseas.

Flt.Sgt. Howard Francis Anderson. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave 43.G.3. Born 18th November 1923 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Son of Walter William James and Laura May (née Meisner) Anderson of Vancouver. British Columbia, Canada.

Flt.Sgt. Anderson was commissioned on the 25th August 1944 and promoted to Plt.Off. with Service No. of J92358.

Fl/Sgt. Howard Francis Anderson. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave 43.G.3. Son of Walter J. and Laura May Anderson of Vancouver. British Columbia, Canada.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Photo credits and family information to Annelise Dolley - niece of Sgt. Trotman. Thanks to Peter Wiens, the son of Sgt. Wiens for the tranche of photographs. (Sep 2020). Additional research by Aircrew Remembered (Sep 2020).

RS 28.09.2020 - Additional images added and narrative updated.

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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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