15/16.03.1944 427 (Lion) Squadron, RCAF Halifax III LW559 Fg Off. Milton
Date: 15th/16th March 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit No: 427 (Lion) Squadron, RCAF (motto: Ferte manus certas, lit. - 'Strike with a sure hand').
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Leeming, Yorkshire
Location: Oschingen, Germany
Pilot: Fg Off. John Edgar Milton J22146 RCAF PoW No: 3710 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Nav: Fg Off Robert Harold Lagerquist J20420 RCAF PoW No: 3709 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. John Martin Newman R161140 RCAF PoW No: 3834 Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang (1)
Flt Eng: Sgt. Bernard Richmond Walker 578065 RAFVR PoW No: 3195 Camp: Stalag 357 Kopernikus
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Maurice Albert Green 657944 RAFVR PoW No: 3197 Camp: Stalag 357 Kopernikus
Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Flt Sgt. Donald Keith Buckler R/176553 RCAF PoW No: 2994 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug (2)
Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Paul Walter Benson R148793 PoW No: 2992 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug (3)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Bomber Command mounted its first heavy raid of the month, sending off 617 Lancasters, 230 Halifaxes and 16 Mosquitoes to bomb Stuttgart, the raid being scheduled to take place between 23:10 and 23:30 hrs.
Halifax III LW559 took off at 18:45 hrs. While approaching the aiming point at 22,000 feet, came under sustained cannon fire from Lt. Helmut Ternieden of 6./NJG2 Its first pass destroyed one engine and damaged a rudder and both main-planes. The second attack accounted for two more engines, one being set alight. Bombs were jettisoned and at 8,000 feet the crew baled out. The majority were on their ninth sortie.
The Ju88 C.6 flown by Lt. Ternieden was hit by accurate return fire from the gunners of LW559. They crashed into the mountain of Farrenberg, killing the pilot and his radio operator, the gunner baled out with severe injuries. See Kracker Archive for further details.
Above L-R: Sgt. Bernard Walker, Sgt. Maurice Green, Sgt. Paul Benson, Fg Off. Robert Lagerquist, Flt Sgt. Donald Buckler, Fl/Sgt. John Newman and Fg Off. John Milton. With two debriefing officers to the rear. (Courtesy John Benson)
Another 427 Sqn crew were also lost:
Both these 427 Sqn aircraft were built by the English Electric Company and were delivered to the squadron at RAF Leeming on the 28th January 1944.
Halifax III LW558 ZL:A Flown by 20 year old, Fg Off. Harold Birch Steeves J25442 RCAF from Calgary, Alberta (Shown Right) , Canada was killed with 5 other crew. Fg Off. Lawrence Earl Symington J27692 RCAF was the only survivor and taken PoW (PoW No: 4027, Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang. Survived the war, passed away in 1965, age 53).
(1) John Martin Newman born on the 8th June 1921 in Canada to the late Joseph and Isabella Newman - passed away in Hot Springs Village 25th January 2011, age 89. Married to Isabel Newman for 68 years (died 2015, age 91). They are buried in Sunset Memorial Park, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
(2) Donald Keith Buckler born on the 26th January 1923 in Bear River Nova Scotia to the late Roscoe Willard (died 1977, age 80) and Olive Geraldine Buckler (née Bishop - died 1982, age 84) Buried in Mount Hope Cemetery
(3) Sgt. Benson was promoted to J88696 Plt Off. whilst a PoW. Paul Walter Benson born on the 14th January 1918 in Alberta, Canada. Passed away on the 24th November 2008, age 90. His wife of 62 years, Louise (née Hilborn - died 12th May 2009, age 91) Both buried at Mount Hope Catholic Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
None - all crew survived the war.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to 427-1944-04/4 National Archives, Theo Boiten - Nachtjagd Combat Archive 1944 part 1, Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Paradie RCAF Archives.
Other sources as quoted below: