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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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432 Squadron Crest
14/15.01.1944 No. 432 Squadron Lancaster II DS740 QO-Z P/O. Donald A. Rae

Operation: Braunschweig (Brunswick)

Date: 14/15th January 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 432 Squadron (RCAF)

Type: Lancaster B.II

Serial: DS740

Code: QO-Z

Base: RAF East Moor, Yorkshire.

Location: Lagershauasen, Germany

Pilot: P/O. Donald Arthur Rae J/17895 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Kenneth Edgar Evans 1605227 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Nav: F/O. Geoffrey Vernon Holmes 129368 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr/Nav: P/O. David Thomas Lyng J/19590 RCAF Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Edward Frederick Howe 1380267 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Francis Tarr 1068226 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

Air/Gnr: W/O.2. Williard Henry Hoppus R/105886 RCAF Age 26. Killed


Leaving RAF East Moor, Yorkshire at 17:02 hrs. Each aircraft from 432 Squadron loaded with a 4,000 lb. ‘Cookie’ 2 x 1,000 lb GP. bombs and 10 x containers of incendiary bombs. Part of a force of 498 aircraft targeting the aircraft component and other armament manufacturing facilities in and around the city of Brunswick (Braunschweig). 

Some of the crew of Lancaster DS740 (see credits)

Flying almost due east, the bomber stream crossed the North Sea and entered enemy held territory over North Holland. The Germans thought that Berlin was the intended target. Turning south east toward Brunswick, in the region of Bremen. Most of the combats took place after the bombing run had been completed and they were on the homeward trip. The bombers were met by many German night fighters infiltrating the stream. Although 10 were shot down before the target had been reached. The returning crews reported at least 50 combats on the bombers by night fighters.

In all, 38 aircraft were lost during the raid which turned out to be very unsuccessful in terms of damage to the target and the loss of so many aircrews. 

Also lost from 432 Squadron on this operation Lancaster II DS850 QO-M. Flown by Fl/Lt. C.V. Wales RCAF PoW - 2 crew killed, 6 PoW.

Right: Sgt Evans and W/O.2. Hoppus (see credits)

No details of claims for DS740, indeed 25 of all the losses were confirmed as that by action from the night fighters, but no details available which aircraft such was the ferocity of the action.

Being an important industrial area the target was heavily defended by flak installations and Luftwaffe night fighters. Although weather played an important part in the failure of the operation, with low cloud, full moon and icing on the bombers.Reports state that only 10 houses were destroyed, with 14 fatalities on the ground. The majority of the bombs dropped in open countryside.

Braunschweig (Brunswick) in 1944 (Bundesarchive)

Bomber Command lost 41 Lancaster and a Mosquito on this operation, either due to fighters, flak or crashing on return. 233 aircrew were killed, 43 taken PoW, 1 evaded capture with one being injured.

Sgt. Charles Francis Tarr shown here during training (front row, 4th from left - see credits) 

A letter sent to one of the crew’s fiancé later from the padre at Lagershauasen explained that the aircraft was attacked by a night fighter and caught fire. It took over three years for the relatives to find out what happened to Sgt. Holmes initially classed as ‘missing’.

Earlier in the war on the 19th July 1943, the then Sgt. Rae was piloting a Wellington X HF494 on an air test  when, through low flying the aircraft struck a tree. The pilot was forced to crash land the aircraft, at 11:15 hrs. at Close House Farm near Oulston, Yorkshire, writing it off. Possible that some of the same crew were flying with him that day.

Burial details:

Crew originally buried at Lagershauasen, reinterred after the war at Hanover.

Left, the mother of Sgt. Charles Tarr at his grave marker

P/O. Donald Arthur Rae. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 1.F.3-4. Son of William and Elsie Rae, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Born on 29th September 1922. Enlisted in RCAF in July 1941. Prior to this was a student.

Sgt. Kenneth Edgar Evans. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 1.F.3-4. Son of Edgar Edward Evans, and of Lilian Maud Evans (née Enness), brother of Dennis, of Romford, Essex, England. Born on the 14th August 1924.

F/O. Geoffrey Vernon Holmes. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 1.F.3-4. Son of Charles and Dora Marguerite Holmes, of Sale, Cheshire, England. Joined RAF in 1941, prior to this he had worked for the Yorkshire Insurance Company.

P/O. David Thomas Lyng. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 1.F.3-4. Of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Son of Edward and Annie Lyng (neé MacKenzie) Husband to Phyllis Cogswell - no children. Brother of Walter, Ted and John, Helena Giroux (neé Lyng), Jean Courtemanche (neé Lyng).

Fl/Sgt. Edward Frederick Howe. Hanover War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 1.F.3-4. Son of Percy James Howe and Florence Mary Howe, of Gidea Park, Romford, Essex, England.

Sgt. Charles Francis Tarr. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 1.F.1. Son of Alfred and Harriet Evelyn Tarr, of Gorton, Manchester, England. Husband of Doris Tarr. Kenneth Evans was very close to the family of Charles Tarr of the crew and after the crew were lost, Kenneth's mother stayed with the Tarr family at 57 Bury Street, Gorton, Manchester, England, where they comforted each other.

W/O.2. Williard Henry Hoppus. Hanover War Cemetery. Grave 1.F.2. Son of Clarence Leroy Hoppus and Lottie Amanda Hoppus, of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. Born on the 1st August 1918.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to David Courtemanche (Photograph of P/O. David Thomas Lyng and additional information), Linda Ibrom, Peter Lindley (cousin of Kenneth Evans, Sharron Cassels (Photograph of Sgt. Charles Francis Tarr), Frank and the family of Charles Tarr, George Cogswell of Trafford War Dead for information. Other sources as quoted below.

KTY 13.11.2015 Additional details placed courtesy David Courtemanche.

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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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