01.07.1944 10 Squadron Halifax III MZ584 Fg Off. Raymond A. Rosen
Operation: St. Martin I'Hortier, France
Date: 1st July 1944 (Saturday)
Unit: 10 Squadron
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Melbourne, Yorkshire, England
Location: La Montagne, 6 km east of Neufchâtel-en-Bray, France
Pilot: Fg Off. Raymond Arnold Rosen 149350 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
Flt Eng: Sgt. Daniel Daley 1890562 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Nav: Flt Sgt. Henry Charles Williamson-Rattray 646518 RAF Age 35. Killed
Bomb Aimer: Fg Off. Jack Cyril Lelliott 151978 RAFVR Age 35. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Gordon Seymour Lind 1520883 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Stanley Fordham 1866501 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Andrew Williamson McKinnon DFM 1558104 RAFVR Age 21. Evader (1)
REASON FOR LOSS:
On the morning of the 1st July 1944, 307 Halifax bombers of 4 Group and 6 Group together with 15 Mosquitos and 6 Lancasters from Pathfinder Sqns were tasked with attacking two V1 flying bomb launching sites and a stores site. (Source - Bomber Command, National Archives)
Seventeen aircraft from 10 Sqn took off from RAF Melbourne at 15:14 hrs tasked with bombing the V1 flying bomb site at St. Martin l’Hortier. Sixteen aircraft bombed the primary target. Although a good deal of cloud was experienced most crews were able to visually identify the target. A good concentration of bombing was observed. No enemy fighters were encountered but the aircraft captained by Fg Off. Rosen was seen to be hit by flak and go down near the target in a controlled glide, some of the crew were observed to bail out of the aircraft. (Source - 10 Sqn Diary July 1944).
After action reports indicated that all the targets were completely or almost completely cloud-covered and bombing was carried out using Oboe+ and no results could be seen. One Halifax of 4 Group was lost from the raid on the St. Martin l'Hortier site. (Source - Bomber command, National Archives).
Sqn Ldr. (Ret’d) J N Hullah DFC, writing in the 10 Sqn newsletter, December 1994.
“The bombing procedure was that as we approached the target area and an Oboe1 equipped Mosquito would appear in front of the Group and mark the aiming point with Wanganui2 to supplement the H2S3 or Gee4 release point worked out by the Boffins (Scientists). Each of the 120 odd Halifaxes carried some 8000lbs of bombs, a total tonnage of 450 tons, enough to saturate the V1 launching site. Even if complete penetration was not achieved, disruption around the site would seriously affect the re-supply position. This, coupled with the Typhoon and Tempest fighter bombers, shooting up every kind of transport, meant that the site would be effectively non-operational.
Take off for 10 Squadron was to be followed by a short cross-country, to join up with the rest of the raid, then return in 15 minutes and set course over Melbourne, 10 Squadron’s base. The Channel was crossed, followed by the French coast where the ground became obscured by stratocumulus. It was clear and sunny at our height, now 12000ft. Just past Abbeville the Mossie (Mosquito) appeared, right on cue, and the whole force had just closed up for the final run in when there was one hell of a ‘crump’ ‘crump’ ‘crump’ from bursts of predicted ack-ack. ZA-B’s nose pointed to the heavens then miraculously, in seconds, we were straight and level again. It was obvious however that my numbers 2 and 3 in the formation were in serious trouble. Engines stopped or stopping and smoke pouring from holes in the fuselage. Number 2§ just heeled over into a steep dive through the cloud cover, we saw no chutes. Number 3, Fg.Off. Rosen who had done his second ‘dickie’ trip with me in April, raised his hand as if in farewell as he lost speed and height trailing an ominous cloud of greasy smoke. His rear gunner bailed out just before the aircraft entered cloud and just before it blew up.”
§ The Sqn Operational Record Book (ORB) for this day only reports the loss of ZA:V. LW554 ZA:W was reported to have slight flak damage but safely returned to base.
1 Oboe was a British aerial blind bombing system used by the RAF and was based on radio transponder technology. Oboe operators sent radio signals to the aircraft to bring them onto their target and properly time the release of their bombs.
2 Bomber Command employed three main targeting methods which were code named; Newhaven, Paramatta and Wanganui:
Newhaven - A method of ground-marking with Target Indicators (TI). Paramatta - A method of blind ground-marking using H2S radar target identification, marked by red or yellow and green TIs. Wanganui - A blind bombing sky-marking method with parachute flares above and into cloud. When the target was identified by Oboe, usually Mosquitos, the codeword employed would be prefixed with the code word Musical.
3 H2S was the first airborne, ground scanning radar system that identified targets on the ground for night and all-weather bombing.
4 Gee was a radio navigation system used by the RAF and provided accuracy in the order of a few hundred feet at ranges up to 350 miles.
Above: Wreckage of MZ584: Caption on the page with the photograph (Credit Ray Rosen):
"Un de nos avions n’est par rentré"
Débris d’un Halifax tombé à Nesle-Hodeng le 1.7.44
6 morts - 1 rescapé
One of our planes didn’t come back
Halifax debris crashed in Nesle-Hodeng on 1.7.44
6 deaths - 1 survivor
MZ584 was reported to have crashed at La Montagne*, some 6 km east of Neufchâtel-en-Bray at about 17:18 hrs.
* The images of the wreckage bears a caption which states that the location was at Nesle-Hodeng which is just over 1½ km SW of La Montagne
A letter written by the Director of Personal Services dated the 14th December 1944, to the father of Fg Off. Rosen provided a statement by Sgt. McKinnon that described the circumstance of the loss of MZ548.
(1) In his statement of his evasion Sgt. McKinnon recorded that he was a member of a crew of a Halifax aircraft which took off from RAF Melbourne at about 14:20 hrs on the 1st July 1944.
After parachuting from the crashing aircraft he landed in open country near Neufchâtel-en-Bray which is about 1½ miles ESE of St. Martin l'Hortier at about 1600 hrs. Two Frenchmen, who were members of the local Résistance, had seen him bale out and where waiting for him when he landed in a field. One of the men took him to his home where he was given food and civilian clothes and then sent to stay with another man who provided him with shelter at his home in Nesle-Hodeng which is about 5 miles SE of St. Martin l'Hortier. He was injured whilst bailing out but when fit enough he joined the local Résistance and helped them to place charges on railway lines and other German lines of communication. He was liberated by Allied troops on the 1st September 1944 and returned to the UK on 4th September 1944. He was sent to RAF Wroughton Hospital and was discharged on the 4th October 1944.
Sgt. McKinnon was awarded the DFM on the 27th March 1945 (London Gazette dated 23rd March 1945, Supplement No. 37001).
Above: Original wooden crosses (Credit: Ray Rosen)
Above: Final grave markers (Credit: Ray Rosen)
Fg Off. Raymond Arnold Rosen. Poix-De-Picardie Churchyard, Row A. Grave 10. Inscription: “I LOST A SON WITH A HEART OF GOLD, HIS LOSS TO ME CAN NEVER BE TOLD”. Born in 2nd quarter of 1918. Son to Boris Barnett and Kitty (née Kaufman) Rosen of Pancras, London, England.
Above: Fg Off Raymond Arnold Rosen (Credit: Ray Rosen)
Sgt. Daniel Daley. Poix-De-Picardie Churchyard, Row A. Coll. Grave 7-9. Inscription: “WE THINK OF YOU AND HOW YOU DIED, UNABLE TO SAY GOOD-BYE, BEFORE YOU CLOSED YOUR EYES”. Born in 1922. Son to Daniel Michael and Anne Daley, of Hornchurch, Essex, England.
Flt Sgt. Henry Charles Williamson-Rattray. Poix-De-Picardie Churchyard, Row A. Coll. Grave 7-9. Born in 1st quarter of 1909. Son of Henry Augustus Frederick and Therese Marie Lucy (née Besche) Williamson-Rattray of Lewisham, London, England.
Fg Off. Jack Cyril Lelliott. Poix-De-Picardie Churchyard, Row A. Coll. Grave 7-9. Inscription: “TO THE MEMORY OF JACK, MY GAY AND GALLANT HUSBAND. SO DEARLY LOVED”. Born 28th March 1909. Son to Ernest and Mary (née Morley) Lelliott, husband to Emily K (née Reed) Lelliott, of Harrow, Middlesex, England.
Sgt. Gordon Seymour Lind. Poix-De-Picardie Churchyard, Row A. Grave 6. Inscription: “INTO THE MOSAIC OF VICTORY WE LAID A PRICELESS PIECE - OUR DEARLY LOVED SON”. Born in 1923. Son to Charles Seymour and Emily Elizabeth Lind, of Great Horton, Bradford, Yorkshire, England.
Sgt. Arthur Stanley Fordham. Poix-De-Picardie Churchyard, Row A. Coll. Grave 7-9. Born in 1925. Son to Stanley Arthur Fordham, and husband to Ada Fordham (née White), of Lee, London.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Ray Rosen for the material and images used in this report (Jun 2019). Aircrew Remembered updates (Jun 2019 & Dec 2020).