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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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433 Squadron Crest
16/17.08.1944 No. 433 Squadron Halifax III MZ899 BM-D P/O. Savard

Operation: Gardening

Date: 16/17th August 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 433 Squadron

Type: Halifax MkIII

Serial: MZ899

Code: BM-D

Base: RAF Skipton-on-Swale

Location: Baltic Sea

Pilot: P/O. Joseph George Marcel Savard J/88165 RCAF Age 19. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. George Henry Lilley 1571830 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: F/O. Henry Grimble J/36370 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Lt. Joseph Louis Baillargeon J/36230 RCAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Bernard Bercuson J/88065 RCAF Age 28. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Maurice Elmer Fairall J/94227 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Alfred Wallace Jack Drennan J/95179 RCAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed


Taking off from RAF RAF Skipton-on-Swale at 21:34 hrs for Gardening operations in the Kiel area. (Quinces/Radishes. (please see Gardening Operations for details)

MZ899 is believed to have been claimed by a German night fighter and to have crashed in the sea south or southwest of the island of Langeland killing all onboard.

According to the Nightfighter War Diaries, the aircraft was shot down by Oberleutnant Fritz Brinkmann of 8./NJG 3 claiming a four-engined bomber NNE of Kiel at 00:06 hours or Oberfeldwebel Martin Kramer of Stab./NJG 3 claiming a four-engined bomber SE of Kiel at 00:15 hours.

Also lost from the Squadron on this operation:

Halifax III MZ608 BM-P Flown by Fl/Lt. John Archibald Wynn Morgan J/25000 RCAF killed with 4 other crew, 2 taken PoW.

Halifax III MZ863 BM-I Flown by Fl/Lt. John Chester Valk J/21433 RCAF killed with all 6 other crew (5 RCAF, 1 RAFVR), Fl/Lt, Valk, the husband of Molly Virginia Valk from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Grimble Lake, west of Wells Lake was named after F/O. Henry Grimble in 1994.

Burial details:

P/O. Savard was found washed ashore by Aagab 1 kilometre north of Bagenkop in Magleby parish on the island of Langeland on the 8th September - his body was handed over to the Wehrmacht in Rudkøbing and was laid to rest in Magleby cemetery on the 12th September. P/O. Fairall was washed ashore on the island of Bogø on the 05th October being laid to rest in Bogø cemetery on the 11th October. On the 17th September the body P/O. Bercuson was found near Lindelse on the island of Langeland and was laid to rest in Magleby cemetery on the 19th September. Sgt. Lilley was found washed ashore at Asserballeskov on the island of Als on the 17th September, laid to rest in Aabenraa cemetery on the 19th September. F/O. Henry Grimble rests in Kiel War Cemetery after his body was recovered some 5 months later in Germany, whilst F/O. Baillargeon and Sgt. Drennan have no known grave and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

P/O. Joseph George Marcel Savard. Magleby Churchyard, Langeland. Grave A.11.36. Born on the 22nd August 1924. Enlisted on the 29th July 1942. Son of Joseph Odilon Savard and Antoinette Savard (née Hebert), of 553 Nicolet, Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada. 14 operational sorties. Epitaph: 'Died For His Beliefs'.

Sgt. George Henry Lilley. Aabenraa Cemetery. Grave Allied Mil. Plot. Row 5.3. Son of Albert Edward and Maude Mary Lilley, of Whitley Bay, Northumberland, England. 12 operational sorties. Epitaph: 'Like His Namesake The Lily, Tall And Fair, A Gallant Lad, He Died In The Air'.

F/O. Henry Grimble. Kiel War Cemetery Germany. Grave 4.G.2. Born on the 03rd July 1924. Enlisted on the 01st October 1943. The son of Sidney (died 21st October 1977, age 87) and Florence Grimble (née Peake - died 22nd December 1978, age 91) from 167 Oakdean Boulevard, Sturgeon Creek, St. James, Manitoba, Canada (father born in Norwich, England, mother in London). His father won the Military Cross during the first world war. 12 operational sorties.

Fl/Lt. Joseph Louis Baillargeon. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 244. Born on the 31st October 1917. Enlisted on the 25th July 1941. Son of Edmund Emile (died 24th June 1962, age 74) and Elisabeth J. Baillargeon (née Yuill - died 05th August 1937, age 56, married Lucienne Baillargeon née Bourret - died 10th September 1983, age 76), of 425 Pitt Street West, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. 12 operational sorties.

P/O. Bernard Bercuson. Magleby Churchyard, Langeland. Grave A.11.35. Born on the 02nd July 1916. Enlisted on the 12th August 1941, The son of the late Jacob (died 06th August 1942, aged 58) and Sarah Bercuson (née Hart - died 30th March 1958, age 73) of 107 Devilish Apartments, Calgary (Parents born in Romania), husband of Adele Bercuson, of 2133 Rose Street, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Enlisted in 1941. 12 operational sorties. Epitaph: 'In Loving Memory Of My Beloved Husband Bernard. Loving Wife, Adele'.

P/O. Maurice Elmer Fairall. Bogo Churchyard. Joint Grave 2-60. Born on the 08th October 1929. Enlisted on the 10th October 1941. Son of Clarence Horace and Lillian Fairall (née Hasnett - deceased at date of enlistment), of 46 Rhyle Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 12 operational sorties. Epitaph: 'To Caesar The Things That Are Caesar's; To God The Things That Are God's'.

P/O. Alfred Wallace Jack Drennan. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 250. Born on the 06th September 1921 in London, Ontario. Enlisted on the 22nd December 1942. Son of Alfred Robert Watson and Edith Drennan (née McLaren - died 22nd August 1936, age 46) of 1715 Pilette Road, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, brother to Carson, Robert and his 2 sisters, Bertha and Dorothy, half sister Mary. Stepmother Reta Drennan. 12 operational sorties.

Researched for Aircrew Remembered January 2017 - Michel Beckers. With many thanks to Soren C. Flensted, Finn Halling Larsen and Morgan Jensen for grave photographs, Michel Beckers/Steve Parker for crew photographs. John Jones for additional details.

MB - 28.01.2017

KTY - 14-05-2023 Further details added

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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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