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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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422 Squadron Crest
02.02.1944 432 (Leaside) Squadron, RCAF Lancaster II LL686 Flt Sgt. Joseph G. Sieben

Mission: Training

Date: 2nd February 1944 (Wednesday)

Unit No: 432 (Leaside) Squadron, RCAF

Type: Lancaster II

Serial: LL686

Code: QO:F

Base: East Moor, Yorkshire.

Location: Near village of Aldborough, south east. of Ripon, Yorks.

Pilot: Flt Sgt. Joseph George Sieben, R139783 RCAF Age 24 KiA (1)

Flt Eng: Sgt. Kenneth Huggins, 1684923 RAFVR Age 21 KiA

Nav: Fg Off. David Simpson Kerr, J22198 RCAF Age 21 KiA

Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Wilfred Lawrence Wolf, R149977 RCAF Age 20 KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Pratt-Robinson, 1480812 RAFVR Age 20 KiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Flt Sgt. Paul Joseph Power, R153715 RCAF Age 24 KiA (2)

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Donald Davies Finch, R183578 RCAF Age 21 KiA


On the night of 2 February 1943, four of the squadron's Lancasters were placed on cross country exercises.

After taking off at 19:40 hrs, LL686 returned some two hours later with a badly misfiring port outer engine. While attempting to land back at East Moor, the aircraft lost altitude and crashed into Studforth Hill, just south of the village of Aldborough, and caught fire killing all aboard. This was the last Lancaster II lost by the Squadron prior to converting to the Halifax III.

Studforth Hill, Aldborough

© Copyright David Rogers and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

(1) Sieben Lake in Saskatchewan is named after Plt.Off Joseph Sieben

(2) Power Bay on Oooowee Sahkaheekahn/McInnes Lake, District of Kenora, Ontario, is named after Plt.Off. Paul Power.

Burial Details:

Plt Off Joseph George Sieben. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec. C. Row K. Grave 10. Born 26th July 1916 in Cosine, Saskatchewan. Son to Johannes Heinrich and Elizabeth (née Schamber) Sieben from Macklin, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Posthumously promoted to Plt.Off. with a Service No of J19846

Sgt. Kenneth Huggins. Bradford (Bowling) Cemetery. Sec. D. Grave 150. Born 16th March 19823 in Bradford, Yorkshire. Son of William and Margaret (née Frain) Huggins of Bradfords, Yorkshire, England.

Fg Off. David Simpson Kerr. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec. C. Row K. Grave 13. Born 6th July 1922 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Son of David Simpson and Kate Dorothy (née Wall) Kerr of St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada.

Further details: In third year engineering at Memorial University College, St. Johns when enlisted 23 October 1941. Posted to No.31 Operational Training Unit, Debert, N.S. Intial training at No. 5 ITS, Belleville, Ontario and then at No.8 AOS Ancienne Lorette, Quebec. Gained Air Navigation badge 3 August 1942. After training at 24 OTU and 1659 HCU he was posted to 432 Squadron 10 December 1943. (Photograph taken 6 June 1943)

Plt Off. Wilfred Lawrence Wolf. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec. C. Row K. Grave 14. Born 3rd October 1923 in Alberta. Son of Jacob and Margaret Louise (née Best) Wolf, of Palmerston, Ontario, Canada. His father predeceased him in April 1926.

Posthumously promoted to Plt Off. with a Service No of J87092

Sgt. Ronald Pratt-Robinson. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec. C. Row K. Grave 14. Born in 1923. Son of Robert and Olive (née Williams) Pratt-Robinson of Liverpool, England.

Plt Off. Paul Joseph Power. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec. C. Row K. Grave 9. Born 20th February 1919 in Toronto, Ontario. Son of Bernard Joseph and Margaret Mary (née Pickett) Power and husband to Mary Winifred (née Neville) Power of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Posthumously promoted to Plt Off. with a Service No of J86124

Plt.Off. Donald Davies Finch. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec. C. Row K. Grave 11. Born on the 19th July 1922 in Ontario. Son of Eardly Oscar Finch and Anna Margaret (née Davies) Finch and husband of Robina Mary (née McNeil) Finch, of Springfield, Ontario, Canada.

Promoted to Plt Off. on the 1st February 1944 with a Service No of J88383

Further details: Enlisted 4 August 1942 and trained at No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School, Fingal, Ontario and No.9 Bombing and Gunnery School, Mont Joli, Quebec, graduating as an Air Gunner on 6 August 1943. During his embarkation leave he married the former Robina McNeil on 11 August 1943. Arriving in the UK on 1 September 1943, he was posted to 22 OTU on the 21st and then to 1679 HCU on 18 November, joining 432 Squadron 28 November 1943. Robina never re-married and died in 2007 in her 87th year.

Researched and written for Aircrew Remembered by Colin H. Bamford and dedicated to the families of the crew of Lancaster LL686 (May 2015). With thanks to Dave Champion for crew photographs (Jul 2017). Updated by Colin H. Bamford (Jan 2020). Updated by Aircrew Remembered (Oct 2020).

CHB 18.02.2016

RS 25.10.2020 - Update to report

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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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