88 Squadron Boston IIIa BZ289 F/O. Allan Bishop Smith
Operation: Denain, France
Date: 16th August 1943 (Monday)
Unit: No. 88 Squadron Tactical Air Force. (motto: En garde - 'Be on your guard'). 2 Group
Type: Boston IIIa
Base: RAF Swanton Morley, East Anglia)
Location: Hautecloque, France
Pilot: F/O. Allan Bishop Smith NZ412274 RNZAF Age 22. Killed
Nav: P/O. Norman Smyth 155547 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ernest Cogman 1175806 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. Harry Leo Bredden J/18091 RCAF Age 27. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
12 aircraft from the squadron were detailed to carry out a low-level bombing operation on the steel and armaments work at Denain, France. BZ289 took off at 16:14 hrs and bombed the target between 1740 and 17:41 hrs.
Above L-R: Fl/Sgt Ernest Cogman, P/O Allan Smith, P/O Norman Smyth, P/O Harry Bradden.
No contact with the enemy during the inbound flight or over the target but as they left flying into the sun, heavy flak was encountered in the vicinity of Arra, enemy fighters also attacked the formation just as the Typhoon escort arrived on the scene. To hamper the pilots further a massive swarm of insects smudged their windscreens, partially obscuring the pilot's vision.
BZ289 was believed to have been seen by others to roll over three times after hitting a tree at 50 ft. at 17:55 hrs. The wreckage was later discovered at Hautecloque. The crew were buried at Hesdin 19 km west-northwest of the crash site.
Four aircraft were lost by 88 squadron, the others:
BZ242 Flown by Sq/Ldr. Richard Samuel Gunning DFM. 44873 RAF - 2 crew members were injured but died of their injuries and 1 other evaded capture.
BZ359 Flown by F/O. Arthur Harry Risely 106080 RAFVR all 4 crew evaded capture.
BZ351 Flown by Sq/Ldr. Gordon Ernes Hawkins MiD. 37096 RAF 2 crew killed, 1 PoW and 1 evaded.
F/O. Allan Bishop Smith. Hesdin Communal Cemetery. Grave B.3. Borb on the 17th November 1921 in Wellington. Worked as a clerk for State Fire and Accident Insurance Office. Enlisted at Levin on the 13th April 1941. Trained at No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School 24th March 1941. No. 1 Flying Training School on the 05th July 1941. Pilot badge awarded on the 25th August 1941 and promoted to sergeant on the 27th September 1941. Embarked for England on the 27th October 1941. With No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre 23rd December 1941. No. 12 Pilot Advanced Flying Unit on the 01st January 1942. No. 17 Operational Training Unit 28th April 1942 flying the Blenheim. Commissioned on the 28th December 1942. Son of Ernest Bishop Smith (died 20th July 1967, age 76) and of Eliza Mexted Smith (nee Quinlan - died 16th July 1978), of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.
P/O. Norman Smyth. Hesdin Communal Cemetery. Grave B.4. Born on the 08th May 1920 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Son of James Smyth (died 27th July 1936) and Elizabeth Jane Smyth (née Williamson - died 21st August 1973, age 96) of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Epitaph: 'Ours In Memory, Thought And Love'.
Fl/Sgt. Ernest Cogman. Hesdin Communal Cemetery. Grave B.5. No further details, are you able to assist?
P/O. Harry Leo Bredden. Hesdin Communal Cemetery. Grave B.2. Born on the 23rd November 1916 in Belleville. Son of Henry Bradden (died 15th April 1928, age 59) and Clara Katherine Bradden (née Kehoe, later Jezzard - died 25th April 1941, age 42) Stepfather Charles Henry Jezzard (died 01st December 1962, age 62) of Belleville, Ontario. Brother of Eileen Loretta Bradden.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, New Zealand Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, National Archive Kew Air-27716-77/78
Other sources as quoted below: