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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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No 357 Squadron
07.09.1945 No 357 Squadron Dakota IV KN584 W/O 1. Harold William Smith

Operation: Special Duties Flight and Supply Drop, Burma

Date: 7 September 1945 (Friday)

Unit: No 357 Squadron

Type: Douglas Dakota IV

Serial: KN584

Base: Rangoon, Burma

Location: Near Mewaing, Burma

Pilot: W/O 1st Class. Harold William Smith CAN R/131090 RCAF Age 23 Killed (1)

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Roy Metcalfe Herdman 1473480 RAFVR Age 22 Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Daniel McLeman 1565046 RAFVR Age 21 Killed (2)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alexander Fraser Calder 1894540 RAFVR Age 20 Killed

Royal Air Force Personnel:

Fl/Sgt. Donald Hugh Wild 1583540 RAFVR Age 21 Killed

F/O. Bernard Hobart 171213 RAFVR Age 22 Killed (3)

Fl/Sgt. Robert Napier 1054912 RAFVR Age 24 Killed (4)

Fl/Sgt. William Thomas Patrick Davies 552842 RAF Age 23 Killed (5)

LAC Frederick John Bryant 1398164 RAFVR Age 35 Killed (6)

Sgt. Archibald Smith 548541 RAFVR Age 26 Killed (7)


Lt/Col. Sydney Isaac Wigginton OBE MiD 156630 Sherwood Foresters (Notts. and Derby Regiment) Age 31 Killed (8)

Lt/Col. Edgar James Kennedy OBE MiD 103585 Royal Corps of Signals (attd. 136 Special Operations Executive) Age 44 Killed (9)

Cpt. Alan Leslie Goldsmith 243574 Royal Engineer (attd. 136 Special Operations Executive) Age 29 Killed (10)

Serj. Stanley Harold Goodwin 2079363 Royal Engineer (attd. 136 Special Operations Executive) Age 24 Killed (11)

2nd Lt. Samuel McCammont Little MiD 359740 General List Royal Engineer (attd. 136 Special Operations Executive) Age 27 Killed (12)

Serj. Alfred Claude Brenton Sowden MM 841889 Royal Corps of Signals Royal Engineer (attd. 136 Special Operations Executive) Age 27 Killed (13)

This page of remembrance is also an appeal for relatives to make contact either by the 'add info' button or leave a message via our guest book

"The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has established a memorial to commemorate the 16 service personnel from Britain and Canada who lost their lives on 7 September 1945. A service of Dedication was conducted on 13 November 2016. The new memorial consists of a central stone providing details of the crash and burial sites and 16 individual headstones with details of name, rank and unit" - courtesy Gavin Wigginton son of Lt/Col. Sydney Isaac Wigginton


Dakota KN584 was returning from Rangoon to Jessore. This was a Special Duties flight deployed by the SOE. The flight also included a side operation to make a supply drop to the Mongoose Section of the SOE Operation Character.

The aircraft was found two weeks later 10 miles from the 'Drop Zone' and was identified by it's tail and personal belongings of one of the crew. The aircraft wing hit the side of a mountain some 6000ft above ground and 1000ft above the Drop Zone and crashed near the village of Mewaing killing all on board. The weather at the time was very unpredictable due to the monsoon season

Map showing the area of the crash of Dakota KN584

Investigation/Recovery: After a series of sorties,the crash site was found two weeks after the crash. The site was not visited on the ground until two months later when a Team led by Captain Bourne visited and collected the bodies. They were taken to the monastery in Mewaing and were buried in the grounds with a cross and identification. Details may be found in the proceedings of an SOE Court of Inquiry.

Left: Memorial sent by Kevin Knights - September 2019

Memorial: Although the burial site was acknowledged in 1945, it was eventually abandoned by the CWGC and the casualties were listed as Missing in Action. However, in 2014, Gavin Wigginton commenced a project involving an expedition to the village and established that the burial site existed. The place of burial was also confirmed in the record of the Court of Inquiry proceedings.

In late 2015, Gavin made a submission for an Alternative Memorial to the CWGC and in April 2016 they determined to establish a new memorial at Taukkyan cemetery. The casualties are no longer mission in action and the new monument was dedicated on 13 November 2016 in the presence of relatives of four of the casualties. The memorial consists of a central feature with details of the crash and burial site and 16 individual headstones. Courtesy of Gavin Wigginton

Burial details:

All the crew and passengers were buried by the villagers in a communal grave in the village of Mewaing, Burma. On the wooden cross placed at the grave site two pieces of paper were nailed with the names of most of the crew. (photo taken by an RAF Officer in 1945 as shown above)

Taukkyan War Cemetery (photograph kindly taken and submitted to Aircrew Remembered September 2019 by Kevin Knights)

Please note: we now have high resolution photographs of each of the graves - available free of charge to relatives with thanks to Kevin Knights.

W/O 1st Class. Harold William Smith. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 13. Son of Harold and Alice Smith of Guelph, Ontario, Canada (1) Harold was born 4 May 1922 in Woodstock and at the time of his death his address is given as 119 Oxford Street, Guelph. He had served 4 years in the RCAF

Harold was an accomplished violin player having won many medals at various musical festivals and in 1937 won the Federation violin scholarship at Stratford musical festival

After leaving Guelph Colligiate in 1941 Harold worked as a bank clerk for the Bank of Montreal until August 1941 when he enlisted. Harry embarked for the U.K. on the 9 January 1945 and arrived 17 January 1945. He was sent to No 3 P.R.C. (Personnel Reception Centre) Bournemouth on the 18 January 1945. Harry was then posted to, No 229 Squadron in Bombay on the 12 February and then to No 357 Squadron 24 February 1945

Harry's father Harold received a letter in January 1953 from Wing Commander W.R.Gunn RCAF Casualties Officer.

'It is with regret that I refer to the loss of your son, Warrant Officer Class 1 Harold William Smith. I am sorry indeed to have to inform you that owing to unsettled conditions in Burma, it has not been possible to recover the graves of your son and the other occupants of his aircraft.

It has therefore been decided by the Imperial War Graves Commission (of which Canada is a member), who are entrusted with the care of all graves of the fallen, and the commemoration of all that do not have "known" graves, that the names of those graves in Burma cannot be recovered will be engraved on General Memorials that will be erected to commemorate British aircrew that do not have "known" graves. You are, however, assured that if, at a future time, it becomes possible to recover you son's grave, it will be moved to a Military Cemetery where a headstone will be erected and permanent maintenance provided......'

Left: Fl/Sgt. Roy Metcalfe Herdman with his great friend George Harrison (courtesy Peter Harrison)

Fl/Sgt. Roy Metcalfe Herdman. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 6. Son of Edward and Hannah Herdman of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland

Fl/Sgt. Daniel McLeman (courtesy of Jim McLeman) Alexander Fraser Calder (courtesy nephew Alex Calder)

Fl/Sgt. Daniel McLeman. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 10.(above) Son of James and Catherine Ann McLeman (nee McLeod) of Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (2) Daniel was born 25 November 1923 in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Fl/Sgt. Alexander Fraser Calder. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 2. Son of Cyril Arthur and Marian Dorothy Calder of Dagenham, Essex, England.

Royal Air Force Personal:

Fl/Sgt. Donald Hugh Wild. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 16. Son of Mr and Mrs A Wild of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England.

From The Western Gazette, Friday, April 13, 1945 (courtesy British Newspaper Archive)

F/O. Bernard Hobart. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 7. Son of Michael James Hobart and Mary Ann Hobart of Waterloo, Liverpool (3) Bernard had at been a seaman prior to joining the RAF. He was serving with No 28 Squadron a reconnaissance squadron flying Hurricane's in Burma. His Squadron had followed the 14th Army in it's drive through Burma, and is now flying from the nearest airstrip to the enemy lines, acting as the aerial eyes for the ground forces. Recently during the march on Mandalay he formed a new operational partnership with Flying Officer D S Hind of 5 Church Road, Parkstone. On their first trip as a pair they attacked some tempting targets. Bernard Hobart and his parents lived at 3 Birchdale Road, Waterloo, Liverpool, England.

Top: Dunblane War Memorial (courtesy Jennifer Romero) Bottom: Robert (Robin) Napier (courtesy Sheila Ward, Roberts sister)

Fl/Sgt. Robert Napier. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 11. Son of William and Alice Napier (nee McKillop) of Dunblane, Perthshire. Husband of of Margaret Napier (nee McInally. Robert was born 26th April 1921 in Dunblane and is remembered on the Dunblane War Memorial

William Thomas Patrick Davies (courtesy Jim McLeman)

Fl/Sgt. William Thomas Patrick Davies. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 3. Son of William and Kathleen Davies of Long Hanborough, Oxfordshire (5) William is remembered in the Tywyn Church, Tywyn, Gwynedd, Wales. At the time of his death his address was Garage Cottages, Rhowniar Towyn, Merionethshire, Wales.

LAC Frederick John Bryant. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 1. (6) Frederick was serving with No 28 Squadron. No information about next of kin. Are you able to help?

Sgt. Archibald Smith. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 12. (7) Archibald was serving with 905 Wing. No information about next of kin. Are you able to help?

RAF fitters at work reconditioning Rolls Royce Merlin engines at an RAF Repair and Salvage Unit in the forward area in Central Burma. A Hawker Hurricane IIC of No 28 Squadron flying alongside the Aya bridge, which spans the Irrawaddy River near Mandalay, Burma

From the Burma Star Association written by Lieut-Colonel Ritchie Gardiner (......'Special Operations Executive was formed in 1940. Force 136 S.O.E. had a special RAF Squadron allocated to it. First equipped with Hudsons, then Dakotas, and latterly Libeators for more distant operations. There was a parachute school at Chakiala, and other schools for Officers and wireless operators. All were volunteers, some with knowledge of the country, and others with previous experience in Europe. The head of the Burma section was Lieut-Colonel Ritchie Gardiner'....) For a more detailed account of the S.O.E. (click here)


Sydney Isaac Wigginton OBE MiD (courtesy Jim McLeman)

“Lt/Col. Sydney Isaac Wigginton. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Son of John and Hilda Wigginton, husband of Eunice Olive Wigginton, and father of Michael and Gavin of Nottingham.(8)

Sydney saw active service with the Sherwood Foresters in the desert war, culminating in the second battle of El Alamein. He joined S.O.E. (Special Operations Executive) in November 1942. At the time of his death, he was based with Force 136 in Calcutta and was head of S.O.E.’s Air Operations into Burma supporting the resistance. Previously he had performed similar roles in Bari Italy and Cairo supporting resistance movements in Greece, Yugoslavia, Italy and Eastern Europe. He was mentioned in despatches three times and was awarded an OBE posthumously.”

Lt/Col. Edgar James Kennedy OBE MiD. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 8. Son of James Kennedy, and of Lily Kennedy of Colchester, Essex. Husband of Doris Isabel Kennedy of Watford, Hertfordshire, England. A.M.I.E.E. (9) Edgar was serving with Force 136 S.O.E. (Special Operations Executive) and his address at the time of his death was 100 Sheepcote Lane, Watford, Hertfordshire, England.

Cpt. Alan Leslie Goldsmith. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 4. Son of Donald Chambers Goldsmith, and of Janet Gwendoline Goldsmith of Ipswich, England. Husband of Monica Mary Goldsmith (10) Alan was born 16 August 1916 in Ipswich. He was serving with Force 136 S.O.E. (Special Operations Executive) at the time of his death and is remembered on the Ipswich War Memorial.

Serj. Stanley Harold Goodwin. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 5. Son of Laurie and Elsie Goodwin. Husband of Hilary Mary Goodwin of Trumpington, Cambridgeshire, England. (11) Stanley was born 7 January 1921 and is remembered on the Trumpington War Memorial. He was serving with Force 136 S.O.E. (Special Operations Executive) at the time of his death.

2nd Lt. Samuel McCammont Little MiD. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 9. Son of George Little, and of Margaret Little of Bothwellhaugh. Lanarkshire. Scotland. (12) Formerly served with the Gordon, Highlanders.

Serj. Alfred Claude Brenton Sowden MM. Taukkyan War Cemetery, Yangon, Myanmar. Spec. Mem. 14. Son of Alfred John and Mabel Gwendoline Sowden of St Eval, Cornwall, England. (13) Alfred was born 12 March 1918 in St Eval, Cornwall and is remembered on a family headstone in St Eval Churchyard and also remembered on the Devoran War Memorial. He was serving with Force 136 S.O.E. (Special Operations Executive) at the time of his death.

Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. With special thanks to Gavin Wigginton son of Lt/Col. Sydney Isaac Wigginton OBE MiD for further information 26 November 2016, Jim McLeman, Calgary, Canada for bringing this story to out attention and for some additional information, Burma Star Association, Picture W/O H W Smith,, Fl/Sgt D McLeman (Lewismenlost), Alex Calder, Jennifer Romero and other sources as indicated below. Also thanks to Peter Harrison who submitted the photo of Fl/Sgt. Roy Metcalfe Herdman in January 2018 - his father shown with him was his great friend. Also to Kevin Knights for sending photographs for all the crew and passenger graves in September 2019.

KT. Page uploaded 14.10.2016.

KT. Page updated in the reason for loss details and pictures of W/O 1st Class H W Smith, Fl/Sgt. D McLeman and further details for W/O 1st Class H W Smith 16.10.2016.

KT. Page updated picture of Lt/Col S I Wigginton and Fl/Sgt. Davies 20.10.2016.

KT information changed Fl/Sgt. R Napier 21.10.2016.

KT added picture of Alexander Calder and Dunblane War Memorial, Names of next of kin Fl/Sgt. Napier.

KT 04.011.2016 uploaded picture of Robert (Robin) Napier

KT. Page update with information from Gavin Wigginton 28.11.2016.

KTY Photo of Fl/Sgt. Herdman added 24.01.2018.

KTY. Page updated 30.0.2019

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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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