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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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434 Squadron Crest
28/29.01.1944 No 434 Squadron Halifax V LK649 WL-X Fl/Sgt. Russell H. Stanley

Operation: Berlin

Date: 28/29th January 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 434 Squadron

Type: Halifax V

Serial: LK649

Code: WL-X

Base: RAF Croft, Yorkshire.

Location: Canow, north of Berlin.

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Russell Henry Alvin Stanley R/144014 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Stanley Joseph Groucott 1581803 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: F/O. Richard Clifford Crompton J/21189 RCAF Age 21. Killed (1)

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Donald Irwin Rose R/157415 RCAF Age 21. Killed (2) (3)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack Charles William Olliffe 1320477 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. David Louis Silverman 1701327 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Jean Baptiste Laurier Leduc R/188532 RCAF Age 20. Killed


Took off at 23:59 hrs from RAF Croft to bomb Berlin. 677 aircraft taking part with cloud cover over Berlin, broken. Described as the most concentrated bombing attack of this period by Bomber Command. German reports reveal the true picture, in that although western and and southern areas of the city were hit, so were 77 other areas outside!

180,000 inhabitants were bombed out of their homes, many industrial premises did receive hits but also 6 hospitals, the French Cathedral, 4 theatres, 5 embassies and various other public buildings destroyed. Casualties on the ground were not recorded but are described to have been 'considerable.'

The allies lost a huge number of aircraft during this operation. Some 53 with crews failed to return this night.

434 Squadron also lost 4 other aircraft, with 22 crew killed, 8 made PoW and 7 crew baling out over England on its return after engine failure:

Halifax V EB256 WL-S - Flown by P/O. Flewelling RCAF - Crew baling out after engine failure over Filey, Yorkshire, 1 crew member found dead, remainder all OK.
Halifax V LK740 WL-V - Flown by Sq/Ldr. Linnell RCAF - All 7 crew killed after being hit by flak.
Halifax V LK916 WL-D - Flown by P/O. Devaney RCAF - All 7 crew missing, lost without trace.
Halifax V LL134 WL-U - Flown by Sq/Ldr. Hockey RCAF - All 8 crew made PoW.

The aircraft was shot down at 03:00 9km South East of Mirew near Canow. There is a claim for a Halifax by Oblt Heinz Ferger 3/NJG3 at 03:02. Unfortunately there is no location or aircraft serial number. This was confirmed as a victory on 21 July 1944.

The crew were initially buried at Canow Cemetery Kreis Neustrelitz in a communal grave. Only Fg Off Crompton and Sgt Leduc could be identified.

(1) Crompton Lake in Saskatchewan is named after F/O. Richard Crompton.

(2) Rose Bay on Molson Lake, Manitoba is named after Fl/Sgt. Donald Rose.

(3) Rose Point on Molson Lake, Manitoba is named after Sgt. Thomas Rose

Sgt. Jack Charles William Olliffe, 2nd from right, with friends (see credits)

Sgt. Stanley Joseph Groucott during training, 3rd from left, rear row. (see credits)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Russell Henry Stanley. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Collective grave.2.Z.3-7. Son of Oscar Lloyd and Florence Alberta Stanley of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Stanley Joseph Groucott. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Collective grave.2.Z.3-7 Further information:

Of Brocton, Staffordshire. Brother to Barbara and Leslie. Stanley served in the Home Guard from the 6th June 1940 to the 8th February 1942 before enlisting in the Airforce. He enjoyed dancing, his regular partner being a Margaret Holford from Bednall. Remembered on a small plaque inside All Saints church at Brocton, Staffordshire, England.

F/O. Richard Clifford Crompton. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Collective grave 2.Z.3-7. Son of Richard and Edith (née Holmes) Crompton of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Born 31st August 1923 - joined 27th February 1942.

Sgt. Donald Irwin Rose. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Collective grave G2.Z.2. Further information: Born in Gladstone, Manitoba, Canada On the 19th April 1923 he moved with his parents the following year to Stony Mountain. He attended the Stony Mountain School where he completed his Grade 11 before transferring to St. Paul’s College in Winnipeg for his final year. An all round athlete Don competed in track and field as well as baseball and ice hockey at which he was particularly skilled. After leaving school, he was employed by MacDonald Brothers Aircraft in Winnipeg until he enlisted in the RCAF in early 1942. Initial training was completed at Saskatoon after which he went to No. 6 EFTS at Prince Albert for assessment as a pilot. Although he did spend some time flying Tiger Moth trainers he was turned down as a pilot and posted to No.8 Bombing and Gunnery School at Lethbridge following which he graduated from No.3 Air Observer School at Pearce, Alberta where he received his Air Observer Wing. Posted to England in 1943, he spent a month at RAF Staverton before going to No. 23 OTU Pershore that June until he completed his operational training on 25 August. From 23 OTU Don was posted to 434 squadron based at Croft in Yorkshire. On the night of 20/21 December, 1943, Fl/Sgt. Don Rose participated in his first sortie taking part in a large bombing raid on Frankfurt. Just over a month later he would be killed when his aircraft failed to return from a raid on Berlin. Brother of Thomas Herbert Rose (see notes).

Sgt. Jack Charles William Olliffe. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Collective grave 2.Z.3-7. Further information: Born 11th November 1922 at Pullen Road, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England the son of Amy Sophia and Ernest Olliffe, brother of Leonard Harold and Dennis Olliffe. Father worked as a carpenter and his mother in a paper factory.

Sgt. David Louis Silverman. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Collective grave 2.Z.3-7. Son of Charles and Lucy Silverman of Brixton, London, England.

Sgt. Joseph Jean Baptiste Laurier Leduc. Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. Collective grave 2.Z.1. Son of Stanislas and Marie Leduc of Cornwall, Ontario, Canada.

(3) Notes: Sgt. Thomas Herbert Rose R/56850 RCAF. Tom Rose, Don’s elder brother, was born in Gladstone, Manitoba on the 6th April, 1921. The family moved to Stony Mountain where he attended the Stony Mountain School like his younger brother Don. Whereas his brother was more the mischievous one, Tom was rather serious and quiet. He developed an artistic talent in drawing and painting and was also an accomplished carver and model maker. At a craft exhibition in 1937 sponsored by the T. Eaton Company in Winnipeg, he submitted a model of the Queen Mary winning first prize. Like Don, he was very active in sports as a pitcher in baseball and also played ice hockey with several teams. When war broke out it was Tom’s ambition to join the airforce but due to an eye problem he was at first rejected. When this was corrected he reapplied and was accepted in April 1940 being posted to No.1 Initial Training School in Toronto later that month. From No.1 ITS, he went to No.1 Air Observers School at Malton graduating from the first class trained under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan as an Air Observer on 25 October, 1940.

Left: Sgt. Thomas Herbert Rose (see credits)

Arriving in England that November, Tom was posted to No. 20 OTU at Lossiemouth in Scotland where he completed his training on 8 March, 1941. Just four days later on the 12/13th March 1941 he would be reported as missing in action when his Wellington 1C T2515 BL-U of 40 Squadron crashed near the village of Wimille, France while participating in a raid on Boulogne. This young and inexperienced crew who ranged in age from 19 to 21 years of age, were all on their very first operational mission when they were lost.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Further research by Colin Bamford, our Canadian research volunteer also the webmaster who added further information in 2015. Photo credits and information on Sergeant Olliffe to Amanda Freeman (great niece), on Sergeant Groucotte to Anthony Groucotte. Thanks to John Jones for the fight claim information. Other sources as quoted below.

Above, remarkable colour footage showing this aircraft on fighter affiliation training.

RS 08.12.2019 - Update to aircraft loss

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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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