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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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419 Squadron Crest
22/23.04.1944 No. 419 Squadron Halifax IIHX189 VR-J F/O. Charles A. Thomas

Operation: Laon

Date: 22/23rd April 1944

Unit: No. 419 Squadron

Type: Halifax II

Serial: HX189

Code: VR-J

Base: RAF Middleton St. George

Location: Couvron-et-Aumencourt, France

Pilot: F/O. ‘Chuck’ Charles A. Thomas T-223104 USAAF Evaded capture

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John L. Thompson 1593760 RAFVR PoW No: 3679 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus

Nav: Fl/Sgt. P.Robert Lindsay R/161450 RCAF Evaded capture

Air/Bmr: P/O. John A. Neal J/25125 RCAF Evaded capture

W/Op/Air/Gnr: WO.1. Patrick J. Murphy R/109696 RCAF PoW No: 3638 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Winfred Arnold Green R/200862 RAFVR Evaded capture

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Victor Alfred Knox J/92327 RCAF Age 21. Killed


Taking off at 20:36 hrs from RAF Middleton St. George, to bomb the railway yards at Laon. A bomber stream made up from 181 aircraft including 69 Halifaxes, 52 Lancasters, 48 Stirlings and 12 Mosquitoes. The raid caused massive destruction after the attack had been made in 2 waves.

A total of 9 aircraft were lost on this operation and 46 crewman were killed with a further 3 made PoW, 15 managed to evade capture and return to England.

Attacked and shot down by Oblt. Dietrich Schmidt of 8./NJG1 at 23:33 hrs, his 17th abschüsse of the war from which he survived having a total of 38 confirmed claims. Imprisoned by the British at the end of war - released August 1945. Attended Heidelberg University obtaining a doctorate in Chemistry - retired in 1984. (See Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site for further information)

Right: Oblt. Dietrich Schmidt of 8./NJG1

‘The Lucky Pigeon”. Written by John Neal - survivor of HX189. ISBN 13: 9781681621807. Published by Turner, United States, 1997 - A print on demand publication - 72 pages.

Burial details:

Sgt. Victor Alfred Knox. Couvron-et-Aumencourt Communal Cemetery. Row B. Grave 1. Son of James and Letitia Knox, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “On Earth He Nobly Did His Best, Grant Him Jesus, Heavenly Rest”.

For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.

KTY 16-10.2015

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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', 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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