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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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425 Squadron Crest
22/23.03.1944 No. 425 Squadron Halifax III LW417 KW-G F/O. C.E.Tindall

Operation: Frankfurt

Date: 22/23rd March 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 425 RCAF Alouette Squadron

Type: Halifax III

Serial: LW417

Code: KW-G

Base: RAF Tholthorpe, North Yorkshire.

Location: Near Niederemmel, Germany.

Pilot: F/O. Charles Edward Tindall J/20618 RCAF Age 22. Killed (1)

Flt/Eng: Sgt. James Cyril Patten 1876219 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Nav: F/O. Kenneth Victor Duffield J/24048 RCAF Age 21. Killed (2)

Air/Bmr: Sgt. R.C. Quinlan R/156968 RCAF PoW No: 3836. Camp: Stalag Luft Barth Vogelstang

W/Op/AG: P/O. Clarence Walter Hay J/88340 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.E. Brine R/190329 RCAF PoW No: 3799. Camp: Stalag Copernicus

Air/Gnr: P/O. Donald Walter Pulham J/88342 RCAF Age 19. Killed (3)


A very large raid was planned for this night as a combined force of 816 Lancasters, Halifaxes and Mosquitos set out for Frankfurt. The route chosen was to fly in an easterly direction crossing into mainland Europe over northern Holland. From there the formation was to fly due south to Frankfurt. This circuitous route, as well as several diversionary attacks on other cities, confused the German defences as to which city had been selected as the primary target. This delay in the appearance of the night fighters allowed the majority of the bomber stream to reach the target.

Flying at altitudes of 20,000 to 25,000 feet a staggering 54,000 lbs. of high explosive and 408,000 lbs. of incendiaries were unleashed on the city. It was a devastating blow destroying much of the old city as well as disrupting the core services of water, gas and electricity for an extensive period of time. Much of the industrial areas to the west were particularly hard hit and over 1000 inhabitants lost their lives.

Although some of the bombers were lost en-route to the target, most were intercepted over the target area or, having dropped their bomb load, were shot down while homeward bound.

From the repatriation report of Sergeants Quinlan and Brine, who landed successfully by parachute after being blown out of the Halifax when it exploded in mid-air, their aircraft crashed near Trier.
After the war, captured German documents stated that the bomber was shot down near Niederemmel approximately 20 miles to the northeast of Triel.
Shot down by night fighter ace Oblt. Martin Becker (shown right) at 22:38 hours from a height of 5200 meters. Becker survived the war and went on to become a commercial pilot. Credited with six victories that night and by war's end had accounted for a total of 52 Allied aircraft shot down.

F/O Tindall was on his second operational trip when lost. The remainder of the crew were all on their first operation.
In all 33 aircraft failed to return.

Burial Details:

F/O. Charles Edward "Ted" Tindall. Cologne Southern Cemetery Plot 4-Row AA–Grave 4. Son of Charles and Thelma Irene Tindall, husband of Georgette Tindall, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Ted's sister writes (8 February 1998):

Ted attended Laura Secord School on Wolseley Avenue from Grade I to Grade 9 and Gordon Bell High School where he was very active in sports: football, baseball, soccer and hockey. After graduating from Grade 11, he continued his interest in sports and while playing for the Elmwood Millionaires, was awarded the Shea Trophy for the most gentlemanly player. He was a centre for the Winnipeg Monarchs in 1938-39.
In 1939, he joined Trans Canada Airlines (now Air Canada) and worked in the office until he joined the RCAF in September of 1941. He trained at Edmonton, McLeod, Prince Albert and received his wings and commission at Saskatoon in November 1942. After taking a course at Vulcan, Alberta he returned to Saskatoon as an instructor. He married Georgette McLean on November 10, 1942. Georgette was the daughter of Mayor George McLean, long-time Mayor of St. Boniface.
He requested overseas duty in 1943 and on March 6, 1944, he joined 425 Alouette Squadron. He was killed on his first bombing run over Frankfurt, Germany (620 Lancasters took part, 26 were lost; 184 Halifaxes took part, seven were lost).
Three members of his crew are buried with him. On Ted's gravestone is written:

One of our pilots is safe
Rest in Peace

Ted was a fine gentleman, loved by all his family and remembered today with love.

(1) Tindall Lake southeast of Condie Lake was named after F/O Tindall in 1995
(2) Duffield Lake southwest of Nueltin Lake, Manitoba was named after F/O Duffield in 1972
(3) Pulham Lake in northern Ontario was named after P/O Pulham in 1959

Sgt. James Cyril Patten. Cologne Southern Cemetery Plot 4-Row AA–Grave 8. Son of Thomas George and Ada Maud Patten of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England.

 No further details.

F/O. Kenneth Victor Duffield. Cologne Southern Cemetery Plot 4-Row AA–Grave 5. Husband of Mrs. K.V. Duffield of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

His wife writes (15 October 2001)

Ken grew up in West Kildonan and subsequently graduated from Lord Wolseley School. He went to work for the Canadian National Railway for a short time prior to joining the RCAF in 1942. The latter part of his training he received at Pearce, Alberta, graduating as a navigator in February 1943, receiving his commission thereafter.
Ken was an avid cyclist. He was an amateur boxer in the middleweight division and won some minor bouts. He was a member of the Kildonan Canoe Club and a member of the Anglican Church. As you can imagine, he had a very short time on Earth in which leave his mark and I deeply appreciate that his name at least will live on in the lake named for him. Many years have passed, but I write this with tears in my eyes for "what might have been". Ken's memory has never been far from my thoughts despite the passage of time (30 April 1998).

She adds:

Ken wrote from his station at Tholthorpe in England that he bought a bicycle and loved to cycle through the English countryside. He loved the scenery and flower gardens of Devon in particular and promised to take me there at war's end. Much later on a tour of England and Europe, one of the stops on tour was Cologne. Not speaking the language, I did not venture into the cemetery on my own, but I was able to light candles for him in the beautiful Cathedral that is famous in Cologne (15 October 2001).

P/O. Clarence Walter Hay. Cologne Southern Cemetery Plot 4-Row AA–Grave 6. Son of Thomas and Carrie Tomkinson Hay of Verdun, Province of Quebec, Canada.

After completion of high school at Montreal Technical, Clarence was employed as an apprentice machinist by Canadian National Railway until he enlisted in the RCAF on 16 June 1941. He trained at Guelph, Mt. Joli and St. Johns before embarking for the UK on 23 June 1943. Posted for further training to West Freugh, Scotland, 24 OTU Honeybourne and Dalton Battle School joining 425 Squadron on 6 March 1944. Commissioned 20 March 1944.

P/O. Donald Walter Pulham. Cologne Southern Cemetery Plot 4-Row AA–Grave 7. Son of George Walter and Lillian May Pulham, husband of Fern Violet (née Pizzey) Pulham of Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

Born in Brantford on 21st April 1924 - prior to service worked for the aircraft division, Cockshutt Plow Company Ltd. (shown right) which manufactured undercarriages for several types of British bombers, including the Avro Lancaster Mk X being built by Victory Aircraft at Malton, and built plywood fuselages and wings for the Avro Anson training aircraft and for Britain's famous de Havilland Mosquito bomber.

Donald came from a large family of seven brothers and a sister. He enlisted at Brantford on 9 October 1942 and trained as an air gunner at Mt. Joli, Quebec where he was awarded his air gunners badge on 6 August 1943. Embarked for UK 26 August 1943 and posted to 24 OTU Honeybourne, Dalton Battle School and 1659 HCU Topcliffe before joining 425 Squadron on 6 March 1944. Donald had only been married for nine months when he was lost.

Researched by Colin Bamford, Canadian researcher for Aircrew Remembered.

F/O Tindall and F/O Duffield information courtesy of and reproduced from A Place of Honour - Manitoba's War Dead Commemorated in its Geography.
Some P/O Pulham biographical information courtesy of Album of Honour for Brant County World War II 1939 – 1945. Published in 1946 by The Brantford Kinsmen Club, Ontario, Canada and kindly reproduced with their permission.
Crew photographs and other information sources, Service Files of the Second World War―War Dead, 1939–1947. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Canada.

CHB 09.09.2011
CHB 25.02.2020 Updated

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