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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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408 Squadron Crest
01/03.11.1944 No. 408 Squadron Halifax VII NP744 EQ-X F/O. Vernon Gilson

Operation: Dusseldorf

Date: 2/3rd November 1944 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 408 Squadron RCAF (Goose)

Type: Halifax VII

Serial: NP744

Code: EQ-X

Base: RAF Linton-On-Ouse

Location: 1.5 miles southwest of Lustin, Belgium

Pilot: F/O. Vernon Beverley Gilson J/26151 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Archibald Anderson RAFVR Injured. (Severely)

Nav: F/O. Donald Anderson Staples J/35924 RCAF Age 25. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Louis Joseph Reaume J/35091 RCAF Age 29. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Donald Haigh Woodworth RCAF Injured. (Slightly)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Gordon Sutton RCAF Injured. (Slightly)

Air/Gnr: P/O. Allan Clifford Ineson J/93699 RCAF Age 19. Killed

Update November 2017: A Memorial plaque is currently under preparation to be placed at the crash site of this Halifax NP744. It is hoped the plaque will be in position sometime during 2018. Further details will follow as soon as our Belgium colleagues have informed us.


408 Squadron Halifax VII with Hercules XVI engines Serial No's: SS28837, SS20996, SS29119, SS29245. Took off at 16:18 hrs. from Linton-On-Ouse on the third wave. Due to return to Linton-On-Ouse at 21:45hrs.

The aircraft was carrying 1 x 2000lb. H.C. (High Capacity) bomb, 4 x 1000lb. M59 bombs, 1 x 1000lb. MC LD bomb, 1 x 500lb. M58 bomb, 1 x 500lb. GP (General Purpose) bomb, 1 x 500lb. M.C (Medium Capacity) bomb and 4200lbs. of S.A.A (standard) .303 rounds.

Reported over the target in the War Room at 19:14 hrs. The aircraft was attacked by a FW190 night fighter on leaving the target. In a running battle the aircraft was shot-up and burning and crashed 1.5 miles southwest of Lustin, Namur, Belgium.

Three crew members survived with one reporting that the FW190 strafed the crashed aircraft. Lustin is 100 miles South West of Dusseldorf, approximately 24 mins flying time (at 250mph). So the crash occurred on or around 19:38hrs. NJG11 operated FW190 night fighters and on that night there were two pilots reporting a four engine bomber kill in the area:

Fw. Wilhelm Jansen, Stab 1/NJG11, 4-mot, S. Dusseldorf, 4500m, 19:31hrs
Fw. Walter Schermutski, 2/NJG11, Lancaster, S.W. Dusseldorf, 3000m, 19:40hrs

The crew killed were initially buried on 3rd Nov at 16:30hrs. at Fosses, U.S. Military Cemetery No1, 8.5 miles Southwest of Namur, Belgium. Later confirmed on 19th July 1947 that the remains of these crew members had been re-interred at Leopoldsburg British Cemetery, Limburg, Belgium.

The three crew members injured were admitted to 50th (US) Field Hospital on 3rd November and evacuated to 15th (US) General Hospital A.P.O. 350 US Army on 4th November.

(1) Staples Lake in Saskatchewan is named after F/O. Donald Staples

Above: F/O. Louis Joseph Reaume: Sketch was done by a fellow RCAF member as he was coming to after fainting from the sight of the syringe for his pre deployment vaccines, according to a story told to Adam by the archival lady at the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association in Windsor.

Left: Perspex reported to be taken by a local policeman's daughter and fashioned into the cross and engraved 'Halifax Lustin 2 Nov 1944' (courtesy Simon Jeffs)

Burial details:

F/O. Vernon Beverley Gilson. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. VIII.A.5. Son of Percival Willard Gilson and Doris Gilson, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Husband of Olive Margaret (née Parnell). Grave inscription reads: "Their Bodies Are Buried In Peace; But Their Name Liveth For Evermore".

F/O. Donald Anderson Staples. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. VIII.A.6. Son of John T. and Jean M. Staples, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Always Thoughtful True And Kind Beautiful Memories Left Behind".

F/O. Louis Joseph Reaume. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. VIII.A.3. Born on the 08th October 1915 and from 221 Cameron Avenue, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

P/O. Allan Clifford Ineson. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. VIII.A.4. Son of George William F. Ineson, and of Lucy Kathleen Ineson, of Kitchener, Ontario. Canada. Grave inscription reads: "In Everloving Memory Of My Dear Son Allan, Gone Into A Better Land".

Researched by Simon Jeffs (Nephew of F/O. Gilson) for the Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives and friends of the crew. Also to Adam Reaume who contacted us in November 2017 with additional photographs and information. Also to Marchal Raphaël who is researching this loss further in order to place a plaque at the crash site.

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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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