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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 427 (Lion) Squadron
06/07.09.1943 No 427 (Lion) Squadron Handley Page Halifax LK628 ZL-? P/O William (Billy) Biggs DFM

Operation: Munchen, Germany

Date: 6/7th September 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 427 (Lion) Squadron

Type: Handley Page Halifax V

Serial: LK628

Code: ZL-?

Base: RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire

Location: Nr. Starnberg, Northern edge of Starnberger See, Germany

Pilot: P/O William (Billy) Biggs DFM 155227 RAFVR Age 22 Killed (1)

2nd Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Robert Edward (Ed) Dresser R/58262 RCAF Age 23 Killed (2)

Fl/Eng: P/O. John (Jack) Elliott DFM 159686 RAFVR Age? POW No. 222688 Camp Stalag IVB - Muhlberg

Nav: P/O. Joseph Read 156615 RAFVR Age? Killed (3)

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Alfred (Alf) Richards 1586257 RAFVR Age? POW No. 222838 Camp Stalag IVB - Muhlberg

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Leslie (Les) Ernest Moyler DFM 159683 RAFVR Age 22 Killed (4)

Air/Gnr: P/O. Henry Alfred (Alf) Jackson J/18801 RCAF Age 27 Killed (5)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Harold (Harry) George (Mac) McLean 1335565 RAFVR Age? POW No. 222738 Camp Stalag IVB - Muhlberg


Halifax LK628 took off at 19.24hrs from RAF Leeming. Part of a large force of 404 aircraft that took off that evening for the operation on Munchen. The target area was covered by cloud and the markers were not very effective. Most of the aircraft completed this operation on a timed run from the Ammersee, a lake 21 miles south-west of the target. Halifax LK628 was shot down at 00:30 hrs by Oblt. Jakob Bender of 7./NJG101 his 7th abschüsse of the war. This was his final claim - wounded on the 15th November 1943 in an aircraft explosion at Waigoltshausen on a non-operational flight. No further details.

Halifax LK628 crashed near Starnberg on the northern edge of the Starnberger See. A total of sixteen aircraft were lost on this operation

Map of the area of the crash of Halifax LK628


Handley Page Halifax V. The operations room at RAF Leeming (both courtesy IWM)

9/10 August 1943 F/SGT. William (Billy) Biggs, Sgt John (Jack) Elliott, Sgt Joseph Read, Sgt Leslie (Les) Ernest Moyler and Sgt. Harold (Harry) (Mac) George McLean had all been involved in a previous accident while returning from an operation to Mannheim in (Halifax EB247 ZL-?) Three of the crew were awarded immediate DFM for their devotion to duty

No. 427 (Lion) Squadron was formally adopted by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Co as the Lion Squadron on the 24 May 1943. The aircraft of the Squadron were named after stars such as Judy Garland, Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamar, Micky Rooney and many more. It was the first time that a commercial company has ever been given this honour in the UK, Canada or the USA 


  Main camp entrance at Stalag IVB (courtesy Lutz Bruno see credits) Prisoners of war in the library at Stalag IVB, Muhlberg (courtesy                                                                                                  National Library of New Zealand)

Burial details:

P/O William (Billy) Biggs DFM. Durnbach War Cemetery, Bayern, Germany. Grave Ref: 6. G. 27. Son of James and Louise Biggs of Burton, Cheshire (1) At the time of his death Billy's address was New House, Burton, Wirral, Cheshire and he is remembered on the Burton War Memorial, St Nicholas Church, Burton-in-Wirral

Fl/Sgt. Robert Edward Dresser. Durnbach War Cemetery, Bayern, Germany. Grave Ref: 6. G. 26. Son of Mr & Mrs Frank Dresser of Vancouver (2) Robert was posted to No 427 Squadron on the 3 September 1943 and is remembered on in the Roll of Honour, Hamilton, Ontario

P/O. Joseph Read. Durnbach War Cemetery, Bayern, Germany. Grave Ref: 6. G. 28. Son of Joseph and Ethel Read (3) Born on the 1st September 1922 in Oldham, Lancashire

P/O. Leslie (Les) Ernest Moyler DFM. Durnbach War Cemetery, Bayern, Germany. Grave Ref: 6. G. 24. Son of Thomas Moyler and Ethel Moyler. Husband of Christina Marcelle Moyler of Liverpool (4) Les is remembered on the St. Alban's War Memorial, Hertfordshire

P/O. Henry Alfred (Alf) Jackson. Durnbach War Cemetery, Bayern, Germany. Grave Ref: 6. G. 25. Son of Harry Jackson of Scotfield, Alberta. (5) Alf Jackson was born on the 19 April 1916 in Chester, Montana, USA


Prisoners of war line the side of the road for an Anzac Day march at Stalag IVB. A theatrical performance at Stalag IVB (both courtesy of Australian War Memorial)

Prisoners of War

P/O. John (Jack) Elliott DFM. Are you able to help with further information?

Fl/Sgt. Harold (Harry) George (Mac) McLean gave an interview on his life before the war up to his visits to Germany in 1988 and 1993. The interview is held at the Imperial War Museum and can be listened too by clicking (here) Harold George McLean died on the 2nd October 2009

Fl/Sgt. Alfred (Alf) Richards. Are you able to help with further information?

Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. With special thanks to No 427 Squadron Wartime Log, Ex Air Gunners - Short Bursts, Wikimedia

KT. Page added 30/08/2015

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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', 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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