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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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263 Squadron Typhoon Ib MN706 Fl/Lt. Norman Paulle Courtenay Woodward

Operation: Offensive Patrol

Date: 17th April 1945 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 263 Squadron (motto: Ex ungue leonem - 'One knows the lion by his claws')

Type: Typhoon Ib

Serial: MN706

Code: HE-?

Base: B.105 ALG. Lingen/Drope (Germany)

Location: IJsselmeer

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Norman Paulle Courtenay Woodward J/20138 (R/131658) RCAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed


Another very busy day with 5 operations. The day started with 4 aircraft airborne at 06.30 hours to carry out a recce of the islands north of the Zuider Zee. 3 barges were attacked with R/P off Terschelling and claimed 1 damaged, possibly 2. A convoy of 9 vessels was sighted south of Borkum led by a flak ship of 1500 tons. An attack was pressed home in spite of intense flak opposition and one 500 ton steamer received a direct hit with rocket projectiles, also several strikes with cannon on others.

At 07.00 hours a further 4 aircraft took off to attack the same convoy. They claimed 1 direct hit with a salvo of rocket projectiles amidships the largest vessel which was left smoking. Strikes were seen on others with cannon fire.

The next target was barges at Harderwijk where 14+ were attacked and 8 damaged. A direct hit was also scored with rocket projectiles on a shed on the south end of the harbour and a bright red flash was the result. 8 aircraft took part in this operation and during the attack Fl/Lt. Woodward's aircraft was seen to crash in to the sea approximately half a mile from the harbour. It is believed he was hit by flak which was intense over the area. Although he has been reported as only missing there is very little hope of his having escaped and the Squadron has lost one of its most popular and skilful pilots.

Another operation against shipping north east of Delfzijl was carried out with 7 aircraft which took off at 13.30 hours. A convoy was located consisting of a 4000 ton Red Cross ship and 8 sea going barges and coasters steaming in the direction of Borkum. The coasters and barges were attacked and 2 destroyed, also a flak ship was silenced with cannon strafing. The last target for the day was guns north of Oldenburg.

Attacks were made with rocket projectiles and cannon and all were well in the target area. Another operation had been laid on and at 19.55 hours the first aircraft was taking off when the port tyre burst causing the aircraft to swing to the left and roll over on to its back. The pilot, F/0 C.J. Devey, was rescued from the wreck suffering with lacerations of the scalp and arms. It is feared it will be a few months before he will be able to fly again which means the Squadron loses another very popular member.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Norman Paulle Courtenay Woodward. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 278. Born on the 20th October 1921 in Vancouver. Educated at Elbow Park Public School, Western Canada College Calgary. An audit clerk for G.A.Touche in Calgary. Enlisted on the 05th September Calgary. No.5 Elementary Flying Training School. No 2 Service Flying Training School. No 41 Operational Training Unit. No. 17 (P) Advanced Flying Unit. Aqrded his flying badge on the 23rd October 1942, Served in North Africa from June to October 1943.

Above left: Fl/Lt. Norman Paulle Courtenay Woodward with his father, Captain Norman Paul Woodward on right.

Son of Capt. Norman Paulle Woodward, RACPC died on active service, 12th March, 1944, age 53 (coronary thrombosis) and of Ann Mary Woodward (née Macphail - died 01st July 1952, age 57 - married 27th December 1920 in Vancouver, British Columbia), brother of George John Courtenay and Shirley Annette (née Bradner - died 27th June 2010, age 83) of 3181 West 29th Avenue,Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the National Archive Kew, thanks to Jeff for transcribing the 263 Squadron operation record books, Government of Canada WW2 Military records, Paradie RCAF archives

Other pages that may interest you:

Pages regarding 1945 losses

Pages detailing RCAF losses

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 18-12-2023

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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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