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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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44 Squadron Crest
04/05.07.1944 44 Squadron Lancaster III ME699 KM:T Fg Off. William A. Young

Operation: St-Leu

Date: 4th/5th July 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: 44 Squadron (Rhodesia)

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: ME699

Code: KM:T

Base: RAF Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire

Location: Laversines, East of Beauvais, France

Pilot: Fg Off. William Archibald Young 417145 RAAF Age 21. Killed

Flt Eng: Sgt. William ‘Bill’ Robinson 1777532 RAFVR Evaded capture (1)

Nav: Fg Off. Frank Edward Wareham 134370 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav 2: Fg Off. Harold Braathen J27500 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Bom Aimer: Flt Sgt. John ‘Jack’ E. Wainwright 1435555 RAFVR Age 20. Evaded capture (1)

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Leslie Jackson 1681086 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. William Wilson Rennie R166835 RCAF Age 28. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Houseman 1591726 RAFVR Age 20. Killed


ME699 was manufactured by Metropolitan-Vickers. 
250 Lancaster M1's ordered from Metropolitan-Vickers in May 1942 and delivered from November 1943 to January 1944 with Merlin 22 engines initially installed up to ME639 and Merlin 24 engines from ME640 except for ME668-9 with Merlin 22 engines.

Taking off at 23:00 hrs to bomb the flying bomb sites at St. Leu in France.

L-R: Sgt. Robinson, Sgt. Jackson, Flt Sgt. Wainwright, Plt Off.Young, Sgt. Routledge, Sgt. Rennie and Fg Off. Wareham (courtesy Mike Wainwright )

The usual rear gunner was a Sgt. Routledge who, shortly before the flight was taken ill and was replaced by Sgt. Ronald Houseman for this his first and sadly final operation. Fg Off. Harold Braathen was also on his first operation, flying as an extra navigator to gain experience.

ME699 was claimed by Uffz. Günther Schlomberg, his 2nd Abschuss, from 3./NJG3 in the Breteuil-Beauvals area at 2.500 m at 01:49 hrs.

Uffz. Schlomberg was later killed during a practice flight on the 11th August 3.5 km North of Ottendorf near Cuxhaven.

(1) The two who survived managed to evade capture. A more comprehensive account of this loss can be read on Mike Wainwrights website.

L-R: Pilot, Fg Off. Young, Fg Off. Wareham and Sgt Routledge who missed the operation. (courtesy Mike Wainwright)

Above L to R: Fg Off. Braathen and Flt Sgt. Rennie from their service records (Courtesy Dave Champion)

Burial Details:

Fg Off. William Archibald Young. Marissel French National Cemetery. Coll. Grave 284. Son of Arthur Bromwell Young and Ellen May Young, of Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia.

Fg Off. Frank Edward Wareham. Marissel French National Cemetery. Coll. Grave 284. Son of Bertie and Beatrice Wareham, husband of Violet Lilian Wareham (née Paul) of Luton, Bedfordshire, England.

Fg Off. Harold Braathen. Marissel French National Cemetery. Coll. Grave 284. Harold Braathen was born in Medelpad, Sweden on 3 August 1916. He was the son of Harold Einar and Ingrid (née Jensen) Braathen of Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.

At the time of enlistment on 1 July 1942 he was employed as a teacher by the Peace River School Board in Pouce Coupe, British Columbia, Canada.

Sgt. Thomas Leslie Jackson. Marissel French National Cemetery. Coll. Grave 284. Son of William Mitchell Jackson and Janet Jackson, of Hull, England.

Flt Sgt. William Wilson Rennie. Marissel French National Cemetery. Coll. Grave 284. Born on the 27th April 1916 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Son of Peter miles and Elsie Gertrude (née Taylor) from Vancouver, British Columbia.

He had three siblings, brothers Richard George who was in the RCAF Reserve and Donald Wardlew who served with No. 8 Repair Depot (RD) RCAF in Winnipeg, and elder sister Alice Marguerite.

Sgt. Ronald Houseman. Marissel French National Cemetery. Coll. Grave 284. Born in 3rd quarter of 1923 in Fewston, Harrogate Son of Robert and Emma (née Towers) Houseman from Great Ouseburn, Yorkshire, England. His mother predeceased him in December 1937.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Mike Wainwright for detailed information and photographs, also to Dave Champion for crew details and photograph - May 2019. Thanks to Debbie Payne, the niece of Flt Sgt. Rennie and daughter of Donald W. Rennie, for the additional NoK details (May 2021). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (May 2021).

RS 21.05.2021 Update to narrative and reorganisation

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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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