Op vakantie in Bretagne, leerde ik in de B&B een Engelsman, David Green kennen.
Na het avondmaal toonde hij mij op zijn tablet oude foto’s van zijn oom die bij de RAF in dienst geweest was.
Toen ik de groepsfoto van dichterbij bekeek, had één van de piloten een geit “Billy The Goat” op zijn schouders.
Members of the 405 Squadron of the 14th Wing Greenwood (Nova Scotia) of the RCAF and Fred Davies a war veteran of the Second World War gathered in Belgium on September 15th to honour the crew of a bomber type Halifax who was shot down in 1943.
From left to the right: Canadians : Adj Chef Mario Roussel, Lt Colonel Mike Adamson, M. Fred Davies en Brig. General Perry Matte.
Mr Davies who is 89 years old was a member of the 405th Squadron during WWII.
They participated at the unveiling of a commemorative monument in Saint-Hubert (Belgium) dedicated to the memory of the bomber who was shot down on August 10th, 1943 above Arwenne, not so far from there. Canadian and Belgian dignitaries and members of the local community who organised this initiative were also present.
The Halifax with number HR872 of the 405th Squadron was based at Gransden Lodge (Great Britain) and participated in a bombing raid above Mannheim (Germany) when it was shot down by a twin engine Messerschmitt BF1104G piloted by Lieutenant Norbert Pietrek of the Luftwaffe.
The erection of the monument was a local initiative to commemorate the sacrifice of the crew members who were killed: six of the RCAF and a seventh one of the RAF. During the commemorative ceremony the dignitaries planted a maple and some heath as remembrance of the crew member of the RAF who came from Scotland.
Lieutenant Colonel Mike Adamson, commander and Mario Roussel, Chief Warrant Officer of the Squadron represented the actual 405th Squadron. Brigadier General Perry Matte, the ancient commander of the 405th Squadron who is actually Director of Strategic Planification of the SHAPE was also present.
Hereby you find the crew members of the Halifax who was shot down:
Flight Lieutenant Kenneth MacGregor Gray, RCAF (pilot)
Flying Officer Allan John Middleton, RCAF (navigator)
Sergeant Henry King, RAF
Sergeant Douglas Allen Black, RCAF
Sergeant James Henry Evans, RCAF
Sergeant Charles William Pickering, RCAF
Sergeant James Hanna, RCAF
The crew members were buried at the cemetery of Florennes situated at 22 km south of Charleroi (Belgium).
(Text by Holly Bridges and Lieutenant-Commander John Nethercott)
Died June 14, 1944 over Chievres, Belgium
Buried: Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands
On his last mission when three engines of his Liberator B24 44-40460 “Won Long Hop” were gone and his crew had bailed out under orders, he remained at the controls of his plane to turn it from crashing in the midst of a Belgian village Wodecq.The plane subsequently striking a high tension line and bursting into flames outside the village.
Members of his crew were saved but were held prisoners by the Germans nine days before they could escape.
Crew of B24 liberator “Won Long Hop” 44-40460 :
Pilot Lieutenant Floyd E. ADDY
Copilot Lieutenant Douglas W. HOOTH
Flight Engineer 1er sergeant Cecil C. PENDRAY
Navigator Lieutenant Robert G. DONAHUE
Bombardier Lieutenant Richard E. WRIGHT
Radio Operator 1er sergeant Frank R. McPHERSON
Gunner Sergeant Hugh C. BOMAR
Nose Gunner Sergeant Irving W. NORRIS
Tail Gunner Robert G. MATHIE
Ball Turret Sergeant William L. CUPP
Floyd died June 14 1944 in action over Chievres (Belgium) and was burried in the German cemetery, his body wrapped in an American flag and decorated with a cross of white flowers, the villagers having declared a day of mourning for the brave American who saved this Belgian village.
Monument in Wodecq
Memorial ceremonie Wodecq
On Saturday, February 6th 2010, it was exactly 65 years ago that an USAF airplane crashlanded in the town of Galmaarden, Belgium.
To remember this event, a commemorative plate was inaugurated.
This event had been organized by the Town Hall, thanks to Michel Matthijs who did research for many years.
The American Embassy was represented by USAF Colonel McLaughlin.
For over 52 years the rudder of this plane was used as chicken coup…..
Ceremony 2010 (photo Marc Colpaert)
The story was that on February 6th 1945, pilot Ernest Haygeman tried to get his crew and airplane, a B17G (Flying Fortress) 43-38581 of 96 Bombardment Group 413 Bomb Squadron, to the military airport of Brussels.
They just came back from a mission above Germany and they were supposed to fly back to Snetterton Air Force base in England, but they ran out of fuel.
In the end, also Brussels was just a little to far, and the pilot had to make a crashlanding. He landed the airplane in an open field just outside of the Galmaarden tow, close to a farm, inbetween two telephone poles.
The pilot said that he didn’t put the plane safe on the ground, but God did…
All crew members survived, one crew member was WIA, a cut in his hand.
The crew :
2Lt Ernest W Haygeman Pilot
2lt Jack Schwartz Co Pilot
2Lt Donald L Meyer Navigator
Cpl Thomas M Barber
Cpl James W Hall
Cpl Robert R Kirchner
Cpl Byron L Magnum
Cpl Minor W Meyer
Cpl Howard B Rocheleau
Snetterton Falcon stated that L Haygeman aircraft was involved with terrible weather and forgot their maps showing secondary area. Bombs were dropped but they had terrible winds and the B17 was forced to drop out of formation with 3 engines. They made emergency landing near Brussels and this area had been liberated recently liberated. Crew was returned to Snetterton and the crew flew 28 missions in A/C 232.
They were later assigned to 44-6232 nicknamed Fellowship. Haygman listed with the New Crew Janurary 1945 with the following crewmen. Only the Navigator mentioned in book by name but since crews were often changed the best way to confirm crew on this mission is to get a copy of the Interrogation Form or the Load list from records kept at NARA II in College Park Maryland. Haygeman landed in a field in the British Sector with the wheels down. Taken to Brussels and the next day taken back to Snetterton.
On Saturday, February 6th 2010 a commemorative plate was inaugurated.
37 mm gun at ceremonial drill (White Star Division)
May 12, 1944, the PM-X Lancaster of the 103rd Squadron of the Royal air Force crashed in Malle (Belgium).
The usual pilot of this plane, the Belgian P/O Florent Van Rolleghem and his crew had already made a tour of operations together, But at that time Van Rolleghem fell sick. His crew feared being permanently separated when two other team members had already lost their lives while flying with another pilot since Van Rolleghem was in hospital. They ask their captain to intervene with the Head of Unit, Wing Commander Goodman. After a lively discussion, Goodman decides to fly a single mission with Van Rolleghem’s crew before giving them a break until their regular pilot returned.
The original PM-X crew and the replacements
The night of May 12, 1944, Hasselt is attacked and the Wing Commander Goodman takes the PM-X Lancaster with Van Rolleghem’s crew. The same night, British formations also attack Leuven and Leopoldsburg. Above Hasselt, forced by thick fog, the Master Bomber gives the order to abandon the mission. There is some confusion because another Master Bomber above Leuven confirms the attack on his goal. This order is heard by two members of the crew of the PM-X. In the confusion however, Goodman follows the order of his own Master Bomber and heads back home with his load of bombs.
A few moments after midnight, the Lancaster is detected by Werner Baake Hptm of 1/NJG. He opens fire and the Lancaster explods in midair.
All 7 crewmembers lost their lives :
-Wing Commander H.R. Goodman (SAAF)
-Navigator G. Agar (RAF)
-Bomb Aimer W. Vander-Dasson (RAF)
-Radio Operator C. Finighan (RAF)
-Tail Gunner R. McLeod (RCAF)
-Flight Engineer Ph. Vickers (RAF)
-Midupper Gunner R. White (RAF)
On May 4, 2012 a ceremony was held on the airfield Oostmalle-Zoersel, where a memorial plate was inaugurated in the presence of authorities and members of families!
The BBMF Lancaster saluted the lost crew with several flybys.
Sgt E Owen RAF pilot
F/Sgt G.H. Edmondson RCAF A/Obs
Sgt G. Shearer RAF Wop/AG
Sgt G.R. Ramsay RAF Wop/AG
A memorial was hold and a memorial plate inaugurated on October 15 2011 at the cemetery in Waasmunster.
Colonel Remy Van Lierde, DFC & two bars (14 August 1915 – 8 June 1990) was a Belgian pilot who served during World War in the Belgian and British air Forces, shooting down six enemy aircraft and 44 V- 1 flying bombs, and achieving the RAF rank of Squadron Leader. He returned to the Belgian Air Force after the war and went to hold several important commands before retiring in 1968. Van Lierde was born in Overboelare (Geraardsbergen), Belgium. He entered the Aviation Militaire Belge (Belgian Army Air Force) on 16 September 1935. He first trained as an observer, but began pilot training on 1 May 1937, qualifying in April 1938. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 1st Aviation Regiment.
With the rank of Sergeant he made several reconnaissance flights during the German invasion in an Fairey Fox III biplane. He was shot down by flak on 16 May 1940, was wounded and captured. In September 1940, after recovering from his injuries, he left Belgium, crossed occupied France, and entered neutral Spain. He was arrested for illegally crossing the border, and was confined in various Spanish prisons, including the notorious concentration camp at Miranda de Ebro. He escaped and reached England on 22 July 1941. After the standard interrogation by M5 at the London Reception Centre, he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on 5 September. Van Lierde spent three months at No.57 Operational Training Unit at RAF Hawarden, before being assigned to 609 Squadron on 6 January 1942 with the rank of Pilot Officer.
Van Lierde claimed his first victory while flying a Typhoon Ib on 20 January when he shot down a Bf 09-G fighter during a raid on the south coast. On 26 March he shot down a Ju52 transport aircraft while en route to an attack on the German air base at Chièvres. This was witnessed by local inhabitants, including Van Lierde’s wife, who surprised her husband after the war by showing him pieces of wreckage from the aircraft. On 1’ May 1943 he was the first person to drop bombs from a Typhoon, and shot down a He 111 bomber on his return journey. He downed another Bf 109 on 30 July, and on 5 October he shot down a Ju 8 heavy fighter and destroyed another aircraft on the ground. His last victory, a Bf 110 bomber was claimed on 30 November, bringing his score to 6 kills and 1 destroyed on the ground.
Van Lierde was promoted to Flight Lieutenant in September 1943 and on 22 December 1943 was posted to the Central Gunnery School at RAF Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire, returning to RAF Manston on 7 February 1944.
On 27 April, he was posted to 3 Squadron, flying the Tempest Mk.V, before taking command of No. 164 Squadron on 20 August 1944 with the rank of Squadron Leader, tasked with combating the V-1 offensive. He was credited with shooting down or destroying 44 flying bombs solo, with another 9 shared, making him the second highest-scoring “doodlebug” killer. Van Lierde then led his squadron into Europe during the western campaign. From May 1945 Van Lierde served in 84 Group Support Unit, and as a Belgian Liaison Officer at 2nd Tactical air Force Headquarters. Van Lierde received the Distinguished Flying Cross with two bars.
In August 1945 he was given command of 350 Squadron, an RAF formation of Belgian pilots flying the Spitfire that was eventually transferred to the Belgian Air Force in October 1946. Commissioned into the Belgian Air Force as a Major in June 1946, In 1953 he was appointed to the Operations Group of Chiefs of Staff. Van Lierde was appointed Aide to the former King Leopold III in September 1953.
In November 1958, with Captain Yves Bodart, he travelled tot England tot test fly a Hawker Hunter , becoming the first Belgian pilot to break the sound barrier.
Van Lierde died at Lessines on 8 June 1990. An impressive monument was inaugurated on Sep 8 2011.
On the night of 27/28 May 1944, a bomber formation flew to Aachen, for the “Rothe Erde ‘bombing. According to the reports of the British crews, the Germans put a smoke screen, that sometimes obscured the target markers. Yet this mission was a success. The railway lines, that were not very much damaged with a similar raid two nights earlier, were now completely destroyed. During the bombardment bombs also fell on the suburb city Forst where 167 people died.
The 514 Squadron operated during that period from the RAF base Waterbeach, and used that night ten Lancaster II. One of those ten was driven by a 28 year old Australian from Brisbane (Australia), Flight Lieutenant Lloyd Taylor. He was commander of the Lancaster ‘JI C’ and its seven crewmembers, four RAF and three RAAF men.
The Lancaster JI-C crashed in the village Schendelbeke (currently Moenebroek Nature, Nature Reservate managed by non-profit organisation).
What happened to the hours and minutes before the fatal crash on 28/5/1944 Schendelbeke could not be traced.
Theseven crewmembers were :
* Flight Lieutenant Lloyd Taylor – Pilot ( RAAF – Brisbane Australia)
* Sergeant Richard Gill – tail gunner (RAF – Preston Lancashire)
* Flying Officer Frederick Brearley Hill– miduppergunner (RAF – Lancashire)
* Keith Thomas– bomb aimer (RAAF – Australia)
* Pilot Officer William Stanley Newman –radio operator (RAAF – Australia)
* Segeant James Frederick Vincent – Navigator (RAF – London)
* Sergeant Alan Roderick – flight engineer (RAF – Somerset )
None of the crew survived the crash
All seven areburiedat the cemetery of Geraardsbergen.
The plane was excavated in 1999 and a monument was inaugurated in 2010.
In the early morning of Friday the 29th of December 1944, after the briefing on their base Wendling (county Norfolk) in England, the 29 bombers of the type Consolidated Liberator B-24 from the 8th air army of the USAAF started for a raid on Neuwied, near Koblenz – Germany; their mission was to eliminate a railway bridge. Their mission was completely in accondance with their plan, till the formation was attacked by enemy anti- aiarcraftguns (Flak) above the Ardens where at that moment the Ofensive Von Runstedt took place. 13 airplanes were hit by enemy fire. The consolidated Liberator B-24 model J of the 392 bomb –577 Bomb squadron- with number 42-50861S7 “No nickname” and with 9 american crewmembers was one of the planes who crashed in Boterdael about 14.30 p.m.. The plane flew his 16th mission. The pilote could, 1st lt. Denver L. Walker, could make an emergency-landing, his co-pilote,2nd lt. Dominic J. Nunziato was badly wounded at his leggs by a grenade. It became a terrible crash. Before the crash the other seven crewmembers left the aircraft with their parachute in order of the pilote. For two members the jump was fatal. 2nd Lt Cletus E Bedore, navigator, died in the neighbourhood of the Saint Leonardus chapel at Tollembeek , where his body was lie-in-state. S/sgt Thomas M. Bradford, left-flank-gunner last his life in Vollezele near farm “Ten Berg” at the Congoberg. The other crewmembers stayed onhurt :
2nd Lt Lowell E. Faust, bomb-aimer
S/sgt Abin S. Gusciora, mid-upper-gunner
S/sgt Allen E. Lane W/op and nose gunner
S/sgt Peter T. Ballas, tail-gunner
S/sgt R.W. Kieffer , right-flank-gunner.
A memorial plate was inaugurated in May 2003.
During the longest night of 1942, RAF Bomber Command launched a Lancaster-force of more than one hundred bombers towards the German town of Munich. One of the raiders which took off that evening of December 21, 1942 was Lancaster “DX-P” W4234 of 57 Squadron, stationed in Scampton. “P for Peter” was piloted by 22-year old F/O Ronald Bowles.
The force was detected at about 23.30 ET by the German coastal Freya-radars. It was the sign for the Messerschmitt 110-crews to take off and head toward the skies over Northern France and Belgium. At that stage of the war, these areas were defended by the Gruppen of the Nachtjagdgeschwadern 1 and 4. Several night fighter aces, including Hauptmann Wilhelm Herget (I./NJG 4) and Leutnant Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer (II./NJG 1) were searching the skies of that first winter night.Some minutes before midnight the people living in the rural area arround Lierde were awakened by short salvoes of 20mm cannons.
Only a few had the chance to see how a blowing torch roared towards the earth and ended in a tremendous explosion at the hamlet called Kakebeke at Sint-Maria-Lierde. The load “P-for-Peter” was carrying left no chance to the six airmen trapped inside. The bomber was one of the fire raisers and held hundreds of 4 lb-incendiary in her bomb bay.It took some time time before the first farmers realised that an airmen was lying wounded further down the road. It was the rear gunner, Sgt Roden B. Pickford from New Zealand. Shocked and dazed he was taken prisoner, and once the fire was stopped in the misty morning, the occupying forces took him towards what was found of his dead comrades. Roden had formed a crew with them, which went through some very difficuld raids. Joining 57 Squadron in October 1942, they flew towards Cologne and Stuttgard. Being equipped with the Lanc, they crossed several times the Alps to bomb Turin and Genoa. There was not much Roden Pickford could do to identify his friends. Skipper Ronald Bowles and his Wop, Sgt Arthur Abraham, were buried individually at the communal cemetary of Geraardsbergen (SW of Brussels), whilst navigator F/O Alexander Mulholland (28 yrs.), bomb aimer Sgt Maurice Pearman, mid upper gunner Sgt John Drain (both 20 yrs.) and the Australian flight engineer Sgt Cecil Stubbs were put to rest in a communal grave.
A monument for the crew was inaugurated in 2000.
Each year on a day in December close to the anniversary of the crash un short ceremony is held at the monument.
Memorial 70 years Lancaster DX-P
September 29 2012
On Saturday September29 2012 the 70th Aniversary of the crash of Lancaster DX-P was commemorated. Representatives of 57 RAF SQN, several RAF Associations, the Ambassador of New-Zealand and other representatives of the Embassies of UK and Australia as well as several military and civil dignitaries attended the memorial.
At an Academic session the fatal flight of LAncaster DX-P was reconstruated.