OPERATIONAL SORTIES

The following is a list of sorties flown by the Laffin crew while attached to 434 Squadron in the Spring and Summer of 1944.

Sortie # Target
1 Courtrai, Belgium
2 Vaires, France
3 Terschelling Island (mining)
4 Kiel Bay (mining)
5 Lens, France
6 Laon, France
7 Kadet Channel (mining)
8 Texel Island (mining)
9 Montzen, Belgium
10 Frisian Islands (mining)
11 St.Ghislain, Belgium
12 Calais, France
13 Le Clipon, France
14 Merville-Franceville, France
15 Conde Sur Noireau, France
16 Le Mans, France
17 Arras, France
18 Cambrai, Belgium
19 Boulogne, France
20 Sterkrade, Germany

Click a Sortie on the map to view the details.

 

BOMBER COMMAND REPORT ON NIGHT OPERATIONS

 

SORTIE 1

26/27 MARCH 1944

COURTRAI, BELGIUM

MARSHALLING YARDS

SUMMARY

Courtrai: 102 aircraft carried out an accurate ground marking attack, scoring many hits on tracks and railway buildings.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Fit all night, apart from local smoke. Clear skies.

France: Clear. Moderate visibility.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK

Method of attack: 4 OBOE Mosquito's, one on each of channels 1, 3, 11 and 12 were to mark the A/P with red T.I., both for the first wave and for the reserve period. For the second wave, 4 more Mosquito's were to follow the same procedure. Main force aircraft were to aim at the reds. Line of approach: 345deg. from the target, Zero hour 2100. Bombing height 9-15,000 ft.

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 109

Attack on P/A: 102

Abort. sorties: 7

A/C missing: 0

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

Target: Fine. Moderate visibility. No moon. Thick haze.

 

NARRATIVE OF ATTACK

OBOE serviceability was good in the first wave, bad in the second and good again for the third. Fortunately, only 5 aircraft bombed in the second wave, when the T.I. were in town. The first 2 T.I.`s fell 240 yards south of the A/P, and almost all the bombing was well concentrated around these.

 

DAY RECONNAISSANCE

The target suffered heavily, especially in the reception, forward and marshalling sidings. Tracks were out in numerous places, rolling stock was derailed and damaged, hits were scored on engine sheds and other buildings, and 2 large unidentified factories outside the yards were very severely affected.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

Only 4 fighters were seen, and none of those caused any trouble. Very little flak was fired, and only one searchlight exposed.

 

CASUALTIES

No losses were sustained, and no damage was caused by enemy action. One Halifax was damaged in a landing accident.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 12 bombers on this night operation, all returned safely.

P/O R. Pratt was shot at by flak from Northampton there was no damage.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax V

A/C number: LL167

Coded: WL - M

Time up: 1905

Down: 0040

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: COURTRAI. Primary 2112 hrs. 11,750 ft. 161 M. 160 IAS. Clear, no cloud or haze. Target identified by red T.I.’s. Bombed same. Two very moderate fires seen as A/C left target. Everything according to schedule.

 

 

 

SORTIE 2

29/30 MARCH 1944

VAIRES, FRANCE

MARSHALLING YARDS

SUMMARY

84 Halifax’s and Mosquito’s were sent to attack the marshalling yards at Vaires, in the Paris area. They bombed the target most accurately in bright moonlight, causing enormous damage. There was little opposition. One Halifax was lost.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: At 2230 10/10ths to 12,000 ft. South of Wash. Broken cloud at 2-3,000 ft. Further north after midnight, all bases will have well-broken cloud and moderate to good visibility.

France: Little cloud except in extreme northeast. A sheet of Stratocumulus will reach Paris at about 2200.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK

Method of Attack: 2 OBOE Mosquito’s on channels 1, 2 and channel 3 were to mark the A/P with red T.I.`s. The main forces were to aim at the center of all reds, with normal bombsight setting. Line of approach: 322 deg.

 

Timing: Zero hour: 2130 / Duration of attack: 2128-2200

Tactics: Bombing height: 12-13,000 ft. aircraft were to bring their bombs back if no markers were visible. If unable to attack in the first or second waves, they were to bomb in the reserve period. Mosquito’s were to drop 24 bundles each of WINDOW in the target area; other aircraft, 1 bundle per minute from 0030E and back, but 2 per minute in the target area. 1 reserve was to accompany each Mosquito.

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 84

Attack on P/A: 77

Abort. sorties: 6

A/C missing: 1

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

Bases: As forecast

Route: 10/10ths over Channel and northern France, tops 12-13,000 ft., with static and light rime icing. Cloud broke north of Paris.

Target: Clear below cirrus levels. Half moon. Haze. Moderate visibility.

Wind at 16,000 ft. 300 deg. / 45 m.p.h.

 

NARRATIVE OF ATTACK

The Mosquito timing was uneven, and the first did not bomb until z+8, but at z+1 the second aircraft dropped markers only 263 yards from the A/P. The second pair of Mosquito’s did not attack until z+19 and z+21. All the main force that should have attacked in the second wave joined in the first force. The markers were clearly visible, and the bombing was well concentrated around them.

 

DAY RECONNAISSANCE

Exceptionally severe and widespread damage was caused. 121 hits were scored on the south marshalling sidings, 44 on the forwarding sidings and 33 on the north marshalling sidings. In the center of the forwarding sidings an area measuring 250 x 125 yards was completely devastated, apparently by the explosion of two munitions trains. 3 of the 6 bays of the engine sheds were destroyed, and the roads to the locomotive turntable and the cooling tower were out. The cooling yard offices and the upper stories of the drivers and firemen's quarters were gutted. 8 craters were visible on the transshipment sidings. Various subsidiary buildings were damaged, and much rolling stock was destroyed.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

A few fighters were seen to the Northeast of Paris, but no combats were reported. A little heavy and light flak was fired from the target.

 

CASUALTIES

One Halifax was lost without trace. No other damage was sustained.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 14 bombers on this night operation, all returned safely.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax V

A/C number: LK992

Coded: WL - G

Time up: 1835

Down: 0055

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: VAIRES. Primary. 2148 hrs. 12,700 ft 220 M. IAS 160 Haze over T/A. Ident. target by red T.I`s cascading and reaching the ground. Bombed red T.I.’s. A large explosion seen in T/A, smoke up to 10,000 ft. and fires seen afterwards. PFF was 4 mins. late so we made an orbit and bombed in second wave.

 

SORTIE 3

1/2 APRIL 1944

TERSCHELLING ISLAND

GARDENING

SUMMARY

GARDENING: 34 Halifax’s laid 129 mines off the Dutch Coast and the Frisians without incident.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Low stratus, base everywhere below 1,000 ft. Drizzle.

Germany: Fine weather east of 10 deg. with locally moderate visibility. Broken cloud in the west.

France: Little cloud in central France. Broken layered cloud in north. Fog or low stratus in Northwest

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 34

Attack on P/A: 34

Attack alt area: 0

A/C missing: 0

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

Bases: Rain and low cloud spread from the Southwest, reaching a line Thames Estuary - Isle of Man by midnight, and covering the country by 0500.

Dutch coast and Frisians: Little Stratocumulus. 4-6/10ths. Altostratus above.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

The minelayers met no opposition except from flak-ships

 

CASUALTIES

No aircraft was lost. 2 Mosquito’s were slightly damaged by flak over Hanover.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 12 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

F/Sgt. A. Hegseth returned early as the navigation aids were u/s.

W/O2 M. Laffin landed at Topcliffe on return.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax V

A/C number: LL136

Coded: WL-E

Time up: 1928

Down: 2315

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: TERSCHELLING ISLAND. Dropped mines as ordered. Hazy. Landed Topcliffe

 

SORTIE 4

18/19 APRIL 1944

KIEL BAY

GARDENING

SUMMARY

Over 1,100 aircraft were dispatched on this night. More than 800 of them visited marshalling yards at Rouen, Tergnier, Juvisy, and Noisy-le-Sec. All the targets were clear of cloud, and all were squarely hit, those at Rouen and Juvisy sustained crippling damage. 11 aircraft were lost, and 3 more were shot down by intruders near their bases.

Mosquito's attacked Berlin and Osnabruck, while others carried out intruder and SERRATE patrols. 497 mines were laid in the western Baltic by over 150 aircraft. Others dispersed leaflets and made special sorties over the continent. 3 minelayers did not return.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Poor visibility and local fog everywhere after 0300 - 0400 hours. Until then little cloud and moderate visibility.

Kiel: Good chance of little cloud.

 

GARDENING

168 Lancasters, Stirlings and Halifaxes were detailed to lay mines in the Goet Channel, the Sound, Kiel Harbor and the Pomeranian Bay (off Swinemünde). 157 completed their task, laying a total of 497 mines. A few fighters were met over Denmark on the way out, and others pursued our a/c to their bases on the homeward journey. Flak was met from the usual areas en route, notably Peenemünde, Sassnitz, Flensburg, Sylt and Kiel. 2 Stirlings and one Halifax were lost. A fighter south of Mondo Island destroyed one of our Halifaxes after it had been engaged by flak, another was shot down by a fighter 50 miles west of Denmark. The third loss cannot be accounted for.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 17 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

P/O F. Tandy returned to base early.

W/02 M. Laffin was attacked by 3 Me-109`s, there was no claim, nor damage.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax V

A/C number: LL240

Coded: WL - C

Time up: 2043

Down: 0353

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: KIEL BAY. Operations successfully carried out. Mines carried 2 x 1500 lbs.

 

SORTIE 5

20/21 APRIL 1944

LENS, FRANCE

MARSHALLING YARDS

SUMMARY

Again Bomber command dispatched over 1100 aircraft. 379 of them went to Cologne, where they caused great damage N. and NW of "The Ring", especially in the industrial area of Ehrenfeld and the rail center at Gereon. Strong forces also visited the marshalling yards at Lens, Ottignies and La Chapelle. There was little cloud over northern France, and all 3 targets were heavily hit. So many bomber streams distracted the German fighter controllers, and only 12 of the 1039 aircraft engaged in these attacks were lost.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Fit all night, with little cloud.

France: No cloud north of the frontal belt except in the Northwest.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK: (same as Ottignies) Except that the main force of Halifax’s was to attack in 2 waves from z to z+4 and z+4 to z+8.

Method of attack: Mixed OBOE ground marking and NEWHAVEN. One OBOE Mosquito on each of the channels 1 and 3 was to open the attack with green T.I. Illuminators were then to drop white flares and bomb on the T.I., releasing the first bundle of flares with the T.I. and the rest at 15 second intervals. If no T.I. were visible, they were to hold their bombs for a second run, but drop their flares on their first run. Visual markers were to mark the A/P with yellow T.I.`s but not if yellows had already been dropped by earlier arrivals. Throughout the attack, 6 OBOE Mosquito's were to drop green T.I. or, if they had made good runs, red T.I. Visual backers up were to aim greens at the center of yellows and reds, or at the center of greens with a 1 second over shoot. A Master Bomber was to broadcast instructions in the target area, using a visual markers load to re-center the attack if necessary. Supporters were to aim at the center of yellows and reds if possible, otherwise at the center of greens.

 

Timing: Zero hour: 2340 / Duration of attack: 2334 - 2350

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 175

Attack on P/A: 170

Abort. sorties: 5

A/C missing: 1

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

7-8/10ths. Thin cloud at 5,000-ft. Good visibility. Large amounts of Stratocumulus en route, tops 5-6,000 ft.

 

NARRATIVE OF ATTACK

One of the 2 opening Mosquitoes detailed to drop greens failed and the other bombed 3 minutes late, so that the Illuminators had to drop their flares on H2S. As the target was distant from any built up area, the flare sticks were rather scattered. Cloud prevented the visual markers from identifying the actual A/P and no yellows were dropped. However, the 2 Mosquito`s carrying the reds marked the A/P before zero hour. Visual backers up followed these T.I with greens, and the Master Bomber, judging these to be well placed, ordered the main force to bomb in this area. Most of the bombing was well concentrated here, but there was some wastage to the north and east. Cloud forced some crews to make more than one run before they could identify the T.I.

 

DAY RECONNAISSANCE

The weight of the attack fell on the locomotive and carriage repair shops and depot in the southeast of the yards. All were severely damaged. The main tracks to Douai were out in several places, and 25-30 wagons were derailed. The small residential area north of the yards sustained a number of hits, and the fields south of the yards were pitted with craters.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

Slight fighter activity was observed between Dieppe and Le Treport, and 2 combats occurred at Lens. As our bombers left the target, they saw a group of twin engine fighters approaching the coast from the Channel. A few bursts of heavy flak were met over the target. No searchlights exposed.

 

CASUALTIES

One Halifax was lost to a fighter near Dieppe shortly after crossing the coast on the way in. Another Halifax was irreparably damaged in combat.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 14 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax V

A/C number: LL240

Coded: WL - C

Time up: 2110

Down: 0215

 

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: LENS. Primary. 2334 hrs. 9,500 ft. IAS 160. 6/10ths cloud (thin) at 3,000 ft. with breaks. Identified target by green and red T.I`s, no yellow T.I`s seen. Bombed red T.I`s. At 2345 hrs. a huge explosion. Bombs carried: 8 x 1,000lb. 7 x 500 lb.

 

SORTIE 6

22/23 APRIL 1944

LAON, FRANCE

MARSHALLING YARDS

SUMMARY

For the third time within a week, Bomber Command dispatched over 1,100 aircraft. 596 of them went to Düsseldorf, and gave the city its first heavy attack for 5 months. There was no cloud below cirrus levels over the Ruhr, and the bombing was highly concentrated. The priority 1+ works of Rheinmetal Borsig A.G. suffered most grievously. Lancaster’s of 5 and 1 groups went to Brunswick, and caused heavy damage in the city center, although a technical hitch in the skymarking diverted some of the bombing. A third strong force visited the marshalling yards at Laon again, creating fresh havoc. The variety of the routes followed puzzled the German fighter controllers. 42 aircraft were lost.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Little cloud at dusk. Medium cloud will increase in Yorkshire, but there will be little cloud below. Moderate visibility.

France: Little cloud north and south of occlusion

 

PLAN OF ATTACK

Method of attack: The target was to be attacked by 2 waves of aircraft, the first on the southern A/P, and the second 40 minutes later on the northern. 4 Mosquito’s were to mark each A/P with yellow and green T.I. and red spot fires. Illuminators were to drop white flares at the T.I., retaining them if no T.I. were visible. By the light of these flares, the Master Bomber (or his deputy) was to direct the bombing, dropping more accurate markers if necessary. Backers-up, Supporters and main force crews were to bomb as directed by the Master Bomber.

 

Timing: Zero hour - South A/P: 2325 / North A/P: 0005

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 181

Attack on P/A: 169

Abort. sorties: 12

A/C missing: 9

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

Cloudless. No moon. Good visibility. Dense persistent contrails very locally. No cloud en route apart from cirrus over the Channel. Wind at target: - 330 deg. / 20 m.p.h.

 

NARRATIVE OF ATTACK

Only 1 Mosquito marked the southern A/P, with yellows at z – 5. These were well placed, and the Master Bomber directed crews to bomb slightly to starboard of them. Most aircraft bombed on these yellows. For the benefit of later arrivals, the Master Bomber was instructed to mark the A/P visually, which he did very accurately with greens. The bombing remained well centered on the A/P. A load of red spot fires was dropped in error 3 miles north of the A/P, but attracted no attention. In the second phase, on the northern A/P, all 4 OBOE aircraft attacked with yellows, but owing to a technical defect which necessitated calling in the reserve aircraft, no reds were dropped until z + 9. The Master Bomber instructed all aircraft to bomb on the center of yellows. When the greens came down, crews were told to bomb the northern tip of the constellation. A notable feature of this attack was the exactitude with which the main force followed the instructions of the Master Bomber.

 

DAY RECONNAISSANCE

Most of the damage resulted in the area around the sorting sidings, where the transshipment sheds, carriage and wagon repair shops, and goods depot all suffered badly from direct hits. Over 100 bombs fell on the sorting sidings themselves, severing all tracks, and a third of the wagons in the yard were destroyed. 6 craters occurred on the tracks in the junction at the east end of the yard.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

The first wave of aircraft reported few fighters until they had reached 030 deg. east on the return route. The second wave found a few over the target. Only 3 attacks were reported, though several were observed involving missing aircraft. A Lancaster destroyed a twin-engine fighter 10 miles south of the target. Little flak encountered.

 

CASUALTIES

9 Aircraft were lost. The first wave lost one to a fighter over the target, one to heavy flak at Juvincourt and 2 to fighters between Rheims and Soissons on the way home. The second wave lost 3 to fighters at Laon, Soissons and Compiègne, and 2 to unknown causes, including another near Compiègnes. One Stirling swung on take-off and was wrecked.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 16 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

F/O G. Maffre returned early as starboard outer u/s.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax V

A/C number: LL177

Coded: WL - A

Time up: 2040

Down: 0235

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: LAON. Primary. 2332 hrs. 8,000 ft. 136 degs. IAS 160. 3-5/10ths cloud tops 2580 Ft. Bombed green T.I. Master of ceremonies Broadcast to Bomb green T.I`s, two small fires P/A. No photo flasher required in view of Target illumination. Bombs carried: 5 x 1,000-lb. 10 x 50 lb.

 

SORTIE 7

23/24 APRIL 1944

KADET CHANNEL

GARDENING

SUMMARY

Gardening: 113 Lancasters, Stirlings and Halifaxes were dispatched to lay mines in the Baltic. 102 completed their task, laying 319 mines in their allotted areas. Another aircraft jettisoned its mines in a useful position. 2 Stirlings and 3 Halifax's were lost, but our aircraft destroyed at least 4 enemy fighters.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: - Mostly fit until 0400 hours, with variable Stratocumulus above 2,000 ft. After that hour, East Anglia will have low stratus and/or visibility problems.

Germany: - Much medium and upper cloud in the north. Little cloud below 25,000 ft. south of 50 deg. north. For minelaying in the Baltic, a warm front will approach the Danish coast at midnight, giving very low cloud with layered medium cloud above. Stratocumulus will break at about 12-13-deg. east, and upper cloud will disperse beyond Swinemünde.

 

SORTIES (BALTIC REGION)

A/C disp: 113

Attack on P/A: 107

Attack alt. Area: 1

Abort. sorties: 2

A/C missing: 5

Mines laid: 319

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

Bases: Little cloud at dusk. Medium and low cloud increased in north becoming 10/10ths at 1,500 ft. in Yorkshire by 0400. Low stratus spreading from southwest affected 3 and 8 Groups towards dawn.

Baltic: Mainly cloudless beyond eastern Denmark. Moderate visibility.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

The minelayers encountered comparatively slight opposition, considering that they had little cloud cover. They were pursued eastwards from Esbjerg by fighters brought from the Elbe and further south, and on the way home a few interceptions were made west of Denmark. Our gunners enjoyed unusual success, destroying 4 fighters (2 FW-190, a JU-88 and a Me-110) as well as probably destroying a fifth and damaging another Me-110. Patrolling Mosquito's destroyed another FW-190. The only serious flak opposition on route was met at Esbjerg.

 

CASUALTIES

5 aircraft did not return from minelaying sorties over the western Baltic. 3 were shot down by heavy flak at Esbjerg, Haderslev and Fünen. No fighter victories were seen, and the cause of the other 2 losses is not known. All other aircraft returned undamaged.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 15 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

P/O A. Doran attacked by a Ju-88, claimed destroyed.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax V

A/C number: LL177

Coded: WL - A

Time up: 2045

Down: 0345

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: KADET CHANNEL. Operation successfully carried out.

Mines carried: 2 X 1,500 lb.

 

SORTIE 8

26/27 APRIL 1944

MINELAYING OFF TEXEL ISLAND

GARDENING

SUMMARY

Over 200 Halifax’s and Lancaster’s visited the marshalling yards at Villeneuve-St. George, in the Paris area, before the moon was down. They caused great destruction among rolling stock, tracks and railway buildings. Other bombers went to Chambly and Hamburg, and carried out mine laying and leaflet operations. Intruders attacked enemy airfields, and destroyed at least 5 fighters in combat. From those minor operations, one bomber and 5 fighters did not return; a total of 32 aircraft were missing from the nights operations.

Other targets: Essen, Schweinfurt,

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Fit. Little cloud.

Germany: Broken medium and Stratocumulus.

Essen: Little low cloud, small risk of thin medium cloud at 15,000 ft.

Schweinfurt: 6-8/10ths thin alto-cumulus at 15,000 ft.

 

GARDENING

22 Stirlings and Halifax’s were detailed to lay mines off the Frisians and the Dutch coast. 16 completed their task, laying 49 mines. All returned safely.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 6 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

P/O H. Firth returned with bombs, late to target.

F/O W. Wright attacked by Ju-88, claimed damage.

6 Halifax’s returned from Texel Island as there was no GEE coverage for mining.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax V

A/C number: LL177

Coded: WL – A

Time up: 2215

Down: 0155

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: Minelaying off TEXEL Island. Operation abandoned. No GEE coverage.

Mines carried: 2 X 1,500 lbs.

 

SORTIE 9

27/28 APRIL 1944

MONTZEN, BELGIUM

MARSHALLING YARDS

SUMMARY

Strong forces of bombers also attacked the marshalling yards at Montzen, near Aachen, and Aulnoye. Both targets were severely hit. Mosquitos carried out a feint attack on Stuttgart, and attacked airfields in France and the Low Countries. Other aircraft laid mines, and carried out fighter patrols, special operations and a diversionary sweep over the North Sea. From these operations, 18 aircraft did not return. 6 German fighters were destroyed.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Frontal layer cloud will move southwards over bases during the evening, clearing them soon after midnight, and leaving clear skies and good visibility.

France: Fine. Moderate visibility. Broken Stratocumulus will become more frequent towards 0300 hours in North.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK

Method of attack: OBOE ground marking under the direction of a Master Bomber. 4 Mosquito`s were to drop yellow and green T.I., and red spot fires. Illuminators were to aim flares and bombs at the T.I., if none were visible, they were to drop their flares blindly, orbit and bomb on a second run. The Master Bomber or his deputy was to direct the bombing, and drop more markers if necessary, on visual identification. Main force crews were to bomb as ordered by the Master Bomber.

Timing: Zero hour: 0130 / Duration of attack: 0124 – 0140

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 144

A/C attack P/A: 135

Abort. sorties: 9

A/C missing: 15

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

Stratocumulus gradually increased from nil over the North Sea to 10/10ths. Thin cloud at 4-5000ft. over the target. Cirrus at 27-29,000ft. Wind at 18,000 ft. 340 deg./35 m.p.h.

 

NARRATIVE OF ATTACK

All 4 Mosquitos marked before zero. The Master Bomber ordered his deputy to back up with white T.I. on the center of greens. The deputy undershot, so the Master Bomber backed up the greens himself very accurately. The deputy then dropped more whites on this concentration, and the main force was directed to the whites. The Master Bomber dropped more whites towards the end of the attack. His instructions were clearly received. There was some undershooting by the main force.

 

DAY RECONNAISSANCE

Damage was mostly confined to the eastern half of the yards, which includes the reception and storage sidings, engine sheds, and customs sheds and goods depot. All were severely damaged. Tracks and rolling stock in this area were seriously affected.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

Very little flak was encountered. The first wave of bombers reached the target without fighter opposition, but later waves were attacked as they crossed Holland and Belgium. The first part of the return route was free of opposition, but several encounters occurred from St. Trond to half way across the North Sea. A Halifax destroyed a Ju-88.

 

CASUALTIES

15 aircraft were lost nearly all to fighters. Only one was seen destroyed by flak, south of Liege. Fighter losses were reported as follows: 3 between Asch and Maastricht, 3 over the target, 3 between St. Trond and east of Antwerp and one over the Dutch Coast.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 16 bombers to this night operation, 2 bombers did not return. F/O W. Wright from 434 Squadron was attacked by a JU-88, it was claimed as a probably destroyed.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax V

A/C number: LL177

Coded: WL – A

Time up: 2315

Down: 0410

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: MONTZEN. Primary. 0136 hrs. 14,500 ft. 140 M. 155 IAS. Identified target by Illuminator flares then T.I`s yellow and green bombed T.I green as instructed by M.C. P.F.F. (Master of Ceremonies of Pathfinder Force) Were on time and concentrated. Bombing appeared scattered. One large fire observed after turning homeward and could be seen for 25 miles. Visibility impaired by slight haze. Bombs carried: 7 X 1,000 lbs. 7 X 500 lbs.

 

SQUADRON LOSSES

 

CREW 91

Halifax V. LL243. Coded WL-U

Failed to return from this operation, shot down by a night fighter.

 

F/Lt G. Maffre, Age 23, RCAF, Outremont, Quebec, Canada.

Sgt. A. Fuller, RAF, PoW, Stalag-Luft 6.

F/O A. Stacey, RCAF, Evaded

F/O J. Arscott, RAF, Evaded

P/O G. Snow,  Age 23, RCAF, Cambridge Station, King's Co., Nova Scotia, Canada.

F/Sgt. R. Meek, Age 28, RCAF, Fingal, Ontario, Canada.

P/O V. Cownden, Age 20, RCAF Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

All four aircrew buried in Maastricht General Cemetery, Germany.

 

Stalag-Luft 6: Heydekrug, Germany / 357: Kopernikus (Torun, Poland) 

*The Halifax was shot down by Heinz Schaufer, who was one of the Luftwaffe`s top night-fighter pilots. Schnaufer shot down 121 Allied bombers and London’s Imperial War Museum has part of his aircraft on display.

 

CREW 72

Halifax V. LL258. Coded WL-W. Failed to return from this operation.

 

P/O E. Vigor, RCAF, J/85758

Sgt. A. Randall, Age 19, RAF, Birkdale, Southport, Lancashire.

F/O A. Young, Age 24, RCAF, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

F/O W. Ellwood, Age 30, RCAF, Bolton, Ontario, Canada.

P/O H. Breeze, Age 26, RCAF, Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.

P/O D. Pastorius, Age , RCAF, Essex, Ontario, Canada.

F/Sgt. C. Havill, Age 21, RCAF, Rockingham, Halifax county, Nova Scotia, Canada

All aircrew buried in Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium. 

 

SORTIE 10

30 APRIL/1 MAY 1944

FRISIAN ISLANDS

GARDENING

SUMMARY

Forces of 100-150 aircraft attacked the marshalling yards at Achères and Somain, and the ammunition dump at Maintenon, in cloudless conditions. The first and last attacks were extremely accurate and successful; the yard at Achères suffered enormous damage, and the ammunition dump was virtually destroyed. At Somain, the bombing was centered on the edge of the target, but even so considerable destruction was caused. Only one aircraft was lost from all the nights operations, which included Mosquito raids on Saarbrücken, Düren and the western airfields, and a large mining program.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Fit all night, with little cloud. Moderate visibility.

Frisians: 6-9/10ths. Stratocumulus, and perhaps Stratus also, all below 6-8,000 ft.

 

GARDENING

46 Halifax’s, out of a force of 48, laid 107 mines off the Frisians and the French Channel (including Rouen) and Biscay ports.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 10 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

P/O R. McCullough crew, and F/O W. Wright crew returned early navigation aids u/s.

 

LAFFIN CREW – ORB

A/C type: Halifax V

A/C number: LK708

Coded: WL – L

Time up: 2205

Down: 0125

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: FRISIAN ISLANDS. Operation successfully carried out.

Mines carried 2 X 2,000 lbs.

 

SORTIE 11

1/2 MAY 1944

ST. GHISLAIN, BELGIUM

MARSHALLING YARDS

SUMMARY

7 separate targets in France were raided in force; the marshalling yards at Malines and St. Ghislain (near Mons), the permanent way depot at Chambly, a motor vehicle factory at Lyons, and aircraft repair works near Tours, and an explosives works and aircraft assembly plant at Toulouse. All sustained crippling damage. There was no cloud over many of the targets, except during the later stages of the attack on Malines, and our bombers were helped by the light of half moon. The attack on Chambly was one of the most concentrated ever carried out by the Command. At the same time, Mosquito’s raided the chemical works at Ludwigshaven and the marshalling yards at Achères, while intruders bombed airfields and other aircraft laid mines and made special sorties over the Continent. From all these operations, 9 bombers and 2 fighters were lost; but 3 enemy fighters were destroyed, with 2 more probably destroyed and 3 damaged.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Fit all night, with well-broken thin cloud.

France: Fine, except for broken Stratocumulus in northwest.

Paris: Probably clear.

Brussels: Risk of low stratus after midnight.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK (same as Chambly)

Method of attack: OBOE ground marking, directed by a Master Bomber. 1 Mosquito + 1 reserve on each of channels 1, 3, 11 and 12 were to drop green spot fires, red spot fires, green T.I. and red T.I. respectively. Illuminators were to attack before and after H, aiming both flares and bombs at the T.I. If none were visible, they were to release their flares blindly, orbit and make a second run for bombing. But those attacking after H hour were only to drop flares if ordered to do so by the Master Bomber. The last-named was to direct the bombing, dropping white T.I. at H if necessary. Main force aircraft (3 Group), including Pathfinders under training (?), were to bomb as instructed by the Master Bomber. G-H aircraft were to use their special equipment.

 

ST. GHISLAIN

As for Chambly, except that the main force of Lancaster’s and Halifax’s from 6 Group were to attack in one wave between H and H + 10. Zero Hour: 0001.

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 137

Attack on P/A: 123

Attack alt. area: 1

Abort. sorties: 13

A/C missing: 2

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

St Ghislain: No cloud. Half moon.

 

NARRATIVE OF ATTACK

The Master Bomber arrived late, and his deputy took command in early stages. The markers fell in 2 groups, one to the north and one to the south of the A/P., and crews were instructed to allow for this. The bombing was reported as well concentrated.

 

DAY RECONNAISSANCE

The 2 main targets in the yards, the locomotive sheds and the carriage and wagon repair shops were both almost totally destroyed. Very great damage was also caused to tracks and rolling stock. especially in the storage sidings east of the carriage repair shops, where 150-180 wagons were demolished or derailed. About 40 more wagons suffered the same fate a little further northeast. Many lines were cut. Some of the bombing fell outside the yards to the north and south, where numerous residential dwellings were affected.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

No fighters were seen until Valenciennes was reached, but from that point to the target and back to Zeebrugge there were frequent encounters, including 4 combats, in one of which a Ju-88 was probably destroyed. Flak was negligible, except at Ghent on route.

 

CASUALTIES

2 aircraft were both lost to fighters between Brussels and the coast. Another was badly damaged in a landing accident.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 14 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax V

A/C number: LL136

Coded: WL - E

Time up: 2150

Down: 0250

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: ST. GHISLAIN. Primary. 0012 hrs. 8,000 ft. 168 degs. magnetic. 160 IAS. Identified. flares, red and green T.I.`s. Bombed according to M of C (Master of Ceremonies) instructions. Bombing appeared concentrated. 5/10ths cloud with tops at 2,000 ft. Moderate visibility.

15 X 500 lb. bomb Load.

 

SORTIE 12

9/10 MAY 1944

CALAIS, FRANCE

COASTAL BATTERIES

SUMMARY

53 Lancaster’s and Halifax’s bombed the coastal battery at Calais without loss.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: fit all night, except locally towards dawn.

Continent: Clear skies, west of 14 deg. East. Slight haze in Northern France.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK

4 OBOE Mosquito’s were to drop T.I. at the center of which the main force was to aim. H= 2330 at Calais.

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 53

A/C attack on P/A: 53

Abort. sorties: 0

A/C missing: 0

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

Bases: Fit

Northern France and Belgium: No cloud below cirrus levels. Moderate to good visibility, with industrial haze in Paris area. Moon just past the full.

 

NARRATIVE OF ATTACK

On this target, the markers were accurate and the bombing concentrated around it.

 

DAY RECONNAISSANCE

Reconnaissance of this target was made useless by haze. The battery was very badly hit during the subsequent fortnight.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

None of our forces for Calais reported any attacks, although hostiles were sighted. The flak was slight.

 

CASUALTIES

No losses for the Calais forces.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 7 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax V

A/C number: LL177

Coded: WL - A

Time up: 2135

Down: 0110

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: CALAIS. Primary. 2330 hrs. 10,000 Ft. 156 degs. IAS 165. Vis. Clear. Bombed Northern salvo of red T.I`s. One salvo of Red T.I`s fell over a built up area another North, then another fell on the later salvo so this was chosen as being confirmed. 15 X 500 lb. Bomb Load

 

SORTIE 13

27/28 MAY 1944

LE CLIPON, FRANCE

COASTAL BATTERIES

SUMMARY

Bomber Command dispatched over 1,100 aircraft. The main targets were the military camp at Bourg-Leopold, and the Rothe Erde marshalling yards at Aachen. Both received concentrated attacks. Smaller forces visited the airfield at Rennes, the railway junction at Nantes, and 5 coastal batteries. Mosquito’s bombed Berlin, Düsseldorf and many airfields in Germany, France and the Low Countries. Fighters and minelayers were also active. The whole nights work cost us 25 bombers and 3 fighters. 10 enemy aircraft were destroyed.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Little cloud. Moderate visibility.

Continent: Fine everywhere. Good visibility west of 01 deg. East, little cloud.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK

Le Clipon and Boulogne coastal battery: 4 OBOE Mosquito’s were to mark each target with green T.I., at the center of which the main forces were to aim.

H=0035 at Le Clipon, 0115 at Boulogne.

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 53

Attack on P/A: 52

Abort. sorties: 1

A/C missing: 0

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

All French targets: - No cloud. Moderate visibility. Thick haze at Marsalines, in a layer at 5-6000 ft.

 

NARATIVE OF ATTACK

All the attacks on coastal batteries were reported as well concentrated around the markers in the target area, except that at Le Clipon, where the markers fell in a line a mile long and the bombing was scattered.

 

DAY RECONNAISSANCE

No reconnaissance was issued for the coastal batteries.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

Few fighters were present over the coastal targets.

 

CASUALTIES

A Lancaster was lost at Merville. It apparently exploded over the target. A Mosquito did not return to base from St. Valéry; it was ditched after being hit by light flak, (and was soon on the water,) off the French coast. The loss on Rennes was caused by light flak at the target. Few returning aircraft were damaged, but one was wrecked by a fighter attack.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 15 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax III

A/C number: LW389

Coded: WL - F

Time up: 2225

Down: 0230

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: LE CLIPON. Primary. 0033.25 hrs. 6,500 ft. 186 degs. IAS 175. Visibility good - Slight haze. Bombed green T.I`s. 0031hrs. Markers appeared ok with bomb bursts close, but markers scattered as attack closed. 16 X 500 lb. Bomb Load.

 

SORTIE 14

5/6 JUNE 1944 (D-DAY)

MERVILLE-FRANCEVILLE, FRANCE

COASTAL BATTERIES

SUMMARY

Over 1,300 aircraft of Bomber Command visited northern France on the night of the invasion of Western Europe. 1,100 of them attacked coastal batteries between Rouen and Cherbourg; others dropped dummy paratroops, bombed enemy airfields, jammed radar transmissions and imitated the radar returns of naval convoys. 9 bombers and 2 fighters were lost.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Fit all night, with little cloud and good visibility.

Germany: Little cloud in Northwest. Much cloud elsewhere.

France: Broken Stratocumulus in northwest. (5/8ths in Cherbourg area).

Base: 3,000 ft. tops to 5,000 ft. Very good visibility.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK

Houlgate: Sallennelles: Ouistreham: Mont Fleury: Merville-Franceville: Maisy: Longues.

OBOE ground marking with emergency H2S ground marking. 5 Mosquito’s were to mark each target with red T.I. Emergency blind markers either were to release green T.I. on the intersection of an H2S flight line and a GEE lattice line or might release on positive visual identification, if no T.I. were visible. But if T.I. were burning they were to hold their markers. Backers up were to aim green T.I. at the reds, the center of greens, or the A/P itself if they could identify it visually. Main force crews were to aim at the center of reds or of greens. H= 0350 at Houlgate; 0030 at Sallonnelles and Merville-Franceville; 0505 at Ouistreham; 0435 at Mont Fleury; 0320 at Maisy; and 0420 at Longues. Mosquitos from H-3 to H-1. Emergency blind markers at H-1. Backers up at H+1 and H+2. Main force from H to H+8.

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 116

Attack on P/A: 113

Aborted sorties: 1

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

Bases: mainly fit, but 2 minor troughs moved southwards, bringing cloud base to 2,000ft. and rain.

French coastal batteries: - 5-10/10ths Stratocumulus, tops about 5,000ft. Full moon. Wind at 7,000ft. 310 deg/35 M.P.H.; at 9,000ft. 300 deg/40 m.p.h.

 

NARRATIVE OF ATTACK

Cloud was dense over this target for photographs to give any clear picture of the course of the attacks, but all were reported as fairly well concentrated.

 

DAY RECONNAISSANCE

No reconnaissance reports were issued for these attacks.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

Fighters were active over the Normandy coast throughout the night; although only in the later raids did they show much readiness to engage our bombers. It is significant that no returning bomber sustained fighter damage. Flak was nowhere intense. One enemy aircraft was damaged off Sallennelles.

 

CASUALTIES

Only 6 aircraft were missing from these operations. One was shot down by flak at Mont Fleury and 2 were seen to go down in combat near Caen and Lisieux. None of the other losses were observed. One Halifax was wrecked in a taxiing accident, and another crashed on landing.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 17 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax III

A/C number: LW389

Coded: WL - F

Time up: 2210

Down: 0340

*F/S Smith, WO/AG replaced F/S Donaldson, K. (sick in hospital)

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: MERVILLE-FRANCEVILLE: Primary. 0031 hrs. 198 degs. IAS. 170. 10/10ths cloud with tops 7-8’000 ft. Target identified by green and red T.I.`s Bombed centre of glow of T.I`s red. PFF punctual and concentrated. No results seen due to cloud. 16 x 500 lb. Bomb Load.

 

 

SORTIE 15

6/7 JUNE 1944

CONDÉ-SUR-NOIREAU, FRANCE

ROAD AND RAIL CENTRES

SUMMARY

Over 1,100 aircraft of Bomber Command were active in support of the armies in Normandy, attacking road and rail centers in the battle area and near Paris. Mosquito's bombed Ludwigshafen and enemy airfields, and intruders destroyed 8 enemy aircraft. Mines were also laid. 12 bombers were lost.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: A trough of 10/10ths. Cloud to 18,000 ft. will move southeastwards across the British Isles, leaving much low cloud behind, with clear lanes in medium cloud.

Continent: Much Stratocumulus and medium cloud in NW France. Stratocumulus should be very well broken in Cherbourg and Paris areas. Variable cloud inland. In Germany, cloud will disperse.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK

Controlled OBOE ground marking. 5 OBOE Mosquito's were to drop red and green T.I. The Master and his deputy were to assess the accuracy of these and, if possible, release yellows or whites. Otherwise, main force crews to be ordered to attack the center of the reds and greens. H=0150 at Condé-sur-Noireau.

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 122

Attack on P/A: 115

Attack alt: 1

Abort. sorties: 6

Missing: 0

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

Bases: Much cloud, base generally 800 -1500 ft. lifting slowly to 1,000-2,000 ft.

French targets: 7-10/10ths. Cloud, base 5-6,000 ft. tops 7-9,000 ft. Good visibility. Wind: 320 deg. / 35 M.P.H. at 5,000 ft. increasing to 40 M.P.H. at 10,000 ft. Full moon

 

NARRATIVE OF ATTACK

The first markers fell nearly a mile east of the A/P, but the next 2 were within 250 yards. Some time elapsed before the Master Bomber was clearly understood. Then a good attack developed.

 

DAY RECONNAISSANCE

Nearly every building in the town center was gutted or demolished. The 3 choke points were plastered with craters.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

The German fighter controllers ordered their fighters to the area of Le Havre before our bombers reached France and extensive fighter movements took place in that region, reinforcements being called from Belgium and Holland. This activity appears to have been concerned, however, with the reported approach of gliders, which was a cause of greater anxiety to the enemy than the operations of the main bomber forces. No interception of the latter was affected and the whole of the night activity resulted in only 8 fighter attacks. Even the Achères force, operating in the Paris area, encountered only one hostile aircraft. Heavy flak was nowhere troublesome, but the accuracy required at most of the targets necessitated bombing from below low cloud and some damage and losses to light flak were therefore inevitable.

 

CASUALTIES

12 bombers were lost from these 9 attacks. 6 did not return from the last mission of the night on Caen: 2 fell to light flak at St. Lô and the target, and a third was destroyed in combat. A Lancaster was shot down at Achères by a fighter, as were 2 bombers near Vire. One aircraft fell to light flak near Coutances. 4 losses may therefore definitely be attributed to fighters, and 3 to light flak. Only one returning bomber sustained severe fighter damage; but a bomb hit a Halifax over Coutances, and the crew had to bail out over England.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 19 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax III

A/C number: LW389

Coded: WL - F

Time up: 2315

Down: 0500

*F/O James, D., WO/AG replaced F/S Donaldson, K. (sick in hospital)

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: CONDÉ-SUR-NOIREAU Primary. 01523 hrs. 3,000 ft. 122 degs. IAS 170. Clear, cloud above. Target identified by red and green T.I`s. Bombed concentration of red T.I`s. PFF on time and marking concentrated. M.B. (Master Bomber) instructed to bomb red T.I`s. Several fires and much smoke observed. 16 x 500 Bomb Load

 

SORTIE 16

9/10 JUNE 1944

LE MANS, FRANCE

AIRFIELDS

SUMMARY

Airfields provided the main targets on this night. Forces of about 100 aircraft visited Rennes, Le Mans, Laval, and Flers and delivered damaging attacks despite cloudy weather. 5 Group went to the railway junction at Etampes, and Mosquito`s bombed Berlin. Minelayers were also active. 8 bombers were lost.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Generally fit, with broken cloud. 6 Group bases may be affected by a cold front.

Continent: An occlusion will lay at midnight from Hebrides to Bouchars to 54N. 04E, becoming warm to Hannover to Nuremberg and cold to Lille to northwest of Paris to southeast of Nantes. Cloud will extend to great heights along the cold front; in the warm sector, there will be thick medium cloud and Stratocumulus. 10/10ths. In northwest France, base 2,000ft. perhaps improving to 6-7/10ths.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK

Controlled OBOE ground marking. 2 OBOE Mosquitoes were to drop green T.I., and 3 others red T.I. Illuminators, running up on H2S and GEE, were to aim their flares at T.I. if visible, otherwise blindly. But if there was more then 5/10ths. Cloud, they were to hold their flares. The Master Bomber or his deputy was to drop more markers if necessary, and direct the bombing. If visual identification was impossible, he was to order crews to aim at the center of all markers. A backer-up was to aim whites at the center of T.I., unless otherwise instructed by the Master Bomber. H=0015 at Le Mans. Mosquitoes from H-3 to H-1. Illuminators at H-2. Backer-up at H+4. Main force from H to H+5.

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 112

Attack on P/A: 10

Abort. sorties: 3

A/C missing: 2

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

Bases: During the late evening, an area of low cloud and rain covered all regions southeast of a line Wash-Thorney Island. This cleared the country by 0400. Elsewhere, there was variable cloud at 2,000 ft. and good visibility.

Targets: 6-10/10ths. At 6-8,000 ft. at Le Mans. Three quarters moon, rising at 0400.

 

NARRATIVE OF ATTACK

3 groups of red T.I. were tightly packed around the A/P, with yellows slightly to the north. A concentrated attack followed, and bombs were seen to burst among the airfield buildings.

 

DAY RECONNAISSANCE

A great concentration of craters blanketed the central portion of the landing ground, with scattered damage to the dispersal areas on the out skirts. The Gnôme et Rhône aero-engine factory was damaged again and 11 aircraft on the ground suffered from fire or blast.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

Fighter opposition was slight, except at Etampes. This was the only raid that threatened Paris, and the bombing lasted 35 minutes. Fairly intense light flak was met at Rennes and Laval, and a moderate amount was fired from Le Mans and Etampes.

 

ENEMY AIRCRAFT DESTROYED

Our bombers destroyed 2 Ju-88`s, 1 Dc-217, 1 Me -109, and probably 1 FW-190, and damaged 1 Ju-88. A SERRATE Mosquito destroyed another Dc -17.

 

CASUALTIES

8 of the 518 aircraft engaged in these attacks were lost – 6 of them on the Etampes raid. As has been stated, the bombers were over the target for 35 minutes, and 5 aircraft were lost during this period - 3 to fighters and 2 to flak. The sixth fell between Versailles and Rambouillet, but the cause is unknown. Both the other losses occurred over Laval, but the cause of only one was established. It was destroyed by light flak at 2-3,000 ft. No serious landing or taxiing accidents were reported.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 13 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax III

A/C number: LW389

Coded: WL - F

Time up: 2128

Down: 0340

F/S - Smith, R., WO/AG replaced F/S Donaldson, K. (sick in hospital)

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: LE MANS. Primary. 0019.41 hrs. 5,000 ft. 220 degs. IAS 180. Clear weather with slight haze - Vis. good. Bombed slightly to port of T.I`s red. Few fires seen. 16 x 500 lb. Bomb load.

SORTIE 17

12/13 JUNE 1944

ARRAS, FRANCE

RAILWAY JUNCTIONS

SUMMARY

Bomber Command returned in strength to Germany after 3 weeks devoted to the bombing of French targets, with a damaging attack by 276 aircraft on a synthetic oil plant at Gelsenkirchen. 6 other forces of over 100 aircraft were sent against rail junctions and bridges serving the German troops in Normandy; they experienced more cloud than had recently been experienced over Northern France, and all the targets were well hit. Mosquito’s bombed Cologne, and minelayers and intruders were active. 40 bombers were lost (17 on Gelsenkirchen and 23 on the French targets) but our crews claimed to have destroyed 20 enemy fighters, and to have damaged 8 others.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Fit all night, with little cloud until dawn.

France: 10/10ths. Medium cloud in extreme west, breaking eastwards.

Base: 15,000 ft over Normandy, with little or no Stratocumulus.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK

Controlled OBOE ground marking. 2 OBOE Mosquito’s were to drop greens and 3 others reds. Illuminators were to run up on Y but aim their flares at T.I. if possible (first flare "sights on", the rest at 10 second intervals). The Master Bomber or his deputy was to direct bombing, them selves dropping more flares and T.I. if necessary. If visual identification was

impossible, crews were to be told to aim at the centers of all markers. A backer up was to aim whites at the center of T.I., unless otherwise ordered. Mosquito’s from H-3 to H-1. Illuminators at H-2. Backer up at H+2. Main force from H to H+8. H=0140 at Arras.

 

SORTIES

A/C Disp: 107

Attacked on P/A: 100

Abort. sorties: 7

A/C missing: 6

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

9-10/10ths. Thin layers at 10-16,000 ft. over Arras. Half moon rising at 0230. Wind at 5,000 ft. 260 deg./25 m.p.h.

 

NARRATIVE OF ATTACK

The markers were tightly grouped around the A/P, and the attack developed well, although the Master Bomber was not clearly heard.

 

DAY RECONNAISSANCE

The turntable near the locomotive sheds, and the bridge leading over the yards from the passenger station to the reception sidings, both received direct hits, the former being destroyed. 20 craters knocked out all lines leading to Douai, Lille and Amiens, Doullen, Étaples.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

The Longeau and Cambrai forces entered occupied territory before nautical twilight, so as to leave before moon rise; and as they reached their targets, the St. Roch and Arras bomber streams came in over the same route, i.e. around the south of the coastal defence belt. Meanwhile, other aircraft had gone to Caen in Normandy and Poitiers in the far south. The forces on Amiens targets, Cambrai and Arras all met stiff fighter opposition, mostly on the early part of the homeward routes. The Cambrai bombers, in particular, were heavily engaged from the target to Lille. The route to Arras lay over an area to which the searchlight and defence belt seemed to have been extended from the west, and these aircraft, having bombed from 4,000 ft. and loosing height as they departed presented good targets for the light guns. The forces on Caen and Poitiers met few fighters. Flak was not severe at the targets themselves. 16 of 20 enemy aircraft destroyed on this night went down in combat with the forces engaged on these French targets – 8 of them to the Halifaxes at Amiens.

 

CASUALTIES

No aircraft was lost on Caen or Poitiers; but 23 did not return from the other 4 French targets. 9 of these were lost on Cambrai – 6 to fighters between the target and Lille, one to light flak at the latter town, and 2 to coastal defences or flak ships off Dunkirk and Ostend. 3 of 4 Longeau losses were due to fighters between the target and Dieppe, and the fourth to target flak. The casualties on Arras are less easily identified, but 3 seem to have been caused by light flak on the way out and 3 by fighters on the homeward route. St. Roch force lost 4 bombers, 2 to flak at Amiens and 2 to fighters between Beauvais and Rouen. No serious landing or taxiing accidents occurred, but one Halifax was struck by a bomb over Longeau, and was wrecked beyond repair, although it made its base.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 15 bombers to this night operation, 3 crews failed to return.

F/O R. Pratt returned early as the port outer was u/s. They landed safely at base on 3 engines.

P/O H. Hawley was attacked by a JU-88; both stbd engines caught fire but were put out. The rear gunner was still able to shoot down the JU-88. They landed without further incident at West Raynham on 2 engines.

 

LAFFIN CREW – ORB

A/C type: Halifax III

A/C number: LK801

Coded: WL - D

Time up: 2258

Down: 0304

F/O – James, D., WO/AG replaced F/S Donaldson, K. (sick in hospital)

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: ARRAS. Primary. 0144 hrs. 4,400 Ft. 057 degs. IAS 160. Target identified by red and green T.I`s. Bombed between green and red T.I`s. M/B (Master Bomber) gave instructions to undershoot green T.I`s. Bombing seemed well concentrated around green T.I`s. 18 x 500 lb. Bomb load.

 

SQUADRON LOSSES

 

CREW 76

Halifax III. LW173. Coded WL-K. Failed to return from this operation. Shot down by a Nightfighter.

6 crew were killed and 1 POW.

 

W/Cdr C. Bartlett, Age 26, RAF, DFC and Bar

Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, Canada.

P/O C. Kyle, Age 21, RCAF, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.

F/O R. Kelso, Age 22, RCAF, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

F/O J. Alexander, Age 24, RCAF, Naniamo, British Columbia, Canada.

Above 4 aircrew buried at Calais Canadian War Cemetery, France.

F/Lt D. Crawford, RCAF, PoW,Stalag-Luft3.

P/O R. Campbell, Age 20, RCAF, Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada.

F/O R. Learn, Age 24, RCAF, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.

Above 2 aircrew buried at Givenchy-En-Gohelle Communal Cemetery, France.

 

Stalag-Luft 3: Sagan and Belaria, Poland.

 

CREW 84

Halifax III. MZ-293. Coded WL-S.

Failed to return from this operation.

 

P/O F. Tandy, Age 27, RCAF, North Bay, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt T. Roberts, Age 20, RAF, Llanllwchaiarn, Montgomeryshire.

P/O A. Morgan, Age 33, RCAF, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. B.Sc. Agriculture.

P/O J. Swan, Age 31, RCAF, Montreal, Quebec. Canada.

P/O P. Legge, Age 21, RCAF, Norfolk, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

F/O R. Hewitt, Age 24, RCAF, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

P/O C. Dymond, Age 20, RCAF, London, Ontario, Canada.

All crewmembers buried at Dunkirk Town Cemetery, France.

 

CREW 79

Halifax III. LW-713. Coded WL-P.

Failed to return from this operation.

 

P/O W. Wood, Age 21, RCAF, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Sgt T. Ely, RAF, PoW, Stalag-9C/Muhlhausen

F/O D. Robertson, RCAF, Evaded

P/O G. Ovenden, RCAF, Evaded

Sgt R. Buckman, Age 21, RAF, Rudgwick, Sussex;

Both aircrew buried at Runnymede Memorial, United Kingdom

Sgt J. Persche, RCAF, Evaded

Sgt G. Nordin, RCAF, Evaded

 

Stalag - 9C: Muhlhausen, Germany

 

SORTIE 18

14/15 JUNE 1944

CAMBRAI, BELGIUM

RAILYARDS

SUMMARY

224 aircraft delivered a most accurate attack against troop concentrations at Aunay-Sur-Odon, completely obliterating the target area. Other forces of over 100 aircraft bombed the port area at Le Havre (following the big daylight raid), railway junctions at Cambrai, Douai, and St. Pol and M/T concentrations at Evercy. Mosquito's visited Gelsenkirchen and enemy airfields, and mine layers and fighters were active. Only 5 aircraft, of the total forces of over 900 were lost. 6-7 enemy fighters were destroyed.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: fit all night. Cloud will disperse to small amounts.

Continent: Little cloud west of the Rhine. Further east, convection cloud will tower to 15,000 ft. in coastal areas, but good clearances will be found inland.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK

Controlled OBOE ground marking. 2 OBOE Mosquito's were to drop green T.I., and 3 others reds. Illuminators were to run up on GEE and H2S and drop their flares blindly (or aim at T.I. if any were yet down). But if there was more than 5/10ths cloud, flares were to be retained. The Master Bomber or his deputy was to drop more markers if necessary, and direct the bombing. If visual identification was impossible, he was to order crews to aim at the center of all markers. A backer up was to aim whites at the center of markers, unless other wise instructed. Mosquito's from H-5 to H-3. Illuminators at H-4 and H+1. Backer-up at H+3. Main force from H to H+6. H=0055 at Cambrai.

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 107

A/C Attack on P/A: 105

Attacked alt: 0

Aborted: 2

Missing: 2

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

Bases: Fit.

Cambrai: 5-10/10ths. Base 8-10,000 ft. with large breaks.

 

NARRATIVE OF ATTACK

Crews found difficulty in hearing the Master Bomber, but a fair concentration was achieved. 4 groups of T.I. were plotted within 400 yards of the A/P.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

Fighter opposition was surprisingly slight. Only 14 of the 757 returning aircraft were attacked, and none of these were damaged. Little flak was encountered.

 

CASUALTIES

5 aircraft were lost on all these targets - a very small proportion. All these losses seem to have been caused by fighters. No returning aircraft were badly damaged.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 12 bombers to this night operation, all returned safely.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C Type: Halifax III

A/C number: LK801

Coded: WL-D

Time up: 2310

Time down: 0310

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: CAMBRAI. Primary. 0057.16 hrs. 12,000 ft. 154 degs. IAS 160. 8/10ths thin cloud with hazy break over target. Identified target by glow of T.I`s seen 0051 hrs. 16 x 500 lb. bomb load. Stalag-Luft 3, Sagan and Belaria, Poland.

 

SORTIE 19

"DAYLIGHT OPERATION"

15 JUNE 1944

BOULOGNE, FRANCE

HARBOUR/PORT

SUMMARY

297 aircraft were dispatched in daylight to attack targets in the dock area (port and E-boat pens). The marking was continuos and appeared to be accurate and clearly seen, and bombing appears to have been concentrated on the T.I`s. Good fires are reported in the dock area with numerous explosions, one particularly large explosion estimated to be in the Southwest corner of the Bassin Loubet. Cloud conditions made accurate assessment of results difficult, but crews consider that subject to accurate marking, the attack was a success. Ground defenses, though never intense were more accurate then in the Le Havre area the previous day. Only a few fighters were seen. 1 Lancaster is missing.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Target: Conditions of thin layer cloud with base at 8/9,000 feet and tops to 12,000 feet.

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 297

Attack on P/A: 273/1

Abort. Sorties: 22

A/C missing: 1

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 13 bombers to this "Daylight" operation, all returned safely.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax III

A/C number: NA494

Coded: WL - B

Time up: 2020

Time down: 0028

8th Crew member W/O McCunn, J. Mid-under/AG

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: BOULOGNE. Primary. 2237.50 hrs. 15,000 ft. 128 degs. IAS 170. 7/10th cloud with break over T/A. Vis good. Target identified by red T.I`s. Bombed red T.I`s. Large explosion at 2251 hrs. in T/A. Looked like a good effort. Fighter cover ok. 18 x 500 lb. Bomb load

 

SORTIE 20

16/17 JUNE 1944

STERKRADE, GERMANY

SYNTHETIC OIL REFINERIES

SUMMARY

321 bombers visited the synthetic oil plant at Sterkrade, in West Germany, but it was covered with thick cloud, and the attack was scattered. Some damage was caused. Opposition from both fighters and flak was severe, and 31 bombers were lost. Forces of 70-120 aircraft attacked 4 flying bomb sites in the Pas de Calais; Mosquito`s went to Berlin, and minelayers and fighters were active as usual. One more aircraft was lost.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Bases: Much Stratocumulus. Good visibility.

Ruhr: 8-10/10ths. Stratocumulus, base 1,500-2,000 ft. tops 9,000 ft. possibly with patchy layers above.

France: Much Stratocumulus in west, becoming broken in south and northeast.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK

OBOE ground marking. 10 Mosquitoes were to drop red T.I. backers up were to aim greens at the center of the reds, or of earlier greens; and the main force were to bomb on the same principle. If the T.I. appeared only as a glow, they were to aim at the near side of the glow. H=0120. Mosquitoes from H-5 to H+5. Backers up at H+2 and H+6. Main force in 2 waves from H to H+8. Bombing height: 19-22,000 ft.

 

SORTIES

A/C disp: 321

Attack on P/A: 301

Attack alt: 1

Abort: 19

A/C missing: 31

 

WEATHER EXPERIENCED

Bases: Cloudy. Light rain. Moderate to good visibility.

Sterkrade: 10/10ths. Thick cloud over target and whole route. Tops at target, 14,000 ft. No moon. Wind 340-deg./65 m.p.h.

 

NARRATIVE OF ATTACK

The markers quickly disappeared into the cloud. Most aircraft bombed their glow, but the attack seemed scattered.

 

DAY RECONNAISSANCE

9 units of this plant were damaged; an oil storage tank, a small building east of the main refinery, a contact oven house, a gas purification tank, a compressor house, a fertilizer silo, a research building, the catalyst plant and the office building.

 

ENEMY DEFENCES

The Sterkrade force was divided into 2 roughly equal streams, which took separate routes, passing respectively north and south of Rotterdam. Unable to determine where the main attack would develop, the enemy controllers reverted to the old beacon system, first assembling their fighters near Bocholt. The 2 bomber routes converged towards this beacon, which is usually used for the defense of the Ruhr and lies only 40 miles from Sterkrade, and so met severe fighter opposition. Flak was also intense, and is thought to have accounted for a third of the losses. The forces engaged on French coastal targets met little opposition from flak or fighters. One enemy aircraft was destroyed.

 

COUNTER-MEASURES

2 new radio-counter measures were used on this night, for the first time in support of operations. MANDREL SCREEN, in which MANDREL-fitted aircraft orbit a position 80 miles from the enemy coast to jam the early warning system. Also FIDGET, a ground jammer, directed at those M/F beacons used to transmit information to fighters.

 

CASUALTIES

31 aircraft were lost on Sterkrade - on the first wave (attacking from H to H+4) and 24 on the second H+4 to H+8). 14 appear to have been due to fighters, 9 to flak and 8 to unknown causes (probably fighters). No losses were incurred on the French targets. One returning aircraft was irreparably damaged by flak, and another was wrecked in a taxiing accident.

 

RCAF 434 SQUADRON NOTES

 

The "Bluenose" Squadron contributed 15 bombers to this night operation, 4 crews failed to return.

P/O H. Hawley from 434 squadron returned early as the bomb sight was u/s.

P/O R. McCullough was hit by flak and attacked by an enemy aircraft. The fuselage and port wing were damaged by flak and port inner, flaps, tire, fuel tanks, controls, and fuselage by the fighter. The crew was able to return safely without further injuries or damage.

 

LAFFIN CREW - ORB

A/C type: Halifax III

A/C number: LK801

Coded: WL - D

Time up: 2242

Down:

 

DETAILS OF SORTIE

Target: STERKRADE. This A/C was airborne 2242 hrs. Since then nothing has been heard from it.

18 x 500 lb. Bomb load.

 

SQUADRON LOSSES

 

Crew 52

Halifax III. LK792. Coded WL-N.

Failed to return from this operation, all were killed.

P/O W. McQueen, Age 24, RCAF, Hamilton, Ontario. Canada.

P/O D. McAllister, Age 24, RCAF, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

P/O P. Kingston, Age 20, RCAF, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

P/O A. Warrington, RAF

P/O M. Habiluk, Age 21, RCAF, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

2 RAF and 1 RCAF aircrew buried at Ede General Cemetery, Netherlands.

P/O C. Beech, Age 20, RCAF, Scarborough Bluffs, Ontario, Canada.

4 RCAF aircrew buried at Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, Netherlands.

P/O W. Pearcey, Age 19, RAF, St. Denys, Southampton.

 

Crew 87

Halifax III. MZ297. Coded WL-Z.

Failed to return from this operation, all were killed.

P/O E. Dwyer, Age 22, RCAF, Trail, British Columbia, Canada.

P/O S. Kaiser, Age 25, RCAF, Lambeth, Ontario, Canada.

F/O J. Lummis, Age , RCAF, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

P/O A. Moorby, Age 22, RCAF, Camrose, Alberta, Canada.

P/O T. Turner, Age 29, RCAF, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

P/O N. Moore, Age 31, RCAF, Verdun, Quebec, Canada.

Sgt J. Bolton, Age 28, RAF, Stanmore, Middlesex.

Aircrew buried at Amersfoort (Oud Leusden) General Cemetery, Netherlands.

 

Crew 88

Halifax III. LK-801. Coded WL-D.

Failed to return from this operation. 1 was killed, 4 POWs, and 2 evaded capture.

W/O1 M. Laffin, RCAF, PoW, Stalag Luft 7

F/O J. Martin, RCAF, PoW, Stalag Luft 3

F/O G Chapman, RCAF, PoW, Stalag Luft 3

F/Sgt K. Donaldson, RCAF, PoW, Stalag Luft 7

P/O C. Soderstrom, Age 21, RCAF, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.

Ruurlo General Cemetery, Netherlands.

Sgt C. Wentworth, RCAF, Evaded

Sgt E. Druett, RAF, Evaded

 

Crew 92

Halifax III. LW433. Coded WL-W.

Failed to return from this operation, 3 were killed, 3 POWs and 1 evaded capture.

F/Sgt F. Haldenby, RCAF, PoW, Stalag Luft 7

F/Sgt E. Downing, RCAF, PoW, Stalag Luft 7

Sgt J. Dougherty, RCAF, PoW, Stalag Luft 7

P/O W. Good, Age 21, RCAF, Mountain Grove, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt T. Inverarity, RCAF, Evaded

P/O A. Boehmer, Age 19, RCAF, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

RCAF aircrew buried at Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, Netherlands.

Sgt P. Ager, Age 18, RAF, Ongar, Essex.

Zundert Protestant Churchyard, Netherlands.

 

Stalag Luft 3: Sagan and Belaria, Poland.

Stalag Luft 7: Bankau, Poland.

 

Summarized Details of Sorties flown by the Laffin Crew:

 

Sortie # Date Aircraft Type Serial # & Code Time Up Time Down Target
1 03/26-27/1944 Halifax Mk V LL-167  WL-M 19:05 00:40 Courtrai, Belgium
2 03/29-30/1944 Halifax Mk V LK-992  WL-G 18:35 00:55 Vaires, France
3 04/01-02/1944 Halifax Mk V LL-136  WL-E 19:28 23:15 Terschelling Island (mining)
4 04/18-19/1944 Halifax Mk V LL-240  WL-C 20:43 03:43 Kiel Bay (mining)
5 04/20-21/1944 Halifax Mk V LL-240  WL-C 21:10 02:15 Lens, France
6 04/22-23/1944 Halifax Mk V LL-177  WL-A 20:40 02:35 Laon, France
7 04/23-24/1944 Halifax Mk V LL-177  WL-A 20:45 03:45 Kadet Channel (mining)
8 04/26-27/1944 Halifax Mk V LL-177  WL-A 22:15 01:55 Texel Island (mining)
9 04/27-28/1944 Halifax Mk V LL-177  WL-A 23:14 04:10 Montzen, Belgium
10 04/30-05/01/1944 Halifax Mk V LK-708  WL-L 22:05 01:25 Frisian Islands (mining)
11 05/01-02/1944 Halifax Mk V LL-136  WL-E 21:50 02:50 St.Ghislain, Belgium
12 05/09-10/1944 Halifax Mk V LL-177  WL-A 21:35 01:10 Calais, France
13 05/27-28/1944 Halifax Mk BIII LW-389  WL-F 22:25 02:30 Le Clipon, France
14 06/05-06/1944 (D-Day) Halifax Mk BIII LW-389  WL-F 22:10 03:40 Merville-Franceville, France
15 06/06-07/1944 Halifax Mk BIII LW-389  WL-F 23:15 05:00 Conde Sur Noireau, France
16 06/09-10/1944 Halifax Mk BIII LW-389  WL-F 21:28 03:40 Le Mans, France
17 06/12-13/1944 Halifax Mk BIII LK-801  WL-D 22:58 03:04 Arras, France
18 06/14-15/1944 Halifax Mk BIII LK-801  WL-D 23:10 03:10 Cambrai, Belgium
19 06/15/1944 Halifax Mk BIII NA-494  WL-B 20:20 00:28 Boulogne, France
20 06/16-17/1944 Halifax Mk BIII LK-801  WL-D 22:42 FTR Sterkrade, Germany