The following information was amassed through my research, I found these particular details about the crew of MZ589 to be quite interesting.
Flying Officer Ray White, the crew's original Bomb Aimer missed the Hamburg op due to illness. His bout with pneumonia saved him from certain death and he went on to survive the war.
431 Squadron suffered its worse
losses of the war on the July 28/29th, 1944 Hamburg Raid. 5 aircraft and crews
were lost in total.
Number 6 group also suffered its worse losses of the war on the raid, 22 aircraft and crews did not return.
232 RCAF aircraft took part in the Hamburg raid, 46 Lancasters and 186 Halifaxes.
Halifax MZ-589's pilot, Flying Officer Joseph Collver, was only 19 years old, one of the youngest Canadian pilots to be lost in the entire war.
2,019,000 lbs of ordinance was dropped on Hamburg during the raid.
431 Squadron was stationed at Tholthorpe before moving permanently to Croft.
434 Bluenose Squadron also
operated from Croft.
The RCAF required all Wireless Operators to also be trained as gunners, they could man a Lewis gun in the nose turret of the Halifax when not manning the wireless set.
P/O WAG W.Gerald Sorel disappeared 2 days prior to his 22nd birthday.
Some years later, Gerald Sorel's sister Jeanne would give birth to her son David on the 29th of July, the night crew of MZ589 was lost.
Croft airbase is now used as a racetrack. Darlington & District Motor Club which operates at Croft uses the 431 Iroquois Squadron patch as their club logo. (Click here for an aerial view of what Croft looks like today)
The Runnymede Memorial which bears
the names of the crew of Halifax MZ-589 is located next to the site where the
Magna Carta was signed.
MZ-589 was built by English Electric Co, Salmesbury, Preston
29,000 operational Halifax missions out of a total of 37,000 in World War 2 were flown by Canadian crews.
431 Iroquois Squadron is still flying today, they are now known as 431 Air Demonstration Squadron or "The Snowbirds"
Of 6176 Handley Page Halifaxes originally built, none are flying today, there are only 6 examples surviving in museums worldwide.
Halifax bombers were manned by 7 crew members. A pilot, flight engineer, navigator, wireless operator, mid upper gunner, tail gunner and bomb aimer.
MZ589's squadron letters were SE-H click here to see a graphic.
The crew of MZ589 participated in the same operation where P/O Andrew Mynarski won his posthumously awarded Victoria Cross. Could they have known each other?