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A Lancaster(?) crew shot down over Flanders


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I came across these 6 graves of 7 members of a bomber crew in a cemetery in Kortrijk, Belgium the other day and was wondering if anyone can tell me anything about where they may have been shot down and what sort of bomber they would have been flying.

The names are:

Flying Officer D.R.L. Cook DFC RCAF 27 years old

Sgt. John Fulton, Air Gunner RAFVR

Sgt. Douglas Whitehead Garside, Flight Engineer RAFVR 22 years old of Oswestry, Shropshire

Flt./Sgt. Kenneth Corbett McCormick, Air Bomber RCAF 21 years old

Sgt. Leonard Alfred Rolfe, Wireless Op/Air Gunner RAFVR 21 years old of Woolwich, London

Pilot Officer E. Smith, Air Gunner RCAF 20 years old of West Summerland, BC, Canada

Pilot Officer Henry Sulz, Navigator, RCAF 24 years old of Sunnybrook, Alberta, Canada

All 7 were killed on 4.11.44.

What?s the difference between a Flying Officer and a Pilot Officer and why would a Pilot Officer be an air gunner?

I?ve checked the CWGC, DRL Cook isn?t mentioned but all were in 626 Sqn.

With them is Flying Officer Douglas Bruce Jeffery, RAAF 20 years old of Burnside, S. Australia who died 21.7.44. Does anyone know his unit and what he could have been flying?

Tony

Edited by Tony
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Tony,

That's the crew of a Lancaster I of 626 Squadron. They took off from Wickenby at 1716 for an operation against Bochum. They crashed near Menin, in Belgium, near the French border (NNW of the town of Tourcoing).

While this was the only loss from 626 Squadron, 31 other bombers were lost that night in the attack on Bochum, plus several others in raids on Berlin and Solingen.

Flying Officer Jeffrey was pilot of a Lancaster I of 467 Squadron, which took off from Waddington on ops against Courtrai. While Jeffrey is buried in the St Jean Communal Cemetery, the rest of his crew are in the Wevelgum Communal Cemetery.

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That was quick and a lot more than I expected to hear.

I had driven there through Menin and Wevelgum (where there's a very good bakery) to get to Kortrijk (Courtrai) that morning.

Thanks!

Tony

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What's the difference between a Flying Officer and a Pilot Officer and why would a Pilot Officer be an air gunner?

Tony,

Both are ranks :

Flying Officer is the equivalent of a Lieutenant in the army (Oberleutnant in Germany),

Pilot Officer of a 2nd Lieutenant (Leutnant)

Regards,

Hendrik

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It wasn't unusual for R.C.A.F. gunners to be commissioned part way through their tours if they met the standards. Unfortunately many of these commissions ended up being posthumous.

Here's a good example. Two of these gunners were R.A.F. Ballentine (R.C.A.F.) is listed as a Pilot Officer in CWGC.

I remember in the 1970s seeing a photo of a retiring Canadian Forces General, with his AG wing proudly displayed on his tunic.

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