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Thread: Halifax crash on 2/5/1944

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    Default Halifax crash on 2/5/1944

    Hi,

    Here is my problem : a German report KU 1175 said a Halifax crashed near Braine-l'Alleud (Belgium) on 2/5/1944. Two local witnesses showed me their diaries where they wrote at the time an aircraft crashed at Braine-l'Alleud (one said it was a British bomber) at the same date. Until now I cannot link this crash with any RAF losses during this night. Can somebody help me with this mysterious crash ? Thanks a lot in anticipation.

    Régis

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    Default RCAF Halifax crash

    Sorry my European geography isn't very good, so I don't know if this fits. From my records:

    Halifax Mk. III LW415
    Served with No. 429 Squadron, RCAF, coded "AL*K". Bombed Essen on 29 March 1944. Failed to return from attack on the rail yards at St. Ghislain on 1 / 2 May 1944, attacked by a night fighter and exploded in mid-air. 6 killed 1 evaded.

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    Default Halifax crash on 2/5/1944

    Hi Régis,

    This seems rather strange

    The KU reports referred to United States aircraft while the KEs were UK. I am wondering why a Halifax crash would get listed in a KU report?

    I wish I had copied the entire registry of KU reports held by NARA in Suitland, Maryland when I was there last year. Hopefully, someone else on the board has them.

    It seems you have an interesting mystery on your hands.

    Best,

    Dave

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    Default

    Hi Regis
    Following up on Dave's info about KU referring to US ops. On the night of 1/2 May 1944 the US 801 BG sent 25 B24s into N Europe incl Belgium on clandestine ops at low level. This is from Roger Freeman's Mighty 8th War Diary. It doesn't seem that he reports losses from these ops so it is possible that there were some. The B24 has a reasonable resemblance to the Halifax, and wartime a/c recognition was never exactly brilliant even among Fighter Pilots. Perhaps a check on American graves in the area and on the ops which went under the codename Carpetbagger might be useful.
    Regards
    Dick

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    Default american cemeteries

    hello Dick,

    It was american policy to transfer the graves of their KIAs and gather them in large military cemeteries, the moves being carried out usually in 1945 and 1946 (for my part of France at last, which is on the Belgian border). So this is usually not a clue, unless you can find old cemetery reports with names, or even sometimes the odd picture of a wooden cross with a name on it.

    On the samples of KU/KE reports I've seen, there were sometimes confusions and a report would have been started.

    It may be a four-engine British plane, but not belonging to Bomber Command (hence not in Bomber Command Losses by W.R. Chorley) : I have such a case of a Halifax from either 38 or 46 Group (can't remember at the moment) near Lille in february 1945, before the formation of Transport Command. And that Halifax crashed returning from a bombing mission, but was not, strictly speaking, part of Bomber Command.

    Régis, do you think this crash occured during the night 1/2 or the night 2/3 May 1944 ?

    Joss

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    Default Halifax crash on 2/5/1944

    Hi all,

    Many thanks for your information. Concerning the Halifax III LW415/AL-K, this aircraft was claimed by Oblt. Georg-Hermann Greiner (11./NJG 1) at Bevere (2 km N.W. of Oudenaarde). The bomber exploded, but miraculously the pilot (F/O Stuart M. Leslie, R.C.A.F.) was ejected and survived. He evaded capture, but was taken POW near the French border. He was sent to the St Gilles prison in Brussels and fortunately was liberated in September 1944.

    More interesting is the fact that Oblt. Greiner claimed another Halifax at 00.15 h during the same night at 15 km S. of Brussels, thus near Braine-l'Alleud...

    I learned too that Sgt James T. H. Burton (the only surviving crew member of the Halifax III HX347/ZA-Q) was hidden in Waterloo, the town near Braine-l'Alleud, but this aircraft is claimed being shot down at Eppegem (N. of Brussels) !

    The Carpetbaggers are interesting, too. I will check.

    Concerning the KU reports, there are some relating to British bombers...

    Rgds.

    Régis

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    Default Halifax crash in Belgium

    I've spent some time on Google Earth to update my knowledge of Belgium geography, and I think that either of the Halifaxes mentioned above could have come down at Braine-l'Alleud, or at least some major pieces of either aircraft could have made it that far.

    We have to assume some possible error in the Luftwaffe position reports of the shoot downs, and we have to assume that the victim aircraft, or the big pieces, still have some forward velocity after exploding or lossing control. A straight fall from 15,000 feet above ground level would take at least 30 seconds, and at 200 mph the wreckage could travel nearly 2 miles before hitting the ground. If there are any aerodynamic qualities left in the wreckage, the fall time could be considerably longer, and the glide could easily be stretched to several times this distance.

    In several recent light twin accidents where the airframe came apart at this sort of speed and altitude, wreckage pieces were found up to 10 miles apart. There are also well dsocumented cases of aircraft flying for many tens of miles after the crew baled out.

    Just something to keep in mind when trying to relate reported sites of shoot downs with crash locations.

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