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Thread: circumstances of loss of Halifax III MZ972 MH-O of No. 51 Squadron, 24 September 1944

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    Default circumstances of loss of Halifax III MZ972 MH-O of No. 51 Squadron, 24 September 1944

    Hello,

    I'm actually trying to find out more details about the loss of the crew of Halifax III MZ972 MH-O of No. 51 Squadron, during a daylight raid against Calais on 24 September 1944.
    The form 541 of Squadron ORB has no other details than "nothing further has been heard since the time of take-off and it is reported missing".
    There were no survivors and the 7 members are buried in Pihen-les-Guines War Cemetery, inland from Calais, but some casualties in this cemetery were also recovered from the sea.
    But in this case, navigator F/Sgt Peter George STIEFEL, 1601649. R.A.F. (V.R.). is buried in plot n 1, row E, grave n 7, while his 6 crewmates are buried in collective grave 8-11.
    They were :
    pilot F/O John Nicolas BISCHOFF, 177254. R.A.F. (V.R.)
    flight engineer Sgt Neville JOYCE, 3012024. R.A.F. (V.R.)
    bombardierF/S Jack Gardener PLESTED, 1198121. R.A.F. (V.R.)
    WOp/AG Sgt Luther John JONES, 1669239. R.A.F. (V.R.)
    Air gunner F/S Bertie Alexander WATSON, 1104163. R.A.F. (V.R.)
    Air gunner F/S Leonard Gordon PAGE, 1380018. R.A.F. (V.R.)

    As they were all R.A.F. airmen, there isn't the possibility to access a MRES investigation paper through Canada or Australia, if there had been a R.C.A.F. or R.A.A.F. airman on board.

    Perhaps a forum member has already been through the case of one of these airmen ?

    I thought at first that they may have crashed in the Channel, but with 6 in a collective grave and one in a separate one, I'm wondering if the crash may have occured on the ground. Unfortunately, Bomber Command lost 8 bombers that day against Calais, and while we have located some of the crash sites, MZ972 remains the only one I've not located so far.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Joss

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    Default

    Hi Joss, unfortunately I have no info which can help but have you tried to contact researchers of 51 Squadron?

    http://www.51squadron.com/Information/HistoryTeam/HistoryTeam.htm

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hello Pavel,

    Thanks for your suggestion. Will do that.

    A search on the net didn't provide anything that I didn't know before.

    Joss

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