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Thread: Stirling III EF188 149 Sqn 24/06/44

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    Default Stirling III EF188 149 Sqn 24/06/44

    Hello everyone

    In my research I've just come across the loss of the above Stirling, and have a question about the burials of the crew. The aircraft was lost off Brest, France on June 24th 1944 on a Gardening mission.

    According to Chorley's BCL 1944 and the CWGC, four of the crew were buried there in the Kerfautras Cemetery. The CWGC has the remaining three as buried in the War Cemetery in St Charles De Percy, some 330 km away in Calvados, 44km SW of Caen. Chorley, however, has them in Plougonvelin Communal Cemetery, 20 km away from Brest, which would seem a much more logical place for them to be. The CWGC site has no records of burials in the cemetery at Plougonvelin.

    It's quite a large discrepancy, distance-wise. Could the three in Plougonvelin have been moved later to St Charles? It just seems an awfully long way away.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hello

    Just two pence worth. St Charles de Percy was an "open" CWGC cemetery. I mean that when in recent years an airman was located in Normandy (may be as far as Britanny), he would be buried there. It happened with the Typhoon pilot Reg Thursby circa 1984, and I think with another Typhoon pilot, Don Mason.

    So perhaps that means a burial made long after the war, in recent years, rather than in wartime.

    Also, Plougonvelin might have been the initial burial, which is sometimes given in the BC loss cards, which were the main source of Bill Chorley for his masterpiece.

    But that's only an idea.

    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 12th July 2012 at 16:18.

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    Thanks for the reply Joss.

    I'd an idea that they were re-interred after the war, as is so often mentioned in the BCL books, particularly so with the airmen who died over Germany.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Simon,

    Three of the crew were RAAF. An examination of their casualty files held by the National Archives of Australia will probably reveal an MRES report(s) giving recovery and burial details.

    Errol

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    Default Stirling Plougonvelin

    Hi Simon,
    I do know well this crash site, having investigated for both accounts and remains. The plane crashed on a farm, not at sea. I don't remember the source of the translation, but please find this information that is on the web, but that is a copy of a document whose author may not know about it, as he's not reported as the source.
    (I've been in touch with relatives of Sgt Duckworth, and F/Sgt McQuitty and Richards)
    Best
    Gildas

    The information :
    Night of terror TRAON BROUENNES (Plougonvelin)

    Written by Administrator
    21-07-2006
    Night of 23 to 24 June 1944, the 1757th night of war, about 2 am, a bomb attack on the Port of Brest ends.
    Planes away, the lights go out, everything returns to calm. A slight clarity hints at the outline of things and the sky is clear.

    At Traon Brouen in Plougonvelin, Jean-François Bleas who has long hesitated to wake the children and give the starting signal to go to the family shelter finally decides to give it up.
    Despite the din of the Flak, addiction helping, this raid was a moderate one and many families have found it unnecessary to seek refuge in shelters. There have been worse and more pressing face of danger.

    Jean-Francois, a good Christian faithful to the sacred rites had long prayed at the foot of the bed before going to bed that night more than other days.
    A moment, as he held his head between his hands to better collect, the small, three years in a month, had come to kneel with her father. Pious devotion to the family of any creator who had joyfully celebrated the feast God on Sunday last. The children were clothed in their finest clothes and return to the farm, horse-drawn wagon, was made with great bursts of laughter ... they breathed the joy of living.

    Reassured by the end of the raid, Jean-Francois tries to sleep but can not. He holds back the ear when ten to fifteen minutes later, a dull roar distant, very distant echoes in the night. From that moment, the countdown to the cruel fate of the inhabitants of this farm begins.
    The children are sleeping peacefully when a bomber is approaching and that the sound of engines amplifies.

    Curiously, this is not a regular noise. It is as if the engines had failures. Jean-François, even if this is abnormal irregular hum, does not worry unduly.
    And yet! Suddenly the spotlight of Ty Baol which is barely at 300 meters away from the farm and turns its beam almost immediately detects the device it is now in its bright and white light.
    Trapped in this terrible lighting, the bomber moves on keeping it seems the same course, but curiously, the Flak is silent. So what does it exactly mean ?
    Certainly hit by the coast Flak as he arrived near the north coast of Finistere, the four-engine British EF188 Squadron 149 of the RAF is in distress.
    Witnesses who observe its progression see it surrounded by flames. Two of the seven crew members: the navigator Leslie RICHARDS, 21, and the radio Frank BRADY (one English, one Australian) have (according to the archives of the RAF) without doubt parachuted over the sea , when it was still time. Five airmen probably are still unable to leave the aircraft surrounded by flames. Maybe some of them they are injured.

    The four-engine, which took off from Lakenheath base near Cambridge, is a Short Stirling bomber. This type of aircraft is the first British heavy bomber and is capable of reaching 500 kilometers with a load of 7 tons of bombs. He is armed with 8 machine guns "Browning" and is in operation since February 1941.
    So you can imagine the desperate efforts of his young pilot aged 23, Ted LINCOLN, trying to keep control of his aircraft gradually losing altitude ... tragic face to face with death for his young crew. A great spirit of camaraderie motivates these volunteers serving in the bombers. There are only six days, the Australians Ted LINCOLN and Frank BRADY invited to lunch at the home of the parents of Leslie RICHARDS, have with their teammates posed for a photo near the trees of the garden (see photo).

    More recently, the crew went on night leave Tuesday in the evening. At table, Leslie Richards, conversing with his father, spoke of the cruel fate of those - women and children - who were sometimes below them when they dropped their bombs in the proximity of a target making them so vulnerable.
    This face of war seemed to affect him, but it’s the fate of all wars to have innocent victims. Leslie's sister, Iris, is a patriot. She serves as an aircraft mechanic in a RAF base as W.A.F.F.
    Parents have already been achieved in their property during the Blitz, whose home was destroyed in Bristol. The mother lost two brothers during the war of 14/18 and she fears for her son who could follow the same fate.

    The bomber that is on a dropping mines mission in the harbor of Brest, which is still a prisoner of Ty Baol search light is now on the last stage flight of its flight. Passing very low over the town of Ploumoguer, its flames highlights the church clock. Dogs, frightened by the roar of its engines, pull on their attachments and angrily barked to death. Frightened by the trajectory of the aircraft that comes right toward them, the servants of the projector suddenly extinguish their light spot and rush into the shelters.
    At Traon Brouen, the farm boy of 22 years has risen, and is in the hallway and about to leave the house, but upstairs, the children are asleep. At the base of the stairs, tidy the better to pass an eventual precipitated departure, the shoes large and small, and beside the small wicker basket containing the essentials of what must be preserved at all costs! Everything was planned, but the brutality of fate will make these precautions ridiculous.

    Then everything goes very quickly. A curtain of trees screens in the path of the aircraft that struck the mid-height before crashing on the first floor of the house where the children sleep. It's hell! Only one gear resists to the shock. The roof is projected onto the threshing floor and burn in a snap dry slate to a temperature of failure. A gigantic torch rises above the farm, over 20 meters high and will disappear after a few seconds of burning. These are the burning fuel tanks with their contents. It's horrible! The machine gun bullets crackle in the flames. Piles of hay and straw and some farm outbuildings caught fire, and in this environment of flames, some human are already dead, while others struggle for survival. The airmen, projected into the surrounding fields or prisoners of rubble, died, horribly burned for most. One of them, Edward Eaton, was found in a field near his Browning machine gun. The remains of others will be extracted from the rubble at the time of removal.
    So, the Mayor of Plougonvelin, Mr. Le Goasguen, thinking one or more members of the crew may have parachuted , made the Germans believe that the account is ok. He was right but unfortunately the two airmen who had the time to jump died too ... their bodies rejected from the sea to the coast.

    Without dwelling on the cruel fate that has struck the family Bléas, it is said, simply, that children of two, five and twelve years, and the farm boy were killed in this Dante’s universe . Jean-Francois, horribly burnt while crossing the wall of flames that surrounded him on all sides, died piously at night on the 25th, not without having mastered his conscience to the end.
    Only survivors of the tragedy, the mother and Leonie, the daughter, fled at Kergasnou, in the family, soon followed by Jean-François who was carried with great care by some men who had rushed to the scene. Warned of the tragedy, the rector of Locmaria the Beadle and Dr. Bossard reach Kergasnou and provide first aid, but it is urgent for Jean-Francois, who is headed to the Lequerré clinic at Plougonvelin.

    While the German members of the projector, immediately after the drama consumed, place sentinels in all accesses to filter civilians, brave neighbors involve, risking their lives. Saving what can be ... farm machinery, farm animals ... some calves, foals, pigs. They hoisted the tin roof of a manger a heifer and a fat pig, the door being blocked by flames. The herd of cows that had been left free in the fields outside escape to the disaster .

    A German sidecar came from Brest and after a rough search of parachuted airmen at Locmaria, went to the scene. One of the Germans took the papers of one of the airmen looking for any paper that could identify the plane
    .
    Eight to nine neighbors work freely despite all the dangers (mines have not yet blown up) all night, working to find any sign of life and the sidelining of the property that does not have been engulfed in flames. A mare, mad with grief, has long revolved around a burning stall enclosing her foal before it went itself into the fire. Only men with well-tempered soul and generous heart could cope with this nightmare world. They will do so until the end, and almost all come back the next day, after a short break at home.
    At seven o'clock, when an ambulance takes on board the wounded at Kergasnou, then also the rescuers of the night had just returned to their homes, suddenly, a serie of explosions succeeds at Traon Brouen. Alas, these explosions caused extensive damage ... the ground floor of the house is blown, stables, barns and barn were destroyed. Both mares are killed as a result of the devastating blows. At half past eleven, when the Mass ends at Plougonvelin three explosions shake the windows of the church. It is said that these explosions were caused by German bomd disposals, with poorly controlled knoledge in mines, and that some of them have died. There is no doubt that it is all these cascading explosions that caused the most damage.

    At 3:30 p.m., a group of "13th Landesschützen Kompanie der Luftwaffe" (13th company of shore duty in the German air force) climbed aboard a van and bound Kerfautras Cemetery in Brest, four coffins. On the crest of a garment one could read CANADA (Fox was Canadian). Other coffins taken by another German group were later transported to Plougonvelin cemetery (since 1981, these airmen were re-buried in the cemetery of St. Charles de Percy in Normandy. The graves of T. Lincoln, Fox, Richards and Brady are still at Kerfautras).

    Front row, left to right: E. Duckworth, T. Lincoln, L. Richard.
    Second row, left to right: F. Brady, Mc Quitty. E. Eaton H. Fox
    (Note from Gildas : following a contact with Duckworth’s brother, his brother is the second from the left in the rear row, not the first)

    On Saturday, a few fires still exist here and there. On Monday morning, the clearing of the debris begins (a draft has already been done by the first rescuers). Debris from the four-engine were thrown all around the farm and the tangle of cables and plates around the house bother filling up the net. And then a chain of solidarity, led and followed by Jean Lamour, is set up to reap the harvest, plow the fields, care for livestock. This amount of dedicated volunteers has been largely inspired by the tragic drama that struck the farm. And then the mother and daughter, after a short period of rest and relaxation with the family, returning to settle Traon Brouen to fulfill the promise made to father before his death. First installed in a barn and then in a wooden hut that has been allocated, they will face life bravely. How not to marvel at the generosity of the agricultural world first, and how not to admire the courage, tenacity in the face of extraordinary physical and moral suffering of the wife of Jean-François. She who saw the collapse in such a short time, the entire space of happiness she had patiently woven for her children, she found herself alone in life to run a farm for happiness of her little Leonie. If the injury of the heart opened June 24 will heal with time, it will always of course, vivid memory of his loved ones.

    For 35 years, the mother of Ted Lincoln (the pilot), who erected a memorial in Sydney in tribute to her son, will correspond with the farm of Traon Brouen. The mother of another airman, Duckworth, came after the war to visit the scene. The mother of Leslie Richards has never consoled for the loss of her son. She died in December 1983. Leslie's sister came with her daughter to the grave in Kerfautras in 1984.
    Finally, moved by the tragedy of this drama, a Glasgow committee under the aegis of Miss Anderson and Lord Inverclyde, whose purpose is to try to heal the wounds of the children the most severely affected by war, has selected Leonie Bleas to spend three months in Scotland. Fifteen other little orphans, like her, took off from Le Bourget on May 3, 1946.
    The bomber EF188 was not the only, oJune 24th, not to return to its base. At the 149 Squadron, on the four bombers who had left England, only one returned to its base. It deplored the loss of two crews victims of flak, and a bomber crashed into the English countryside, on his return from mission.


    On June 27, 1987, a monument recalling this tragic event has been erected at the site of the house, at the initiative of the Cacqueray Family, was inaugurated in the presence of Mr. Louis Caradec, mayor of the town, of the parish rector, of Mr. Cheminant from the General Counsel, and Mr. Goasduff, deputy. The inauguration of the stele was followed by the presentation of the Croix de Chevalier du Mérite Agricole to Mr Ms Bleas.

    On Jan the 4th 1989, in the presence of a moved and large audience, the funeral of this brave mother was celebrated in the parish church of Plougonvelin.

    She Was a wonderful lady said about her Leslie Richards’s sister, learning the sad news (it was a wonderful woman).
    Last update: (05-04-2007)

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    Hello Gildas

    That's a tragic and very moving story, so thank you very much for sharing it with us all. It's amazing anyone at all survived in the house by the sound of it.

    Regards

    Simon

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