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Thread: Lancaster - Walcheren operations October 1944

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    Default Lancaster - Walcheren operations October 1944

    On various dates in October 1944 Bomber Command flew missions to Walcheren/Flushing to help clear the Scheldt River and so open the port of Antwerp.
    Several Lancasters (+ one Halifax) were lost in these operations.

    I wonder if on any of these dates (I counted nine or ten) a Lancaster had to make an emergency landing at the little used Allied airstrip at Bruges-St. Croix (B-63).
    Witnesses say at least one killed crew member was taken off the airplane, with several more wounded. The bomber also had a damaged engine.
    After a week or so the aircraft could take off again, but not without some difficulty: the airstrip was described as being a "potato field".

    Elderly witnesses I've spoken do all remember that a bomber has landed, but have no recollection anymore of a more precise date.
    Please note that some local, but not detailed accounts speak of a B-17, but since Bruges-St. Croix was nearest from Walcheren/Flushing to function as an Allied emergency airstrip, I must explore the possibility of a Lancaster as well.

    If anyone has knowledge of the above, then I'm most happy to hear so, thanks.

    Leendert
    Brugge, Belgium

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    Hi Leendert
    Would the "Elderly Memories" be able to name the crewman who was killed? There would be a reasonable chance that he was buried locally to the airfield for a while. It sounds as though the a/c survived and would not appear as a loss in the 1944 vol of Chorley but the name of the dead crewman should be in Vol 9, the Roll Of Honour, and this could tie down the date and Sqn. A long shot but a possibility.
    Regards
    Dick

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    Leendert

    No lone Lancaster or Halifax aircrew buried in Belgium between 18/9/1944 and 23/9/1944 or 3/10/1944 and 30/10/1944.

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    Thanks for your replies. The people I've spoken around the old airfield were all in their early teens in 1944.
    The field was still in military use and they wouldn't have had any access to it.
    No name(s) are known.

    I've checked the CWGC site as well to see if a RAF Bomber Command crew member was buried in places as Brugge, Adegem and also G(h)ent, but to no avail.
    It therefore looks it was a B-17 as here and there stated in local accounts, the more so because one witness told me it was a "silver" coloured bomber.

    Regards,

    Leendert

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    Leendert
    Don't forget that the CWGC site will show where people are buried now and may not give any indication of an earlier burial somewhere else. I believe the process of gathering the dead into a smaller number of larger cemeteries was largely a post war exercise by CWGC and it's predecessor, Imperial War Graves Commission although it continued a practice begun in WW1. There might still be a chance of finding a name from local Church or council records and if a body was later moved, CWGC would amend their record to reflect the move and not the original burial, particularly on their website.
    Regards
    Dick

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    Leendert,
    "Silver coloured bomber" seems to point to a USAAF aircraft. Any chance anyone remembers the tail unit? Twin fins or a single fin would narrow it down more.
    Bill

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