Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Crash of Halifax JN920 - 22/10/43 - Retie

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Netherlands currently
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Crash of Halifax JN920 - 22/10/43 - Retie

    Hi
    I am currently living with my family on the Dutch/Belgian border and every day we drive through the small town of Retie taking our children to school. I noticed that the communal cemetery there has a Commonwealth War Grave so decided to pop in to pay my respects: there are several cemeteries in the area from WW2 but they are not as well attended as those in N. France/East Belgium from WW1 so they need to know we remember (and I am an ex serviceman). There is one grave there belonging to Sgt. R.S. Sitch of the RAF who died on 22nd October 1943 aged 21. Some research has led me to discover that Sgt. Sitch was the wireless operator on board Halifax JN920 that crashed close to Retie on 22/10/42 en route to Kassel killing all on board. The Halifax was flying with 51 Squadron, out of RAF Snaith, and crashed at 2001 hrs. 2 crew members were never identified and the other 4 were identified after the war and buried in a larger cemetery in Antwerp. I guess Sgt. Sitch was the only crewmember who could be identified at the scene.
    I have approached the town council in Retie to see if any local residents remember the cuircumstances of the crash but would like to know if any forum members have information concerning this incident.
    Simon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    299
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Simon,

    The following information about Halifax JN920 LK-L from 51 Squadron comes from RAF Bomber Command Losses 1943 by W R Chorley:-

    Took off 1755 Snaith. Came down at 2001 near Retie, 11 km SE of Turnhout. Most were initially buried at Fort III Borsbeek, but in the post war years four have been identified and taken to Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerpen. Sgt Sitch lies at Retie Communal Cemetery, but Sgt Willians and Sgt Parker have no known grave and both are commemorated on Runnymede Memorial.

    Crwe onboard:-
    Sgt C E Hall RCAF
    Sgt M S Williams
    Sgt G H Bennett
    Sgt E Parker
    Sgt R S Sitch
    Sgt J C Cowie
    Sgt T V Lewis

    You may find further info about each of the men if you look them up on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website www.cwgc.org

    Hope that helps
    Linzee

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,372
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    hello,

    As the pilot was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, you might find it very useful to contact the national archives in Canada (Ottawa), the name has recently changed (Library Archives of Canada ?) and ask for the details about Sgt C.E. Hall.

    If you browse this site you'll find the contact details (better to send a fax) about the "genie package" as it is called (genie is short for genealogical). One thread about it is :

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4249&highlight=genie+package

    Give them the service number of Hall (you'll find in on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website) and explain you'd like to know more about the loss of the pilot. They should give you the report from the Missing Research & Enquiry Service, which should answer some of your questions.

    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 2nd April 2009 at 09:57.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Netherlands currently
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Thanks

    Joss and Linzee
    Thanks for your help.
    I will start the process with Canadian archice service and see what more can be gleaned. Best Wishes
    Simon

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    686
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default Jn920

    Hello ,

    Perhaps this can help:
    22/10/1943
    Kasterlee
    Halifax II
    2001hrs
    Sgt Hall Clowes E pilot R/73485 RCAF (KIA) 25 year
    Sgt Williams Melville S 1654794 (MIA) 29 year
    Sgt Bennet George H navigator 1474654 (KIA) 20 year
    Sgt Parker Edward 1318622 (MIA)
    Sgt Sitch Ronald S gunner 1444720 (KIA) 21 year
    Sgt Cowie John C 1822254 (KIA) 20 year
    Sgt Lewis Thomas V gunner 1337949 (KIA) 25 year
    Buried Fort III Borsbeek , after identification Schoonselhof cemetery Antwerpen
    Sgt Stich Retie communal cemetery
    Sgt Williams en Sgt Parker Runnymede Memorial

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Netherlands currently
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Thanks

    Hi Alain

    Thanks for your reply with the crew details. I will get in touch with the Canadian Archives and Library service. However as you are in Belgium, and the information you provided may have come from local sources, I was wondering if you had access to any first hand accounts or local police reports that may throw some more light on what caused the Halifax to crash and in such a way that (it looks as if) the crew did not have time to bail out. I have sent an email to the Gemeente in Retie but you may know of a better source for such accounts in Belgium. I am intrigued that your report mentions Kasterlee, when the crash was apparently closer to Retie, where Sgt. Sitch was buried.

    Thanks again

    Simon

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    686
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default Jn-920

    Hello David ,

    I can tell you one more little thing , the crashsite must have been in Kasterlee at a place named " Bosdellen" near the river the Kleine Gete . Thats all i have on this crash. Perhaps you can check out if there is a perhaps a " Heemkundige Kring " in Kasterlee , these are people who are interessed in the history of the town or village.

    Greetings

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Netherlands currently
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default In conclusion

    Alain

    Just to thank you again and to inform you that I contacted the " Heemkundige Kring " in Kasterlee. They were very helpful and it seems that the crash has been well researched already.

    If anyone is interested details of the crash can be found on www.wingsmuseum.co.uk. Select 'memorials' and you will find a comprehensive illustrated history.

    Best Wishes

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    686
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default

    Hello David ,

    I'm pleased that i was able to help you.

    Greetings
    Alain12

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Simon....

    I'm living in Dessel I'm very much interested in WWII. A week or three ago, when I was walking some backroads I saw this memorial of that crash at the crashsite....

    I allready found a lot of the crash on the internet. The lancaster is allready been excavaded in 1999 but if you want some pictures of the crashsite..just ask

    greetz, groetjes Jonesy
    Last edited by Jonesy; 17th May 2009 at 07:44.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •