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Thread: Yank in RAF Bill Keogh kia Kiel 1942

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    Default Yank in RAF Bill Keogh kia Kiel 1942

    Can anyone help with information on an American in the RAF who was lost in an attack on Kiel, probably sometime in the first half of 1942. The name I have is Bill Keough, he was probably stationed at or near Bentley Priory, and he is described as being '...one of the first Americans to cross into Canada and then make his way to England to join the RAF.' I don't have any real clues as to rank or duty other than it appears he was in bombers.

    I am satisfied that this is not George Keough, who has appeared in other threads.

    Anything would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Bruce
    EDIT: I have spelled name wrongly in thread title, KEOUGH is correct.
    Last edited by bruce dennis; 23rd June 2009 at 13:53.

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    Anyone who died serving in the Commonwalth forces you shoudl be able to find on teh www.cwgc.org databases and this seems to match yoru search:
    Name: KEOUGH, WILLIAM JOSEPH
    Initials: W J
    Nationality: Canadian
    Rank: Pilot Officer (Pilot)
    Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
    Unit Text: 97 (R.A.F.) Sqdn.
    Age: 22
    Date of Death: 02/06/1942
    Service No: J/6175
    Additional information: Son of Thomas Joseph and Jeannette Wade Dunn Keough, of Portland, Maine, U.S.A.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: 14. C. 3.
    Cemetery: REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY

    As an American its not unusual to find him as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

    This also means you can request his service record from the Canadian National Archives.

    Personnel Records Unit,
    Library and Archives Canada,
    395 Wellington Street,
    Ottawa,
    ON K1A 0N3
    Fax: (613) 947 8456


    http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/022-909.007-e.html

    And luckily for you, the operations of 97 Sqn are transcribed here:
    http://www.97squadronassociation.co.uk/flightops2.html

    Aircraft was Lancaster R5571
    Last edited by dennis_burke; 23rd June 2009 at 14:07.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Dennis,
    Thanks, that's him. He cropped up in a WAAF memoir, and made quite an impression on the family that that took him under their wing. The detail that emerges from the WAAF account is that she was informed that his plane was lost while attacking Kiel. The ORB in the 97 Sq link does not mention Kiel, and states that the a/c was lost without 'further news'. Considering the position of the WAAf in an ops room, it is possible there may have been further information after the ORB was written and, to be thorough, next time I am at Kew I will check ASOs in the period following the loss for any updates.

    Regards,
    Bruce

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    Hi Bruce
    If Dennis has the right man he was lost on Lancaster I,R5571,OF-A, during an operation to Essen on the night of 1-2/Jun/1942. The cause of the loss is not recorded in Bomber Command Losses,Vol 3 by William Chorley from which the details come. 97 Sqn were based at Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire. The whole crew lost their lives and Keough seems to have been the Flight Engineer.I would query the connection to Bentley Priory, as this was a non-flying unit at Stanmore in Middlesex just North of London and was in fact the HQ of Fighter Command but if his personnel records are available it may clear this up
    Regards
    Dick

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    Hi Dick,
    Thanks for the additional background, and now the geography becomes clear. Bentley Priory is where the WAAF telling the tale was stationed, and that is where the two met. She doesn't spell out the logistics, but the two eaw each other on a regular basis for some time before his loss. Perhaps it was inconvenient, but it wouldn't have been the only long-distance relationship of the war and is a reminder of the energy of youth.

    Regards,
    Bruce

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    Not really adding much to this thread but here is the Orb account.



    1/2June 1942 – Essen – Bomb load 1 x 4000lb 8 x SBC 4lb

    R5571A F/S H.L.Davies, P/O W.J.Keough, Sgts E.B.Goodwin, A.G.McMechan, E.Smith, E.H.Coone, J.L.Goddard. Up 2350. Missing from this op.
    R5487V F/S R.Fletcher, F/S G.McKenna, F/O T.Blair, F/S J.Wilkinson, Sgt J.Garland, P/O Kirkwood-Hackett, F/S D.Bale. (no times shown). Bombed primary from 12,000 feet. 8/10ths cloud at 5,000 feet. Bombs released on TR fix, confirmed by visual. No bursts observed. Flew over convoy on way out – no opposition from it. Little heavy flak. Quite a few searchlights and numerous dummy fires. Saw two aircraft shot down.
    R5502M F/L B.R.Hallows, Sgt J.H.Dinning, P/O P.Cutting, F/S B.Louch, F/S L.Jones, Sgt W.Broomfield, Sgt T.Goacher. Up 2340 Down 0203. Rear turret failed when about to cross the Dutch coast. As there was no target to attack without going inland, decided to return to base. Bombs were jettisoned to allow weight to come within landing load.
    R5559W F/O E.A.Deverill, Sgt J.S.Cooper, P/O E.R.Butler, Sgts J.Irons, J.Devine, J.Benbow, F/S H.Keane. Up 2321 Down 0240. Bombed primary from 17,200 feet. Good visibility but 7/10ths light broken cloud at 7/8000 feet. Average searchlight and flak activity over large area. Uneventful outward and return journey.
    R5496U F/S J.Adams, F/S F.Falls, Sgts H.Creeth, A.Stafford, J.R.Dawson, F/S J.Goldie, Sgt N.E.J.Linnett. Up 2336 Down 0303. Approach was made as per briefing and bombs dropped from 14,000 feet. 1/3 can of incendiaries hung-up. Very little opposition was encountered. A large ship was seen to be approaching the Dutch coast. Position and time plotted. Heavy flak was observed from this ship.
    R5612R P/O M.Hughes, Sgts H.Lawton, W.Isted, F/S A.Crerar, Sgts R.Harris, G.Mercer, D.Overton. Up 0020 Down 0424. Soon after crossing Dutch coast a huge red glow was observed. Dropped bombs visually in centre of Essen as TR went u/s on way out. Despite cloud, fires observed 60 – 70 miles away on return journey. Starboard inner failed after leaving target.
    L7577T P/O G.Hartley, P/O N.Briant, W/O J.Canham, Sgts R.Gross, C.Mayland, D.Suckling, F/S H.Concannon. Up 2338 Down 0320. Primary attacked from 17,000 feet on TR. Flares illuminated approximate target area but did not illuminate ground. Three compartments of incendiaries hung-up.
    R5609S P/O C.Keir, F/S N.Croppi, P/O M.R.Smith, Sgts C.Shepherd, K.Saw, H.Jenkins, E.Wharton. Up 0011 Down 0350. 6/10ths cloud over target. Bombs released on TR fix from 15,000 feet. Three distinct fires observed. A good trip – no trouble anywhere.
    R5538H F/L C.W.Miller, F/S M.D.Cullinane, Sgts A.T.Grossmith, B.Robinson, N.L Smith, F/S A.Nickerson, F/S R.Westgate. Up 2328 Down 0246. Bombed primary from14,500 feet on TR fixes. River sighted just after bombs released. Ground detail very difficult to identify owing to cloud. Flares, many sticks of incendiaries and few H.E.’s. Trip to and from target much livelier than two nights ago.
    R5512C F/L H.Blakeman, P/O T.Blease, F/S H.Shrybman, Sgts N.Nicoll, S.Allen, F/L J.Trueman, Sgts F.McKenzie. Up 0006 Down 0341. Not a very satisfactory trip – target was bombed on TR. 6/10ths cloud at 13,000 feet. Bombed from 17,000 feet. Dummy fires observed. Flak not up to usual standard. Trip home uneventful.
    R5495N F/S P.Baines, Sgts J.Bunt, B.Cook, W.Kelleher, M.Griffiths, W.Guy, A.Desmond. Up 0016 Down 0401. Built up area in sights believed to be Essen. Burst of 4000lb observed. Many fires burning – visible for 85 miles. Large dummy fires observed north-west of Essen. Target in red flames. Flak and searchlights scattered and ineffective.
    R5552P W/O S.Harrison, Sgts F.Crouch, D.J.Platten, E.Preston, G.Farara, W.Townley, F/S R.Oates. Up 0016 Down 0412. 10/10ths cloud over Essen but clear immediately north. Thick ground haze and smoke screen. Bombed on TR. At least two large fires at Essen and Gelsenkirschen. Flak poor except where they were able to concentrate on a single aircraft.
    R5614G F/S B.Berridge, F/S V.R.Long, Sgts H.Connely, L.M.Fleming, L.V.Hellyer, R.Buxton, A.J.McPhee. Up 0025 Down 0430. Visibility moderate. Bombed on TR fix confirmed by visual. Bursts observed. Damage and fires were widespread across the whole Ruhr area.
    R5607X P/O W.A.McMurchy, F/S R.Morgan, P/O K.Williams, F/S J.Richardson, Sgts S.Girvan, J.Hebdon, O.Barraclough. Up 2340 Down 0315. Bombs dropped on Essen from 18,000 feet. Visibility poor. Number of yellow flares seen but not much in identifying target. Flak and searchlights not intense. Fires visible for 100 miles on return.
    R5572F F/O E.E.Rodley, P/O I.L.Colquhoun, F/O F.L.Ifould, Sgts E.Merralls, T.Cummings, J.Ratcliffe, J.H.Crisp. Up 2338 Down 0321. Slight flak seen at Hague. Crossed Dutch coast at 17,000 feet. Saw Rhine and continued past obvious dummy fires. Some flak was encountered, quite accurate but not plentiful. Aerodrome was seen lit up on the east of Overflakke.

    Extract from Bomber Command Losses – 1/2.6.42
    Lancaster I R5571 OF-A Op: Essen. T/O 2350 Woodhall Spa. All are buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. P/O Keough’s parents lived in Portland, Maine in the USA.
    F/S H.L.Davies(+), P/O W.J.Keough RCAF(+), Sgt A.G.J.McMechan(+), Sgt E.B.Goodwin(+), Sgt E.G.Smith(+), F/S E.H.Coone(+), Sgt J.L.Goddard(+).

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    Thanks David.

    It is possible there will be no way to account for why the WAAF concerned was told he was lost over Kiel, although it is very possible that the information came from one of Keoughs friends in the same squadron.

    Bruce

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