As regular readers of this blog (yes, both of you) would know, the most expensive operation of WWII, in terms of crews lost, for 463 and 467 Squadrons was the Lille raid of 10 May 1944 from which six aircraft failed to return.
There were three occasions – all in 1944 – which were almost as expensive, when the Squadrons lost five aircraft in single nights. On 30 January, five failed to return from Berlin. On 29 August, another five were lost attacking Konigsberg. And on 24 June, five aircraft didn’t come back from a raid on Prouville in France.
I’ve posted about the Prouville raid before. Back in July 2012 I was contacted by Phil Bonner in the UK, who passed on an enquiry from Joni Taylor, the sister-in-law of one of the men who was lost on this raid. Joni was looking for information about other members of the crew, so I posted about it here in the hope it would attract a passing Google search… and it did. It took nine months but in January the following year I received a comment from Susan Hird-Little, niece of the only survivor of Sgt PD Taylor’s crew. I was able to put the two ladies in touch with each other, which I thought was a nice little story.
Meanwhile, the wonders of Google have struck again. A few months ago I had a message from a Frenchman named Mathieu Lecul, who lives in Brucamps, near Amiens in the Somme area, and about 10km south of the night’s target at Prouville. LM571 – Taylor’s aircraft – crashed in nearby Bussus-Bussuel. In fact, four of the five 463/467 Squadron machines lost that night came down within 20km of Mathieu’s house.The fifth (the ORB says LM587 but it appears more likely to have been LM597*) also crashed somewhere near the target, but all on board survived. Four of the crew became prisoners of war but amazingly the other three evaded capture and made it home.
I was able to put Mathieu in contact with Joni and Susan, but he has now asked for help to find information or – even better – family members of each of the other crews who crashed nearby.
So, set out below, are the names and where possible a little more detail about 28 airmen who were in the aircraft shot down around the Somme area on the night of 24 June 1944. If anyone does have any useful leads for Mathieu, please drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch.
LM450 PO-K, 467 Squadron:
Crashed near Neuilly-L’Hospital
- 415495 P/O Albert Arthur William Berryman – Died. Neuilly-Hospital – Son of Frederick and Gertrude Annie Langley Berryman Berryman; husband of Agnes Elizabeth Berryman, Victoria Park, Western Australia.
- Sgt J.W.P. Carey – Escaped
- 418086 F/Sgt John William Berry Down – Escaped. Born on 29/01/1922 at Epson UK
- 418418 F/Sgt John Murray Hughes – Prisoner. Born 26/02/1923 in Sydney, NSW, Australia – 305 POW Stalag Luft7
- 427323 F/Sgt Peter Padbury Hardwick – Prisoner. Born 10/01/1922 in Perth, WA, Australia
- 424978 F/Sgt William John Conway – Prisoner. Born 03/05/1922 in Surry Hills, NSW, Australia – 293 POW Stalag Luft7
- F/Sgt F.H. Pagett – Prisoner
ND729 PO-L, 467 Squadron
Crashed near Mareuil Caubert
- 425278 F/L Roland Reginald Cowan – Died – Commemorated at Runnymede. 24 years – Born 21/8/1919 – DFC – Son of Reginald Herbert and Lucy Agnes Cowan, Caloundra, Queensland, Australia.
- 1540769 Sgt Harry Kitchener Feltham – Died – Mareuil-Caubert
- 422779 F/Sgt Andrew Leslie West – Died – Mareuil-Caubert. 20 years – Born 30/9/1923 – Son of William Thomas and West Dorris West, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.
- 426377 F/Sgt Paul Francis O’Connell – Died – Poix de Picardie. 22 years – Born 17/12/1921 – Son of Michael Francis and Annie Maria O’Connell, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. Pharmaceutical Chemist.
- 423639 F/Sgt Herbert Kenith Brown – Died – Mareuil-Caubert. 21 years – Born 10/6/1923 – Son of William Herbert and Elsie May Brown, of Tocumwal, New South Wales, Australia.
- 1578397 Sgt Jack Sheffield – Died – Mareuil-Caubert. 28 years – Son H. Lawrence, Raunds, Northamptonshire UK
- 429503 F/Sgt Arthur Albert Summers – Died – Mareuil-Caubert. 30 years – Born 28/1/1914 – Son of James Arthur Joseph and Margaret Mary Summers; husband of Beatrice Erin Summers, of Annerley, Queensland, Australia.
LM571 JO-E, 463 Squadron:
Crashed near Bussus-Bussuel.
- 16203 P/O John Francis Martin – Died – Bussus-Bussuel. 23 years – Born 14/12/1920 in Fremantle, WA, Aust – Son of Francis William and Veronica Rechinda Martin; husband of Doreen Madge Martin, Subiaco, Western Australia.
- 1324017 Sgt Peter Donald Taylor – Died – Bussus-Bussuel. 24 years – Son of John Ernest and Elizabeth Taylor, of Slough, Buckinghamshire.
- 415430 W/O Bernard Edward Kelly – Died – Bussus-Bussuel. 23 years – Born 02/03/1921 in Perth, WA, Aust – Son of Edward Joseph and Bridget Kelly, Perth, Western Australia.
- 418755 F/Sgt Thomas Alexander Malcolm – Prisoner. 418755 – Born 13/07/1921 in Morwell, VIC, Australia – Arrested in Paris on 19/07/1944 and deported to Buchenwald – Pow 8929?
- 417327 F/Sgt George William Bateman – Died – Bussus-Bussuel. 32 years – Born 28/04/1912 in Unley, SA, Aust – Son of Sidney Davies Bateman and Florence Ethel Christina Bateman; husband of Marjorie Jean Bateman, Magill, South Australia.
- 424761 F/Sgt Lionel Gregory Leslie Hunter – Died – Bussus-Bussuel. 20 years – Born 23/08/1923 in Canowindra, NSW, Aust – Son of Arthur and Grace Agnes Hunter, of Balgowlah, New South Wales, Australia.
- 408433 F/Sgt Bramwell Rockliff Barber – Died – Bussus-Bussuel. 20 years – Born 28/02/1924 in Ulverstone, TAS, Aust – Son of Bramwell Fletcher Barber Florence and Myrtle Barber, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.
LM574 JO-J, 463 Squadron:
Crashed near Longuevillette.
- 417248 P/O Jeoffrey Maxwell Tilbrook – Died – Amiens St-Pierre. 21 years – Son of Robert and Esther Forrester Tilbrook, of Brinkworth, South Australia.
- 1725436 Sgt David Jesse Dowe – Died – Amiens St-Pierre. 19 years – Son of David N. Dowe and Alice E. Dowe, Thorpe St Andrew, Norfolk.
- 416651 W/O Hubert George Carlyle – Died – Amiens St-Pierre. 30 years – Son of Leslie and Amy Morton Carlyle Carlyle, Flinders Park, South Australia.
- 412469 W/O Alexis Charles Mineeff – Died – Amiens St-Pierre. 23 years – Son of John and Annie Emily Mineeff, Glenbrook, New South Wales, Australia.
- 1251477 Sgt Frederick Charles Penn – Died – Amiens St-Pierre. 23 years
- 419126 F/Sgt Maxwell MacDonald Lack – Died – Amiens St-Pierre. 21 years – Son of Edna Osborne Lack, Myrtleford, Victoria, Australia.
- 136398 P/O A Syddall – Prisoner 6509 POW Camp Luft III
Do you know anything about any of these airmen? Get in touch – there’s a handy form on this page!
*Alan Storr gives LM587 but my copy of the ORB shows a pencilled correction to LM597 and Bruce Robertson’s Lancaster – The Story of a Famous Bomber lists LM597. LM587 is shown by Robertson as being lost in September 1944.
This will be the final post on somethingverybig.com for 2014, while I take a short break from blogging. I’ll be back in early January 2015!
6 thoughts on “Appeal for Information: Prouville, 24 June 1944”
One of my cousins and I have been contacted in a roundabout fashion by Mathieu Lecul concerning our cousin P/O John Francis Martin. In an effort to find more information I discovered that the full Service Records for the Crew on this ill-fated flight are now available as digital copies from the National Archives of Australia. A digital copy of one SR costs about $20 AUD. I have ordered a copy of the SR for John Francis Martin and will be in touch with Mathieu Lecul concerning the other Crew members. This is also a heads up for others researching WWII casualties, that many of their Service Records can now be obtained from the National Archives of Australia, see: http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/a-z/researching-war-service.aspx
They can indeed – all can be applied for, though several are marked as ‘not yet examined’ which can delay things somewhat. But many have already been digitised so they are available via the NAA website free of charge. I see Bernard Kelly and Bramwell Barber’s records are in that category already (search for their service numbers).
You will likely find that the A705 casualty files (which also pop up when you search via the service numbers) are even more interesting. These have letters and other documents sent between the families and the Air Force – mostly including the original ‘missing’ telegrams. Very useful for reconstructing the sequence of events for the families involved, and the letters sent by the families can sometimes add significantly to the humanity of the story.
G’day Adam, My wife is the niece of C D G Small, the bomb aimed aboard LM597 that was shot down over Prouville in June 44. He. lost his right arm just above the elbow, was operated on by a German doctor and after some time was repatriated to Britain where he recuperated further and received a prosthetic.arm. Her returned to Australia after marrying an English woman named Joy Robinson. On return to Oz her in partnership with a friend established a successful chemical factory. Cheers Bill.
Thanks for commenting, Bill – I see we had contact back in 2017 on this. Did you ever get in touch with Mathieu?
My father in law’s cousin was married to Kennelly Collingwood “Colin” Sheel NX248013. You can google his name and get a summary of his capture after being shot down on the run to Prouville, Diana
Thanks for your comment, Diana – certainly there are a lot of people with an interest in this particular raid!
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