28/29.07.1944 No. 432 Squadron Halifax III NP702 QO-B P/O. Clarke
Operation: Hamburg, Germany
Date: 28/29th July 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 432 Squadron (RCAF)
Type: Halifax MkVII
Base: RAF East Moor, North Yorkshire
Location: Probably North Sea, north of Heligoland
Pilot: P/O. Edward Allan Clarke J/86745 RCAF Age 28. Missing believed killed (1)
Fl/Eng: P/O. George William Bradshaw 1803965 RAFVR Age 30. Missing believed killed
Nav: P/O. Ernest Howard Bishop J/86577 RCAF Age 23. Missing believed killed
Air/Bmr: P/O. Wesley Brown J/88160 RCAF Age 20. Missing believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Harvey Daniel Lewis J/87689 RCAF Age 26. Missing believed killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. Fred Andrew Burgess J/86794 RCAF Age 21. Missing believed killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. James Cook J/88728 RCAF Age 20. Missing believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 22:41 hrs from RAF East Moor in North Yorkshire to to attack Hamburg along with 306 aircraft made up with 187 Halifaxes, 106 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes. The first heavy raid on the city for over a year.
Above: Five of the crew (plus two ground crew) with P/O. Bradshaw identified as 3rd from the left (courtesy Ian Bradshaw)
Image of NP702, QO-B "Block Buzzter" on the pan at RAF East Moor (Courtesy: Ian Bradshaw)
Image of NP702, QO-B "Block Buzzter". By the Engineer's window you can see "George" (George Bradshaw) and "Bish" (Ernest Bishop) by the lower window. It looks like the "a" and part of the "n" for Alan (Edward Allan Clarke) under the Pilot's window (Courtesy: Ian Bradshaw)
Bombing was not concentrated and the main area bombed had already been devastated in the previous bombing in 1943. However, 265 people on the ground were killed and a further 17,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes damaged during this raid.
The attackers were heavily hit by both flak and the night fighters from the Luftwaffe. 22 Aircraft were lost. Resulting in the death of 145 crew members and a further 28 being made PoW.
Lost without trace, probably crashed into the North Sea in the area of Heligoland as this had been the largest concentration of attacks by Luftwaffe night fighters on the Hamburg operation. It is thought that this was an extremely experienced crew as the pilot had completed some 32 operational sorties.
(1) Tragically his younger brother, 22 year old P/O. Arthur Kenneth Clarke J/89944 RCAF was killed just 3 months earlier. Also whilst serving with 432 Squadron when Halifax II LW614 QO-S that he was piloting during a training exercise suffered engine failure crashed near Hackness, some 4 miles from Scarborough, England. All but one of the 7 man crew were killed.
P/O. Edward Allan Clarke. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 249. Born on the 18th September 1915, the son of James William and Mary Clarke (née Wildmore), of Hawkestone, Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada.
P/O. George William Bradshaw. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 210. Son of William and Florence Bradshaw and husband of Rose Elizabeth Bradshaw, of Becontree, Essex, England.
No. 432 (Leaside) Sqn (RCAF) floor plaque and book of remembrance in St Clements Church for Plt.Off. Bradshaw (Courtesy: Ian Bradshaw)
P/O. Ernest Howard Bishop. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 249. Born on the 30th June 1921, the son of Ernest William and Selma Helena Bishop (née Gross), of 91 Shaw Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
P/O. Wesley Brown. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 249. Born on the 05th February 1924 in Ireland, the son of Ernest and Sarah Cleland Brown, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
P/O. Harvey Daniel Lewis. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 249. Born on the 04th September 1918, the son of Daniel Lewis, and of Clover M. Lewis, of Ailsa Craig, Ontario, Canada.
P/O. Fred Andrew Burgess. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 249. Born on the 17th January 1923, the son of Fred Andrew Burgess and of Frances Russell Burgess (née Behan), of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
P/O. James Cook. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 249. Born on the 27th February 1924, the son of James and Georgeina Cook, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
P/O. Arthur Kenneth Clarke. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall). Sec. F. Row. E. Grave 20. Details as above for brother.
Researched by Michel Beckers April 2017 for Aircrew Remembered. Photographs Michel Beckers collection. Also our thanks to the Grandson of P/O. Bradshaw, Ian Bradshaw who contacted us in March and July 2019. Other sources as quoted below.