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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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428 (Ghost) Sqn
16/17.08.1944 428 (Ghost) Squadron, RCAF Lancaster X KB751 Fg Off. Fairgrieve

Operation: Stettin, Germany

Date: 17th August 1944 (Thursday)

Unit: 428 (Ghost) Squadron, RCAF

Type: Lancaster X

Serial: KB751

Code: NA:Q

Base: RAF Middleton St. George, County Durham, England

Location: 3km off the west of the coast of the Danish island of Sejerø

Pilot: Fg Off. William ‘Bud’ Chard Fairgrieve J25437 RCAF Age 24. Killed (1)

Flight Engineer: Sgt. Robert George Emmett Toomey R82585 RCAF Age 25. PoW No. 683 * (2)

Navigator: Fg Off. Leonard George Brown J35910 RCAF Age 22. Missing

Air Bomber: Fg Off. Harry Slater J25693 RCAF Age 28. Killed (3)

Wireless Operator: Sgt. Robert Richardson Boyce R82585 RCAF Age 29. Missing

Mid Upper Gunner: Flt Sgt. William Alexander Lamb R256025 RCAF Age 19. Killed (4)

Rear Gunner: Fg Off. Joseph Ralph Gordon Srigley J22846 RCAF Age 29. Killed (5)

* Stalag Luft 7, Bankau near Kreuzberg, Silesia, Germany. (Now Bąków, Opole Voivodeship, Poland).

Left to Right: Fg Off. Slater, Sgt. Boyce, Flt Sgt. Lamb, Fg Off. Brown, Fg Off. Fairgrieve, Fg Off. Srigley. (Credit: Claude Lafleur)

Left to Right: Sgt. Robert G.E. Toomey - June 1945 (Credit: Claude Lafleur); Sgt. Boyce.

(Note: Sgt. Toomey was promoted to Fg Off. as a PoW with a Service No. of C90314

Left to Right: Flt Sgt. Lamb; Fg Off. Srigley

REASON FOR LOSS:

KB751 took of RAF Middleton St George at 21:21 hrs on the 16th August 1944 and joined fourteen other aircraft from the Sqn on a bombing raid of the port of Stettin, Germany. One aircraft returned early because of engine failure. After releasing its bombs at 01:20 hrs KB751 was attacked at by a German night fighter during the return flight.

KB751 was claimed by Oberfeldwebel (T/Sgt) Klaus Möller, his 8th Abschuss, of the 12./NJG3 over the sea 110 km SW of Sylt at 3.000 m at 02:15 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (24 July 1944 - 15 October 1944) Part 4 - Theo Boiten).

Local reports confirmed that an aircraft crashed into the Kattegat, 3 km off the west of the coast of the Danish island of Sejerø. An account of the crash by the inhabitants of Sejerø and Sgt. Toomey can be found on Airwar over Denmark by Soren Flensted.

(1) The body of Fg.Off. Fairgrieve was retrieved on the 17th August 1944 from the sea SW of the Sejerø lighthouse by Johannes Pedersen of the ship “Helgoland”.

(2) An account of Sgt.Toomey’s story in his own words can be found on the Wartime Diary of Robert Toomey

(3) Fg Off. Slater was reported to have bailed out of the aircraft by Sgt. Toomey. Fg Off. Slater’s body was found on the 2nd September 1944 washed ashore on the west coast of Sweden near Varberg, more than 90 miles from the crash site. He was laid to rest in Varberg Church’s New Cemetery with full military honours.

(4) A Danish fisherman fishing near the scene of the crash of the aircraft about 2 months later, found remains and parts of aircraft caught in his nets. A wallet and handkerchief identified the remains as those of Flt Sgt. Lamb. Unfortunately, owing to the weight and tangle of the pieces of aircraft wreckage the remains could not be recovered from the sea.

(5) The body of Fg Off. Srigley was washed ashore and found on the 30th August 1944 on Veddinge Strand beach on the Danish island of Sjælland.

Srigley Cove on the Laredo Inlet, Princess Royal Island, British Columbia is named after Fg Off. Srigley

Burial Details

Runnymede Memorial panels: L to R: Fg Off. Brown L.G., Plt Off. Boyce R.R., Plt Off. Lamb W.A. (Credit: Andrea Ruddick )

Fg Off. William ‘Bud’ Chard Fairgrieve. Sejerø Cemetery, Grave 153. Born on the 13th December 1919 in Vancouver. Son of William T. and Claire C. (née Fulton) Fairgrieve, of Vancouver, British Columbia. Husband of Marjorie Kathlyn and father to Kathlyn Diane Fairgrieve of Westview, British Columbia, Canada.

Fg Off. Leonard George Brown. Runnymede Memorial Panel 245. Born on the 25th February 1922 in Toronto. Son of Henry George (his father pre-deceased him) and Ellen Nadhja (née Philp) Brown, of Downsview, Ontario, Canada.

Fg Off. Harry Slater. Varberg Church new Cemetery Sec.C.33. Inscription: “TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WE LEAVE BEHIND IS NOT TO DIE”. Born on the 22nd January 1916 in Toronto. Son of Harry (his father pre-deceased him) and Ellen (née Partington) Slater, of Toronto, Ontario. Husband to Brenda Denise Slater of Westminster, London, England.

Plt Off. Robert Richardson Boyce. Runnymede Memorial Panel 249. Born on the 25th December 1914. Son of Percy John and Guinevere Lydia (née Richardson) Boyce in Winnipeg, Manatoba (His parents pre-deceased him). Husband of Helen Elizabeth Boyce, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Sgt. Boyce was posthumously promoted to Plt.Off. with a Service No. of J90467.

Plt Off. William Alexander Lamb. Runnymede Memorial Panel 251. Born on the 21st March 1925 in Hamilton, Ontario. Son of William Alexander Lamb and Catherine Tosh Lamb, of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Flt Sgt. Lamb was posthumously promoted to Plt Off. with a Service No. of J95165.

Fg Off. Joseph Ralph Gordon Srigley. Faarevejle Cemetery, Grave E. 866. Born on the 29th September 1915 in Willow Bunch, Saskatchewan. Son to Ernest Wilber and Auxilla (née Gaudy) Srigley of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Husband to Barbara Srigley of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Researched by Ralph Snape and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Claude Lafleur the son-in-law of Sgt. Toomey for his invaluable contribution.

RS 30.04.2021 - Update to night-fighter claim

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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Acknowledgements
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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