01/02.11.1944 No: 426 Squadron Halifax VII NP771 OW-J P/O. Goreham
Operation: Oberhausen Germany
Date: 01/02nd November 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 426 Squadron
Type: Halifax MkVII
Base: RAF Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire
Location: Eikelenbosch, between Teinray and Melderslo, Holland
Pilot: P/O. Rodney Shand Goreham J/88475 RCAF Age 22. PoW Stalag Luft 1 (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Ronald Charlton 1594899 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Nav: P/O. Ernest Edward Courtis J/92724 RCAF Age 23. Killed
Air/Bmr: P/O. Allister Currie McLeod J/95367 RCAF Age 22. Killed (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. James Frederick Gladstone Weedon J/95498 RCAF Age 28. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ward E. Morrison R/188162 RCAF PoW - No further details
Air/Gnr: P/O. Andrew George Balfour J/95200 RCAF Age 24. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Linton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire at 17:23 hrs to bomb Oberhausen under a full moon - bombing taking place between 20:26 hrs and 20:39 hrs - 288 aircraft on this operation.
Bombing was scattered as the target area was covered in cloud. 36 houses were destroyed with 4 people on the ground killed in Oberhausen - other areas may well have also been hit.
The allies lost 5 Halifaxes and 2 Lancasters with 16 crew taken PoW, 20 other crew lost their lives.
Luftwaffe control plotted them as they were flying over Namur and Verdun as early as 19:53 hrs. But the night fighters arrived too late to prevent the bombing with interceptions made during the homebound flights of the bombers. Seven were lost - all claimed by night fighters, although flak units made claims also for several of these aircraft.
During the return trip the pilot described that they had been hit several times. The first hit the tail section which placed the Halifax into a dive, and he yelled into the intercom for the crew to bale out. He managed to straighten the aircraft out but they were then hit two or three more times - once in the mid section and another below the cockpit where P/O. Weedon was located. Fire came up the control column burning the pilot. He described that he was sure 2 or 3 of the crew went past him to the escape hatch. The aircraft took another direct hit in that area.
It is thought that although others had exited the aircraft but they were too low for the parachutes to deploy fully.
(1) P/O. Rodney Shand Goreham passed away on Sunday August 15th 2010.
Age 88, formerly of Windermere, Kings County.
Following the war, he was employed as a flight instructor in Massachusetts for over 50 years. He later retired to Windermere where he was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Ortona Branch No. 69, Berwick.
Now rests at Greenwood Cemetery, Woods Harbour, Nova Scotia.
(2) McLeod Peninsula on Gaur Lake, Manitoba was named after P/O. Allister Currie McLeod in 1979.
Sgt. Ronald Charlton. Venray War Cemetery. Grave VI.F.10. Son of Arthur Edward and Charlotte Langrill Charlton, of Grove Hill, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, England.
P/O. Ernest Edward Courtis. Venray War Cemetery. Grave VI.F.13. Born on the 07th June 1922, the son of Harry and Capitolia (née Richardson) Courtis and husband of Jean V. (née Mowers) Courtis, of Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada.
P/O. Allister Currie McLeod. Venray War Cemetery. Grave VI.F.11. Son of William and Mary Elizabeth McLeod, of Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada.
P/O. James Frederick Gladstone Weedon. Venray War Cemetery. Grave VI.F.9. Born in June 1916, the son of James F. and Ellen Weedon, of Paddockwood, Saskatchewan, Canada.
P/O. Andrew George Balfour. Venray War Cemetery. Grave VI.F.12. Born on the 25th September 1920, the son of Andrew James Balfour and Edna Lyle Balfour (née Porter) of Guelph, Wellington County, Ontario, Canada.
Researched by Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered - May 2017. With thanks to Fred for grave photographs, also to Frank Bramble for photo of P/O. Weedon, others from the collection of Michel Beckers. With thanks also to the White Family Funeral Home for details on P/O. Goreham.