22/23.05.1944 No. 77 Squadron Halifax V LL138 KN-N W/O. Geoffrey T. Haworth
Date: 22/23rd May 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: 77 Squadron
Type: Halifax V
Base: RAF Full Sutton, Yorkshire
Location: Seris, France
Pilot: W/O. Geoffrey T. Haworth RAFVR Age ? Injured - PoW (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Reginald Alfred Rose 1874808 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Charles Thiepval Hale 1457196 RAFVR Age 25. Injured (2)
Air/Bmr: F/O. Alvin Marshall Beatty J/25737 RCAF Age 34. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Raymond George James 1601379 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Robert James Peggs AUS/415913 RAAF Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John D. Taylor 1549741 RAFVR Age ? PoW No: 61 Camp: Stalag Luft Bankan, near Kreulberg, Upper Silesia (L7)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Full Sutton in Yorkshire at 23:40 hrs to attack the rail facilities at Seris. Just ten minutes after releasing their bomb load they were attacked by a night fighter - damaging the controls and forcing the Halifax into a uncontrollable dive - 3 of the crew managed to bale out of the stricken aircraft - the remainder of the crew were killed during the initial attack.
(1) The pilot was injured, suffering a fractured spine and despite the French villagers hiding him for several hours it was apparent that he needed treatment they were forced to hand him over to German troops. A crowd gathered during the transportation to Paris - keen to vent their anger on the “terror fliers” but the German guards protected them and the crowd dispersed. After a short stay at Stalag Luft Bankan, near Kreulberg, Upper Silesia was then transferred to Stalag Lamsdorf before being repatriated in a prisoner exchange in January 1945 - via Switzerland. (on the HMS Letitia 02nd February 1945)
(2) He reported that his navigator, Sgt. Charles Hale remained n the vicinity of the crashed aircraft and was caught. He also reported that he was killed during transportation after an attack by RAF aircraft. Other reports state that he died of injuries on the 22nd June 1944.
We have not - to date - been able to identify the claim from the night fighters for this loss. 128 aircraft took part in this operation, 108 Halifaxes, 12 Lancasters together with 8 Mosquitoes - most of the bombs landed on the passenger station and the railway repair workshops.
A busy night for Bomber Command with operations on Le Mans railway yards, Brunswick and Dortmund as well as various ‘Gardening’ operations, with many allied losses.
Sgt. Reginald Alfred Rose. Seris Communal Cemetery. Military Plot. Grave 1. Son of Alfred Henry and Lily Emily Rose, of Ardleigh, Essex, England.
Sgt. Charles Thiepval Hale. Nantes Communal Cemetery (Pont-Du-Cens) Plot L. Row D. Grave 19. Son of Charles and Hannah Hale (née Jones) of 15 Greenfield Road, St. Helens, Merseyside, England.
F/O. Alvin Marshall Beatty. Seris Communal Cemetery. Military Plot. Grave 4. Born on the 9th December 1910, the son of William Marshall and Clara Isabella (née Thomson) Beatty. Husband of Winnifred Katie (née Reid) of Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada. Born in Manitou, Manitoba, Canada.
Sgt. Raymond George James. Seris Communal Cemetery. Military Plot. Grave 3. Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. J. James, of Southampton, England.
Fl/Sgt. Robert James Peggs. Seris Communal Cemetery. Military Plot. Grave 2. Born on the 21st February 1924, the son of Robert William and Pathania Alice Peggs, of Kalamunda, Western Australia. Prior to service worked as a store man
Page placed for Shelley Campbell - relative of Fl/Sgt. Robert James Peggs. Sources as quoted below. Also to Bill Barry of the Saskatchewan virtual War Memorial for detailed information on F/O. Beatty.