02/03.06.1944 No 76 Squadron Halifax III LK783 MP-C P/O. Arthur J. Innes
Date: 02/03rd June 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 76 Squadron
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor, Yorkshire
Location: Tréone, South West of Dreux, France
Pilot: P/O. Arthur Joseph Innes 175657 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. James William Golder 1644548 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Eric Bryan 655790 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Bmr: W/O.II John Osborne Paige R/161143 RCAF Age ? Killed (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edgar Tonge 1411098 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Norton Glithero 1819740 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Geoffrey Rex Whittle 1851739 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
In preparation for the invasion by allied forces on France (scheduled for the 5th June - changed to 6th June due to weather) many targets were selected to assist the ground troops and decept the Germans as to the actual area of the landings at Normandy. This operation was to bomb the railway yards at Trappes with 128 aircraft, 105 Halifaxes, 19 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitoes. In addition to this operation, 103 Lancasters were sent to bomb the radar jamming station at Berneval a further 271 aircraft to bomb coastal batteries in the Pas De Calais area.
During this operation some 16 aircraft were lost - all to night fighters. 1 Lancaster was lost on the coastal bombing operation, none on the radar stations (1 crashed on take off).
It is understood that Lt. Fritjof Fensch (2) of 4./NJG4 ‘probably’ shot this Halifax down at 01:06 hrs with combat taking place at 5,000mrs South West of Dreux. During the operation on this night he had 3 confirmed abschüsse.
Right: Lt. Fritjof Fensch of 4./NJG4 (Kracker Archive)
The squadron lost two other aircraft/crews during this operation:
Halifax III LK784 MP-D Flown by 22 year old Fl/Sgt. Frank Guy Woods 1320640 RAFVR from Hampton, Middlesex Killed with all other six crew. Buried within same cemetery as LK783 crew.
Halifax III MZ604 MP-W Flown by 24 year old Fl/Sgt. Leonard James Richard Smith 176021 RAFVR from Perak, Malaya, killed with five other crew, one taken PoW. The crew who were killed buried at Bretigny-sur-Orge Communal Cemetery, France.
(2) These were the first claims by Lt. Fritjof Fensch who soon achieved the ‘ace’ status with a total of 13 before he was wounded on the 25/26th November 1944 when near Duisburg he baled out after air combat. It is known that he survived the war - no further details.
P/O. Arthur Joseph Innes. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 6. The son of John Curtis and Edith Lilian (née Smith) Innes of Middlesbrough, Yorkshire. He was born at Middlesbrough 4 December 1919. Before enlistment he was employed as an assistant benzol washer.
Fl/Eng: Sgt. James William Golder. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Coll. grave 1-4. Son of James George and Matilda Golder, of West Croydon, Surrey, England.
Nav: Sgt. Eric Bryan. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 5. No further details, are you able to assist in completion?
(1) Air/Bmr: W/O.II John Osborne Paige. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Coll. grave 1-4. Further information: Son of Lyman Willard Paige and Ella May Paige, of Lennoxville, Province of Quebec, Canada. His brother, Fl/Sgt Milton James Paige R/90773 RCAF also lost his life in service. Killed on the 9th January 1943 whilst piloting a Lancaster I W4277 KM-S with 44 squadron. On a Gardening operation when they were shot down and crashed near Rise-Hjarup in Denmark. Buried at the Aabenraa Cemetery.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edgar Tonge. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Coll. grave 1-4. Born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, in the September 1921 Qtr. He was the youngest son of Sidney and Isabella (née Pugh) Tonge.
Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Norton Glithero. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Coll. grave 1-4. Son of John Henry and Annie Glithero, of Leicester, England.
(Left) Air/Gnr: Sgt. Geoffrey Rex Whittle. Dreux Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Coll. grave 1-4. Born on 23 November 1924 in Chippenham, Wiltshire. He was the eldest of five children of Frank and Annie Louisa (née Matthews) Whittle living in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England. His profession was believed to be a carpenter. (Courtesy Elaine Long)
For further details our thanks to the sources as quoted below. Researched for relatives of the crew including Mr. Andrew Long who contacted us regarding this loss. With thanks to Dave Champion for further details and photograph - July 2018. Thanks to Elaine Long, the niece of Sgt. Whittle for his image and update to his NoK details.