27/28.01.1944 No 408 Squadron Lancaster II DS709 EQ-P Fl/Lt. Kearl DFC
Date: 27/28th December 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 408 Squadron (RCAF - Goose)
Type: Lancaster II
Base: RAF Linton-on-Ouse
Location: Reichenwalde, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Eldon Eastham Kearl DFC. J/18810 RCAF Age 24. Killed
Pilot 2: F/O. Elmer Reginald Proud J/27843 RCAF Age 22 Missing - believed killed (note) (1)
Fl/Eng: P/O. Alfred Charles Brown 170861 RAFVR PoW No: 39979 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus (357)
Nav: P/O. Joseph Paul David Parise J/18806 RCAF Age 25. Killed
Air/Bmr: P/O. Alfred Smith J/86299 RCAF Age 23. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. John Adamson 168511 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: P/O. John Angus Maclean J/86880 RCAF Age 31. Missing - believed killed (note)
Air/Gnr: P/O. John Francis McManus J/86882 RCAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed (note)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Linton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire at 17:50 hrs. In all 515 Lancasters together with 15 Mosquitoes were committed to the raid on this night.
A diversionary minelaying operation had some effect in drawing off half of the night fighter defences but the remainder was sent up earlier than normal flying out 75 miles over the North Sea from the Dutch coast to meet the oncoming bomber stream.
In the city itself a further 567 people were killed including 132 foreign workers. 20,000 people were bombed out of their homes. The city was covered in cloud and sky marking had to be used. No assessment of the raid was possible by Bomber Command except that the bombing was widely spread. Local reports confirmed that some 61 small towns and villages outside the city were hit with 18 being killed.
Others lost from 408 Squadron on this operation:
Lancaster II DS849 EQ-X Flown by 23 year old, Fl/Lt. Sven Roy Walfrid Laine DFC. J/18786 RCAF from Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada - killed with all other 7 crew members.
Lancaster II DS710 EQ-A Flown by 26 year old, Sq/Ldr. Charles Woodward Smith DFC. J/8371 RCAF from Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada.
Muskeg Lake north of Fort McMurray, Alberta was named Kearl Lake after the pilot, Fl/Lt. Eldon Eastham Kearl DFC in 1950.
(note: It is thought 'possible' that the bodies of these crew members were unable to be positively identified and although there are 3 graves (marked ‘Unknown Airman’) with the other crew members of the same date they have consequently been remembered on the Runnymede Memorial)
(1) F/O. Elmer Reginald Proud was not part of the normal crew - he was flying as second dickie for operational experience and it was his first operation. The remainder of the crew had 104:13 operational hours logged with 16 operational sorties carried out.
Fl/Lt. Eldon Eastham Kearl DFC. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.23. From Cardston, Alberta, Canada.
F/O. Elmer Reginald Proud. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 248. Elmer was the oldest child of Reginald Proud and Clara Mae Stansal of Eden Grove, Ontario Canada. Elmer and his cousins (Allan and Ross Stansal) volunteered to join the Royal Canadian Air Force in world war 2. Ross was a navigator, Allan and Elmer were pilots. Allan stayed in Canada as an instructor. Ross and Elmer were assigned to bomber squadrons in England. (info courtesy Brian Atkinson)
P/O. Joseph Paul David Parise. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.25. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Moise Parise, of Caraquet, New Brunswick, Canada.
P/O. Alfred Smith. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.24. Son of Alfred and Ellen Maria Smith, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
P/O. John Adamson. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 5.D.21. Son of Thomas and Jessie Adamson, of Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire, Scotland.
P/O. John Angus Maclean. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 251. Son of Angus and Isabella MacLean, of Ripley, Ontario, Canada.
P/O. John Francis McManus. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 251. Born on the 04th April 1919 the son of Joseph W. and Alice McKeown McManus, Canada.
Researched for Robert Rayca and family - relatives of P/O. John McManus and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Uwe for grave photographs, Brian Atkinson (cousin of F/O. Elmer Proud), Chris and Brett Clifton for crew photo’s and to sources as shown below. Also, very many thanks to Temujin at the Canada at War Forum - a great resource and extremely helpful people. Also, a great many thanks to Halfpenny for taking the Runnymede Memorial photographs for us and relatives - April 2017.