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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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433 Squadron Crest
16/17.08.1944 No. 433 Squadron Halifax III MZ899 BM-D P/O. Savard

Operation: Gardening

Date: 16/17th August 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 433 Squadron

Type: Halifax MkIII

Serial: MZ899

Code: BM-D

Base: RAF Skipton-on-Swale

Location: Baltic Sea

Pilot: P/O. Joseph George Marcel Savard J/88165 RCAF Age 19. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. George Henry Lilley 1571830 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: F/O. Henry Grimble J/36370 RCAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Lt. Joseph Louis Baillargeon J/36230 RCAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Bernard Bercuson J/88065 RCAF Age 28. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Maurice Elmer Fairall J/94227 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: P/O. Alfred Wallace Jack Drennan J/95179 RCAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed


Taking off from RAF RAF Skipton-on-Swale at 21:34 hrs for Gardening operations in the Kiel area. (Quinces/Radishes. (please see Gardening Operations for details)

MZ899 is believed to have been claimed by a German night fighter and to have crashed in the sea south or southwest of the island of Langeland killing all onboard.

According to the Nightfighter War Diaries, the aircraft was shot down by Oberleutnant Fritz Brinkmann of 8./NJG 3 claiming a four-engined bomber NNE of Kiel at 00:06 hours or Oberfeldwebel Martin Kramer of Stab./NJG 3 claiming a four-engined bomber SE of Kiel at 00:15 hours.

Also lost from the Squadron on this operation:

Halifax III MZ608 BM-P Flown by Fl/Lt. John Archibald Wynn Morgan J/25000 RCAF killed with 4 other crew, 2 taken PoW.

Halifax III MZ863 BM-I Flown by Fl/Lt. John Chester Valk J/21433 RCAF killed with all 6 other crew (5 RCAF, 1 RAFVR), Fl/Lt, Valk, the husband of Molly Virginia Valk from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Grimble Lake, west of Wells Lake was named after F/O. Henry Grimble in 1994.

Burial details:

P/O. Savard was found washed ashore by Aagab 1 kilometre north of Bagenkop in Magleby parish on the island of Langeland on the 8th September - his body was handed over to the Wehrmacht in Rudkøbing and was laid to rest in Magleby cemetery on the 12th September. P/O. Fairall was washed ashore on the island of Bogø on the 05th October being laid to rest in Bogø cemetery on the 11th October. On the 17th September the body P/O. Bercuson was found near Lindelse on the island of Langeland and was laid to rest in Magleby cemetery on the 19th September. Sgt. Lilley was found washed ashore at Asserballeskov on the island of Als on the 17th September, laid to rest in Aabenraa cemetery on the 19th September. F/O. Henry Grimble rests in Kiel War Cemetery after his body was recovered some 5 months later in Germany, whilst F/O. Baillargeon and Sgt. Drennan have no known grave and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

P/O. Joseph George Marcel Savard. Magleby Churchyard, Langeland. Grave A.11.36. Son of Joseph Odilon Savard and Antoinette Savard, of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada.

Sgt. George Henry Lilley. Aabenraa Cemetery. Grave Allied Mil. Plot. Row 5.3. Son of Albert Edward and Maude Mary Lilley, of Whitley Bay, Northumberland, England.

F/O. Henry Grimble. Kiel War Cemetery Germany. Grave 4.G.2. The son of Sidney and Florence Grimble from 167 Oakdean Boulevard, Sturgeon Creek, St. James, Manitoba, Canada (but both born in England). His father won the Military Cross during the first world war.

Fl/Lt. Joseph Louis Baillargeon. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 244. Son of Edmund and Elisabeth J. Baillargeon, of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

P/O. Bernard Bercuson. Magleby Churchyard, Langeland. Grave A.11.35. Born on the 02nd July 1916 the son of the late Jack and Sarah Bercuson, husband of Adele Bercuson, of 2133 Rose Street, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Enlisted in 1941

P/O. Maurice Elmer Fairall. Bogo Churchyard. Joint Grave 2-60. Son of Clarence Horace and Lillian Fairall, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

P/O. Alfred Wallace Jack Drennan. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 250. Son of Alfred and Edith Drennan of 175 Pilette Road, Windsor, Ontario, Canada brother to Carson, Bob and his 3 sisters. Born in London, England. Enlisted May 1943.

Researched for Aircrew Remembered January 2017 - Michel Beckers. With many thanks to Soren C. Flensted, Finn Halling Larsen and Morgan Jensen for grave photographs, Michel Beckers/Steve Parker for crew photographs.

MB - 28.01.2017

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
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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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