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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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02/03rd June 1944 76 Squadron Halifax III MZ604 MP-W Fl/Sgt. Smith

Operation: Trappes, France

Date: 02/03rd June 1944 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 76 Squadron (motto: Resolute)

Type: Halifax III

Serial: MZ604

Code: MP-W

Base: RAF Holme on Spalding Moor

Location: Longvilliers, France

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Leonard James Richard Smith 176021 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Alexander Young Ferguson 1818698 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Raymond Thomas Hood 1585947 RAFVR PoW (No further details)

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Harry Cosgrave Caswell AUS/413735 RAAF Age 28. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Thompson 1453762 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Owen Teasdale 1777400 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Campbell Lowrie 1056079 RAFVR Age 32. Killed


Halifax MZ604 took off from RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor at 2231 hours on the night of 2/3rd June 1944, detailed to bomb the railway yards at Trappes, France. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off.

Some reports state they were shot down by a night fighter but according to Dr. Theo Boiten 'Nachtjagd Combat Archive' Vol. 3 1944 they were hit by Anti aircraft fire from 1./schw Flak Abt.538 and Flak Abt.683. The aircraft exploded at 01:01 hrs.

Above: Some of the crew L-R: Sgt. Ferguson, Fl/Sgt. Hood, Sgt. Lowrie, Fl/Sgt. Smith, Sgt P.C. Mackay ? (not on the crew that were lost) Fl/Sgt. Caswell, Sgt. Teasdale. (courtesy Jenni Lowrie, Norman Hood)

According to No. 1 Missing Research and Enquiry Unit a Mr. Godeau witnessed this with the aircraft falling over a large area. This took place on the 18th April 1946. The crew were buried by the Germans at 18:00 hrs on the 03rd june

Above: locals paying their respects to the three crews buried at Bretigny-Sur-Orge Communal Cemetery (submitted to us by Patrick Le Jeanne - Président de l'Association Brétigny Historique in January 2021)

Above: memorial left with Fl/Sgt. Harry Caswell and Sgt. Campbell Lowrie (courtesy Jenni Lowrie, Norman Hood)

Above: memorial to the crew (courtesy Jenni Lowrie, Norman Hood)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Leonard James Richard Smith. Bretigny-Sur-Orge Communal Cemetery. Grave 5. Son of Frank Lawrence Smith and Agnes Maud Smith, of Ipoh, Perak, Malaya.

Sgt. Alexander Young Ferguson. Bretigny-Sur-Orge Communal Cemetery. Collective Grave 6. Husband of Christina Ferguson, of Northfield, Birmingham. Grave inscription: 'Duty Nobly Finished: So Dearly Remembered. "Gloria In Excelsis'.

Fl/Sgt. Harry Cosgrave Caswell. Bretigny-Sur-Orge Communal Cemetery. Grave 10. Born on the 29th October 1915 at Coonamble, NSW. Enlisted 13th September 1941. Son of Arthur Thomas Caswell and Ethel Gertrude Caig Caswell of Brewarrina, NSW. Grave inscription: 'Loved Son Of The Late Arthur And Mrs. Caswell Of Brewarrina, N.S.W.'.

Sgt. John Thompson. Bretigny-Sur-Orge Communal Cemetery. Grave 3. Son of John William and Doris Thompson, of Asselby, Yorkshire. Grave inscription: 'Splendid You Passed, The Great Surrender Made, Into The Light'.

Sgt. Owen Teasdale. Bretigny-Sur-Orge Communal Cemetery. Collective Grave 6. Son of Joseph and Margaret Teasdale, of Bedlington, Northumberland. Grave inscription: 'Sweet Jesus, Have Mercy. Ever Remembered By His Loving Mum And Dad R.I.P'.

Sgt. Campbell Lowrie. Bretigny-Sur-Orge Communal Cemetery. Collective Grave 6. Son of John and Jessie C. Lowrie, of Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire. Grave inscription: 'At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jenni Lowrie, Norman Hood, Australian National Archives, Dr. Theo Boiten 'Nachtjagd Combat Archive' Vol. 3 194, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 15-01-2021

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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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