Remembering Today 6/6/1944 the loss of Stirling IV EF295

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Peter Clare, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    6 June 1944.

    No.620 Squadron
    Stirling IV EF295

    The aircraft was carrying the officer commanding 591 Parachute Sqn RE (Major A Wood) and his HQ party. Shortly after crossing the coast it was hit by enemy AA fire, caught fire and began to lose height rapidly. Major Wood, Lieutenant Bartlett and two sappers were able to jump from the aircraft but another soldier was killed when his parachute caught fire. The remainder of the stick were still aboard the aircraft, as were the crew, when it Chateau de Granguesn near Dives sur Mare. Lieutenant Shinner and three soldiers escaped from the downed aircraft, as did the aircraft's wireless operator and rear gunner, and despite their own injuries attempted to rescue the others. Unfortunately, enemy troops arrived and fired into the aircraft and it became impossible to continue the rescue attempt. Squadron Leader Pettit's OBE, an unusal award for a squadron leader, was made in recognition of his brave conduct, rather than for conspicuous service. He was responsible for rescuing the crew of an aircraft which had crashed into marshy ground near the home base and caught fire, whilst night flying. His DFC was awarded for pressing home an attack on Berlin despite his aircraft being badly damaged before reaching the target.


    Squadron Leader Wilmot Reginald PETTIT 32 OBE DFC RCAF Pilot
    Flying Officer Richard George WATKINS 23 Navigator
    Flight Sergeant Edward Harry Frederick ATKINSON 22 Bomb Aimer RNZAF
    Sergeant Geoffrey Albert MAUND 19 Flight Engineer
    Sapper John Joseph EVANS 24 591 Parachute Sqn RE
    Sapper John YOUELL 20
    Sapper Albert Edwin AUSTIN
    Lance Corporal Kenneth William BRANSTON
    Lance Corporal Thomas Andrew FRASER
    Driver Arthur HANDLEY
    Corporal William Alexander KELLY
    Driver George THOMSON
    Sapper David Henry WHEELER
    Sapper Frank WOLFE
    Sapper Peter GUARD
    Lance Corporal John Readon PARKER died of injuries 7 June

    Source - Though Without Anger - C. Cummings
  2. Jack81298

    Jack81298 New Member

    I am a relative of Driver Arthur Handley, just reading through this post can you clarify why his name is on this list as him being present with the situation doesn’t quite match up with the information I currently know, which being that he was a member of 2 troop and dropped from a Dakota during the assault and ‘he was killed during a lone gallant fight’
  3. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    I've checked a couple of other listings for EF295 and Driver Arthur Handley is not on them. So his appearance in the above casualty list is most likely in error. I have him on a 512 Squadron Dakota (KG354, Chalk 358) out of RAF Broadwell, Op Tonga with the same passengers as in Ludo's thread.

    Regards ...
    Jack81298, Tricky Dicky and alieneyes like this.
  4. Jack81298

    Jack81298 New Member

    Thank you for clarifying that and theres some fascinating information that I didn’t have before, do you know if it would be possible to track down what happened to the Dakota following dday and weather is survived the war ?
    Thanks again
  5. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    I'll put some info on KG354 over on Ludo's thread. It could be still flying as a working aircraft?

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
  6. Bill Kelly

    Bill Kelly New Member

    My father, Cpl William A Kelly, escaped from EF295 only to be killed by an officer of 744 Grenadiers on 6 Jun 44. He died with 5 other sappers from 591 Sqn RE, a sapper from HQ RE, and a glider pilot. I am interested in how the glider pilot, CN74, was captured by the 744 Grenadiers but 5 other survivors from CN74 were captured by others and survived.

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