March 26/27, 1944

    21 Lancasters from 408 and 426 squadrons were joined by 84 Halifaxes from 420, 424, 425, 427, 429, 432, and 433 squadrons on an attack at Essen. The crews were over the target at between 17,000 and 24,000 feet, releasing 72,000 lbs of high explosives and 400,000 lbs of incendiaries. According to reports, bombing was accurate with severe damage being caused.

    F/Lt R. Deegan and S/Ldr G. Beall from 420 squadron returned early with technical problems.

    P/O A. Olsson RCAF and crew from 426 squadron, flying Lancaster II  DS-789 coded OW-A, failed to return from this operation.

      Sgt T. Earle RAF
      P/O J. Koivu RCAF
      P/O T. Proudlock RCAF
      P/O C. Phinney RCAF
      Sgt R. Jones RAF
      P/O F. Fox RAF
    All were killed when their Lancaster blew up after being hit by flak.

    W/O2 E. Baker from 429 squadron returned early as the stbd outer was u/s. They landed safely at base on 3 engines.
    F/Sgt S. Puskas was attacked by 3 single-engine fighters. One exploded in mid air and one on the ground. There was no damage to their Halifax.

    W/Cdr W. McKay from 432 squadron returned early as the port outer was u/s. They landed safely at base on 3 engines.
    F/Sgt S. Kuleski returned early as all the engines were running poorly.
    F/Lt A. Lowe was hit by flak, not serious.

    W/O2 J. Mitchell from 433 squadron landed and Chedburgh on return, due to a fuel shortage.

    While part of the group went to Essen, 47 Halifaxes from 419, 428, 431, and 434 squadrons were ordered on an attack of the rail yards at Courtrai. The crews were over the target at between 10,000 and 12,000 feet, releasing 530,000 lbs of high explosives. According to reports, the rail yard was severely damaged but some overshot into the town damaging many buildings.

    P/O E. Sykes from 428 squadron was just about hit by bombs dropping from above.

    F/Lt R. Mead from 431 squadron returned early, as they were late over the target and there were no T.Is.
     W/Cdr W. Newson had air commodore C. Slemon along as a second pilot.

    P/O R. Pratt from 434 squadron was shot at by flak from Northampton. There was no damage.

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