Halifax R9439 (06/06/1942)

Halifax R9439 was one of eleven No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Emden on the night of the 6th / 7th June 1942.

Its six-man crew comprised:

  • SE Davies (Pilot)
  • TJ Taylor (Observer)
  • RL Bradshaw (WOP / Air Gunner)
  • A Squires (WOP / Air Gunner)
  • RJ Chisholm (Air Gunner)
  • H Thomas (Flight Engineer)

The route was Base, Schiermonnikoog, Target, Rottumeroog, Base

R9439 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Took off from Linton at time stated for Emden; nothing heard since leaving base”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 7th June 1942 the squadron informed Bomber Command, the Air Ministry and the RAF Records Office that the aircraft and crew were missing.

A telegram, along with a follow up letter from the Commanding Officer, was sent to the next of kin of each crew member advising them that he was “missing as the result of air operations on 6th / 7th June 1942”.

r9439-telegram

Copy of telegram sent to the family of RL Bradshaw

The crew’s kit and personal belongings were removed from their lockers and catalogued; kit was returned to stores and personal belongings sent to the RAF Central Depository at RAF Colnbrook.

The Air Ministry Casualty Branch, which was responsible for investigating, monitoring and reporting on the status of missing aircraft and airmen, subsequently published the following information regarding the crew:

  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 171 (Flight 05/11/1942) reported that Davies, Taylor, Bradshaw, Squires, Chisholm and Thomas were “Missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 245 (Flight 24/06/1943) reported that  Taylor, Bradshaw and Chisholm “who were previously reported missing” were now “presumed killed in action”

Note: Presumption of death enabled a death certificate to be issued; personal belongings could then be sent to the next of kin, along with any monies due

Post War search for the missing crew members

After the war, an investigation officer from the Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service (MRES) was tasked with locating the remains of the missing crew member(s).

Original German documents, burial records and eye witness accounts were utilised to establish the location of the crash site, the cause of the loss and the initial fate of the crew; information was recorded in a MRES Investigation Report.

As part of the process, any remains that were located were exhumed, identified (wherever possible) and concentrated (reinterred) at one of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Cemeteries in the country that they fell, in accordance with Government policy at the time.

Graves were marked with a simple wooden cross, which was replaced by the familiar CWGC headstone during the 1950’s.

Missing airmen who could not be found, or formally identified, had their names commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, which was unveiled in 1953.

CWGC records show that the remains of the crew members were not located (or could not be formally identified) and, as such, their names are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • DAVIES, SIDNEY EDWARD, Sergeant, ‘1384224’, Panel 81.
  • TAYLOR, TALBOT JONES, Pilot Officer, ‘J/7221’, Panel 101.
  • BRADSHAW, ROBERT LEONARD, Flight Sergeant, ‘R/60627’, Panel 102.
  • SQUIRES, ARTHUR, Sergeant, ‘1132935’, Panel 94.
  • CHISHOLM, RODERICK JAMES, Flight Sergeant, ‘R/58481’, Panel 103.
  • THOMAS, HOWELL, Sergeant, ‘529207’, Panel 95.

 


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Hit by M.Flak Abt. 236 Battery Petkum and crashed NW of Greetsiel at 01.30 hours OR Hit by 2./Luftsperr-Abt. 206(o) and crashed in North Sea NW of Borkum at 02.05 hours (Note: Same claim applies to No. 49 Squadron Manchester L7287)


Notes:

  1. RL Bradshaw’s service file is digitised in the Canadian Archives; there are no details regarding the loss