Halifax BB361 (21/06/1943)

Halifax BB361 was one of nineteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Krefeld on the night of the 21st / 22nd June 1943.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • James Wesley Andrews (Pilot)
  • David John Jones (Navigator)
  • Frederick Vernon Barnard (Air Bomber)
  • Reginald Arthur Muldoon (Wireless Operator)
  • Neil Thomas MacAulay (Air Gunner)
  • William Downie Robertson (Air Gunner)
  • Robert Matthew Scott (Flight Engineer)

The route was 5210N 0137E, Krefeld, Noordwijk, Happisburgh.

BB361 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft did not return, nothing being heard from it after taking off”

Wartime activities relating to the loss

On 22nd June 1943 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 21st / 22nd June 1943”.

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. 273 (Flight 02/09/1943) reported JW Andrews, FV Barnard, DJ Jones, RA Muldoon, NT Macaulay, WD Robertson and RM Scott as “missing”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 379 (Flight 04/05/44) reported NT Macaulay “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 380 (Flight 04/05/44) reported FV Barnard, WD Robertson and RM Scott “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”
  • Air Ministry Casualty Communique No. 394 (Flight 15/06/44) reported JW Andrews “previously reported missing” as “now presumed killed in action”

No. 35 Squadron’s Operations Record Book shows the following information was received relating to the crew:

  • 09/11/1943: Information received from Air Ministry that Sgt Macaulay, missing on operations 21st / 22nd June 1943, was killed

Note 1: Presumption of death enabled a death certificate to be issued; personal belongings could then be sent to next of kin, along with any monies due.

Note 2: It is known that the body of NT Macaulay was recovered from the shoreline at Texel (near beach pole 13), Holland on 7th September 1943; he was buried in Texel (Den Burg) Cemetery two days later

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 do not show where the remains of NT MaCauley were located but show that they were concentrated (reinterred) as follows:

  • MacAULAY, NEIL THOMAS, Warrant Officer ‘R/121633’ TEXEL (DEN BURG) CEMETERY Plot K. Row 5. Grave 100.

[Source: FindaGrave]

The remains of the rest of the crew were not located (or could not be formally identified) and, as such, their names are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial as follows:

  • ANDREWS, JAMES WESLEY, Pilot Officer ‘J/18204’ Panel 175.
  • BARNARD, FREDERICK VERNON, Sergeant ‘1392675’ Panel 141.
  • JONES, DAVID JOHN, Sergeant ‘1338696’ Panel 155.
  • MULDOON, REGINALD ARTHUR, Sergeant ‘1382671’ Panel 160.
  • ROBERTSON, WILLIAM DOWNIE, Sergeant ‘1306838’ Panel 163.
  • SCOTT, ROBERT MATTHEW, Sergeant ‘575419’ Panel 164.

[Courtesy of Clive Lewis]


Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter and Flak Claim: Probably Hptm. Franz Buschmann, 12./NJG1, 15 km NW Den Helder (Holland)(EK, Salzhering), 3.000 m. 02.20. Note: also claimed by Flak of M. Fla. A. 808 (enemy aircraft 25 km. W. Den Helder 02.32 hrs), victory Hptm. Buschmann confirmed on 20.12.1944

World War II Allied Aircraft Crashes in Holland and North Sea

  • Crashed in the North Sea, about 25km west of Den Helder
  • NT MacAulay’s body was washed ashore on 7th September 1943 at beach pole 13, Texel