Halifax HR685 (21/06/1943)

Halifax HR685 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:

  • Thomas Henry Lane (Pilot)
  • Peter McGregor Jackson (Navigator)
  • George William Darling (Air Bomber)
  • Albert Peter Balson (Wireless Operator)
  • Donald Robert Alexander (Air Gunner)
  • Roy Frederick MacDonald (Air Gunner)
  • Frederick James Rogers (Flight Engineer)

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

HR685 failed to return and the squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “This aircraft is missing and nothing was 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 provided No. 35 Squadron with the following information regarding the crew:

  • 04/08/1943: F/L Jackson and F/S Rogers, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, were captured
  • 06/08/1943: F/O Alexander, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 09/08/1943: F/O Lane, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 11/08/1943: F/S Balson, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 26/08/1943: P/O Darling, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war
  • 04/09/1943: F/S MacDonald, missing on 21st / 22nd June 1943, is a prisoner of war

Crew members who survived the crash and were captured / imprisoned

All crew members survived the crash and were captured, interrogated and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

Their POW Liberation Questionnaires, which were completed as part of the repatriation process at 106 Personnel Reception Centre (RAF Cosford) in 1945, show the following details:

  • AP Balson
    • Captured: Wamel, Holland  24/06/43
    • Hospitalised: Wilhelmina Hospital, Amsterdam (Broken right ankle)
    • Interrogated: Dulag Luft Oberursel, Frankfurt
    • Imprisoned: Stalag IX-C, Bad Sulza   Nov-43
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Heydecrug Dec-43 to Jun-44
    • Imprisoned: Stalag 357, Fallingbostel Jun-44 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • TH Lane (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated:
  • PM Jackson (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III
    • Repatriated:
  • GW Darling (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • DR Alexander
    • Captured: Tiel, Holland (21/06/1943)
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft III, Sagan Jul-43 to Jan-45
    • Imprisoned: Marlag und Milag Nord, Westertimke (Tarmstedt) Feb-45 to Apr-45
    • Repatriated: May-45
  • RF MacDonald (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:
  • FJ Rogers (POW Liberation Questionnaire yet to be obtained, so information is unconfirmed)
    • Captured:
    • Imprisoned: Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357
    • Repatriated:

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Theo Boiten (Nachtjagd Combat Archive)

Nightfighter Claim: Hptm. Hptm. Manfred Meurer, 3./NJG1, 1/2 km SW Wamel (Holland) (Himmelbett) , 5500m, 01.48

Also see:

  • tremele.nl/english/crashes/e_wamel22061943/e_wamel22juni1943.htm
  • “Amazing Airmen: Canadian Flyers in the Second World War” by Ian Darling