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* Ceremony of solemn tribute at Rebecq on September 29th 2021 *

RAF aircraft's crash sites in Province of Oost-Vlanderen:
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Last update: 31/07/21

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Elegy to
the Heroes of Silence


* To the 419 Squadron *
* To the crew of KB711-VR-C *
* To the monument erected in remembrance *
* Cemetery where rest the crew *

Crash site of Lancaster KB711-VR-C
2/05/1944

aircraft
crest raf squadron
Unit: 419 Squadron
Aircraft: Lancaster
Code: KB711-VR-C
Base: Middleton St George
Mission: St-Ghislain
Crew officer: P/O John Crawford McNary
Incident: Shot down by German fighter

Location: (Prov. Oost Vlanderen)

crash

Facts

KB711, VR-C took off at 2200 heading for St.Ghislain on the night of May 1-2 1944. The railyards were the squadrons target for the night.
From information supplied by Bomb Aimer P/O Long on his release form prison camp it was learned that KB711 was ahead of schedule on the Channel crossing and made an orbit to get back on to correct timing. Then on arrival at the target they were off track slightly and a little late anyway. There were no marking flares and after three orbits it was decided to bomb visually. After the bombing run the Lancaster started climbing and leaving the target area headed to the coast a fighter was spotted far below the aircraft and was then lost sight of.
Coming in on the blindside of the Lancaster the fighter raked the bottom of aircraft with cannon fire. Again according to P/O Longs report the cabin was almost immediately in flames from the attack. The attack on the cabin severly wounded the Wireless Operator, P/O Chartrand the pilot had given the order to bail out, most of the crew escaped from the aircraft before it exploded. P/O Long exiting after the Flight Engineer. The aircraft exploded in midair, caught in the aircraft during the explosion was the Pilot P/O McNary and Wireless Operator Chartrand. From his POW camp F/S Long wrote to the family of P/O John McNary, in this letter he stated that MCNary had gone back to help the wounded Wireless Operator. Sgt. Sangster was wounded in the eye and the arm but had managed to escape the aircraft, he was later repatriated in September. The remains of the aircraft fell on the old gasworks at Gent-Rabot. The crew had many operations to their credit at the time of the loss of KB711, between 14 and 18 operations completed. All the crew members who had bailed out were caught and spent the remainder of the war in POW camps. The overall attack had heavily damaged the locomotive and carriage repair shops and aprroximately 100 train wagons. But had cost 419 two crews.

crash

The Aircraft KB711 (Picture: 419 Squadron)

Sources:
419 Squadron
The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)
Aircrew Remembered
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