LOSS OF LANCASTER ND654
OF 460 SQUADRON RAAF
ON AN OPERATION OVER COURTRAI RAILWAY YARDS
ON 20/21 JULY 1944

Lancaster Mark III, ND654, AR-R, of 460 Squadron RAAF was shot down on the evening of the 20th July 1944 during an attack on the Courtrai Railway Yards. It had earlier taken off from Binbrook at 0014 hrs. The aircraft crashed at 0130hrs at Poelkapelle [West-Vlaanderen] inside Belgium. Mills was eventually captured by the Germans and became a Prisoner of War. The rest of the crew evaded capture until the Allies arrived.

On this night, 302 Lancaster and 15 Mosquitos of 1, 5, & 8 Groups attacked the railway yards, and rail junction at Courtrai. 9 Lancasters were lost.

 

Jopling R.H. Pilot Escaped capture until Allies arrived
Butler K G  Engineer Escaped capture until Allies arrived **
Flight Sergeant Moffitt, Robert B. Navigator Escaped capture until Allies arrived
Cawley J C  Bomb-aimer Escaped capture until Allies arrived **
Annat D J Wireless Operator Escaped capture until Allies arrived **
Mills P  Gunner Escaped capture then POW
Rosseley L G  Gunner Escaped capture until Allies arrived

** John Watson's 460 Squadron Crew Lists show these persons as POW's. However Robert Moffitt has indicated that Mills was the only person who was captured by the Germans.

 

Flight Sergeant Robert B. Moffitt was one of those who evaded capture for approximately two months until the Allies arrived in September. During this time he travelled by foot to France where he was hidden by a French family in the town of Bailleul. He was given a French identity card and worked with the French Resistance.

Through the efforts of a French Historian, Robert Moffitt has recently been re-united with the family of Albert and Marie Salomé, the couple who hid him from the Germans during WW2. Albert and Marie were recognised after the war by both Britain and the United States for their efforts in hiding and assisting several allied airmen (Robert Moffitt was the last) as well as civilians who had refused to work for the Germans.

Robert Moffitt's son and grand-daughter will travel to Bailleul on 8th May 2005 to represent their now 85 year old father/grandfather at the town's remembrance ceremony for the Liberation of France, and to honour the memory of Albert and Marie Salomé.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Jill Nichols, daughter and Brett Moffitt, son of Warrant Officer Robert B. Moffitt of 460 Squadron RAAF.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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©  Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 6 March 2005

This page last updated 04 February 2015