LOSS OF LANCASTER JB 598
ON 26/27 MARCH 1944
OF 460 SQUADRON RAAF

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visits since 21 March 2004

 

Subject:     Sgt Henry Pole, 460 Squadron RAAF
Date:              Sat, 21 Mar 1998
From:            "Chris Phillips" <christopher.phillips@btinternet.com>

For many years my father and I have been trying to find out exactly what happened to my Uncle, Sgt (Flight Engineer) Henry Pole, 1648307 Royal Air Force (Volunteer Reserve) 460 (Royal Australian Air Force) Squadron.

After much research we discovered that his Lancaster number JB598 took off from RAF Binbrook at 2012 hours on the night of 26th March 1944 for a bombing raid on Essen. The plane crashed on the German/Belgian border at Prum (Germany). The whole crew were killed and are today buried side by side at Hotton Military Cemetery (Belgium). Immediately after the crash however they were interred in the town cemetery at St Vith (Belgium) and there bodies moved after the war.

Although we know that they died we have never been able to establish exactly how or when the plane was destroyed. were they outbound or returning? As Prum is way off course if the route was direct. We suspect maybe that a detour was used to confuse the Germans. Apparently there were rumours at the time of his death that the Germans were shooting airmen as they descended in their parachutes. This was told to my grandmother at the time and that my uncle had sustained terrible injuries and survived for a few days. I am suspicious of these rumours as it would mean that the Germans were very accurate with their shooting to kill all of the crew at one time, especially at night. We have been to the graves of the crew and all the headstones have the same dates of death

For the record the full crew was:-

F/O Burnell B D (Australian) Pilot
SGT Pole H Flight Engineer
F/O Bestwick R B A/B
SGT Knight R H Navigator
SGT Taylor R D WOP/AIR
SGT Bailey T W Mid Upper
SGT Milliner E A Rear Gunner

I wonder with your experience of 460 Squadron whether you would have access to such records as to exactly what happened.

My father is now in his eighties and for most of his life it has been constantly in his mind about the fate of his brother. I would love him to know the truth.

Finally may I say that after searching the internet for information about the above I could not believe it when I came across your web page. It is one of the most professional that I have come across, even though I have a particular interest in the subject.

I very much hope that you will be able to help us in our mission!

Best wishes

Chris Phillips

 

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Subject:    Re: Sgt Henry Pole, 460 Squadron RAAF
Date:             Sun, 22 Mar 1998
From:           "Chris Phillips" christopher.phillips@btinternet.com

Dear Peter

Thankyou very much for your speedy reply. I am most grateful to you for pasting our details on to your home page. I am sure that eventually we shall get to know the truth.

For a long time we have been looking for the book 'Strike and Return'. Thanks to your web page we are now going to contact the suggested location.

Regards Chris Phillips

 

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Subject:     460 Squadron RAAF
Date:              Tue, 7 Apr 1998 12:06:06 +0100
From:            "Chris Phillips" christopher.phillips@btinternet.com

Hi Peter

Many thanks for putting us on your web page I am pleased to say that I have already had a lot of information from Doug Cuthbertson. In fact I have included a copy as you may find him useful with his microfiche collection.

His address is duke.d@virgin.net.

Regards Chris

 

Subject:   Lancaster JB598
Date:          Sun, 05 Apr 1998
From:         DOUG CUTHBERTSON duke.d@virgin.net

Hello Chris,

As I have all Lancaster Loss Cards on microfiche, I have checked JB598,  AR-C. T/O and crew as stated. Bomb load, 1 x 4,000, 1170 x 4 incs and   108 x 30 incs. The planned route was base, Mablethorpe, 5250 N/0330 E, 5237 N/0607 E, then target. Return via 5040 N/0740 E, 5020 N/0420 E, 5150 N/0235 E, then Southwold, Suffolk.

The Loss Card was updated post-war from captured German document KE8135. It states the place of loss as 1.5 km S of Kapellen, which is 9 km N of Antwerp. The original cause of loss was given as flak, but later ammended to fighter. The airframe was assessed as 98% destroyed. No time  of crash recorded.

I hope this is of some use, although the crash location is different.

Perhaps you could tell me where Prum and St Vith came from. Casualties from fatal crashes around Antwerp were normally buried at Duerne Cemetery, Antwerp, and later transferred to Wilrijk Cemetery, Antwerp.

As St Vith is much closer to Hotton War Cemetery, than Antwerp, there is  the possibility that the wrong Loss Card was updated.

Best Wishes,

Doug Cuthbertson.

 

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