Halifax Bomber NA612 Memorial

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Reference WMO227054

Address:

Bridge Street

Brafferton

York

YO61 2NU

England

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Type: Freestanding
Location: External
Setting: Within a garden/park/churchyard/enclosure/Marketplace
Description: Other monument
Materials:
  • Brick Brick
  • Other Other
  • Rock/Rough Stone Rock/Rough Stone
  • Stone Sandstone
Lettering: Inscribed on a plaque
Conflicts:
  • Second World War (1939-1945)
About the memorial: Two resin bronze plaques placed on a sandstone tablet surmounting a brick and cobble plinth. The memorial is located outside St Peter's churchyard overlooking the crash site of the Halifax bomber on the other side of the River Swale. The first plaque is dedicated to the 7 crewmen of Halifax Bomber NA612 with a raised image of a Halifax Bomber and the Bomber Command crest. The other plaque gives an account of the history, all in raised lettering
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First Plaque inscription is as follows: IN MEMORY OF THE CREW OF HALIFAX BOMBER NA612 KILLED IN ACTION NEAR BRAFFERTON WHILE RETURNING TO RAF DISHFORTH FROM A MISSION OVER GERMANY AT 0112 HOURS ON 4th MARCH 1945. PILOT Pilot Officer KW Griffey RCAF Aged 20 NAVIGATOR Warrant Officer Class II JW Buttrey RCAF Aged 21 BOMB AIMER Flying Officer GH Lloyd RCAF Aged 19 FLIGHT ENGINEER Sergeant S Forster RAFVR Aged 21 WIRELESS OPERATOR Warrant Officer Class II LT Chevrier RCAF Aged 23 UPPER GUNNER Sergeant L Boardman RCAF Aged 27 REAR GUNNER Flight Sergeant JE Fielder RCAF Aged 20 EVERY MAN WAS A VOLUNTEER 55,573 BOMBER COMMAND AIRCREW WERE KILLED DURING WORLD WAR II INCLUDING 9919 FROM CANADA THEY ARE REMEMBERED BY THE PEOPLE OF HELPERBY AND BRAFFERTON Second Plaque Inscription reads as follows: THE EVENTS OF 3rd/4th MARCH 1945 By March 1945 Nazi Germany was besieged on all fronts and assaulted from the air by day and night, but Germany continued to resist fiercely. To speed the end of the war, German means of production and lines of communications continued to be attacked by Bomber Command. On the evening of Saturday 3 March 1945 RAF bombers set out to attack synthetic oil plants in the Ruhr. The weather was fine and visibility was excellent. The raid comprised several elements in addition to the main bomber force. One of these elements was a diversion designed to confuse the Germans about the intended target known as Operation Sweepstake. The diversionary force comprised semi operational crews still learning to operate their large bombers including 1664 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU) based at RAF Dishforth. 1664 HCU was a Canadian unit also known as the “Caribous”. Luftwaffe night fighters remained a potent threat attacking bombers on raids over Germany, but on 3rd March 1945, the Luftwaffe changed tactics and Operation Gisela was launched. While RAF bombers were attacking their targets in Germany, approximately 200 JU88G-6 night fighters took off from their airfields and headed for England to intercept the bombers returning to their bases. One of these fighter pilots was Lt Arnold Döring. He took off from Denmark and flew across the North Sea to the Vale of York. Here he spotted the red beacon at Norton–le-Clay flashing the recognition signal ‘DH’, the code for Dishforth. Shortly after 0100 hours on 4th March Döring was able to shoot down two of the bombers coming in to land, the second of which was Halifax III NA612 which crashed in a field to the south of the Brafferton “swingbridge”. The action was witnessed by Austin Scaife, from Wath Crossing near Burton Grange. He saw two bursts of canon fire set the aircraft alight. The aircraft stalled, rolled onto its back and exploded as it hit the ground. The aircraft was too low for any crew to bail out. In Brafferton, hearing the noise of gunfire, two local boys, Dennis Scaife and Arnold Moss both aged 16 ran to the scene. Halifax NA612 was ablaze and nothing could be done. Meanwhile, Döring on returning to his base, attacked a train at Coxwold killing a passenger, and then flew on to Scarborough, emptying his machine gun into the streets before flying at sea level back to Denmark. Twenty two returning Bomber Command aircraft were destroyed on 4th March by night fighters and other aircraft were damaged. The Luftwaffe suffered approximately 40 losses, mainly due to fuel shortage. Flying in Bomber Command was dangerous. There was only a 27% chance that a newly trained airman would survive his first tour of 30 sorties without being wounded, captured or killed, yet every man was a volunteer. Some 120,000 men flew in Bomber Command during the war, of whom 55,573 British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealanders and other nationalities were killed. Of these young men, like the majority of the crew of Halifax NA612, some 9919 came from Canada. STRIKE HARD STRIKE SURE

Pilot Officer KW Griffey RCAF Warrant Officer Class II JW Buttrey RCAF Flying Officer GH Lloyd RCAF Sergeant S Forster RAFVR Warrant Officer Class II LT Chevrier RCAF Sergeant L Boardman RCAF Flight Sergeant JE Fielder RCAF

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