Failed to Return

P/O D McCrae and Crew

The P/O McCrae crew were posted to 550 Sqdn from No. 1 L.F.S w.e.f. 09/02/1944:

Click image P/O McCrea crew
The following identification is believed correct
Back Row, L-To-R: Albert Brown, Frank Lebano, Martin Shapiro, Arthur Hall
Front row, L-To-R: Charles Bonner, Donald McCrae, Ronald Drury

On 27/28 May 1944 on the operations to Aachen Lancaster LL810 with the McCrae crew on board was lost. The aircraft is believed to have been shot down by a night-fighter. The aircraft crashed 2 km SE of Lichtervelde (West-Vlaanderen) and 8 km NNE of Roeselare, Belgium. There were no survivors and the crew are all buried in Wevelgem Communal Cemetery.

Other information about the flight and the target available here.

The entry on the 550 Squadron Roll of Honour here.

See also http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/lichtervelde.php.

De Laatste Vlucht

Thanks to Winifred Dean (sister of Charles Aidan Bonner A/G) for the following newspaper items.

Click image De Laatste Vlucht (photo)
Click image De Laatste Vlucht (text)
The story of the search for the Charles Aidan Bonner A/G in LL810/BQ-K by his sister and a researcher in Belgium
BarthHardTimes05May45 De laatste vlucht de geschiedenis van de Commonwealth War Graves in Wevelgem 1942-1945, by Etienne Vanackere
(copy kindly made available by the 550 Squadron Museum in North Killingholme)
Click image War Mystery Solved, part 1 of 2
A story of the hunt for air-crew lost over Belgium
Click image War Mystery Solved, part 2 of 2

Arthur Graham Hall

Thanks to the niece of Arthur Graham Hall (W/Op) for the providing the following photos and information.

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Arthur Graham Hall (W/Op)
Although he flew as the W/op with the McCrae crew, Sgt Hall is clearly wearing Air-Gunner wings
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Arthur Graham Hall (W/Op)
Click image L-To-R: Frank Hall, Dorothy Hall, Arthur Hall
Arthur's nickname was Bart and Frank's was Jacky (believed after two comedians of the time). Dorothy and Arthur were twins. They had another sister who was too young to see active service. Their parents where farmers who lived just outside Penrith, but when their father died in 1933 they moved into Penrith to live.
Click image Four airmen. Front row left: Arthur Hall
Not the MCrae crew. Details unknown, so possibly all they trained together. (W/Ops, gunners?)
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Letter home to mother and sister (dated 25.05.44 believed to have been received after Sgt Hall was killed)
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Letter home
Click image Letter (first pages of letter, in PDF format)
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Form with burial details, Wevelgem Cemetary
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Letter from Buckingham Palace
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Air Ministry Letter (pg 1)
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Air Ministry Letter (pg 2)

Charles Aidan Bonner

Thanks to the family of Charles Aidan Bonner (A/G) for the following photos and items.

Click image Charles Aidan Bonner
Click image Airman's Service and Pay Book
(photo via Wilfred Burie)
Click image Airman's Service and Pay Book
(photo via Wilfred Burie)
Click image Airman's Service and Pay Book
(photo via Wilfred Burie)
Click image Airman's Service and Pay Book
(photo via Wilfred Burie)
Click image Airman's Service and Pay Book
(photo via Wilfred Burie)
Click image Airman's Service and Pay Book: Last Will and Testament
(photo via Wilfred Burie)
Click image Priority Telegram informing the family that Charles Aidan Bonner was missing in action
(photo via Wilfred Burie)

Rebecq Association Visit

In August 2013 Wilfred Burie of the Rebecq Association visited the graves in Wevelgem Communal Cemetery to lay a 550 Association wreath. Some photographs from the visit are shown below. Thanks to Wilfred Burie for making the photographs available.

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The British Memorial at Wevelgem Cemetery
Click image The crew are buried in three plots in the cemetery.
Two crew (Lebano and Shapiro) are remembered on the outer two headstones.
The inner two headstones cover one plot, and spread across these two stones are the remaining five names. An indication of the terrible aftermath of an aircraft loss.
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550 Squadron Association Visit

In May 2014 the Squadron Association visited the graves in Wevelgem Communal Cemetery in remembrance of the men of 550 Squadron buried there. Some photographs from the visit are shown below.

Wevelgem Communal Cemetery